Guidelines | Action Medical Research


Purpose of the award

These prestigious Research Training Fellowships are for training in research techniques and methodology in a subject relevant to the overall aims of the charity. These awards are intended for medical and bioengineering graduates and we welcome applications from clinicians, bioengineers, research nurses and allied health professionals. Applicants are strongly encouraged to independently register for a higher degree such as a PhD. The scheme aims to train the research leaders of the future in the UK.

This round we hope to award up to three fellowships.


Please note, these awards should not be viewed as project grant applications to simply extend current research as candidates will be expected to demonstrate a significant training element to their project. The awards are not perceived as studentships and we do not cover higher education fees but we strongly encourage training fellows to independently register for a higher degree.

The scheme is not intended for basic biological scientists.

Postdoctoral researchers can only apply if they are in the field of bioengineering and will also be receiving significant new training.


Candidates are expected to have at least some experience of research following their first degree. Medical graduates should have had limited research training but wish to develop a long-term career in academic medicine in the UK. They should not normally be more than six years post MRCP (or equivalent).


Two to three years considered. We do not fund one year fellowships.

Host institution

University departments, teaching hospitals or other recognised research centres within the UK. It is essential that a laboratory or unit appropriate to the research proposed is selected, and the necessary equipment and facilities required for the proposed research must be available to the candidate.

Please note, Action Medical Research is not a research institution itself, and cannot offer research facilities to candidates.

Success rate

We received 28 outline applications for the 2017 RTF scheme, 18 full applications were invited and 17 full applications received for external peer review. The applications and external referee reports were then submitted to our Scientific Advisory Panel members and eight candidates were shortlisted for interview. There were two awards made following the interviews.


Applications are not expected to be much above £240,000 for a three year fellowship. The maximum upper limit is £250,000. Starting salary will be dependent on qualifications and experience. Consumable research expenses essential for the period of research training will be awarded. Please note that the claims for consumable expenses must be fully justified and will be scrutinised by our reviewers. Items of capital equipment, including computers, cannot be considered.



All applicants must comply with Home Office requirements and, where appropriate, hold a valid work permit to cover the period of the Research Training Fellowship. Preference will be given to candidates resident in the UK.

Applicants have an opportunity to undertake a period of research training which will be relevant to their future careers. Applicants should demonstrate that they have the necessary ability, enthusiasm and commitment to follow through any training and should provide evidence that they will be given guidance/training in appropriate research techniques and methodology (which may include experimental design, statistics, computing, writing scientific papers/grant applications). This should be summarised in the form of a timetable drawn up in conjunction with their supervisor. It is expected that applicants will be involved in oral presentations of their work and that they join journal clubs etc. as available.

It is a condition of any award that yearly reports are provided by the applicant and endorsed by their supervisor. Research Training Fellows are treated as all grantholders within the charity and are expected to speak on their work at fundraising events or scientific meetings if required.

Fellowships must be taken up within one year of the award.

As these are personal awards and shortlisted candidates will be interviewed, it is expected that the application form is completed by the Research Training Fellowship applicant and NOT their supervisor.


Supervisors should discuss the basis of the application with the applicant thoroughly to ensure that a sensible programme of training is pursued and to advise on additional experience which may be needed (for example, by way of design, statistics, computing and writing scientific papers/grant applications). Applicants should be provided with an adequate and specific work area for both research and writing, and given an opportunity for oral presentations of their work, and the encouragement to join journal clubs etc. as available.

Mentors:  We recommend that awardees arrange to have a mentor.  The mentor should be someone different to their supervisors, be able to offer a different perspective and help with personal and professional development.

How the application will be judged

The Research Training Fellowship Scheme is run on the basis of an open competition and peer review. Consideration is given to the worthiness of the candidate, the value of the training proposed in relation to the ability of the candidate and his/her chosen career path, and the reputation of the host institute. The scientific merits of the project are assessed in terms of the project itself and the basis on which suitable training can be provided. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview. The final selection will be made on the advice of the interviewing panel drawn from the relevant scientific and medical advisers of the charity.

Joint Research Training Fellowships for 2018

As part of our open competition peer review we include calls for potential joint funding.

Call from Action Medical Research and Sands for applications for a Research Training Fellowship into the prevention of stillbirth

Action Medical Research and Sands are teaming up to fund a Research Training Fellowship in 2018 into the prevention of stillbirth.

Applications may be made for up to three years full time funding to £250,000 per award through the Action Medical Research website and our normal outline application form.

Action Medical Research will continue to consider applications across the breadth of its remit. Applications that are not eligible for co-funding but meet the remit of Action Medical Research alone will also be considered as part of this round.

The above set of guidelines is aimed to help applicants and is in no way a comprehensive set of rules and regulations

How to apply for a Research Training Fellowship outline proposal

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