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MRC Centenary Early Career Awards

This fellowship programme is now closed for applications and is only available for reference purposes.


A Centenary of changing lives through medical research

To mark 100 years of achievements by MRC scientists, the MRC is offering the very best of its early career researchers the opportunity to accelerate their research and their career development.

£12m will be available to eligible MRC early career researchers, with awards building on the achievements these researchers have already made whilst being supported by MRC.


MRC centenary awards will provide awardees the extra time and resources to:

  • take especially challenging research to a decisive stage, maximising their achievement and innovation
  • develop their vision, awareness and expert skills, to enable a step-change in their research careers


This page provides information on the MRC Centenary Early Career Awards available to MRC-funded early career scientists.


MRC Centenary Early Career Awards are funded using income from the achievements of MRC scientists. This revenue was generated though MRCís significant contribution to the field of therapeutic antibody production.



The following MRC early career scientists will be able to receive supplementary funding:

  • MRC PhD students (clinical and non-clinical students based in a university, MRC centre, unit or institute). Students must be in the final 18 months of their MRC studentship.
  • MRC-funded post-doctoral researchers in MRC centres
  • Investigator Scientists, Career Development Fellows, and Programme Leader Tracks based in MRC units and institutes
  • New Investigator Research Grant holders
  • MRC personal Fellowship holders with one of the following personal Fellowships: Career Development Award, Clinician Scientist Fellowship or Strategic Skills Fellowship, which includes:Biomedical Informatics, Economics of Health, Methodology Research, Population Health Science and Career Development Award in Biostatistics fellows


Further details of criteria for eligibility can be found in the MRC centenary awards guidance for applicants.


Scope of awards

MRC Centenary Early Career Awards will fund the acceleration, enhancement or transformation of existing MRC studies over and above the currently funded research projects. The awards will build on existing achievements accomplished by early career scientists using MRC funds.


Awards may not be used to merely provide more time to finish an existing activity or write up a thesis or paper for publication.


MRC centenary early career researchers may use their awards to:

  • accelerate significantly challenging research
  • access novel, cutting-edge technologies equipment and other special resources
  • develop collaborative partnerships with academic or industry researchers
  • undertake specialist training in advanced research methods and technologies
  • drive interdisciplinary collaboration.


MRC Centenary Awards may also be used to support public engagement, knowledge transfer or policy work related to the applicantís science.


Allocation of awards

The awards will be allocated via two distinct mechanisms:

1.) In partnership; to universities, MRC centres, units and institutes

Directors will appropriately allocate MRC centenary awards to their best early career researchers

Directors or postgraduate studentship administrators will be notified in April of the value of awards available to their organisation and invited to submit applications at this time. Applications will be approved by members of an MRC centenary award panel and announced in June 2012.

Application form for Directors (or postgraduate studentship administrators)


2.) Through competition; to individuals holding MRC New Investigator Research Grants or personal MRC Fellowships (early and intermediate only)

Applications submitted by individuals will be assessed by an MRC centenary award panel and outcomes announced in July 2012.

Application form for MRC New Investigator Research Grant holders and personal MRC Fellowship holders


Value and tenure of awards

£12 m is available to early career researchers. We will contact eligible Directors or research organisations to inform them of the award funds available to them. Individual awards will be up to £100 k and applicants will need to justify the funds requested.

We anticipate that:

  • For early career researchers coming to the end of their PhD studies, the supplement could cover a salary extension of up to one year (up to £45 k per student)
  • For early career researchers who have completed their PhDs, the supplement could cover a salary extension of up to two FTE or extra resources (up to £100 k)


Successful applicants are expected to have committed the full value of their awards by October 2012 and to have ideally spent the funds by April 2013.


Completing your application

Universities, MRC centres, units and institutes should demonstrate principles for distributing awards transparently. Directors of these research organisations should outline how they will ensure that supplements are delivered to their most outstanding early career researchers. Only early career researchers who are well placed to take advantage of this opportunity should be selected to receive these supplements.


Holders of MRC New Investigator Research Grants and MRC personal Fellowships should outline how they intend to use these funds to enhance their current research and career development.


Announcement of awards and responsibility of award holders

We anticipate informing Directors and postgraduate studentship administrators of the outcomes of their award decisions by June 2012. Individual applicants will be informed of the expert panelís decisions by July 2012.


MRC centenary award holders will be asked to provide an update of their achievements between July and September 2013 to coincide with the MRC Centenary celebrations. The most transformational research career development outcomes will be used as exemplary case studies during our centenary year.

Deadlines and submission details

All applicants must submit their proposals by emailing their completed electronic application form as an MS WORD document to


Directors and research offices must submit their applications by 4pm Monday 30th April.


Individual applicants must submit their applications by 4pm Monday 14th May.


Guidance for applicants

Full details of how to apply can be found in the MRC centenary awards guidance for applicants.


Questions and answers on MRC centenary awards, eligibility, preparing an application, assessment, and delivery of awards can be found in frequently asked questions.


If you have any specific queries regarding the MRC Centenary Early Career Awards, please email


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