Where to gain funding

There are many different ways to gain funding for your research in the UK. There are specialised councils operating in the UK that offer grants and fellowships, alongside Europe wide initiatives offering opportunities in various scientific fields.

Funding in the UK

Research Councils

The Research Councils are the main public investors in fundamental research in the UK, with interests ranging from arts and humanities to particle physics. The seven Research Councils work together through UK Research and Innovation.

UKRI has information about international funding opportunities (ranging from travel to long-term collaborative grants) from the Research Councils.

UKRI offers funding opportunities from a range of different fields:

  • Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
  • Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
  • Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
  • Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC)
  • Medical Research Council (MRC)
  • Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
  • Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)

Visit the UKRI website for more information. UKRI also hosts the Gateway to Research, an extensive record of publicly funded research in the UK.

Other funding opportunities in the UK

There are also plenty of other ways to gain funding from institutions in the UK. Learned societies, charitable organisations and professional bodies all offer opportunities to complete scientific research.

Learned Societies and Academies

Learned societies and academies promote research in specific subject areas through academic publications, funding opportunities, conferences and membership. Some also act as professional bodies by offering accreditation.

The ZSL is a charity devoted to the worldwide conservation of animals and their habitats, building capacity and skills through educational programmes, workshops, postgraduate courses and awards.



Charitable organisations

The UK charitable organisations below support research and education, particularly in the field of medical research. These NGOs, foundations and trusts offer private sources of funding, such as endowments from private benefactors or the commercial profits of companies set aside to support research.

The UKCDS collaborative of UK funders with an interest in international development

research, with funding for the development sciences.



Professional bodies

A professional association or society in the UK is an organisation created by a Royal Charter to support a profession and ensure that professional standards are upheld.  Many offer accreditation via membership which is required for the practice of certain professions, such as medicine.  While these professional bodies all provide some type of support, they do not all necessarily provide funding.

The RSC is the largest organisation in Europe for advancing the chemical sciences.


Download the Sources for funding in the UK document below to learn more about the institutions that could help start your research career in the UK.

Sources for funding in the UK (205.69 KB)

International funding opportunities

The European Research Council(ERC) supports researchers of any nationality or age to do fundamental research in any of the 27 EU member states or associated countries.

ERC publishes calls for applications from researchers at early, middle and advanced levels of independent research. These last for up to 5 years and are for any research field, including social sciences and the humanities.

European Science Foundation

The European Science Foundation (ESF) is committed to facilitating co-operation and collaboration in European research, which it does through mechanisms such as supporting conferences, networks, workshops and programmes.

European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO)

EMBO nurtures careers in the biosciences through courses, workshops, conferences, fellowships, and the Young Investigator Programme, which promotes Europe’s best young scientists early in their careers.

The HFSP supports novel, innovative and interdisciplinary basic research focused on the complex mechanisms of living organisms.

A clear emphasis is placed on novel collaborations that bring biologists together with scientists from fields such as physics, mathematics, chemistry, computer science and engineering to open new fields of investigation in the life sciences.

Research grants and fellowships are available from the post-doctoral level upwards, for young scientists of any nationality to work in the UK, other EU countries, Australia, Canada, Japan, The Republic of Korea, Switzerland or the USA.

The NATO Programme for Science for Peace and Security offers support for scientific collaboration in the priority research areas of threats to security, including terrorism and other country-specific priorities.

World Universities Network

The World Universities Network (WUN) is an international alliance of leading higher-education institutions. It disperses support through an Annual Research Fund and runs a Research Mobility Programme to enable postgraduate and junior faculty to study overseas and establish links with WUN partners in Europe, the USA and China.

Santander Universities

Santander supports researcher mobility between participating institutions in South America, Asia and Europe, including to and from the UK. Grants include International Mobility Grants and National Mobility Grants, as well as funding for higher education and internships for undergraduates and graduates to gain experience with Small to Medium Enterprises.

The BILAT portal contains information about European Union cooperation in science, technology and innovation, major projects, and a searchable funding database.

Useful links

Funding database

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UK Research and Innovation