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Fellowships for pure research in science and engineering, applied research in industry, studentships in industrial design and Special Awards

Research Fellowships

Research Fellowships in Science and Engineering are intended to give early-career scientists or engineers of exceptional promise an opportunity to conduct a research project of their own instigation.

With the objective of contributing to the knowledge base required for a healthy and innovative national culture, these fellowships are open to all nationalities.   Applicants must be in possession of a recent PhD, or equivalent qualification (normally with no more than 3 years post doctoral experience), and usually intending to carry out their research at a UK institution please see 2015 RF General Regulations  for full eligibility criteria. 

Approximately eight awards are made each year, one of which is designated the Brunel Fellowship.  Applications from qualified engineering researchers are particular encouraged and the Brunel Fellowship is specifically reserved for them.

The Fellowship is for a maximum of three years, subject to annual renewal.

£30,000 stipend payable for year 1, and £31,500 for years 2 and 3. In addition a London Weighting of £2,500 per annum is payable in appropriate cases.

£3,000 per annum towards additional costs, including travel to present at relevant conferences.

Final year fellows are also sponsored to attend a Royal Society communication skills course, see Royal Society Communication Skills Course

Industrial Fellowships

Intended to encourage profitable innovation and creativity in British Industry by supporting research leading to a patented product or process in conjunction with a PhD or EngD / Industrial Doctorate.

Open to outstanding first degree graduates in engineering, science or medicine either nominated directly through a sponsoring company or enrolled on a UK University EngD/Industrial Doctorate programme. Candidates from SMEs particularly encouraged. Please see 2015 IF General Regulations for full eligibility criteria. 

Approximately eight awards are made each year, one of which is designated the ERA Foundation Fellow in the electro-technology sector.

The Fellowship is for a maximum of three years, subject to annual renewal.

Company employed candidates
50% of the Fellow’s salary, including the employer’s share of national insurance and superannuation paid, up to a limit of £21,000 p.a., reviewed annually and University fees paid up to normal levels for UK students.

Nominated Company sponsored Industrial Doctorate candidates
An enhancement to the existing stipend of £2,000 p.a.;  However, additional funding of up to £15,000 p.a. to support the research project may be available, subject to a compelling case being made (see General Regulations).

Travel is encouraged and costs up to £3,500 p.a. are paid. An honorarium of £10,000 is paid to the University research department on completion.

Industrial Design Studentships

Closing date 29 April 2015

Intended to stimulate industrial design capability among Britain’s most able science and engineering graduates who are intending to make a career in British Industry.

In the Commissioners’ view, industrial design cannot be dissociated from a clear understanding of the underlying engineering science of the product and it is for this reason that first degrees in science or engineering are prescribed. These are complementary, not alternative disciplines. For products to succeed they must not only be fit for purpose, but they must also look good and represent value for money.  For full eligibility criteria please see 2015 IDS General Regulations

About eight Industrial Design Studentships are offered each year for outstanding engineering or science graduates who wish to develop their capabilities in industrial design and who aspire to becoming leading designers in British industry.


The Studentship is for one year. A second year will be supported if the course demands it and the first year has been satisfactorily completed.

All tuition fees are paid, up to the normal UK course level for UK students paid however, we do not pay ELQ top-up fees. We pay a stipend of £10,000 pa (plus £2,500 London Weighting where applicable) and an allowance of £850 pa for materials and some travel expenses may be paid.

How to Apply

All applications much be submitted by email on the downloadable application form and must be accompanied by a full CV, which gives details of past work experience; a statement and evidence of interest and expectations in industrial design, including the intention to make a career in British Industry and evidence of acceptance for the intended course.

Design Fellowship

A single Fellowship is awarded every other year for two years' research in a specified study area.

The Commission will be awarding the next Fellowship in Design in 2016.  Full details, including the title of the project, will be posted on this site in June when applications will be invited.   The value of the award is £50,000 per year.  Applications are welcome from post-graduates, researcher, practitioners or professionals on a career break.  Entries will be accepted not only from individuals but also from formal or informal partnerships.


Introduced in 2006, awards have been made for research into

The future of design in Business
Design: The link between technology and productive industry
Design: Connecting the Old Economy with the New
3D Printing: An industrial revolution?
Techno Push/Consumer Pull ?

Built Environment Fellowship

The Commission will be awarding its next Fellowship in the Built Environment in 2015. Applications will be invited in June 2015 and full details, including the title of the project, will be posted on this site. A single Fellowship is awarded every other year for two years' research in a specified study area. The value of the award is £50,000 per year and is open to individuals and partnerships.

Introduced in 1995, awards have been made for research into:

‘Landscape and Modernity’
‘Urban Issues, Human Habitation’
‘Transport and the Built Environment’
‘Housing for the 21st’
‘Climate Change – The Future for Building Design’
‘Urban Design: Ideas for part of the Commission’s Estate’
‘Towns & Cities in Shock’
‘Genetics and the Built Environment”

A broad, holistic approach is encouraged, the aim being to ‘make a difference’. Candidates should be UK based aiming to carry out research over a 2 year period, culminating in either a personal mark of distinction (e.g. PhD) or a milestone output of significance. In all cases, candidates are asked to identify a mentor who can contribute to, and make expert and objective commentary on the candidate’s work, and who will ensure linkage and promulgation of the work to the appropriate peer group.

Special Awards

A very limited number of Special Awards are made to worthy causes and individuals whose aims are consistent with the Commission's Charter to 'increase the means of industrial education' in Britain. These may range from substantial support for other bodies in pursuing specific projects, to travel and study awards to individuals.

However, apart from its programme of Fellowships and Studentship the Commission does not offer any Special Awards for university courses or post-graduate research.

By their very nature, Special Awards are not capable of clear description, since they are assessed by Commissioners on a case by case basis. Applicants should, in the first instance, contact the Secretary before making a written application.