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Skills & careers


MRC’s fellowships support the development of talented individuals to strengthen the UK research base and enable the scientific community to respond effectively to current and future grand challenges in medical research.

The MRC has a leading national role in training researchers across a range of biomedical, clinical and health disciplines. At any one time, the MRC supports around 1,900 PhD students (including pre-doctoral fellows) and 200 postdoctoral fellows. Our aim is to:

  • train and develop the next generation of research leaders
  • support excellent individuals at critical points of their careers
  • help address national strategic research skills needs identified with partners.

MRC fellowships are personal awards for talented researchers to support key transition points in their careers. Many of today's leading biomedical and health researchers look back on their MRC fellowship as a significant stepping stone in developing their career. We offer a range of fellowships to meet diverse needs, allowing training placements in the UK, abroad or in industry.

MRC Vision for Fellowship support:

  • individuals transitioning to the next level in their careers, normally through a change from an existing / current role
  • protected time to focus on your own research, shielded from other professional commitments. Clinical fellows may undertake clinical duties as part of their award
  • funding for a challenging research project and an ambitious programme of research training which offers accelerated personal and career development
  • progression towards fulfilling long term career goals, which includes an aspiration to strengthening the UK research base
  • a clear commitment from the Research Organisation to supporting, developing and mentoring the fellow.

Supporting key career stages

MRC has clarified the skills and experience required to be successful at a given career stage and recognises the transition to independence as a particularly critical step.

There are different routes to enable scientists to transition to independence. Find out more about how MRC supports this critical career stage.

Supporting Skills Development

The MRC has a leading role in identifying the skills required for future UK medical research and we have recently published revised MRC skill priorities which apply across all our support mechanisms.

In a sub-set of skill areas, there is a need to provide training for very early career researchers in, or individuals changing disciplines to, MRC priority areas. Skills development fellowships provide this training support.

Career re-entry

All MRC fellowships are open to individuals returning to research following a career break (PDF, 40KB).

In addition to our current fellowship schemes, the MRC sponsors at least two Daphne Jackson Fellows a year, aimed at people returning to research after a career break and offering an opportunity to re-establish scientific credentials whilst retraining and renewing skills to underpin their future career.

For full details and Fellows' stories, please refer to the Daphne Jackson Trust.