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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.

The call for applications will be in October, with a closing date of 18 February 2016.

“quite simply the gateway to my future as a scientist. It made me independent and free to develop whatever research I chose. I do not think that my career would have been the same without it.”      Professor Richard Goody, Research Fellow 1951

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.

The call for applications will be in October with a closing date of 28 January 2016.

“The freedom to undertake research that is of benefit to an industry I love has brought me great personal satisfaction and joy.”  Dr Sara Ridley, Industrial Fellow 2009

“Not only did it afford me the opportunity to embark on a PhD that I could not otherwise have done, it fostered a close partnership between Oxford University and Siemens that allowed us, together, to explore new avenues in PET imaging.  Since completing the Industrial Fellowship, my career has taken off and I am now responsible for an innovative and profitable product portfolio … I believe wholeheartedly in the vision set forth by the Commission and that there really is no limit when industry combines with academia to break new ground and innovate together.”   Dr David Schottlander, Industrial Fellow 2003.

Industrial Design Studentships

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.

The call for applications will be in October with a closing date of 28 April 2016.

Built Environment Fellowship

Did you know that design for cycling is highly regulated? The design rules that govern cycle routes in public highways are the same as those used for mass motorized transport.

The proliferation of signage posts, road markings and blue or green surfacing make up a cumbersome infrastructure which affects the way our important public spaces look and feel.

Our cities should be capable of adapting well to cycling, so that pedestrians and cyclists can be more considerate to each other and less ruled by the demands of cars, vans, and other large vehicles, while working with the essential quality and character of a beautifully designed, safe public realm.

Our Proposition
This year the Commissioners are seeking applications for an 1851 Built Environment Fellow who will carry out new research into the issue, look at best practice exemplars and, using London as a model, examine viable new ways of introducing cycling into our street spaces where transport modes are hard to manage. The aim is to create harmonious places where urban life can be enjoyed.


2-year Fellowship.  Stipend of £50,000 per year.

The research will have diverse outcomes, from review of international best practice, specifications and drawings guidelines for materials and designs, an evidence supported argument for proposed changes in design standards and a series of site-specific projects for high quality streets, junctions and public places in London. TfL are keen to be actively involved in this work and can make available relevant research, as well as potential case studies.   The outcomes of the work will also be used by TfL to help inform future planning and design of the public realm.

Who Should Apply
Applications are welcomed from post-graduates, researchers, practitioners or professionals on a career break. Entries will be accepted not only from individuals but also from formal or informal partnerships. Candidates should be UK based aiming to carry research over a 2 year period culminating in a milestone output of significance. In all cases candidates should identify a mentor who can contribute objectively to the project and widen the reach of outputs to help make a difference.


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 ?

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.