Applications are invited for awards of up to £250,000, over 1-4 years. Emerging Leader Fellowship awards provide research funding for epilepsy researchers planning to develop a track record in epilepsy research and seeking to transition into research leadership. Funds will cover the Fellow’s salary, support staff costs, and project running costs.

For 2021-22 Epilepsy Research UK are partnering with the Association of British Neurologists to offer a Clinical Training Fellowship in epilepsy research which you can read about here.


During any Epilepsy Research UK grant round, a fellowship applicant can submit a maximum of one application. An individual researcher may be named as a supervisor on a maximum of two fellowship award applications.

Applicants should be graduates in either medicine, one of the sciences allied to medicine, neuroscience, engineering or mathematics. We advise applicants who are external to the epilepsy field to include a senior expert in epilepsy as a supervisor or collaborator on their proposal. Applicants must be resident in the UK and affiliated to an academic institution in the UK.

At any time, an individual researcher may be named on a maximum of two active project/fellowship grants. This can either be as principal investigator on one and co-investigator/supervisor on the other, or as co-investigator/supervisor on both.

Please note that existing Epilepsy Research UK grant holders are not eligible for funding unless the reporting of outcomes from their existing ERUK-funded grants is up-to-date.


Fellowship applications are a two-stage process.  Fellowship award applicants will have the additional step of an interview with members of the SAC.

1 July 2021 – grant round opens for ten weeks for preliminary applications

 23 September 2021, 16:00 – CLOSING DATE – for preliminary applications

November 2021 – preliminary applications are shortlisted by our Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC). Shortlisted applicants will be invited to submit a full application by 10 January 2022.

Shortlisted applicants will have an opportunity to meet with members of the Shape Epilepsy Research Network in advance of submitting a full application.

10 January 2022, 16:00 – CLOSING DATE – for shortlisted applicants to submit their full application.

Full applications are then sent externally for independent peer review.

February 2022 – 
Fellowship award applicants will have the opportunity to respond to peer review comments.

March 2022 – Fellowship award applicants will be invited to interview with members of the SAC. The SAC review the applications and make recommendations to the Epilepsy Research UK Board of Trustees for funding.

April 2022 – Applicants are notified of the outcome of their application.

The SAC comprises a panel of the UK’s leading neurologists, neuroscientists and expert epilepsy researchers. The current SAC membership can be found here.

During this grant round Epilepsy Research UK will be increasing the involvement of people with lived experience of epilepsy in the review and selection of Fellowships through our Shape Epilepsy Research Network.


We have recruited around 300 members to our SHAPE NETWORK, through which we aim to provide a national Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) service for researchers, facilitating and managing the involvement of people living with epilepsy in research. Through the SHAPE NETWORK, we can assist you with:

  • Focus groups to assist with study design
  • Steering committees for research programmes
  • Reviewing the accessibility of research communications and participant information sheets
  • Recruitment for research studies

To discuss how you could benefit from involving the SHAPE NETWORK in your research application, please contact our Head of Research, Caoimhe Twohig-Bennett here.

The SAC, in its grant-awarding capacity, abides by the code of good practice set out by the Association of Medical Research Charities ( As funds are limited, the selection of proposals for funding is highly competitive. In assessing applications at both the shortlisting and full application (interview) stage, the SAC will consider the track record and potential of the candidate, the quality and relevance of the proposed project, and the environment and support offered by the host institution.

Successful applicants are likely to demonstrate the following:

  • A clear track record of successful research in epilepsy or a closely related field. This includes the number and quality of peer reviewed publications, any previous funding awards, and invitations to present at scientific/medical conferences.
  • A past and future commitment to research into epilepsy.
  • A supervisory team and project that develop research independence.
  • The ability to outline the research in plain English, including the potential impact on people with epilepsy and their families.
  • A host research institute/environment that has the expertise and facilities that facilitate successful completion of the project and the potential (and ideally commitment) for additional career support following the fellowship.

The research proposal will be assessed across three main domains:

  1. CANDIDATE (40%)
  • Does the candidate have a clear track record of successful research in epilepsy or a closely related field?
  • This includes the number and quality of peer reviewed publications, previous funding awards, and presentations at scientific/medical conferences.
  • Has the candidate demonstrated the ability to direct/lead a project?
  • Does the candidate demonstrate a commitment to epilepsy research?
  1. PROJECT (40%)
  • Is the research question important for epilepsy research?
  • Is there a clear and testable hypothesis and rationale for this study?
  • Is the idea and proposed work original or has it been undertaken before?
  • Does it fill a clear gap in current knowledge of epilepsy?
  • Is the work supported by pilot data or other forms of evidence?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the project?
  • Is the work well designed (including statistical analysis)?
  • Is the work proposed commensurate with the time frame of the award?
  • Are the costs fully justified and appropriate?
  • Is the impact to people with epilepsy clearly communicated in lay terms?
  • Ethical and Home Office/R&D/NHS governance approvals (if applicable)
  • Does this application conform to the policy on the 3Rs (Reduction, Refinement, Replacement)?
  1. SUPPORT (20%)
  • Does the supervisory team have the appropriate expertise?
  • Is a plan in place to develop research independence?
  • Is the mentoring scheme appropriate and beneficial for the candidate?
  • Does the host research environment have the facilities to ensure successful completion of the project?
  • Does the host research institute have the potential (and ideally commitment) for additional career support following the fellowship?

Download the full Guidance for Applicants for Emerging Leader Fellowship Awards here.

Download the Preliminary Application Form for Emerging Leader Fellowship Awards here

If you have any questions about submitting a grant application, please contact our Head of Research Caoimhe Twohig-Bennett here.

Epilepsy Research UK is a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) non-commercial Partner. This means the studies that we fund may be eligible to access the NIHR Study Support Service which is provided by the NIHR Clinical Research Network. The NIHR Clinical Research Network can now support health and social care research taking place in non-NHS settings, such as studies running in care homes or hospices, or public health research taking place in schools and other community settings. Read the full policy: Eligibility Criteria for NIHR Clinical Research Network Support.

In partnership with your local R&D office, we encourage you to involve your local NIHR Clinical Research Network team in discussions as early as possible when planning your study. This will enable you to fully benefit from the support available through the NIHR Study Support Service. To find out more, please visit:

If your study involves NHS sites in England you will need to apply for Health Research Authority Approval. For guidance on submitting an application please visit: