Skills & careers

Research staff development

Additional guidance to widen activities to develop researchers employed on MRC grants

Research staff and research fellows play a vital role in delivery the UK’s world-leading research outputs with economic and social impact. They are instrumental in delivering the government target to raise the expenditure on research and development to 2.4% of GDP by 2027.

Under RGC8, research staff and research fellows may spend up to an average of six hours a week undertaking teaching and demonstrating work.

MRC is widening the activities that can be undertaken in this time to provide more scope for researchers to build relevant expertise and opportunities for their future career – which need not directly relate to the specific project they work on. The activities could contribute to future opportunities in scientific or wider work, in academic, industry, or public service environments.

Activities may include, but are not limited to:

  • career development (such as training courses, workshops, networking events, mentoring)
  • developing new research (establishing/maintaining collaboration in academia and industry including lab visit or placements, developing applications or data for future independent funding including generation of preliminary data with the additional support of small grants)
  • developing further research expertise and skills, beyond what is essential for their current work (such as formal training, study and lab visits)
  • university-related or clinical work (such as demonstrating, teaching, administration, examination duties, peer review, NHS clinical sessions)
  • research translation/commercialisation, expert knowledge exchange and/or advisory work
  • dissemination of research to wider audiences (including science communication, public engagement).

It is expected that research organisations will support staff development on a flexible and individual basis. Some grant-funded projects will offer staff a good range of development opportunities, others will be very focused. Which extra activities a staff member should engage in, and how much time is sufficient, should be determined by what they need to develop their expertise and ability, and to develop future career opportunities.

In the case of MRC clinical fellowship holders, additional condition AC2 (PDF, 301KB) continues to apply.