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Future Leaders

This scheme funds future scientific leaders of research into the causes and treatment of brain tumours.

There is a need to develop the workforce and support the future leaders of scientific research into the brain tumour field. We aim to identify excellent early stage non-clinical researchers and provide support so they can establish themselves as leading researchers in the brain tumour field.

Purpose and scope

The scheme runs in three parts (Postdoctoral Fellowship, Junior Fellowship and Senior Fellowship), with only those entering the scheme as postdoctoral fellows eligible for the latter grants.

At the end of the postdoctoral fellowships, successful fellows will be invited to submit an application for a four year Junior Fellowship, totalling up to £480,000, to support themselves and a research associate in a host laboratory. During this time, fellows should develop as independent researchers and begin to build their own groups.

In the third stage of funding, successful fellows will be invited to apply for a five year Senior Fellowship, totalling up to £1,000,000, to support the applicant and a small research group. This senior post MUST be at a UK university or institute in a host laboratory that will enable the applicant to develop into fully independent group leader.

All rounds will be competitively assessed and applicants will be interviewed, either in person or via video conferencing.

Throughout the process, fellows should find different mentors and host institutions to ensure a diverse exposure to techniques and concepts. They will also be expected to show greater maturity and independence from their mentors as they go through the scheme.


The initial stage offers funding of up to £180,000 to support a named postdoctoral fellow over a period of three years. The application must address one of the areas identified in the Brain Tumour Charity's research strategy 'A Cure Can't Wait'. The funding will pay for direct costs for the salary of the postdoctoral fellow, consumables, minor equipment and publication costs.

Eligibility criteria

  • All grant applications must focus on at least one of the research priorities highlighted in our Research Strategy 'A Cure Can't Wait'.
  • The named postdoctoral fellow must, at the date of the call deadline, be in possession of a doctoral degree. Clinicians moving into full time laboratory based research are welcome to apply, providing they also have a PhD.
  • The named postdoctoral fellow's previous research need not be in the brain tumour field, but they must be able to demonstrate how they will apply their prior learning to the study of brain tumours.
  • The Mentor must hold an employment contract beyond the period of the grant.
  • The Host Institution should provide additional transferable skills training to the fellow, such as planning and writing of publications, project management, supervision of junior lab members and presentations in conferences and to the general public.
  • This scheme is initially open to international researchers. However, Senior Fellowships must be taken up at a UK university or institute.

Public and patient involvement

To obtain input from those affected by brain tumours, we strongly recommend that applicants access our Research Involvement Network (RIN) for public and patient involvement. In order to receive feedback from the RIN, please allow for a minimum of 3 weeks turnaround time.

Assessment criteria

Potential of the Fellow

  • The fellow must be appropriately trained and be able to demonstrate a strong track record in scientific research.
  • The fellow should be well suited to carry out the planned studies.
  • Applications must contribute to the development of the fellow, allowing them to reach a position of professional maturity and independence.
  • At all application stages, fellows must evidence their willingness to relocate to the UK to take up a Senior Fellowship.

Expertise of Mentors

  • Mentors must be well positioned to provide fellows with appropriate training, supervision and mentoring to help them establish themselves as independent researchers.
  • There should be identifiable programmes for personal development at the Host Institutions that fellow can be enrolled upon.


  • Projects must have a sound approach and methodology in order to address the questions raised while exposing the fellow to different techniques.

Potential for patient benefit

  • Applications should demonstrate a potential pathway for the research to lead to patient benefit and the anticipated impact of this.
  • Applications with a clear path to clinical application will be strongly favoured.

Value for money

  • Applicants should justify how the requested funds are essential for the work and explain how the project represents value for money.
  • Leveraging matching funding from other organisations will be favoured.

The Brain Tumour Charity is a member of the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) and adheres to its principles of peer review. All applications will be considered by our Biomedical Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) alongside lay representatives of people affected by brain tumours.

Application process

This scheme is open to new Postdoctoral Fellowship applications every two years. The next call for applications will be in early 2019.

Further information

If you would like to discuss your application or need any information, please contact the Research Team.

Phone: +44 (0) 1252 418190