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Skills & careers

Skills Development Fellowships

Having considered the fellowships we offer, the Medical Research Council has made the decision to discontinue funding for Skills Development Fellowships and instead provide more funding for our other Fellowship schemes. We remain committed to attracting and developing outstanding researchers and investing in people is one of the foundations of our 2019 strategic delivery plan.

Our postdoctoral Skills Development Fellowships (SDF) have played an important role in providing training opportunities for early career researchers to develop key interdisciplinary skills for the benefit of health research. Since 2011, we have invested £68m in 240 fellows, the majority of whom continue to work in research. However, there are now more opportunities for interdisciplinary research than when the SDF scheme was launched, and we therefore feel it is appropriate to develop new ways to support the postdoctoral workforce.

All MRC funded researchers have the opportunity to spend up to 6 hours per week undertaking career development opportunities, including training, placements and fostering collaborations. Our investment in Health Data Research UK brings together and educates interdisciplinary teams in maths, statistics, computer science to develop analytical methods and tools to shape the future of healthcare and provides support and training for researchers at all stages of their careers. Further, the UKRI Innovation Scholars secondments scheme aims to provide an opportunity for immersive skills development across sectors, boosting the skills, knowledge and development of people across sectors.

The current SDF awards, which will have supported 34 fellows between 2018 and 2022, will be the last in the current form and will not be affected by this change.