Breadcrumb links


Strategic Skills - Career development award in biostatistics

MRC fellowships enable outstanding individuals to undertake challenging projects in excellent research and training environments. An MRC award is there to enable you to do something truly out of the ordinary in training and developing you as a potential research leader.

The MRC has identified advanced biostatistics as a methodology of strategic importance to UK science. This fellowship aims to support outstanding individuals who have recently completed their PhDs and who are working in -or seeking to move into – statistically based, health-related research. It provides up to four years of support for the development and investigation of innovative statistical methods and their application in health research.

The award also provides the opportunity to enhance the research training through placement in an overseas research centre, a second UK research centre or in UK industry.

We expect to make up to three awards a year.

Vision for the scheme

The MRC Biostatistics Fellowship is one of a number of qualitative and quantitative schemes supported by the MRC under the Strategic Skills Fellowships banner. Here, you can view the full range of schemes and their eligibility.


The aim of the scheme is to encourage broad training programmes in biostatistics to support talented researchers who have recently completed their PhDs and wish to move into statistically based health related research. Applicants should present not only a clear, strong and challenging project, but will also need to include ambitious plans for their development as researchers able to apply advanced skills to an increasingly broad range of problems.


Ideally, where possible, applicants are encouraged to take the opportunity to spend up to 12 months in another academic/ industrial setting to gain exposure to a different environment, to undertake novel projects, to develop new skills and begin establishing potential future collaborations. MRC envisage that on completion fellows will have developed a wide-range of expertise and skills to be on the road to developing into the future research leaders of tomorrow.


Who can apply?

Applicants should either hold, or expect to receive before the award starts, a doctorate in statistics, biostatistics or a related discipline and less than four years post-doctoral experience at the time of application closing date (as advertised on the deadline page of the website).


Candidates without medical statistical experience are welcome to apply; however, they are encouraged to specify a training package appropriate to the aims of this fellowship.



Post-doctoral applicants have no residential restrictions and may come from any country.


What funding is provided?

The fellowship provides the fellow’s competitive salary, and necessary research training costs (e.g. consumables annual travel/overseas costs, equipment, etc) and all other relevant costs under Full Economic Costs (FEC). The career development award in biostatistics is primarily intended to support the training and development of the fellow. Where research staff are required then these should be requested and clearly justified; however, this level of support would be considered exceptional.


Overseas/2nd UK Centre/UK Industrial Training Period

The MRC career development award in biostatistics provides the opportunity to spend time in an overseas research centre, a second UK research centre or UK industrial centre in year two or three of the award. The aim of this training component is to provide a concentrated period of training, which cannot be achieved as effectively within the proposed academic host institution. We would normally expect this period to be one period of up to 12 months; however the panel may consider more than one centre providing the visits can be justified on the grounds of training needs and are not simply collaborative visits.

You should be prepared at interview to discuss, in some detail, any such period proposed.


Commitment expectations

If you are invited to interview, you would be expected to demonstrate a commitment to the UK research effort in the area of biostatistics beyond the period of an MRC career development award in biostatistics. In addition, the MRC will expect to see a statement of commitment supporting the application and the career development of the fellow coming from the proposed host institution.


Deadlines and submission details

This fellowship competition is held once a year. There is no need to submit an outline application. Please see the schedule and deadlines for fellowships for closing dates.


Please apply for the Career Development Award using the RCUK Je-S application system.


Your proposal must be submitted through the MRC Je-S system by 4pm on the relevant closing date.


Other work responsibilities

Fellows may undertake up to six hours a week during the fellowship on teaching, the payment for which may be retained in full if this is in accordance with the host institution’s normal conditions. Fellows may apply for other research grant funding during the course of their fellowship.


Issues to consider when preparing an application

  • Candidates are encouraged to read the applicants handbook and make full use of page allowances.
  • In a covering letter, candidates should articulate why they consider themselves suitable for the fellowship, outlining their qualities to be a future leader.
  • All applications should sketch the methodological work that will be undertaken and, where useful to explain the science, applicants are encouraged to use equations.
  • Candidates need to articulate how they will make best use of any training experience.
  • Mentoring is considered important for career development and careful thought should be given to identifying a senior colleague who is willing to advise the applicant.

Choosing the right scheme for you

  • Prospective candidates must target the fellowship scheme most appropriate to the stage of their career and their training and development needs. In particular, they should examine carefully the scope of the following three schemes:
  • The MRC Population health scientist fellowship scheme focuses on the provision of population-based research into the promotion and maintenance of health, the frequency, burden and causal pathways of ill-health, and the effectiveness of interventions designed to reduce or prevent ill-health
  • The MRC Fellowship in Methodology is aimed at developing the methodological research leaders of tomorrow. The scheme provides a significant career development opportunity for early postdoctoral researchers for a period of concentrated methods research activity and development.
  • These two schemes and the Career Development Award in Biostatistics will be managed in parallel. MRC may advise applicants to transfer their proposal from one scheme to another where appropriate. Another scheme which candidates should look at is the MRC Early career development fellowships in Economics of Health.


Applications for further fellowship support

Statistics fellows will usually be eligible to compete for an MRC senior fellowship, or possibly an MRC research grant at the end of their fellowship.


Tenure of award

The MRC career development award in biostatistics may be awarded for any period up to four years.


Guidance for applicants


For further information please refer to our contacts page.


Contact Us
  • Comment?
  • Question?
  • Request?
  • Complaint?

Get in touch