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Transition support

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Investing in people is one of the foundations of the MRC delivery plan and we are committed to attracting and developing researchers to apply their skills to medical research questions. Transition Support was a £4m pilot scheme to enable existing intermediate MRC fellows to facilitate their transition to research leadership.

The objectives of the scheme were to:

  • facilitate the transition of fellows into secure posts beyond their fellowship,
  • maximise MRC’s investment in current intermediate fellowships,
  • increase the number of individuals establishing substantive research programmes in the period following their fellowship by supporting progressive career planning by fellows and institutions.

Although there are no immediate plans for a repeat of the Transition Support pilot in its current form, we will evaluate the impact of scheme and the lessons learnt alongside our existing mechanisms for supporting fellowships to ensure we continue to support careers in the most effective way. 

Purpose of scheme

The MRC is committed to supporting researchers across all stages of their career and have a strategic focus on supporting researchers through difficult transition periods via our Transition to Independence and Transition to Leadership fellowship schemes. We acknowledge that some fellows need further flexibility to transition into secure posts beyond their fellowships, to help maximise the potential of their work, the MRC’s investment, and to go on to establish substantive research programmes.

To help support this progressive career planning, we are excited to announce that the MRC is investing £4 million in a pilot scheme to enable existing intermediate MRC fellows to facilitate their transition to research leadership. The pilot will provide short-term support, in conjunction with commitment from the host research organisation, to candidates who have made good progress with their fellowship project but have not yet achieved outputs suitable to secure follow-on funding via other routes.


The Transition Support pilot scheme is currently only open to existing MRC Career Development Award or Clinician Scientist Fellowship holders. Whether wider groups could benefit from similar support will be assessed as part of the evaluation of the pilot. There are no strict criteria on when fellows may apply, but we anticipate that typical applicants will be in the final 12-18 months of their fellowship.

Fellows who already have an open-ended post are explicitly eligible to apply and costs toward salary contribution to cover backfill will be considered where they are justified in order to protect research time for the fellow. To ensure research continuity, support for other staff salaries will also be considered. 

Fellows may choose to remain at their current research organisation or move institution for the period of Transition Support. The research organisation at which the fellow will be based must provide a letter of support which commits to protected research time, an upfront salary commitment and commitment to appointing to an open-ended post if awarded.

It is expected that a candidate would not apply concurrently for both Transition Support and a Senior Fellowship, as being eligible for the latter would demonstrate the candidate’s ability and readiness to apply for grant funding, a key criterion that the Transition Support is aiming to address. Recipient of Transition Support award does not preclude a future application for the MRC’s Senior Fellowship schemes.

Deadlines and submission details

All fellows considering applying to this scheme should contact the MRC via fellows@mrc.ukri.org to confirm their suitability prior to submitting an application.

Applications for Transition Support should be made through Je-S. The deadline for applications to the scheme is 16:00 GMT+1 on 26 September 2019. Applications will be assessed by members of the Clinical and Non-Clinical Panels, with decisions on funding being made in early December 2019.

All applicants should read the specific call guidance ahead of applying.