Future Leaders Fellowships

Closed 6 Nov 2020

Opened 8 Oct 2020

Feedback updated 2 Dec 2021

We asked

In October 2020 we asked for feedback on the Future Leaders Fellowships proposed terms and process for the +3 funding point within the 4+3 model. 

You said

We were really delighted with the constructive and detailed feedback that we gained from the 20 responses. These responses came from 17 existing Fellows and 3 staff members based at Host Organisations.


Mostly the comments were positive about the terms and process for the +3 funding point and have given us steer on how to communicate our processes with Fellows and Host Organisations, as well as informing our approach to supporting documents to guide Fellows through the application process.   


The themes that emerged from feedback included:

  • Fixed funding limit of £500k UKRI contribution  
  • Assessment of original objectives and the impact of challenges
  • Review timing factors with no-cost extensions and maternity/ paternity
  • Process of obtaining reviews, guidance on the renewal process for reviewers and the opportunity for fellows to respond to comments
  • Further guidance on the flexibility for Fellows to undertake non-fellowship activities
  • Bigger window to receive and assess proposals.

We did

As a result of what you said, putting together detailed guidance on all the topics you raised in your feedback.


Which will include more details on:

  • Advice on costing the £500k +3 period including the role of other sources of support for your fellowship.
  • How your fellowship progress and plans for phase two will be assessed, including guidance on pursuing ‘new’ lines of enquiry
  • The response stage that will allow fellows to respond to reviewer comments.
  • The guidance to reviewers on taking into account the impact of challenges faced in the first four years of funding, including the impact of the pandemic on plans (fellows will not be ‘penalised’ for being disrupted).
  • The range of activities a panel will assess
  • No cost extensions and impact of review timing (timing will be adjusted to take any no costs extensions into account).
  • confirmation that fellows are not in competition with one another


We will extend the window to receive and assess proposals. Further guidance on the flexibility for Fellows to undertake non-fellowship activities will be made available.


Further details and full guidance will be published in April 2021.


UKRI’s Future Leaders Fellowships will grow the strong supply of talented individuals needed to ensure a vibrant environment for research and innovation in the UK. The scheme is open to researchers and innovators from across business, universities, and other organisations. We welcome applicants from around the world.

The Future Leaders Fellowships are set up on a 4+3 model, with funding costed and awarded for four years. This paper sets out the proposed terms and process for the +3 funding point.

Why your views matter

Fellows have been advised in the Guidance for Applicants that:

‘All fellows will have the option to extend for an additional three years (or the equivalent pro-rata) during the last year of their initial fellowship duration.

‘If applying for a 4(+3) model fellowship, the Case for Support should make clear the long-term aims of the programme, and why they matter add provide specific plans and costings for the first four years, as this is what will be peer reviewed at this point. Costings for the additional three years will be sought at the review stage in year 4.’

We would welcome feedback from hosts, fellows and potential applicants about our proposed principles, guidance and processes.

Some fellows have already commented on these proposals. We are actively considering this feedback and they do not need to respond to the proposals a second time.


  • Research Community
  • Innovation Community


  • Future Leaders Fellowships