Research funding

Research is integral to the development of the skills required by clinical pharmacologists. A key feature of independent research is identifying and capitalising on opportunities.

Funding in the UK is usually awarded by independent bodies or by an institution.

Independent awards, or research fellowships

Major funding bodies and large charities award Independent awards, or research fellowships. You will play a key role in designing a project and justifying it in the application process. Applications run on a cycle and are advertised nationally.

For a specific clinical pharmacology research fellowship register your interest in the North West MRC fellowship scheme.

Institutional awards

Available where a senior researcher has won funding. It is either allocated by a funding body to an institution for a set purpose or internally generated. Applicants are sought to undertake specific projects. Awards are advertised nationally and are available on an ‘as and when’ basis.

To register for training or apply for posts go to

Find funding

The primary UK research funding bodies that support fellowships are:

  • Wellcome Trust - Available on an annual basis. Application deadlines dependent on individual PhD opportunities and host institution deadlines
  • Medical Research Council (MRC) - Available three times a year. Deadlines dependent on specific funding opportunity
  • National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) - Available on an annual basis. Applications open in October and close in December or January

Many large charities also offer funding, for example:

There are many more organisations that fund research programmes. This includes local charities linked to NHS Trusts. It is up to you to identify opportunities. You can explore more funding options in the MRC interactive career framework.

Secure funding

To help win funding for independent research, follow the 4 ‘P’s


Show your interest in research by keeping a track record of academic successes. Emphasise how you will develop your skill set to progress to the next point.

Stay up to date with any relevant practices and guidelines. This will help you in applications for ethical approval and the costing of your project. Funding committees want to see that you will make good use of any money awarded to you.


You will need to find a suitable institution, department and supervisor. Identify what facilities and support networks are available to help you succeed. If you have a clear idea about where you would like to work or who with then get in touch with them early. Find out if your supervisor has guided others to higher degrees.


You will need an idea and work plan. It will need to be achievable and interesting. It should be something you are passionate about.

Preliminary research

If possible, generate data with your proposed supervisor that supports your hypothesis. This shows your personal commitment. It also shows that your project is workable and that you grasp the underlying science.