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Research Training Fellowship Guidelines

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Purpose of the award

These prestigious Research Training Fellowships are for training in research techniques and methodology in a subject relevant to the overall aims of the charity. Applications are invited from medical graduates, clinicians, bioengineers, research nurses, physiotherapists and allied health professionals who wish to train in research techniques and methodology applied to subjects relevant to the aims of the charity. 

Applicants are strongly encouraged to independently register for a higher degree such as a PhD. The scheme aims to train the research leaders of the future in the UK.

This round we hope to award up to three fellowships.


Please note, these awards should not be viewed as project grant applications to simply extend current research as candidates will be expected to demonstrate a significant training element to their project. The awards are not perceived as studentships and we do not cover higher education fees but we strongly encourage training fellows to independently register for a higher degree.

The scheme is not intended for basic biological scientists.  

Postdoctoral researchers can only apply if they are in the field of bioengineering and will be receiving significant new training.


Candidates are expected to have at least some experience of research following their first degree. Medical graduates should have had limited research training but wish to develop a long-term career in academic medicine in the UK. They should not normally be more than 6 years post MRCP (or equivalent).


Two to three years considered. We do not fund one year fellowships.

Host Institution

University departments, teaching hospitals or other recognised research centres within the UK. It is essential that a laboratory or unit appropriate to the research proposed is selected, and the necessary equipment and facilities required for the proposed research must be available to the candidate.

Please note, Action Medical Research is not a research institution itself, and cannot offer research facilities to candidates.

Success rate

We received 26 outline applications for the 2020 RTF scheme, 9 were invited to submit a full application and we received 9 full applications for external peer review. The applications and external referee reports were then submitted to our Scientific Advisory Panel members and 6 candidates were shortlisted for interview. Two awards were made following the interviews.

We received 26 outline applications for the 2019 RTF scheme, 13 were invited to submit a full application and we received 10 full applications for external peer review. The applications and external referee reports were then submitted to our Scientific Advisory Panel members and 5 candidates were shortlisted for interview. Two awards were made following the interviews.


Applications are not expected to be much above £240,000 for a three year fellowship. The maximum upper limit is £250,000. Starting salary will be dependent on qualifications and experience. Consumable research expenses essential for the period of research training will be awarded. Please note that the claims for consumable expenses must be fully justified and will be scrutinised by our reviewers. Items of capital equipment, including computers, cannot be considered.

RTF Financial details

Research costs:  The application should not include any indirect costs such as administrative or other overheads (including any depreciation or maintenance costs) imposed by the university or other institution and you should not include percentages of salaries for those already employed in permanent/long term positions such as supervisor time. We would only expect to support the directly incurred costs of research and do not pay indirect or directly allocated costs such as shared equipment and resources based on estimates. 

Salary costs: Costs can include a salary for the Research Training Fellow. Please state salary scales known at the time of application and include an additional sum to cover estimates of future nationally agreed pay awards to cover cost of living increases only.  Please include employer’s costs, pension and national insurance and London weighting where appropriate.

Consumables: You can include research expenses such as consumables directly incurred by the project. Equipment costs are not covered on Research Training Fellowship applications. VAT on consumables should not be included in the application. Schedule 5, Group 16 of the Value Added Tax Act 1983 zero rates the supply of medical and scientific equipment and consumables purchased with charitable funds when they are donated to designated non-profit making institutions, provided the supply is used for medical research, diagnosis or treatment. If you have specific queries with regards to VAT please contact the university or hospital tax accountant.

Travel, patient and public involvement and publication costs: Costs of travel may be included in an application provided they form a necessary and integral part of the research proposed. The application should not include an allowance for attendance at meetings and conferences. These must be the subject of a separate and individual application in writing to the charity as the need arises and funds are limited. Patient and public involvement (PPI) costs can be applied for up to a maximum of £1,000 per grant.  Publication costs are limited to £3,000 per grant.



All applicants must comply with Home Office requirements and, where appropriate, hold a valid work permit to cover the period of the Research Training Fellowship. Preference will be given to candidates resident in the UK.

Applicants have an opportunity to undertake a period of research training which will be relevant to their future careers. Applicants should demonstrate that they have the necessary ability, enthusiasm and commitment to follow through any training and should provide evidence that they will be given guidance/training in appropriate research techniques and methodology (which may include experimental design, statistics, computing, writing scientific papers/grant applications). This should be summarised in the form of a timetable drawn up in conjunction with their supervisor. It is expected that applicants will be involved in oral presentations of their work and that they join journal clubs etc. as available.

It is a condition of any award that yearly reports are provided by the applicant and endorsed by their supervisor. Research Training Fellows are treated as all grantholders within the Charity and are expected to speak on their work at fundraising events or scientific meetings if required.

Fellowships must be taken up within one year of the award.

As these are personal awards and shortlisted candidates will be interviewed, it is expected that the application form is completed by the Research Training Fellowship applicant and NOT their supervisor.


Supervisors should discuss the basis of the application with the applicant thoroughly to ensure that a sensible programme of training is pursued and to advise on additional experience which may be needed (for example, by way of design, statistics, computing and writing scientific papers/grant applications). Applicants should be provided with an adequate and specific work area for both research and writing, and given an opportunity for oral presentations of their work, and the encouragement to join journal clubs etc. as available.

Mentors:  We recommend that awardees arrange to have a mentor. The mentor should be someone different to their supervisors, be able to offer a different perspective and help with personal and professional development.

How the application will be judged

The Research Training Fellowship Scheme is run on the basis of an open competition and peer review. Consideration is given to the worthiness of the candidate, the value of the training proposed in relation to the ability of the candidate and his/her chosen career path, and the reputation of the host institute. The scientific merits of the project are assessed in terms of the project itself and the basis on which suitable training can be provided. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview. The final selection will be made on the advice of the interviewing panel drawn from the relevant scientific and medical advisers of the Charity.

How to apply

Outline proposal

Please ensure that you have thoroughly read the remit and guidelines before submitting your application.

The purpose of the outline proposal is to establish that your proposed work clearly falls within our remit. 

If the outline proposal is acceptable, you will be invited to complete a full application form online, and you will be advised of the timetable.

If your work is considered peripheral to our aims and in cases where demand on our funds is exceptionally high, we may be unable to pursue an application from you.

Please contact us on 01403 327407 if you have not received an acknowledgement email within 7 days to confirm the application has been received