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titleUPDATE! (29/07/2020)
 We're aware that UKRI have announced that the deadline for the FLF scheme will now be January 2021. We are currently reviewing our internal timetable with this new information in mind, and will send out a communication as soon as possible. - Annabel

"Future Leaders Fellowships will grow the strong supply of talented individuals needed to ensure a vibrant environment for research and innovation in the UK. The scheme is open to researchers and innovators from across business, universities, and other organisations. We welcome applicants from around the world.

Investment of up to £1.5 million over four years, with the ability to extend to up to seven years, will enable the next generation to benefit from outstanding support to develop their careers, and to work on difficult and novel challenges.

We want to fund the best fellows no matter what their background. The Future Leaders Fellowships scheme has been developed with unprecedented levels of flexibility to support applicants from a wide range of experiences, disciplines and sectors."

titleAim of the scheme
Round 7 internal selection process now complete

Please note: York undertook its internal selection process for FLF Round 7 in August and early September 2022. This has now finished, and we are no longer accepting new Expressions of Interest. However, Round 8 is likely to open in early 2023, so Departments/Schools may wish to begin working with prospective applicants to think about future applications to the scheme.

If you feel FLF is the scheme for you, we expect Round 8 to open in early 2023, so you may wish to begin developing an idea of the programme of work you'd like to carry out in preparation for this. More details will follow when UKRI officially announces Round 8.

titleFurther information
  • There are 6 rounds of the FLF, with deadlines twice a year
  • The 6th and final round will have deadlines in Autumn 2020
  • The University is limited in the number of proposals that it can submit – there is therefore an internal University demand management process on proposals
titleLink to Funder Guidance:

titleFrequently Asked Questions

Will there be further FLF calls?

This is the sixth of six calls for these Fellowships. UKRI have not yet announced whether there will be further calls, or a replacement for this scheme.

Introduction to UKRI FLF

Future Leaders Fellowships are aimed at early career researchers and innovators who are either:

  • looking to establish or transition to independence
  • developing their own original and ambitious plans within a commercial setting.

There is no minimum or maximum award value. The project can last up to four years, with the option to apply to renew for a further three years.

These Fellowships are assessed against four criteria:

  • Research and innovation excellence
  • Applicant and their development
  • Impact and strategic relevance
  • Research and innovation environment and costs

titleFellows at University of York

The University currently has three Future Leader Fellows:

Dr Fay Alberti - Department of History (Round 1)

Fay's project, About Face, traces the emotional and cultural histories of facial disfigurement, reconstruction and transplantation between the 1950s and the present. Building on Fay’s research on the history of cosmetic surgery (and advisory work for the Nuffield Council on Bioethics), and her work on heart transplantation and bodily identity, this project brings an interdisciplinary lens to the recent emergence of face transplants as a viable form of surgical innovation. About Face connects to Fay’s wider interests in identity, gender, technology and ‘looks', especially in the digital age, and the links between appearance matters, emotional health and wellbeing.

Dr Benjamin Lichman - Department of Biology (Round 1)

Benjamin's project investigates how a small tree, native to East Asia, could help in the creation of new medicines. The Daphniphyllum macropodum shrub produces an array of complex nitrogen-containing chemicals that are unlike any other known chemicals from plants, animals or microbes and have been shown to have anti-cancer and anti-HIV properties.

Dr Luke Mackinder - Department of Biology (Round 3)

Luke's project investigates how algae converts carbon dioxide into organic molecules during photosynthesis. The results of the research will be used to guide improvements in photosynthesis to help combat climate change and enhance crop yields. Luke and his team will explore how proteins (the building blocks of cells) are spatially organised in diverse algae and how these "protein-networks" change as the cells absorb or “fix” CO2 during photosynthesis.

Funder Guidance

UKRI's FLF website provides a number of guidance documents to help applicants prepare their application, including:

The University is required to manage the number of applications that are submitted to the funder. As such, there will be an internal University of York selection process. In order to give candidates sufficient time to develop their applications, this process will occur with the outline dates below, as we await confirmation of these from the funder.

Departments who wish to support a fellow are asked to

The questions that you'll need to complete in the application form are:

  • Project Title 
  • Host Department 
  • Confirmation of Departmental support (tick box)
  • Objectives - List the main objectives of the proposed research in order of priority [up to 4000 characters, including spaces and returns] 
  • Summary - Describe the research in simple terms in a way that could be publicised to a general audience [up to 4000 characters, including spaces and returns] 
  • Research Council/ Innovate UK Relevance - Applicants should enter a brief description of research topic, including the keywords / themes / strategic areas which describe the areas of proposed research/innovation that will be explored (this would assist UKRI in identifying reviewers for the proposal) [up to 4000 characters, including spaces and returns]
  • Keywords (funding organisations) - Applicants are required to detail which funding organisation(s) the applicant believes the proposal should be directed to in order to identify reviewers for the proposal. Where the proposal is either inter-disciplinary or multi-disciplinary, multiple funding bodies should be indicated. [Options are: AHRC, BBSRC, EPSRC, ESRC, MRC, NERC, STFC, Innovate UK]
  • Project Partners - if you intend to have project partners, please name the partner/organisation and briefly explain their contribution to your project
  • How does your career trajectory align with the objectives of the FLF scheme? [up to 4000 characters, including spaces and returns]
  • How would the proposal align with the host Department and University Research Strategy? [up to 4000 characters, including spaces and returns]
You can find the UKRI character counter at:
titleUniversity processes - Round 6
titleWho to contact with questions about applying

Your Department's Research Support Office:

University Fellowship Coordinator: Annabel Jenkins (

Applying for UKRI FLF

Please note: the process below relates to Round 7. The process for Round 8 may be different - if it changes, this page will be updated by the end of 2022 and details will be circulated via YRAF and CDRCs.

In Round 7, There is an institutional limit of 4 applications from York. This means that the Fellowships Coordination Committee will be running an internal selection process, to identify which candidates they wish to put forward.

  1. Departments/Schools who wish to support a Fellow should undertake a selection process in order to nominate one candidate a maximum of two candidates to progress to the University-level selection assessment.

    • If an application is being put forward as a job share, two candidates can be put forward for one application.

    • Both internal and external candidates are eligible to apply, and will be supported equitably through the application

    process. Under exceptional circumstances, departments may request permission to nominate more than one candidate (please contact for information about this
    • process

    • .

  2. The nominated candidates are required to complete an application form (via Google Forms) for this University selection process. This form, along with an academic CV, will need to be submitted by midnight on 16th August 2020 to The fields in this form are similar to the funder's outline proposal form, with the addition of two fields that are intended to assist the University's selection panel with their choices (a description of the candidate’s career trajectory, and how the proposal aligns with Departmental and University research strategy). To ease preparation of the application, the questions are listed below, for information.

  3. The applications from nominated Departmental candidates will be considered by a selection panel Successful Departmental candidates complete the Expression of Interest (EoI) form and prepare a 4-page CV.

  4. Candidates send the form and CV to the Chair of their Departmental Research Committee to complete the statement of support and sign the form off.

  5. DRC Chair submits the completed forms and CVs to Taryn Bell ( by 5pm, Monday 8 August 2022.

    • If putting two applications forward, the Department must indicate which application is their top choiceand give a brief explanation as to why.

  6. EoIs reviewed and decisions made by the Institutional Peer Review Panel (including the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research), Associate Deans (Research), and additional disciplinary co-opted members as required).

  7. Candidates will be notified of the outcome and receive feedback as soon as possible after the selection panel meeting as possiblehas made a decision, by end of w/c 29 August 2022.

  8. Candidates who are successful at the University selection panel meeting will be invited to develop their application to submit to the funder (which includes both an outline, and full proposal), following Departmental and University submission processes.

  9. Candidates who progress to this stage will also be eligible to apply to the University’s Fellowship Coordination Committee (FCC) who may be able to provide limited financial support for match funding for equipment costs. The Committee will only consider match-funding items that clearly improve the chances of the fellowship being funded and the Committee will not consider match-funding salary costs for this scheme.

Key dates:



Deadline for candidates nominated by Departments to submit their application to the University Selection Panel

16th August 2020 (midnight)

Review by Selection Panel

w/c 24th August 2020

Notification of candidates

w/c 31st August 2020

External UKRI mandatory outline proposal deadline

to be announced (potentially early October, based on Round 4 dates)

External UKRI full application deadline 

to be announced (potentially early November, based on Round 4 dates)

titleFrequently Asked Questions

What are the deadlines for Round 7?

  • Outline application deadline: 18 October, 4pm UK time
  • Full application deadline: 6 December, 4pm UK time

As always, remember that York's internal deadlines are always at least a week earlier than the funder's deadline.

Do you have any examples of successful applications?

Benjamin and Luke have shared their applications with us, and if you are applying an application, you should be able to access these here:

Lichman application

Mackinder application

Please note that the guidance has changed a little since these were written, and so there may be some changes to what you are required to submit. Please always check and work from the current guidance.

We are grateful to Benjamin and Luke for sharing their applications, and ask that you don't share these applications further without asking.

If you don't have access, but would like to view them, please either 'request access', or send an email to

Does an applicant need to contact UKRI if they are requesting over £1.5m?

The scheme guidance for Round 7 states that, if the applicant is requesting over £1.5m, they must include a cover letter justifying these costs.

titleWho to contact with questions about applying

If you are seriously considering applying for an FLF, please contact your Department's Research Support Office, who can provide support and advice on the logistics of a Fellowship.

You can also contact the University Fellowship Coordinator, Taryn Bell (

titleInformation for Research Support Administrators

The following information relates to funder and University processes and is intended to assist members of Research Support teams (rather than applicants).

For the Outline stage:

  • Worktribe records will need to be completed and approved in the normal way (see below for more information).
  • You'll need to request that these be moved back to the Bid Submission stage to allow you to make further changes before the full stage.
  • The costings in WT should be as accurate as possible.
  • Standard University deadlines apply for submission.

Additional notes:

RGO notes on the FLF can be found here (version from March 2021):

View file
nameFLF RGO guidance March 2021.pdf

If you have any queries, please get in touch with your RGO contact.