We are creating a unified UKRI website that brings together the existing research council, Innovate UK and Research England websites.
If you would like to be involved in its development let us know.

Research, Development and Engagement Fellowship Scheme – Standard Route to support mid-career and established researchers

Return to opportunities


Scheme Opens:  Monday, 8 June 2020

Important Notice

Over the last 12 months, the AHRC has been consulting our community regarding the Leadership Fellows scheme, including the benefits, the challenges and what you would like to see changed to make it even better.

As a result of this we would like to draw your attention to a few updates we will be making to the scheme, namely:

  • We have clarified what we mean by ‘leadership’ to ensure it resonates with all academics at all stages of their career;
  • We have increased the maximum funding amount for the Standard Route to £300,000

To signal these changes, we have renamed the scheme the ‘AHRC Research, Development and Engagement Fellowships’. The scheme guidance has also been tweaked, to ensure the aims and objectives of the scheme are clearer. The scheme continues to support two routes: Standard and Early Career.

Developing the fellow’s skillset and leadership capabilities are a core element of this scheme, for example by enabling early career researchers (ECRs) to become future research leaders in their field, or by enabling mid-career and established researchers to extend their expertise into new research areas or to engage with non-academic audiences.

The Fellowship offers the opportunity to be innovative and bold in the types of activity which might be taken forward and allows Fellows to explore new avenues of their discipline or beyond, for example, shaping research agendas, developing emerging research areas, fostering interdisciplinary research in their field, providing intellectual leadership, etc.

AHRC’s Research, Development and Engagement Fellowship Scheme is designed to support arts and humanities researchers at all career stages, enabling each Fellow to undertake ambitious, innovative research and to develop as researchers, thus enhancing their careers.

The scheme has two routes:

  • a standard route to support mid-career and established researchers
  • a dedicated route to support early career researchers (ECRs)

The aims of the Fellowship Scheme are to provide time and support for researchers:

  • to carry out high-quality individual research which has the potential to generate a significant impact on their discipline;
  • to develop capabilities as research specialists and to create opportunities for outreach beyond their research field;
  • to undertake innovative and collaborative development activities, including the initiation of new research, which will result in benefits for their own discipline(s) and beyond.

It should be noted that this scheme is intended to support an integrated package of research and career enhancement activities which cannot effectively be supported through the routine provision of sabbaticals or other forms of research leave commonly funded through QR.

Research, Development and Engagement Fellowship awards are supported as a partnership with Research Organisations. Applicants should discuss any potential application with their Research Organisation at an early stage, as strong evidence of institutional support for the proposed Fellow’s development is required as part of the application process.

Applications to the scheme will be welcomed for research in any subject area within the AHRC’s remit. Proposals may be for research at a range of stages of development, provided that substantial high-quality research outputs are planned to emerge directly from the Fellowship. A range of activities, including knowledge exchange, can be included in proposals and the scheme incorporates elements of the former Fellowships in the Creative and Performing Arts and Knowledge Transfer Fellowships schemes.

The scheme provides opportunities for mid-career and established researchers who meet the eligibility criteria outlined in the Research Funding Guide. There is a separate route to support applications from early career researchers.

The standard route of the Research, Development and Engagement Fellowship scheme provides funding for periods of between 6 and 18 months. Proposals with a full economic cost of between £50,000 and £300,000 may be submitted.

Opening Dates

Call Opened: 08/06/2020

Closing Dates

Open - No Deadline

The Research, Development and Engagement Fellowship scheme does not operate under fixed deadlines.

You may submit a proposal at any point during the year. Please note that the assessment process for applications submitted to the Fellowships scheme (Standard and Early Career routes) takes approximately 30 weeks and the earliest start date for a project should be no earlier than 9 months after submission to the AHRC.

On occasions, there might be a delay in obtaining the peer reviews for an application and this may result in the assessment process taking longer. In such circumstances, the AHRC will contact the applicant to inform them of any delay.

How to make an application

For both routes of the Fellowships scheme you must submit an application through the cross-council Joint Electronic Submission - (JE-S) System. If you need any assistance to use the system, please contact the JE-S helpdesk on 01793 444164 or on JesHelp@rcuk.ac.uk.​

Further Information


The AHRC work with the UK Shared Business Services (UK SBS) to deliver all of our funding activities. All queries regarding eligibility for funding and applications in progress and also queries regarding current awards, should be directed to the UK SBS team dealing with your subject area using the contacts page.​

Return to opportunities