Round 7 now closed

Please note: FLF Round 7 is now closed. However, Round 8 will open in early 2023, so Departments/Schools may wish to begin working with prospective applicants to think about future applications to the scheme. More details will follow when UKRI officially announces Round 8.

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
Funder Guidance
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 and details will be circulated via YRAF and CDRCs as soon as possible after the announcement of Round 8.

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 a maximum of two candidates to progress to the University-level selection assessment. Note: for Round 8, the number of candidates a Department can put forward is likely to reduce to 1. The Schools of ACT, PET and SBS will be able to submit 2 candidates.

    • 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.

  2. Successful Departmental candidates complete the Expression of Interest (EoI) form and prepare a 4-page CV.

  3. 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.

  4. DRC Chair submits the completed forms and CVs to Taryn Bell (fellowships@york.ac.uk) by 5pm, Monday 8 August 2022.

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

  5. 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).

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

  7. Candidates who are successful at the University selection panel meeting will be invited to develop their application to submit to the funder.

  8. 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.

Frequently 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 fellowships@york.ac.uk.

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.

Who 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 (fellowships@york.ac.uk).

Information 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):

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


Strengthening your application

The following advice is based on the outcomes from the Round 7 internal selection process.

There were certain points which reviewers and panellists mentioned repeatedly as areas of improvement. The strongest candidates covered all of these areas and were able to create a sense of a coherent programme of work which would allow them a unique opportunity to develop as a research leader.

  • Added value

UKRI’s guidance heavily emphasises the importance of demonstrating ‘added value’. Stronger applications were able to articulate why they wanted to apply for an FLF rather than other schemes, and clearly outlined the unique opportunities for both research and professional development.

Weaker applications were unable to explain why they wanted to apply for FLF specifically.

  • Applicant and development

The strongest candidates demonstrated not just a strong track record, but a commitment to future development, and were able to articulate what the FLF would offer them in this respect. As one reviewer noted, “How will this not only produce research, but produce (you as) a research and innovation leader?”

If the proposal involved a wider team, the proposal needed to demonstrate that they had thought about their development, too.

  • Ambition and scope of the proposal

An FLF proposal is potentially 7 years of research and impact work. Reviewers felt that some projects were too narrow and not ambitious enough for the scheme, and so would be better suited to other schemes.

  • Impact

The strongest applications were able to articulate not just what the impact could be, but how it could be achieved. In other words, what are the pathways to impact?

  • Departmental/School support

Research environment at the host organisation is one of UKRI’s four assessment criteria. With this in mind, HoD statements of support need to be strong, and Departments/Schools need to consider what concrete opportunities they can offer FLF applicants beyond the usual offers. All Universities will offer space to work, a laptop, the opportunity to apply for internal funding, and so on. Can the Department offer anything else, to bolster the proposed research and demonstrate the Department's commitment to the applicant? Departments can, for example, consider offering things like PhD studentships (which can’t be funded directly through FLF) to be linked to the FLF programme of work.

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