We are creating a unified UKRI website that brings together the existing research council, Innovate UK and Research England websites.
If you would like to be involved in its development let us know.

Site search

Board Observers


Since 2009 the MRC have given the opportunity for early career researchers to observe one of the four funding board meetings (Molecular & Cellular Medicine, Infections & Immunity, Populations and Systems Medicine and Neurosciences & Mental Health). 

Giving early career researchers this opportunity we hope the session:

  • is informative to attendees in developing their own successful research proposals
  • assist attendees in providing better quality reviews
  • enhance transparency and provide an insight into the lengths Research Boards go to ensure the best quality science was funded
  • remind award holders of their obligations to the wider scientific community

Furthermore, all Observers will be provided with a briefing on the MRC peer review process that is available to ’take away’ for further dissemination and we encourage Observers to use these to share their experience with colleagues.


The Observer scheme is open to current holders of the following MRC grants –

  • New Investigator Research Grant (NIRG)
  • Career Development Awards (CDA)
  • Clinical Scientist Fellowships (CSF)
  • Senior Clinical Fellowships (SCF)
  • Senior Non-Clinical Fellows (SNCF)
  • Early Career Programme Leaders from MRC Units and Institutes (established less than 5 years)

The MRC deem holders of the above grants suitable to attend a board meeting in an observer capacity when they have less than 2 years left on their MRC grant funding.


The MRC undertake an annual exercise in November inviting eligible candidates to observe a meeting.  Whilst we always strive to invite observers to the board most relevant to their research interests due to the popularity of the scheme this is not always possible. 

Each board meets 3 times a year and while observers are able to suggest which meeting they attend due to popularity the MRC may not always be able honour the dates requested. 


If you fit the criteria you are welcome to contact the MRC at peer.review@mrc.ukri.org

Please ensure you include Observer in the title and you include which board is relevant to your research interests and also include your grant reference number.  

Whilst the MRC welcome Observers at board meetings places are very limited and we cannot guarantee spaces for eligible grant holders.  In instances where demand outweighs availability we may look to limit places based on research organisation, and would then encourage any researcher who has attended a meeting to share their experience with their colleagues.