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School of Social and Political Science: Research


UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Future Leaders Fellowships

The School of Social and Political Science will consider applications for the fifth round of the prestigious UKRI Future Leaders Fellowships. 

The scheme is highly competitive and is focused upon early career colleagues with notable published contributions and a career profile that attests to their potential to become a global leader in their field. This scheme also requires the University to commit to a permanent position for any funded Fellow at the end of their fellowship. 

The School would particularly welcome proposals from applicants with a focus on qualitative methods or equality and diversity (e.g. gender or race studies).

Scheme Eligibility: 

These fellowships are for early career academics and innovators who are transitioning to / establishing independence as leaders in their field. Senior academics and innovators are not permitted to apply. There are no eligibility rules based on years since PhD or whether the applicant currently holds a permanent/open-ended academic position or job role. While the UKRI scheme guidance does not define ‘early career’, we assume this would typically refer to researchers at grade 7 or 8 (although there may be a case for a grade 9 researcher applying, for example if they are within 6 or so years of their PhD). The scheme welcomes applications from both UK and international applicants and can provide a platform for institutions to recruit ‘outstanding individuals’ from abroad.  Applications are welcome from those returning to research or innovation from a career break or following time in other roles; there are no time limits in respect of time spent outside a research or innovation environment.

If you have a current fellowship application submitted to the ESRC or other research council, you will have to wait until this application has been processed and results communicated before applying to the Future Leaders Fellowships scheme.

Please note – there is a limit to the number of hours that a Future Leaders Fellow can teach in years 1-2 (6 hours per week). If you hold a current lectureship contract, please discuss the implications of a Future Leaders Fellowship with your Head of Subject Area.

School Selection Process

UKRI’s sixth round of the Future Leaders Fellowships will have an Expression of Interest stage deadline of 28th September 2020 for school selection, with successful candidates' being nominated to College by 9th October 2020. The Expression of Interest internal deadline set by the University's central Research Office (ERO)  is to ensure there is a substantial period for ERO to work closely with applicants to develop robust and competitive applications. Apologies for the short timescale!

1.    Contact the relevant Subject Area to discuss your project ideas and intention to apply.  Please note that SSPS requires a mentor (SSPS core staff) for all early-career fellowships. In order to apply, you must identify, contact and have an agreed mentor for your proposed project. You should also ensure that the Head of Subject is aware and fully supportive of your potential application at this point.

2.    Contact the SSPS Research Office with your intention to apply, – we will provide the outline proposal form template or click the link below under 1.

  1. 28 September 2020, 12 pm SSPS deadline: Please email your completed outline proposal form (required information for UKRI Expression of Interest (EoI) submission online) and CV to
  2. 9 October 2020: SSPS RO submits outline proposal form to University Central Edinburgh Research Office (ERO). This will be the basis for the UKRI’s online EoI form, with EoI submission to UKRI coordinated by ERO. Applicants will need to register on the UKRI's joint electronic system (Je-S) system, Any questions, please email
  3. Details on further deadlines will be announced in due course.
  4. Further deadlines for round 6 will be posted as UKRI confirms the FLF round 6 timescale.

Please note: The review process will be ongoing, from the first School panel to the final draft review period. While the focus of feedback will be on strengthening proposals, the School or College may advise against submitting a proposal if problems are identified in terms of quality, design, feasibility or school priorities and for which solutions cannot be developed before the final deadline. 

Summary of Scheme Objectives

  • To develop, retain, attract and sustain research and innovation talent in the UK
  • To foster new research and innovation career paths including those at the academic/business and interdisciplinary boundaries, and facilitate movement of people between sectors
  • To provide sustained funding and resources for the best early career researchers and innovators
  • To provide long-term, flexible funding to tackle difficult and novel challenges, and support adventurous, ambitious programmes.

Key point to note

  • Subject Areas are only likely to support applications from stellar candidates in which there is a persuasive case about the strategic longer term teaching contribution of the post to the subject area, as it transitions into a permanent lectureship.
  • It is expected that each EoI is an indication of a firm intention to submit if supported by the School and should not be a speculative interest in the scheme. While an expression of interest must be submitted in order to be eligible, the EoI is not for assessment by the funder and is required to gauge numbers and type of reviewers for full applications only.

Further information:
For further information please follow this link:

If you have any questions regarding the FLF or the selection process please contact the Research Office,

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