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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

Do you have 3 years or less post-doctoral research experience and want to conduct innovative research of your own instigation?

Closing 12 noon GMT on 6 February 2020

1851 Research Fellowships are intended to give early career scientists or engineers of exceptional promise the opportunity to conduct a research project of their own instigation; an ultimate objective is to contribute to the knowledge base required for a healthy and innovative national culture.  Around eight awards are made each year. 

The 1851 Commissioners seek to widen the pool of candidates by encouraging researchers in the core subjects of Civil, Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering to submit applications in these disciplines which address the primary infrastructure needs of modern society: the buildings we live and work in, transportation of many forms and the machinery and plant which supply our energy needs. Successful applications in these areas will be designated ‘1851 Brunel Fellowships’ and applications will be assessed separately from those in the Science subjects to reflect the different demands and expectations of core Engineering subjects, particularly in respect of the possible complexity of the final outcomes. 

Fellowships are held from 1 October in the year of award  (or such date in 2020 as agreed with the fellow), and offers cannot be deferred to later years.

Please read the 2020 Terms and Conditions with care for full eligibility criteria, details of benefits and how to apply. Our Privacy Notice can be downloaded here.

“The 1851 Fellowship has been one of the defining aspects of my academic career.  It has allowed me to focus on developing my own research program, which will form the basis of my work for years to come, and has been instrumental in establishing my career and research profile. I am truly grateful.”  Dr Tom Montenegro-Johnson, Research Fellow 2014

“The 1851 Fellowship gave me the best ever start to my independent career.  Not only did it help me to make friends across disciplines with other 1851 awardees of my time, but it helped me connect with the incredible previous Fellows.  It helped me identify commonalities of character, attitudes and perspectives of thought-leaders in science that I have tried to nurture in my own approach.” Professor Yamuna Krishnan, Research Fellow 2002

“The 1851 Fellowship really provided a platform for me to launch my independent research career.  There is no doubt that, without it, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”  Dr Rhodri Davies, Research Fellow 2008

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Industrial Fellowships

Do you want to pursue a PhD without leaving your job or perhaps you want to collaborate with industry on research?

Closing 12 noon on 30 January 2020

The aim of the scheme is to encourage profitable innovation and creativity in British Industry – to the mutual benefit of the Fellow and his or her sponsoring company. Projects in any science or engineering discipline will be considered.

These prestigious Fellowships are awarded to selected, exceptional graduates with the potential to make an outstanding contribution to Industry for a programme of doctoral level research.  They are open to company employed candidates or nominated Doctoral Centre / CASE candidates.

Please read the 2020 Terms and Conditions with care for full eligibility criteria, benefits and details of how to apply. Our Privacy Notice can be downloaded here.

Around 10 awards are made each year, one of which is designated the ERA Foundation Fellow for the electro-technology sector.

Promote this Fellowship with our 3 fliers aimed at the individual, company and university respectively.



“The Industrial Fellowship has been a great way to gain innovative advantage with the limited resources inherent to SMEs. It gave us control over the research being conducted and ownership of new IP.  In fact, we’ve patented five new technologies as a direct result of the Fellowship”.  Dr Ian Towle, Ketonex

“Unlike a conventional PhD, the Industrial Fellowship has allowed us to develop a project that was directly tied to company aims, because the Fellow is employed by us throughout. This has really helped in the development of our competitive advantage”. Brian Butchart, SIRAKOSS

“The Industrial Fellowship has been a fantastic opportunity. It has given me the freedom to take something that I was interested in researching and take it to the next level, whilst retaining a salary and strong tie to industry.” Jordan Conway, Industrial Fellow with SIRAKOSS and the University of Aberdeen.

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Design Fellowship

The next Design Fellowship will open in 2020

The Commission will be awarding the next Fellowship in Design in 2020.  Full details, including the title of the project, will be posted on this site in June 2020 when applications will be invited.   The value of the award is £50,000 per year.  Applications are welcome 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

Introduced in 2006, awards have been made for research into:

  • The Future of Business in Design
  • The Link between Technology and Productive Industry
  • Connecting the New Economy with the Old
  • 3D Printing – A Genuine Industrial Revolution
  • Techno Push / Consumer Pull
  • Healthier Cities
  • Design and ‘Fake News’


Built Environment Fellowship

This year's Fellowship asks the questions: What is the High Street for?, and What Might the "Future High Street" be like? £50k per year for 2 years.

Close: 2 September 2019 at 23:00 GMT

What is the High Street for?
“The British”, said the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond, “have taken to online shopping like no other nation on Earth”. One result of this – and of rising costs and changing habits – has been the decline of what is now known as “physical retail” – where you go to an actual place to purchase actual things from an actual person, perhaps with actual cash – and the spread of empty urban fabric in the centres of our towns and cities. In the first six months of 2018, an average of 14 shops a day closed down in the UK. Commentators on this have written optimistically about “clearing the debris of retail to make way for a new kind of high street”; others have speculated about the re-discovery of a sense of shared public life, of the things we really like about human contact,; and about services or public health/sports centres or gaming parlours or learning zones or digital distribution showrooms or “experiences” of one kind or another taking over from old-fashioned notions of “going shopping”.

The phrase “high street” brings with it connotations of locality and community, and evokes the stories we like to tell ourselves about communal life. 


So this year’s 1851 Fellowship asks the questions: what is the high street for, and what might the “future high street” be like?

This is a large and contentious topic with broad implications for social life, the built environment, transportation and design – so we expect from this call for applications a wide range of design approaches backed up by serious supporting research.

The Fellowship, whichever perspective it takes, will result in a detailed report and serious, well-researched and practical proposals for the shape of the high street of the future.

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 out 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.

Closing date for initial applications Stage 1:  2 September
Closing date for secondary amplifying submissions Stage 2:  10 October
Interviews and selection: mid November

Industrial Design Studentships

Call for 2020 applications will be made in October with a closing date of 30 April 2020

The aim of the scheme is to stimulate industrial design capability among the country’s most able science and engineering graduates. 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.

Please read the 2020 Terms and Conditions with care for full eligibility criteria, details of benefits and how to apply. Our Privacy Notice can be downloaded here.

Around 10 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 scheme is open to applicants resident in the UK who are intending to make a career in British Industry.

Promote this Studentship by downloading our flyer.

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.

“Receiving support from 1851 was an incredible privilege,allowing me to pursue my education and be a part of an invaluable network of highly inspirational people” Nell Bennett

“One of the things I really like about engineering is that it can have a very big impact on the world – it’s great to have that as a driver and a motivator. You spend the majority of your time at work so you might as well do something that you’re passionate about and that you love.” Yusuf Muhammad

“Thanks @royalcom1851 @born2engineer for all the support and enabling so many people to do brilliant things!” Adrian Westaway

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RAEng 1851 Enterprise Fellowship

Funded by the 1851 Royal Commission the RAEng 1851 Enterprise Fellowship scheme forms part of our shared commitment to stimulate excellence and encourage creativity and innovation in engineering by identifying and supporting the founders and leaders of tomorrow’s high-tech companies.

The Fellowship provides money-can’t-buy bespoke support and one-to-one mentoring, which is composed of some of the country’s most successful engineers from across academia and industry.

The core aims of the Enterprise Fellowships are:

  1. To bring engineering innovations to market for a wider public benefit
  2. To improve the skills of the awardee.
  3. To develop role models of entrepreneurship; and
  4. To develop a wider alumni network to further the aims of the Hub.
Click here for Guidance Notes.

The Fellowships provide:

  • Up to £60,000 funding
  • Mentoring from the Royal Academy’s  Fellowship
  • Approximately Twelve days business training
  • Public relations support
  • Access to the Academy’s networks
  • Access to the Enterprise Hub meeting facilities
  • Membership of the Enterprise Hub

If you are a postdoctoral researcher at a UK-based university with an innovation or technology you wish to develop through a spin-out, or you have graduated within the last five years and are seeking to run a startup in the UK, then this scheme will be of interest to you. The same application and assessment process applies to both types of applicants.

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.