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We’re focused on investing in world-leading eye research, and supporting fantastic researchers throughout their careers. Our NIHR-MEC advanced fellowships allow us to support the further development of future world leaders in eye research.

This Fellowship is currently closed to new applications. Please check back later for more information on the next round.

NIHR-MEC advanced fellowships are designed for applicants at various stages of their post-doctoral career. Whether you are someone who has recently been or are about to be awarded a PhD, or someone with several years of post-doctoral experience, you could be eligible to apply for an Advanced Fellowship. The fellowship runs for between two and five years, and can be completed on a full-time or part-time basis. 

Our advanced fellowships give researchers the opportunity to undertake exciting and impactful research that will underpin their development as an independent future leader. With both our and NIHR’s support, they can build their skills and experience through enhanced knowledge of the current and future medical research landscape, patient and public involvement, collaborations, research events and support with media relations and research communications.

Application deadlines and decision timelines

There are two application rounds each year, launching in April and October. 

Potential applicants are strongly advised to regularly check the relevant sections of the NIHR website to ensure they are working to the correct deadlines and application process. 

Current funding round: Round 11

  • Opened: 17 October 2023
  • Closed: 13.00 on 18 January 2024
  • Interviews: 3-4 July 2024

The application process only has a single stage. This means that all application details must be provided by the deadline, including the financial and patient and public involvement sections.

Advanced fellowships awarded in round 11 are available to start between October 2024 and March 2025.

Is this grant right for you?

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Our remit

  • Applications for a joint partnership fellowship application must fall within both the charity’s and NIHR’s funding remits.
  • Moorfields Eye Charity is interested in funding research in eye health, vision research, ophthalmic related service improvement, education or clinical practice.
  • The overall remit of the NIHR is early translational (experimental medicine), clinical and applied health research, and social care research.

About you

  • Applicants will normally be hosted by either the Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust or its main academic partner University College London.
  • If you are hosted by another eligible institution you must demonstrate a direct collaboration with and benefit to Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, which will normally include spending a portion of your time at Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust or the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology.


  • Applicants who are active clinicians (defined as being either a registered doctor, dentist or non-medical clinician eligible to apply for the Integrated Clinical Academic programme) or social workers, are able to request up to 40% of their time be dedicated to clinical service/​development/​practice, which will be covered by the fellowship.
  • The Advanced Fellowship has been designed to be flexible to meet the needs of individual applicants, however this means that careful thought, justification and evidence is needed as to the amount of support and duration of fellowship being requested, as well as the impact the fellowship will have on the applicant’s career trajectory.


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Your research

  • For advanced fellowships, early translational (experimental medicine) research will be within remit, but a clear and plausible path to patient /​service user, carer or public benefit must be demonstrated.
  • NIHR does not support basic research or work involving animals or their tissue.
  • If your work involves biomarkers, it must test whether application of new knowledge can improve treatment or patient outcomes (with obvious direct potential benefit to patients). This might include application of known biomarkers, or other prognostic factors, to refine and test novel therapeutic strategies. Research that aims only to elucidate mechanisms underpinning disease, or identify risk factors for disease or prognosis (including search for biomarkers) is out of remit.
  • The NIHR also supports high quality research into​‘medical education’ (defined broadly as education for healthcare providers) and methodological research. It is expected that the research will have the potential to have practical application and the potential impact on patients/​service users, carers and the public must be made clear.

You could:

  • have recently completed (or are soon to be awarded) a PhD but haven’t yet established yourself as an independent researcher;
  • be starting to establish yourself as an independent researcher;
  • be already established as an independent researcher but not yet recognised as an international leader in your field;
  • be looking to transition into applied health or social care research from a basic science or non-health/care research background;
  • be seeking to re-establish your research career following a significant career break.

You must:

  • have been or be about to be awarded a PhD, but not yet awarded a chair. Post-doctoral experience is not essential, nor does it make you ineligible for an advanced fellowship;
  • state what you wish to use the Advanced Fellowship for and the impact it will have on your career if successful. If you don’t fit with one of the above areas, please contact the NIHR Academy office to discuss your proposed application.

How much can I apply for?

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Fellowships are between 2 and 5 years WTE in duration and may be taken up on a part-time basis between 50% and 100% WTE. Individuals are eligible to be awarded up to two Advanced Fellowships sequentially, not normally totalling more than 8 years WTE of funding.

Advanced fellowships include full salary support and research costs, allowing researchers protected time to concentrate on their research, as well as supporting the development of a bespoke training and development programme to meet their individual needs and career trajectory.

Applicants who are active clinicians (defined as being either a registered doctor, dentist or non-medical clinician eligible to apply for the Integrated Clinical Academic programme) or social workers, are able to request up to 40% of their time be dedicated to clinical service/​development/​practice, which will be covered by the fellowship.

Beyond the fellowship award, the NIHR also provides a range of leadership and mentoring programmes to complement training programmes, regular networking opportunities, bespoke workshops and events, as well as personal advice and guidance on funding opportunities.

All queries about the application process should be directed to the NIHR Academy.

Email: academy-awards@nihr.ac.uk
Phone: 0113 532 8410

Got a research idea and not sure how to turn it into a funding application? Talk to the Research Design Service (RDS).