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Skills & careers

Interactive career framework accessible version

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Career view

From Apprenticeship you could progress to: BSc or Research Technician/Officer.

From BSc you could progress to MSc, PhD, PhD (part-time) or Research Technician/Officer.

From MSc you could progress to PhD or PhD (part-time).

From PhD you could progress to Postdoc.

From PhD (part-time) you could progress to Postdoc or Research Technician/Officer.

From Postdoc you could progress to Junior Career Fellowship, 2nd/additional Postdoc(s), Research/Technical Specialist, Laboratory/Facility Manager, Intermediate Career Fellowship or Tenure Track/Lectureship.

From Junior Career Fellowship you could progress to Intermediate Career Fellowship or Tenure Track/Lectureship.

From Research Technician/Officer you could progress to BScPhD (part-time), Senior Research Technician/Officer or Laboratory/Facility Manager.

From 2nd/additional Postdoc(s) you could progress to Intermediate Career Fellowship or Tenure Track/Lectureship, Senior post Doc or Research/Technology Specialist.

From Laboratory/Facility Manager you could progress to Research/Technology Specialist, Senior Research/Technology Specialist or Research/Technology Specialist Director.

From Intermediate Career Fellowship you could progress to Senior Career Fellowship or Group Leader/Associate Professor.

From Tenure Track/Lectureship you could progress to Senior Career Fellowship or Group Leader/Associate Professor.

From Senior postdoc you could progress to Research/Technology Specialist.

From Research/Technology Specialist you could progress to Laboratory/Facility Manager or Senior Research/Technology Specialist.

From Senior Research/Technology Specialist you could progress to Laboratory/Facility Manager or Research/Technology Specialist Director.

From Senior Career Fellowship you could progress to Principal Research Fellow or Professor/Director.

From Group Leader/Associate Professor. you could progress to Principal Research Fellow or Professor/Director.

From Principal Research Fellow you could progress to Professor/Director.

From Research/Technology Specialist Director you could progress to Laboratory/Facility Manager

Role descriptions

Apprenticeship: Combines employment with training to gain nationally recognised qualifications, covering jobs in a wide range of industries.

BSc: An academic degree earned for an undergraduate course of study that nominally requires three to five years of study at a university.

MSc: An academic degree awarded for demonstrating a higher level of expertise in a particular field of study. Can be taught or by research.

PhD: The highest degree awarded by a university in which students undertake original academic research becoming a doctor of their subject.

Postdoc: A person carrying out supervised research after their PhD, to consolidate technical expertise and explore capacity for research independence.

Fellowship: A competitively won award enabling protected time to undertake independent research. Applies across different career stages.

Research Technician / Officer: A person providing technical and experimental support including setting up, operating, and maintaining laboratory equipment.

Research / Technical Specialist: Individuals with technical expertise / specialist skills useful beyond their own specific group.

Senior Postdoc: Individuals with technical expertise contributing to research, including managing experimental work, training staff and supervising students.

Tenure track: A person in line for a permanent position should they meet certain assessment criteria.

Lectureship: Members of staff responsible for teaching students in universities, who may also do research.

Laboratory / Facility Manager: A person managing all day-to-day operations of a laboratory or facility, including; managing budgets, procurement, technical maintenance, and providing technical support and training.

Group Leader: A researcher responsible for the leadership and management of their own programme, team and resources.

Associate Professor: An academic position between senior lecturer and a full Professorship (often used in place of Reader).

Professor: Senior academic staff within a university or research institute.

Director: The senior person with responsibility for leading and implementing a company’s policy and strategy.

See career profiles to read about the career paths people have taken to reach some of these roles.

Funding view

Bursaries and Masters courses

Bursaries: Financial support for education fees. Masters: An academic degree awarded for demonstrating a higher level of expertise in a particular field of study.

Schemes available

  1. Alzheimer's Society: Undergraduate bursaries. Bursaries to give experience of research within the field of dementia to undergraduates. Position: Middle year (ie 2/3 2/4) of degree. Funding: £200 stipend per week plus £500 expenses. Duration: 8 weeks.
  2. National Institute for Health Research: Research methods programme. Support to undertake a fully-funded Masters with complementary training and development package. Position: Masters level. Funding: See individual scheme for specifics. Duration: See individual scheme for specifics.

PhD studentships / doctoral fellowships

The highest degree awarded by a university in which students undertake original research becoming a doctor of their subject.

Schemes available

  1. Alzheimer's Research UK: PhD scholarship. To be applied for by individual or joint supervisors. Position: Only prospective supervisors can apply. Funding: Stipend plus tuition fees and research/travel costs. Duration: 36 months.
  2. Alzheimer's Society: PhD studentships. Funding for PhD studentships into cause, cure, care or prevention of dementia. Funding: Up to £85,000 (£91,000 for London). Duration: 3 years.
  3. British Heart Foundation: Non-clinical PhD studentship. Principle investigators apply for funding on behalf of a PhD candidate. Position: Minimum high upper 2nd class BSc or MSc with merit. Funding: Stipend, tuition fees, consumables. Duration: 3 years.
  4. British Heart Foundation: BHF 4 year PhD Scheme. 1 year rotation cycle followed by 3 years training towards a PhD qualification. Position: Prospective students should apply to individual research institutions Funding: Student stipend, tuition fees, research consumables. Duration: 4 years.
  5. Medical Research Council: Studentships. Funding for research organisations who select candidates for projects with leading researchers.
  6. National Centre for the Replacement Refinement & Reduction of Animals in Research: PhD studentships. Aims to embed the 3Rs in the training of graduate scientists. Position: Minimum of 5 years postdoctoral experience. Funding: Cash-limited award of £30k p.a. (£90k total over 3 years). Duration: 36 months
  7. National Institute for Health Research: Doctoral research fellowship. Support to undertake a fully-funded PhD with complementary training and development package. Funding: Fully funded including current salary. Duration: 36 months with p/t options.
  8. Wellcome: Four-year PhD studentships in science. In-depth postgraduate training at 32 programmes throughout the UK. Funding: Stipend, fees and other costs. Duration: 4 years.

Postdoctoral awards

Competitively won awards enabling supervised research after PhD, to consolidate expertise, learn new skills and explore capacity for research independence. 

Schemes available

  1. British Heart Foundation: Advanced training award. Funds postdoctoral researchers to re-train and move into a different field of cardiovascular science. Position: Within 1 to 3 years of submitting a PhD. Funding: Salary, consumables. Duration: Up to 3 years.
  2. British Heart Foundation: Immediate postdoctoral basic science research fellowship. For promising newly qualified postdoctoral researchers to lead a project in cardiovascular research. Position: No more than 2 years postdoctoral experience. Funding: Salary, consumables, equipment, allowance for overseas visits. Duration: 4 years.
  3. Medical Research Council: Skills development fellowships. Training fellowships that support capacity building in MRC priority areas. Position: No time since PhD criteria. Funding: Salary, consumables, training, travel, equipment. Duration: 3 years with p/t options.
  4. National Centre for the Replacement Refinement & Reduction of Animals in Research: Training fellowships. Supports the development of promising early career researchers. Position: Up to 3 years post-PhD. Funding: Salary plus up to £15k p.a. research costs. Duration: Up to 24 months.
  5. National Institute for Health Research: Clinical trials fellowship. For existing NIHR trainees to undertake training within a Clinical Trials Unit. Position: Current NIHR trainees only. See website for details. Funding: Salary plus training costs. Duration: 6 months with p/t options.
  6. National Institute for Health Research: Knowledge mobilisation research fellowship. Support for knowledge mobilisation and research into the processes and impacts of such innovation. Position: Individuals who have significant healthcare and/or academic experience. Funding: Fully funded including current salary. Duration: 24 months with p/t options.
  7. National Institute for Health Research: Postdoctoral fellowship. Support to undertake fully funded postdoctoral research with complementary training and development package. Position: Funding:
  8. National Institute for Health Research: Transitional research fellowship. Support for researchers to transition to an area of applied health or clinical research. Position: Up to 5 years post-PhD. Funding: Fully funded including current salary. Duration: 18-24 months with p/t options.
  9. Wellcome: Sir Henry Wellcome postdoctoral fellowships. Support for postdoctoral researchers to start independent careers. Position: Up to 2 years post PhD viva. Funding: Up to 2 years post PhD viva. Duration: 4 years.

Transition to independence awards

Competitively won awards for individuals with clear plans to lead their own independent research and establish a research team.

Schemes available

  1. Alzheimer's Research UK: Research fellowship. For junior (non-clinical) postdoctoral researchers of high potential. Position: Up to 5 years post PhD (adjustable for career breaks). Funding: Salary plus up to £20,000 per annum toward research costs. Duration: Up to 36 months.
  2. Alzheimer's Research UK: Senior research fellowship. For researchers with potential to become leading PIs, but have not attained tenure. Position: 3-10 years post-PhD (adjustable for career breaks). Funding: Up to £420,000 to cover salary, staff and running costs. Duration: Up to 36 months.
  3. Alzheimer's Society: Junior fellowships. Position: Up to 4 years post-PhD viva. Funding: Up to £225,000. Salary, consumables, technician/admin and conferences. Duration: 3 years (4 p/t).
  4. Alzheimer's Society: Senior fellowship. For researchers with strong track-records and potential to become independent investigators. Position: 3-10 years post-PhD viva. Funding: Up to £400,000. Salary, consumables, technician/admin and conferences. Duration: 4 years (5 p/t).
  5. British Heart Foundation: Intermediate basic science research fellowships. For talented postdoctoral researchers hoping to become future cardiovascular research leaders. Position: Flexible postdoctoral experience criteria. Funding: Salary, technician/research assistant, consumables, equipment, allowance for overseas visits. Duration: 5 years plus possible 2 year extension.
  6. Cancer Research UK: Career development fellowship. Support for outstanding scientists to set up their first independent research group.  Position: 3-8 years post-PhD. Funding: Salary, research staff, consumables, equipment. Duration: Six years.
  7. Cancer Research UK: Career establishment award. Support for outstanding scientists to set up their first independent research group. Position: 3-8 years post-PhD. Funding: Research staff, consumables, equipment. Duration: 6 years.
  8. Medical Research Council: Career development award. Support for post-doctoral researchers to transition to independent investigators. Position: No time since PhD criteria. Funding: Salary, research staff, consumables, equipment. Duration: 5 years with p/t options.
  9. Medical Research Council: New investigator research grants. Support for postdoctoral researchers to transition to independent investigators. Position: No time since PhD criteria. Funding: Up to 50% salary, research staff, consumables, equipment. Duration: 3 years with p/t options.
  10. National Centre for the Replacement Refinement & Reduction of Animals in Research: David Sainsbury fellowships Supports talented, 3Rs-minded scientists with the transition to an independent career. Position: 2-6 years' postdoctoral experience. Funding: Salary plus up to £30k p.a. for research costs. Duration: 36 months.
  11. National Institute for Health Research: Career development fellowship. Support to establish individuals as independent researchers with complementary training and development package. Position: Up to 7 years post-PhD. Funding: Fully funded including current salary. Duration: 36 months with p/t options.
  12. Wellcome: Investigator awards. Flexible funding support for independent researchers working on important questions relevant to our remit. Position: Established position and salaried by host organisation. Funding: £500,000 to around £3 million for research expenses. Duration: Up to 7 years.
  13. Wellcome: Sir Henry Dale fellowships. Support for postdoctoral researchers to become independent scientists. Partnership with the Royal Society. Position: Up to 7 years post PhD viva. Funding: Salary, research staff and expenses. Duration: 5 years, renewable 3 years.

Awards for research leaders

Competitively won awards for individuals who lead and manage programmes, teams and resources, and have a track record of nationally/internationally competitive research.

Schemes available

  1. British Heart Foundation: Personal chair. Professorships for individuals with outstanding cardiovascular research achievements and leadership qualities. Position: Senior research leaders with an established international reputation. Funding: Please see website for details. Duration: 10 years (review at 5 years).
  2. British Heart Foundation. Senior basic science research fellowship. For outstanding individuals who will reach Readership or Chair level within 5 years.  Position: An established track record in academic research. Funding: Salary, staff, consumables, equipment, allowance for overseas visits. Duration: 5 years (with possible renewal).
  3. British Heart Foundation:Programme grant. For long-term support on a five year renewable basis. Position: Senior researcher working in an established research institution in the UK. Funding: Staff salary, research consumables, research equipment. Duration: 5 years.
  4. Cancer Research UK: Programme award. Support for broad, multidisciplinary research to answer questions spanning basic and translational research. Position: World-leading researchers with a permanent position at a UK institute. Funding: Research staff, consumables, equipment. Duration: 5 years. 
  5. Cancer Research UK: Programme foundation awards. Support for outstanding scientists to further develop an independent research group. Position: 8-14 years post-PhD. Funding: Research staff, consumables, equipment. Duration: 6 years.
  6. Cancer Research UK: Senior cancer research fellowship. Support for outstanding scientists to further develop an independent research group. Position: 8-14 years post-PhD. Funding: Salary, research staff, consumables, equipment. Duration: 6 years.
  7. Medical Research Council: Programme grants. Funding for a group of related projects across a broad scientific area. Position: PIs with a substantial track record Funding: Proportion of salary, research staff, consumables, equipment. Duration: 5 years.
  8. Medical Research Council: Senior non-clinical fellowship. Support for independent researchers to transition to research leadership. Position: No time since PhD criteria. Funding: Salary, research staff, consumables, equipment. Duration: 7 years with p/t options.
  9. National Centre for the Replacement Refinement & Reduction of Animals in Research: Infrastructure for impact awards. Non-research scheme to support infrastructure, networks and other resources underpinning 3Rs research. Position: PI must hold permanent contract, at least at lecturer level. Funding: Up to £500k. Duration: Up to 36 months (exceptionally up to 60 months).
  10. National Institute for Health Research: Research professorships. Support for individuals on track to become outstanding research leaders. Position: Nominations by HEIs of those at/close to professorial level. Duration: 5 years.
  11. National Institute for Health Research: Senior research fellowship. Support for outstanding individuals to become research leaders with complementary training and development package. Position: Candidates should have extensive postdoctoral research experience. Funding: Fully funded including current salary. Duration: 60 months with p/t options.
  12. Wellcome: Investigator awards. Flexible funding support for independent researchers working on important questions relevant to our remit. Position: Established position and salaried by host organisation. Funding: £500,000 to around £3 million for research expenses. Duration: Up to 7 years.
  13. Wellcome: Principal research fellowships. Prestigious personal award providing long-term funding for researchers of international standing. Funding: Salary, research staff and expenses. Duration: 5 or 7 years, renewable.
  14. Wellcome: Senior research fellowships in basic biomedical science. Support for independent researchers to become leaders in their scientific field. Position: Around 7-12 years postdoctoral experience. Funding: Salary, research staff and expenses. Duration: 5 years, renewable.

Career re-entry awards

Competitively won awards for individuals returning to research following a career break.

Schemes available

  1. British Heart Foundation: Career re-entry research fellowship. For postdoctoral researchers to re-establish their career after a break. Position: Career break of 1 or more years. Funding: Salary, technician/research assistant, consumables, equipment. Duration: 4 years plus possible 1 year extension.
  2. Medical Research Council: Daphne Jackson fellowship. Retraining for returning to research after a career break. Position: Any career stage (career break of at least 2 years). Funding: Salary, consumables, fees, expenses. Duration: Up to 3 years p/t.
  3. National Institute for Health Research: Transitional research fellowship. Support for researchers to transition to an area of applied health or clinical research. Position: Up to 5 years post-PhD. Funding: Fully funded including current salary. Duration: 18-24 months with p/t options.
  4. Wellcome: Research career re-entry fellowships. Support for postdoctoral researchers to re-establish their scientific careers after a career break. Position: Any career stage. Continuous break of at least 2 years. Funding: Salary and research expenses. Duration: Up to 4 years.

Research / project grants

Competitively won awards for individuals seeking funding for a focused research project.

Schemes available

  1. Alzheimer’s Research UK: Equipment grant. Provides funds for scientific equipment (flexibly defined). Position: Tenure or salaried position for length for proposal required. Funding: £10,000 - £100,000.
  2. Alzheimer’s Research UK: Extension grant. For ARUK Project Grants that would benefit for additional funding due to scientific advances. Position: Lead applicant must be named grant holder for ARUK Project Grant. Funding: Up to £100,000. Duration: Up to 12 months.
  3. Alzheimer’s Research UK: Global clinical trials fund. Supports phase I/II trials with potential to benefit dementia patients. Position: Worldwide applications invited. Must include minimum of one clinical researcher. Funding: Up to £50,000: salaries, equipment, running costs. Duration: Dependent on proposal.
  4. Alzheimer’s Research UK: Interdisciplinary research grant. To encourage researchers into dementia research who have expertise that benefit the field. Position: Tenure or salaried position for duration of proposal required. Funding: Up to £250,000: salaries, equipment, animals, running costs. Duration: Up to 36 months.
  5. Alzheimer’s Research UK: Major grant. Provides funds for high quality research projects. Position: Tenure or salaried position for duration of proposal required. Funding: Up to £1 million: staff, equipment, animals, running costs. Duration: Up to 60 months.
  6. Alzheimer’s Research UK: Network accelerate scheme. Funds for research resources or tools of benefit to biomedical dementia research. Position: Tenure or salaried position for length of proposal required. Funding: Up to £250,000: salaries, equipment, animals, running costs. Duration: Up to 36 months.
  7. Alzheimer’s Research UK: Network cooperation grant. To further cooperation and collaboration between two or more ARUK Network Centres. Position: Tenure or salaried position for length of proposal required. Funding: Up to £100,000: salaries, equipment, animals, running costs. Duration: Up to 24 months.
  8. Alzheimer’s Society: Implementation grants. For applicants to move dementia care, services and public health research into practice. Funding: £400,000. Duration: 3 years.
  9. Alzheimer’s Society: Project grants. Grants to enable research into the cause, care or prevention of dementia. Funding: Up to £400,000. Duration: 3 years.
  10. British Heart Foundation: Project grant. For short-term research projects. Position: Postdoctoral researcher (as main applicant or co-applicant). Funding: Up to £300,000: salary, staff salary, consumables, equipment. Duration: Up to 3 years.
  11. Cancer Research UK: Biotherapeutic drug discovery project awards. For the development of biotherapeutic drugs for the management of cancer. Position: Independent researchers with a permanent position at a UK institute. Funding: Research staff, consumables, equipment. Duration: 3 years.
  12. Cancer Research UK: Cancer immunology project awards. For immunologists in non-cancer fields wanting to undertake cancer-relevant research. Position: Established immunologists with no track record in cancer research. Funding: Research staff, consumables, equipment. Duration: 3 years.
  13. Cancer Research UK: Multidisciplinary project award. Supports collaborations between cancer researchers and scientists from engineering/physical science disciplines. Position: Two PIs: a cancer biologist and a physical sciences researcher. Funding: Research staff, consumables, equipment. Duration: 3 years.
  14. Cancer Research UK: Pioneer award. Funding for innovative ideas from any discipline that could be ground-breaking in tackling cancer. Position: Researchers from any discipline, regardless of background or vocation. Funding: Research staff, consumables, equipment. Duration: 2 years.
  15. Cancer Research UK: Small molecule drug discovery project grants. For the identification/validation of targets, and the discovery of small molecule therapeutic/preventative agents. Position: Independent researchers with a permanent position at a UK institute. Funding: Research staff, consumables, equipment. Duration: 3 years.
  16. Medical Research Council: Research grants. Funding for projects, method development, development and continuation of research facilities. Position: Lead applicant must be based at eligible institution. Funding: Salary, research staff, consumables, equipment. Duration: Usually 3 years.
  17. Medical Research Council: Response mode funding. A range of response mode funding and strategic schemes. Position: Lead applicant must be based at eligible UK institution. Funding: See individual scheme. Duration: See individual scheme.
  18. National Centre for the Replacement Refinement & Reduction of Animals in Research: Project grants. Supports research projects which lead to the development of new 3Rs approaches and technologies. Funding: Typically around £350k. Duration: Up to 36 months.
  19. National Centre for the Replacement Refinement & Reduction of Animals in Research: Strategic awards. Targeted funding focusing on a specific area or technology with 3Rs importance. Funding: Typical budget of £500k per call. Duration: Up to 36 months.
  20. National Institute for Health Research: Funding programmes. A range of programmes addressing a broad range of health priorities. Funding: See individual programmes for specifics. Duration: See individual programmes for specifics.
  21. Wellcome: Collaborative awards in science. Support for teams of independent research groups working together. Position: Each applicant must have an established, salaried post. Funding: Up to £4 million. Duration: Up to 5 years.

Pilot projects / small grants

Competitively won awards for individuals seeking funding for small scale research projects, including proof of principle, pilot work or start up finds.

Schemes available

  1. Alzheimer’s Research UK: Network support grant. Bridge funding to retain key staff or complete projects. Position: For members of ARUK Network. Funding: up to £30,000: salary, equipment, animals, running costs. Duration: Up to 12 months.
  2. Alzheimer’s Research UK: Pilot project grant. Provides fund for small innovative research projects and pilot studies. Position: Tenure or salaried position for duration of grant required. Funding: Up to £50,000: staff, equipment, animals, running costs. Duration: Up to 24 months.
  3. Alzheimer’s Research UK: Sabbatical/secondment. Enables researchers to experience new/interdisciplinary areas not possible through existing funds. Position: Tenure or salaried position for length of proposal required. Funding: Up to £50,000: salary, equipment, animals, running costs. Duration: Up to 12 months.
  4. Alzheimer’s Research UK: Target validation pathfinder grant. Funds for translational research showing potential for ARUK Drug Discovery programmes. Position: Tenure or salaried position for length of proposal required. Funding: Up to £50,000: salary, equipment, animals, running costs. Duration: Up to 12 months.
  5. Alzheimer’s Society: Dissemination grants. Funding to support the sharing of research knowledge and material beyond researchers’ peers. Funding: £2,500. Duration: 12 months.
  6. Alzheimer’s Society: Knowledge exchange fellowships – UK/Netherlands. For researcher to spend time in the Netherlands/UK to establish and strengthen research collaborations. Positions: Up to 10 years post-PhD viva. Funding: Up to £10,000. Duration: 12 months.
  7. Cancer Research UK: BACR/CRUK student travel awards. For PhD students to attend scientific meetings. Position: Students with at least one year BACR membership at the time of application. Funding: Travel and meeting fees. Duration: 6 years.
  8. Cancer Research UK: Research travel award. Funding for postdoctoral researchers to spend time working in another research group. Position: Any postdoctoral researcher based in the UK. Funding: Travel and consumables. Duration: 6 years.
  9. National Centre for the Replacement Refinement & Reduction of Animals in Research: Pilot study grants. Proof-of-concept studies to generate preliminary data for subsequent applications. Funding: Up to £75k. Duration: Up to 12 months.
  10. Wellcome: Seed awards in science. Support to develop novel ideas that in future will form part of larger applications. Position: Salaried but no more than seed equivalent in research expenses. Funding: Up to £100,000. Duration: Up to 2 years.