Skills & careers

What to expect as an MRC fellow

All MRC fellowships provide the opportunity to undertake challenging research that will underpin the fellow’s development as a researcher, including a competitive salary, research costs and opportunities to develop networks and collaborations. Beyond the fellowship award, our fellows enjoy a range of opportunities to develop their skills and networks.

Events and opportunities 

The MRC supports the development of its fellows in a number of ways, including:

  • Annual postdoctoral fellowship symposium: all intermediate and senior fellowship holders are invited to the MRC’s annual showcase event. The day is a mix of talks and interactive events, offering the opportunity to network across our cohort of fellows and to engage with the MRC on a range of topics relating to research funding and careers. Hear from attendees at our 2015 event.
  • Induction for new intermediate fellows: fellows awarded a Career Development Award, Clinician Scientist Fellowship, or Skills Development Fellowship are invited to the MRC’s head office for a one day workshop to network with their peers, meet relevant members of MRC staff and discuss what to expect from their award.
  • Partnership with industry: advice and support for existing and prospective fellows to build industry collaborations during their fellowship. The advice is provided by experts drawn from the MRC funding boards and fellowship panels, including industry representatives and senior MRC head office staff. More information can be found on our working with industry page.
  • Observing board meetings: an on-going programme across our four boards invites young researchers to attend part of a board meeting to gain insight into the peer-review and decision-making process. Postgraduate fellows are usually invited in the second half of their award as they start to consider funding routes for their next career stage.
  • Mentoring: intermediate postdoctoral fellows (Clinician Scientists, Career Development Award Fellows, Skills Development Fellows are eligible to register with the Academy of Medical Sciences (AMS) mentoring scheme. For non-clinical fellows this opportunity is being offered on a trial basis until May 2015 with limited places available.
  • SUSTAIN scheme: Current Clinician Scientists, Career Development Award Fellows and Skills Development Fellows (Strategic Skills Fellows) are eligible to apply for SUSTAIN, a unique pilot programme in the UK, run by the Academy of Medical Sciences, that will provide 20 women researchers an opportunity to benefit from individualised support on key topics such as leadership, career planning, building a research team, grant writing and work-life balance. 

Expectations of fellowship stakeholders 

The MRC has a leading national role in training future research leaders across a range of biomedical, clinical and health disciplines, and we are a signatory to the concordat to support the career development of researchers.

We have developed a statement of expectations for fellows, research organisations and the MRC, to provide a framework for discussion and to ensure our fellowships provide the maximum benefit for all the stakeholders and for UK science.

The expectations are summarised below, and further details can be found in the Guidance for Fellowship Applicants (see related content).

Research organisation

  • Recognition of fellow
  • Support for science development
  • Support for career development

Fellow

  • Manage career and personal development
  • Maximise research impact
  • MRC ambassador and support next generation

MRC

  • Fund outstanding fellows
  • Support key career stages
  • Value out fellows

 

Managing a fellowship award

Over the tenure of an award, fellows may have a number of questions regarding the management of their funding. The terms and conditions of Research Councils UK (RCUK) awards and the Guidance for Fellowship Applicants (PDF, 862KB) are useful resources and address a number of aspects of award management. Any questions about the terms and conditions of awards and MRC policy should be directed to the research funding policy and delivery team. The fellowships team can also be contacted with queries relating to any of our schemes.