A new £23 million scheme to improve the career prospects of Britain’s researchers was launched today by Sir David King, Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government at the opening event of National Science Week.
The new Academic Fellowship scheme will give £125k per Fellowship to universities to help young researchers move from the uncertainty of short-term contracts to a permanent academic job.
Currently, for many PhD students there is not a straightforward career ladder if they wish to progress in university research.
‘The Academic Fellowship Scheme will provide extra funding to make the most of the skills and experience of young researchers, and create a much-needed bridge between contract work and permanent employment,’ said Sir David.
The scheme has been developed as part of the Government’s response to the review ‘SET for Success’ published in April 2002 by Sir Gareth Roberts, which concluded that the UK did not have an adequate supply of people with science, technology and mathematics skills.
The extra funding from Government and the offer of a permanent job at the end of five years will help ensure an injection of talented people into key subject areas in our universities,’ commented Sir Gareth.
Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) have until 14 May 2004 to submit their applications for funding for Fellowships in their priority subject areas. The outcome of their applications will be announced later in the summer. HEIs will then advertise the Fellowship posts in open competition. It is intended that there will be up to 200 new five-year Fellowship posts created each year.
Currently, £23m funding has been earmarked for this scheme until the end of the current spending review period in 2006. It is anticipated that it will continue beyond that time.
The application form and guidance notes for HEIs can be found <A HREF=’http://www.rcuk.ac.uk’>here</A>.