Investigator Awards in Science 2020

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Investigator Awards in Science 2020

Application Deadline: 16th July, 2020.


Investigator Awards enable independent researchers with a compelling research vision to tackle the most important questions in science.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

What you need to know if you're a grant applicant or grantholder.


Scheme at a glance

Career stage:

Leading a research programme 

Where your host organisation is based: UK, Republic of Ireland,

Low- or middle-income countries (apart from India and mainland China) 

Type of researcher: Basic, Clinical, Public health

Level of funding: Flexible funding, up to around £3 million. Salary isn’t provided.

Duration of funding: Flexible duration, up to 7 years

Who can apply

You can apply for an Investigator Award if you're an independent researcher with a compelling research vision who wants to tackle the most important questions in your field.

These awards are also open to joint applications from two researchers whose complementary expertise is essential to deliver their shared vision.

Career stage and experience

We consider applications from researchers throughout their independent careers. For example, you may be a newly appointed lecturer, a mid-career researcher or a senior researcher.

If you're in the early stages of your independent research career, you should be able to show that you can drive advances in your field of study and that you have considerable promise for the future. You should have a strong track record relative to your career stage of:

  • leading innovative and creative programmes of research
  • making important contributions to research, eg publications, patents and impacts on policy
  • securing research grant funding.

You should also be able to show that you're developing an international reputation for excellence in your field.

If you're a more established researcher, you should have achieved more in terms of the originality and impact of your research. You should have a track record of:

  • making significant contributions to research, eg publications, patents and impacts on policy
  • securing sustained research support from major funding bodies
  • developing and mentoring less experienced researchers.

You should have an international reputation as a research leader in your field.

If you've been away from research (eg for a career break, maternity leave, or long-term sick leave), we'll allow for this when we consider your application.

Current situation

You must be based at an eligible host organisation in the UK, Republic of Ireland or a low- or middle-income country apart from India or mainland China.

You should have a permanent, open-ended or long-term rolling contract, or the guarantee of one. Your salary must be paid by your host organisation.

If you hold a permanent, open-ended or long-term rolling contract but have to get your salary from external grant funding, you can ask us for this in your application. If this applies to you, you must commit at least 10% of your working hours to this award. In this case, your host organisation must confirm details about your employment contracts or their policy on salary recovery costs

Your research proposal

Your research proposal must:

  • describe an innovative and ambitious programme of work that could transform your field
  • explain the approaches you will use to deliver that programme of work
  • be distinct from, and not replace, activities already supported by other awards
  • be within our scientific remit.

We will review:

  • your track record as an independent researcher, relative to your career stage
  • the importance of your research question(s) to your field
  • the feasibility of your proposal
  • the suitability of your research environment
  • the time you'll spend on the Investigator Award, and how it fits in with your other academic commitments.

Who can't apply

You can't apply to carry out activities that involve the transfer of grant funds into mainland China.

What's expected of your host organisation

When we assess your application, we’ll look at the environment in which you propose to do your research and the support promised by your host organisation.

You must provide a statement of commitment with your application. The statement should come from the most senior person in the relevant faculty, school or division at your host organisation. This should state:

  • why the host organisation thinks you merit an Investigator Award
  • how your research proposal complements and addresses the host organisation's strategic aims and priorities
  • how the host organisation will support you to ensure that the ambitions of your research proposal can be achieved (including financial, technical, administrative or other assistance)
  • that the space and resources you need have been agreed and will be made available to you from the start date through to the end date of your award
  • the nature of your employment contract and its compliance with our eligibility criteria for an Investigator Award.

If you're employed at an eligible core funded-research organisation, an Investigator Award should not replace or lead to a reduction in existing or planned core support.

 For more information

Click here to visit the official application website

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