Research Staff Development

Fellowships and Funding

Research Fellowships

Research Fellowships are a route to funding to develop your research career and to become an independent researcher. Early Career fellowships are a fixed-term award to an individual to perform a piece of original research as an independent researcher. Fellowships are available from a range of funders, and you should look at each scheme’s specific requirements and criteria.

Where to find Fellowships

The Loughborough Research Professional home page includes funding searches for Early Career Fellowships. All researchers can have a Research Professional log in, please contact the Research Office to enquire about this. You can also set up specific funding and fellowship searches that are relevant to you.

However, these are a few general points to consider:

Finding the right funder

  • There are many learned societies, charities and industrial organisations in the UK and abroad offering fellowship funding
  • Sign up for email alerts from funding bodies of particular interest to you. You can also use databases such as Research Professional. Check the research office website for opportunities
  • Ensure that you are eligible to apply (check with funding body if necessary)
  • Think about your project, it needs to be novel and exciting to you and the funding body – discuss this with senior colleagues
  • Talk to other Fellows who have had success 
  • Ensure you have the support of your Department and the University before applying. There may be a cap on the number of applicants the University is allowed to submit to a call, or the University may undertake an internal sift and peer review process.  Check early with the Research Office if this will be the case, to allow yourself time to prepare.

Early Steps

  • Deal with things that rely on other people early on, don’t rely on people to do things at the last minute for you.
  • Check access to Je-S (or equivalent). You may need to activate your account
  • Make early contact with Head of Department especially if a statement of support is needed
  • Ensure Statement of support is written early (a letter of support is not trivial)
  • Contact Research Office about costings and confirm internal submission procedure
  • Find a mentor
  • Make contact with potential collaborators early to discuss ideas and possible support, make clear what their contribution to the project will be including letters of support to be included with the application

Writing your proposal

  • Allow plenty of time for preparation, you will need to prepare costings, get signatures and approvals and draft the proposal a number of times
  • Study the funding source, target your proposal to the call and strategies. Ensure the funder is compatible with the mission or objectives of your School
  • Read the rules and guidance notes, avoid basic mistakes. Check the funding level.
  • Try to see referees forms and guidelines, answer the questions they will be asking so that the referee can give positive answers
  • Discuss the application with peer groups, colleagues and the Research Office who will be able to advise you
  • Ask colleagues to review the proposal, not just read it
  • Contact the people you intend to nominate as referees, inform them of your plans
  • Contact the funder with any questions, it is good to open the lines of communication early and it will save time in the long run. They will be able to give detailed, scheme specific advice - and they want to help
  • Get the first paragraph/summary right, no jargon, not too heavy. It needs to get the attention of the reader and must be understandable
  • Check the formatting requirements e.g. font size, page limits

Applicant’s Response

  • Usually one side of A4
  • Positive referees comments still need to be read carefully
  • Unsupportive referees comments need careful consideration before responding
  • Address specifics, avoid aggressive or dismissive responses
  • Use the opportunity to clarify issues


  • Check the time and location
  • Check presentation format and content
  • Research the panel membership if possible
  • Practice presentation (timing) and interview
  • Predict likely questions
  • Be aware of the wider context of your research
  • Ask current/past fellows for advice

Increase your chances of success

  • Strong track record, especially publications (number, quality - top journals for field)
  • Good research vision
  • Conference visibility (reviewers may have seen you in action) and networking
  • Demonstrate independence, current standing
  • Choice of institution (expertise, facilities, potential collaborators)
  • Show your ‘unique selling point’

Santander Mobility Awards

Unfortunately, due to changes in funding, the Santander Mobility Awards are no longer offered for staff.  Information on the scheme for Doctoral Researchers is available here.