What's Your Question?

How to Research Your Symptoms Online

People use the Internet to research a myriad of things from what they should buy to why they have pain. These guidelines will help you learn how to research your symptoms online if you have concerns.

Use a Medical MD Symptom Checker

As soon as you enter the phrase, “how to research health symptoms,” into any search engine, you’ll receive results for at least one or more reputable medical MD symptom checkers. These symptoms checkers ask your age, gender, primary symptoms, if you’re pregnant, the severity of your symptoms, your current medications and past or current conditions. Once you click submit, a list of conditions that match your symptoms will appear. You’ll have the option to edit your symptoms or start over if you wish.

Check Reputable Websites

If you can’t find what you’re looking for using a free medical symptom checker, there are websites with articles or blog posts that list symptoms. Make sure you’re looking at reputable websites that end with .org or .edu because these sites tend to contain scholarly or medical information that can be trusted. The Internet is full of information that’s published and not verified. Therefore, it’s essential that you’re looking up symptoms on a website that presents information that’s been fact-checked.

Go to a Doctor’s Website

Under some circumstances, you’ll find an online symptom checker on a physician’s website. If you can’t find a MD symptom checker, you’ll find a plethora of resources on these websites. Doctors work diligently toward providing information for their patients in the way of medical library research materials, informational articles, blog posts and podcasts. Therefore, if you can find a symptom checker, you should be able to find information about the symptoms you’re experiencing.

Visit Forums

Sometimes it helps to hear what others are experiencing when you’re undergoing symptoms that don’t match up with the search results you’ve found. Therefore, it’s time to check out user forums. These discussion areas contain experiences from users who go into detail about the symptoms they’re having, what’s happening throughout their experience and if they’re having successful or unsuccessful treatment. Be cautious, though, as these forums will not replace medical advice and may lead to more worry than help.

Check Out Question-and-Answer Websites

Much like a discussion forum, these websites are where users post specific questions to other users regarding issues they’re experiencing. Under many circumstances, these questions pertain to symptoms they’re experiencing and where they can find resources. Other users will help them find pertinent information regarding their specific symptoms when they feel they’ve exhausted every other avenue.


a research fellow

Table of Contents

What does a research fellow do, how to become a research fellow, what is the difference between a research fellow and a research associate.

As a research fellow, your responsibilities include strategy development for a research project at a university or research facility for clinical studies or other purposes. You manage a small part of a department while reporting to top management or your mentor. You may also be required to help acquire funding for the project while your mentor obtains access to the needed research infrastructure. As a scientist, you perform data collection at a laboratory, where you work to complete each necessary test and analyze the data. You then publish the results in academic journals or books and present them at conferences while handling any related public policy issues. You may have some teaching duties supervising and mentoring postgraduate research students.

To become a research fellow, you typically need a postdoctoral degree in your particular field or specialty and some experience in a management position or with managing projects. It is essential that you have excellent verbal and written communication skills for writing and presenting funding proposals and results. Some jobs require you to have additional peer-reviewed publications, extensive knowledge of research techniques and methodologies, and the ability to secure competitive and independent funding. You may also need to understand how to work well with both governmental and non-governmental organizations. Additional qualifications include strong analytical and data visualization skills, as well as the ability to work with large datasets.

A research fellow and a research associate are both responsible for conducting research and designing testing procedures to obtain accurate results. However, a research fellow often works on a project-by-project basis under the supervision of a senior scholar, and the projects are funded by a federal or private research grant or endowment. A research associate is generally on the payroll, has a formal job description, and works full-time. In this position, you work in a department and assist faculty and graduate students who need technical help with their research. You can also get a job in a grant writing department or graduate school to help with dissertation research.

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a research fellow

What is a Research Fellow?

A research fellow is someone with a graduate degree, typically a doctoral degree, who performs academic research. Research fellows are treated differently around the world, depending on cultural and academic norms. In some cases, the position is essentially permanent, with some possibility for rising in the ranks, while in other instances, people employed in these positions can only expect temporary terms of employment.

Research fellows are sometimes known as post-docs, because they are doing post-doctoral research. Their work is dedicated solely to research, with no teaching or need to participate in the politics of the institutions they work for, although research fellows who are interested in advancement and research careers often take care to monitor trends in the academic world. While research fellows can opt to teach, this is rare.

By being able to dedicate all of their time to research, research fellows can often achieve advancements and accomplishments in their fields. They can also assist other people working in the same environment, such as advanced students and associates. In some cases, these fellows work under the supervision of someone else, and in other cases, they work independently.

When a research fellow works for a university, the advantage to the school is that he or she can add to the university's reputation in the academic world, and provide support to students and faculty. Research fellows also work in scientific laboratories, government agencies, and organizations which can vary in nature from groups studying cancer to associations interested in anthropological phenomena. In all cases, the research fellow can receive funding from a number of sources, including the institution and outside organizations interested in advancing the cause.

Medical research is often performed by research fellows, and they may also be involved in clinical trials and studies of everything from new surgical techniques to different approaches to psychotherapy. A research fellow can also work in the lab and in the field in an assortment of environments. Competition for research fellowships tends to be very fierce, as many academics enjoy the idea of being able to research at will without needing to teach, and to bring substantial sources of funding to bear on areas of interest and inquiry.

When research fellowships become available, they are usually advertised in industry publications and in public notices printed by the institution requesting applications for a research fellow position. People can also learn about research fellowships through professors and mentors in the field, and by specifically asking organizations of interest about the availability of fellowships and other research opportunities.

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a AllTheScience researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Research Fellow

A Research Fellow is a NIH employee who possesses a doctoral degree and is on a time-limited, renewable appointment. The purpose of the Research Fellowship is to provide junior-level scientists experience in biomedical research while they provide a service relevant to the Institute or Center’s (IC) program needs. The Research Fellow will spend the entire fellowship in laboratory research, while supporting the performance of NIH intramural research. Scientists with considerable experience beyond postdoctoral training may be designated Senior Research Fellows .

To be eligible for a Research Fellowship, a candidate must have demonstrated outstanding scholastic achievement and the ability to conduct successfully, with minimal supervision, a pre-established program in laboratory research.

Because Research Fellows perform services for NIH in addition to the training experience, these positions apply against the IC’s Full-Time Equivalent Employment (FTE) ceiling.

A Research Fellow is a U.S. citizen, U.S. permanent resident (green card, resident alien), or non-resident alien with a valid employment-authorized visa foreign national, who has been appointed to conduct health-related research at a NIH facility. Research Fellow (Visiting Program [VP]) appointments may be renewed; however, the total length of an appointment may not exceed the 5/8 Year Duration Policy . For foreign nationals on a visa, all renewals are subject to applicable visa restrictions.

As part of an effort to attract and retain top-level Research Fellow and Research Fellow (VP) candidates for a variety of different scientific disciplines, the NIH established the following programs:

Both Research Fellows and Research Fellows (VP) are Full-Time Equivalent Employment (FTE) positions.

Approvals (Process)

Research Fellows are appointed using Title 42(g) and approved by the delegated authority in each IC. Research Fellow appointments are traditionally approved by the Scientific Director (SD) for an initial 2-3 year period, but may be made for a shorter period (no less than 3 months). Depending on salary level and other pay components proposed, review and approval may be required from both the IC Title 42 Standing Committee and the NIH Compensation Committee (NCC). Please consult the Title 42 Pay Model for additional information.

For Research Fellows that require clinical credentialing, an additional approval must be received from the Director, CC (or delegate) after recommendation by the Clinical Center (CC) Credentials Committee and the Medical Executive Committee (MEC). For further information, please contact the Office of Credentialing Services, Clinical Center (OCS/CC) at [email protected] or 301-496-5937.

Additional approvals and requirements for Visiting Program fellows can be found at the Division of International Services .

Check Sheets / Checklists

There is currently no Deputy Director for Intramural Research (DDIR) -approved check sheet or checklist for the Research Fellow designation. Individual ICs may have additional requirements and check sheets. Please contact your Administrative Officer (AO) or HR Specialist for additional guidance. For examples of IC-specific check sheets and checklists, please visit:

Intramural scientists at the NIH, as is true for all scientists, should be committed to the responsible use of scientific tools and methods to seek new knowledge. While the general principles of scientific methodologies are universal, their detailed application may differ in various scientific disciplines and circumstances. All research staff in the Intramural Research Program should maintain exemplary standards of intellectual honesty in formulating, conducting, presenting, and reviewing research, as befits the leadership role of the NIH.

Within the NIH IRP, the ethical conduct of researchers is governed by the following three disciplines:

Ethics information may also be available through your specific IC. Please contact your Ethics Counselor for additional guidance.

Pay / Compensation

Pay and compensation for Title 42(g) appointed Research Fellows is based on the Title 42 Pay Model . Research Fellow salary ranges are in Band I. Depending on salary level and other pay components proposed, review and approval may be required from both the IC Title 42 Standing Committee and the NIH Compensation Committee (NCC).

For additional pay and compensation information for Research Fellow (VP) appointments, according to their specific visa requirements, please contact the Division of International Services (DIS) .

Recruitment Process / Appointment Mechanisms

Recruitment of a Research Fellow is made via Title 42(g) .

Sufficient outreach efforts must be taken to assure that a diverse pool of potential candidates (e.g. minorities, women, and individuals with disabilities) is made aware of fellowship opportunities. At a minimum, the candidate must possess a doctoral-level degree from an accredited institution of higher learning, including: Ph.D., M.D., D.V.M., D.D.S., D.M.D., Sc.D., or other research doctoral-degree widely recognized in U.S. academe as equivalent to a Ph.D.

Official position descriptions are not required. However, the supervisor must prepare a narrative statement fully describing the duties and responsibilities required.

Qualifications for a Research Fellow appointment include the following:

In addition to the aforementioned process, the NIH has established two additional recruitment methods as part of an effort to attract and retain top-level candidates for a variety of different scientific disciplines:

Research Fellow appointments are made via Title 42(g) and renewed in 1-year increments, according to the 5/8 Year Duration Policy . The maximum length of this fellowship is eight years, and the duration is determined by the length of time spent at NIH in all fellowship capacities, unless the scientist is approved for tenure-track or another staff NIH appointment. For foreign nationals on a visa, all renewals are subject to applicable visa restrictions.

A Research Fellow is not granted independent resources by their Institute, except for Early Independent Scientists.


Research Fellow appointments may be terminated before their expiration date for cause (e.g., personal or scientific misconduct), unsatisfactory performance, or administrative reasons, including but not limited to, programmatic changes and/or budgetary considerations. Terminations of a Research Fellow must follow the policies and processes appropriate to the Title 42(g) appointment mechanism.

This page was last updated on Thursday, May 19, 2022

Research Fellow

What's it like to be a research fellow, tasks and duties.

How to become a Research Fellow

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Hi there , have any of these add your skills directly to your seek profile., skills listed in your seek profile, based on your skills, here are some roles to explore, upskill with an online short course, get instant access to online training for these in-demand research fellow skills, is research fellow the right role for me, job opportunities, latest research fellow reviews, explore similar careers, read more from seek.

What Does a Research Fellow Do?

What They Do

A research fellow is an academic researcher who conducts research and analysis of comprehensive literature, data, and results and provides literature reviews. He/She supervises research assistants and recruits study participants to interview them for a particular study. To become a research fellow, a candidate should have a doctorate in a relevant discipline and publish peer-reviewed papers. Also, a research fellow can be an independent investigator or be supervised by a principal investigator.

Research Fellow Responsibilities

Here are examples of responsibilities from real research fellow resumes representing typical tasks they are likely to perform in their roles.


Research Fellow Job Description

Perhaps the hardest question to answer when deciding on a career as a research fellow is "should I become a research fellow?" You might find this info to be helpful. When compared to other jobs, research fellow careers are projected to have a growth rate described as "faster than average" at 8% from 2018 through 2028. This is in accordance with the Bureau of Labor Statistics. What's more, is that the projected number of opportunities that are predicted to become available for a research fellow by 2028 is 10,600.

On average, the research fellow annual salary is $53,823 per year, which translates to $25.88 an hour. Generally speaking, research fellows earn anywhere from $39,000 to $72,000 a year, which means that the top-earning research fellows make $31,000 more than the ones at the lower end of the spectrum.

As is the case with most jobs, it takes work to become a research fellow. Sometimes people change their minds about their career after working in the profession. That's why we looked into some other professions that might help you find your next opportunity. These professions include a postdoctoral associate , staff scientist , scientist , and postdoctoral research associate .

Research Fellow Jobs You Might Like

12 research fellow resume examples.

Build a professional research fellow resume in minutes. Browse through our resume examples to identify the best way to word your resume. Then choose from 12 + resume templates to create your research fellow resume.

Research Fellow Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 10 % of Research Fellows are proficient in Patients , Research Projects , and Data Analysis .

We break down the percentage of Research Fellows that have these skills listed on their resume here:

Developed psychological screening process for breast clinic patients to identify patients in distress and provide subsequent consultation and ongoing treatment.

Supported time-sensitive scholarly research by authoring research projects, conducting literature reviews, collecting and analyzing data, and preparing manuscripts.

Developed automated data analysis routines, based on anti-correlative measurement strategies to differentiate instrument systematic error from physical mirror surface attributes.

Managed laboratory cell culture operations, including training lab personnel, writing protocols, and performing necessary troubleshooting and maintenance tasks.

Coordinated interdisciplinary research between the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and the College of Science and Technology.

Utilized CRISPR technology to generate MED12 exon 2 deletion mutations in colon cancer cells.

Choose From 10+ Customizable Research Fellow Resume templates

Research Fellow Resume

Most research fellows list "patients," "research projects," and "data analysis" as skills on their resumes. We go into more details on the most important research fellow responsibilities here:

See the full list of research fellow skills.

We've found that 47.3% of research fellows have earned a bachelor's degree. Furthermore, 18.4% earned their master's degrees before becoming a research fellow. While it's true that most research fellows have a college degree, it's generally impossible to become one with only a high school degree. In fact, one out of every ten research fellows did not spend the extra money to attend college.

The research fellows who went onto college to earn a more in-depth education generally studied chemistry and biology, while a small population of research fellows studied biochemistry, biophysics, molecular biology and psychology.

Once you've obtained the level of education you're comfortable with, you might start applying to companies to become a research fellow. We've found that most research fellow resumes include experience from Emory Healthcare, Emory University, and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Of recent, Emory Healthcare had 133 positions open for research fellows. Meanwhile, there are 106 job openings at Emory University and 73 at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

But if you're interested in companies where you might earn a high salary, research fellows tend to earn the biggest salaries at McKinsey & Company Inc, Competitive Enterprise Institute, and IBM. Take McKinsey & Company Inc for example. The median research fellow salary is $76,751. At Competitive Enterprise Institute, research fellows earn an average of $76,252, while the average at IBM is $75,577. You should take into consideration how difficult it might be to secure a job with one of these companies.

View more details on research fellow salaries across the United States.

If you earned a degree from the top 100 educational institutions in the United States, you might want to take a look at National Institutes of Health, University of Washington, and University of California Press. These three companies have hired a significant number of research fellows from these institutions.

The industries that research fellows fulfill the most roles in are the non profits and education industries. But the highest research fellow annual salary is in the non profits industry, averaging $57,261. In the health care industry they make $52,481 and average about $51,579 in the education industry. In conclusion, research fellows who work in the non profits industry earn a 10.5% higher salary than research fellows in the government industry.

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What Postdoctoral Associates Do

A postdoctoral associate is responsible for researching to support scientific claims and theories by collecting evidence and information to answer scientific questions. Postdoctoral associates must have excellent communication skills , both oral and written, to interact with people and document investigation findings. They also utilize laboratory tools and equipment for scientific researches, conduct field investigations, and interview participants. A postdoctoral associate designs comprehensive research models to discuss results with the panel and the team efficiently and accurately.

In this section, we compare the average research fellow annual salary with that of a postdoctoral associate. Typically, postdoctoral associates earn a $527 higher salary than research fellows earn annually.

Even though research fellows and postdoctoral associates have vast differences in their careers, a few of the skills required to do both jobs are similar. For example, both careers require patients, research projects, and data analysis in the day-to-day roles.

There are some key differences in responsibilities as well. For example, a research fellow responsibilities require skills like "rna," "public health," "past work," and "animal models." Meanwhile a typical postdoctoral associate has skills in areas such as "tip," "biomedical," "mit," and "rna-seq." This difference in skills reveals how truly different these two careers really are.

Postdoctoral associates tend to make the most money in the education industry by averaging a salary of $53,445. In contrast, research fellows make the biggest average salary of $57,261 in the non profits industry.

Postdoctoral associates tend to reach similar levels of education than research fellows. In fact, postdoctoral associates are 4.4% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 15.4% more likely to have a Doctoral Degree.

What Are The Duties Of a Staff Scientist?

The primary role of a Staff Scientist is to develop and manage scientific research projects with minimal supervision. They are also responsible for the technical and budgetary aspects of scientific research projects.

Next up, we have the staff scientist profession to look over. This career brings along a higher average salary when compared to a research fellow annual salary. In fact, staff scientists salary difference is $40,118 higher than the salary of research fellows per year.

Not everything about these jobs is different. Take their skills, for example. Research fellows and staff scientists both include similar skills like "research projects," "data analysis," and "cell culture" on their resumes.

While some skills are similar in these professions, other skills aren't so similar. For example, several resumes showed us that research fellow responsibilities requires skills like "patients," "immunology," "cell biology," and "python." But a staff scientist might use skills, such as, "molecular biology," "project management," "product development," and "pcr."

Staff scientists may earn a higher salary than research fellows, but staff scientists earn the most pay in the technology industry with an average salary of $102,260. On the other side of things, research fellows receive higher paychecks in the non profits industry where they earn an average of $57,261.

On the topic of education, staff scientists earn lower levels of education than research fellows. In general, they're 5.6% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 15.4% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

What Technology Do You Think Will Become More Important And Prevalent For Scientists In The Next 3-5 Years?

Janet Gray Ph.D.

Professor and Department Chair, The College of New Jersey

WGSS graduates enter every employment sector, so technological trends for our graduates will follow various sectors' directions. Among the most common careers for WGSS graduates are law, social work, and education. The capacity to work remotely and do so effectively--may depend more on having access to sound technology and good training, and devising more effective ways to use the tools available, than on any new technology becoming available. Show more

How a Scientist Compares

A scientist is responsible for researching and analyzing the nature and complexities of the physical world to identify discoveries that would improve people's lives and ignite scientific knowledge for society. Scientists' duties differ in their different areas of expertise, but all of them must have a broad comprehension of scientific disciplines and methods to support their experiments and investigations. They collect the sample for their research, record findings, create research proposals, and release publications. A scientist must know how to utilize laboratory equipment to support the study and drive results efficiently and accurately.

Let's now take a look at the scientist profession. On average, these workers make higher salaries than research fellows with a $43,521 difference per year.

By looking over several research fellows and scientists resumes, we found that both roles utilize similar skills, such as "patients," "research projects," and "data analysis." But beyond that the careers look very different.

There are many key differences between these two careers as shown by resumes from each profession. Some of those differences include the skills required to complete responsibilities within each role. As an example of this, a research fellow is likely to be skilled in "immunology," "cell biology," "python," and "nih," while a typical scientist is skilled in "molecular biology," "java," "product development," and "laboratory equipment."

Interestingly enough, scientists earn the most pay in the technology industry, where they command an average salary of $134,486. As mentioned previously, research fellows highest annual salary comes from the non profits industry with an average salary of $57,261.

Scientists are known to earn similar educational levels when compared to research fellows. Additionally, they're 0.4% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree, and 15.4% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

Description Of a Postdoctoral Research Associate

A postdoctoral research associate is responsible for assisting the educational institution's research department, writing research reports, analyzing research methods, and collecting information and related studies to support the research claims. Postdoctoral research associates must have excellent communication skills , both oral and written, reporting research updates to the research head, performing adjustments as needed, and gaining more expertise on the subject by brainstorming and discussing strategic procedures for the study. They may also conduct field investigation or coordinate with other institutions for additional reference, depending on the research's scope and limitation.

The fourth career we look at typically earns lower pay than research fellows. On average, postdoctoral research associates earn a difference of $1,038 lower per year.

While both research fellows and postdoctoral research associates complete day-to-day tasks using similar skills like patients, research projects, and data analysis, the two careers also vary in other skills.

Each job requires different skills like "immunology," "rna," "public health," and "past work," which might show up on a research fellow resume. Whereas postdoctoral research associate might include skills like "post-doctoral," "doe," "visualization," and "rna-seq."

Now, let's take a closer look at the financials in each career. The professional industry tends to pay more for postdoctoral research associates with an average of $69,999. While the highest research fellow annual salary comes from the non profits industry.

Postdoctoral research associates reach similar levels of education when compared to research fellows. The difference is that they're 2.5% more likely to earn a Master's Degree less, and 15.1% more likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.

What Similar Roles Do

Research Fellow Related Careers

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a research fellow

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The Career Path to Research Fellow

Me : "So what are you planning to do after you finish your Ph.D.?" Final-year Ph.D. student : "Er ... dunno, probably get a postdoc somewhere."

D uring progress interviews with the students in my department, this exchange is all too common. The students I'm talking to are often committed to staying in scientific research, so how come they haven't thought in great detail about their next move?

One of the main reasons is that doing a Ph.D. becomes so all-consuming (especially when writing it up) that students forget to consider what they are actually going to do when they finish. In a nutshell, they are being reactive rather than proactive. Generally, this is not a good thing when embarking on a career in science, because even the most successful researchers can find their careers fraught with uncertainty. So once you have progressed to the level of postdoc or even started your own lab, you still have to think carefully about the direction of your career. Simply put: If you don't have goals, how can you plan to achieve them?

I am not so old and crusty (I'm 33) that I don't remember what it was like starting out in a career in science. I am a Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow , and I have had my own independent laboratory, based in the Department of Anatomy at the University of Bristol, for the last 6 years. One thing that many people don't really understand (often including the powers-that-be at universities) is what exactly a research fellow is. When used by the major funding agencies like the Medical Research Council ( MRC ) or the Wellcome Trust , this term means "an independently funded principal researcher." In other words, you are enjoying a fellowship that typically funds your salary along with equipment and additional salaries to run your own lab. In my case, the senior fellowship means my salary along with that of two postdocs and the equipment and other costs of running a lab for 5 years. But how did I get where I am today?

My career path is a reasonably straightforward one. I was lucky enough to be funded on a Wellcome Trust grant as a research assistant while doing my Ph.D. at the University of Southampton . My project was in neuroscience, working on a model of epilepsy using electrophysiological recordings from brain slices. Actually, I have to confess that at the end of these 3 years, I also had not made much preparation for my postdoc. Fortunately, my Ph.D. supervisor had extra funding for me, so I had the luxury of a year to decide on and arrange my postdoc. I successfully applied to the Wellcome Trust for an International Prize Travelling Research Fellowship (now replaced with the International Research Fellowship ), which then provided 2 years' salary to work in a laboratory outside the United Kingdom, followed by money for a year's postdoc back in the U.K. I also applied to the Human Frontier Science Program but was less lucky with that.

To get one of these travelling grants, you have to find a host lab willing to take you and write a proposal with your potential new boss. Typically the grant application has to be submitted 9 to 12 months in advance of commencing your new position. It might seem like a long time, but if you have a partner and plan on working outside the European Union, it is important to find out well in advance what the visa and work-permit requirements are. The United States, for example, will only allow your partner to live and work there on your visa if you are married. Otherwise your partner has to obtain his or her own job and visa.

I chose to go to the University of California, San Francisco . I wanted to continue to study the hippocampus but change my focus to synaptic plasticity. I selected the lab carefully based on the research area, my supervisor's reputation, and his publication output. I also have to admit that I wanted to go somewhere warm and sunny with a full range of outdoor activities, so I was very keen on California. But it is particularly important to choose a productive lab for your first postdoc. If a lab is regularly publishing papers in high-profile journals, then you know it is well run, well funded, and contains talented people. Therefore, if you work hard in that environment, you also have a good chance of getting those all-important publications. Then things are snowballing: It will increase your chances of getting the next grant and your foot into another productive lab.

A grant such as the travelling fellowship I obtained allows you to pick your lab. The thing is, it is a very attractive package to potential supervisors: You bring your own salary (and some running costs) with you, and all the host lab has to provide is equipment and space. You can of course get a postdoc position without obtaining your own grant first by simply applying to job adverts in journals, but obviously you don't have as much choice as to where you end up.

The Travelling Research Fellowship is particularly useful when you are returning to the United Kingdom because it provides a year's salary and running costs to work in any lab here--again making you a very attractive candidate to most lab heads. This 1-year postdoc, which I spent at the Department of Anatomy at Bristol University, also gave me the breathing space to write my next grant--for a Wellcome Trust Research Career Development Fellowship in Basic Biomedical Science.

This grant provides your salary, equipment, lab running costs, and, in my case, a salary for a postdoctoral research assistant. To apply for this grant, you need to find a university department that will sponsor you, i.e., provide you with space for your lab. Again, most departments are happy to sponsor such applications because you are essentially a free member and bring research money into the departmental coffers. It is also important to find a niche for your research. I chose to keep working on synaptic plasticity but to specialise in developmental mechanisms, avoiding a great deal of the competition with the big U.S. labs.

A research fellowship is very nice to have. You are entirely independent, you have your own budget to play with, and often you have a research assistant to do your bidding. But independence can also be quite scary. You suddenly have to worry about money and make sure you don't overspend. You also have to become a manager and look after the people in your lab. This is a very steep learning curve as you develop skills that, as a scientist, you have had no training for.

If you want to become independent, the main alternative to the research fellowship is to obtain a university lectureship. This has the advantage of giving you a permanent position (and salary). However, the disadvantage for a research-oriented individual is that, at best, a lectureship will give you a start-up fund that is not large enough to start your own lab. So the first thing you have to do is start writing grants to get your lab going. This can be a tough time because only about 25% of grant applications get funded, so you would typically need to write four applications before striking gold. The other problem new lecturers encounter is that they have to start teaching and administering courses straight away. This is very time-consuming because you have to write all your lectures and learn about the joys of administration. So all things considered, I would advise you to try to obtain some sort of independent research funding prior to getting your first permanent university position. A fellowship means that you can concentrate on setting up your research lab and getting some papers published--you can even spend a good proportion of your time at the bench!

As the 4 years of my Career Development Fellowship drew to a close, I applied to the Wellcome Trust for the next step up, the Senior Research Fellowship, which brings you up-to-date with my career. I also successfully applied for a lectureship position that came open in the department. This means that if ever I fail to get the next fellowship award, I can take up this permanent job in the department (so my family won't starve). Meanwhile, a temporary lectureship position was created for somebody else with my unused salary, and I do some teaching and admin (for free) to complement the full load done by the temporary lecturer. These nonresearch skills are useful to develop for my future career, so I don't find them too onerous. (Just don't tell my head of department.)

But you might be wondering what level of achievement you have to reach to follow a career path like mine. The key, of course, is a steady stream of research papers, with some of those in high-profile journals. In science the primary way to judge individuals is by their publication record. To give you an idea of what you should be aiming for, I came back from San Francisco with two first-author Neuron papers (a high-profile journal in my field, just below Science and Nature ) and a first-author Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences paper. Armed with these accomplishments I applied for my Career Development Fellowship. I also published a last-author Neuron paper from my time in San Francisco. Then, during my Career Fellowship, my publications included two Nature papers (for one of which I was principal author), four Neuron papers (for three of which I was principal), and one Nature Neuroscience paper (for which I was principal). The Wellcome Trust's fellowships are intensely competitive because they are such good grants to have. Other agencies have similar schemes (e.g., MRC, Royal Society), and they are similarly hard to get. For the Travelling Research Fellowship, it helps to be going to a lab with impressive publications.

It is also important to develop your grant-writing skills so that you can produce well-thought-out and realistic grant applications. I benefited enormously from helpful colleagues who read and commented on endless drafts and also provided their services as collaborators on my proposals. And then you also need a bit of luck. Being awarded the grant for my postdoc in California even though I only had one very minor paper to show for my Ph.D. was my big break.

Don't delay in thinking about what you are going to do with your career because it's never too early to plan ahead. When some awkward so-and-so asks you that all-important question about your future, be ready with a well-thought-out answer.

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Research fellowresearch fellow overview.

What does a Research Fellow/Research Fellow do?

Research fellows perform academic research at an educational institution, often while working towards earning an advanced degree. Their work is usually supported for a specified period of time by a grant, endowment, or other dedicated source of funding. They are often researching innovative and cutting-edge technologies or concepts, or investigating complex challenges where the findings could have significant consequences. Research fellows typically have a doctorate degree in their technical field of expertise, although some institutions also have predoctoral research fellow programs. They generally have already had peer-reviewed research published in academic journals. They are often expected to pursue or compete for additional research grants. Advanced research skills are required, along with excellent writing skills. Research fellows must be detail oriented with strong project management abilities.

How much does a Research Fellow/Research Fellow make?

Additional Pay

Research Fellow/Research Fellow Career Path

Learn how to become a Research Fellow/Research Fellow, what skills and education you need to succeed, and what level of pay to expect at each step on your career path.

Years of Experience Distribution

Research fellow/research fellow insights.

Yale University

“It was easy to balance with course load and a great opportunity to develop close relationships with professors.”

St. Olaf

“This is such a great team who are amazing at what they do and have fun while doing it.”


“Working for director means unlimited funds and don't have to think twice about ordering reagents”

Rocky Mountain Prep

“Almost everyone I have worked with and met have been nothing but kind and helpful.”

University of San Diego

“The entire Chemistry department is so helpful and can be approached to any faculty whenever needed.”

The Johns Hopkins University

“The insurance offered isn't the best and is not as good as what postdocs at JHMI receive.”

KIPP St. Louis

“You will meet some great people and will enjoy some of your teammates and love your students.”

Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

“Some really good people who are committed to their work and work with little resources.”

Research fellow/research fellow interviews, frequently asked questions about the roles and responsibilities of a research fellow/research fellow.

Related Careers

Research fellow/research fellow jobs.

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University Research Fellowship

This scheme is for outstanding scientists who are in the early stages of their research career and have the potential to become leaders in their field. These long term fellowships provide the opportunity and freedom to build an independent research career in the UK or Republic of Ireland and pursue cutting-edge scientific research.

University Research Fellowship

This scheme is closed to applications

The University Research Fellowship scheme is now closed to applications.

Support with your application: FAQs, top tips and support for applicants with disabilities.

Changes to the Fellowship

Until 2022, the University Research Fellowship (URF) was a five-year fellowship, with the option to apply for a three-year extension. From the 2022 application round onwards, applicants have the opportunity to submit a research proposal and costs for an eight-year fellowship. Costs for years six to eight are subject to satisfactory progress and completion of a mid-fellowship checkpoint review at the start of year four. Additionally, researchers can now apply for up to £90,000 research expenses per annum to support the research programme proposed in their application. These changes were introduced to increase the stability of funding available to URFs, support them to develop their research group and give them the opportunity to focus on their research aims with a reduced administrative workload. 

The scheme offers you:

This scheme is highly flexible to accommodate for part-time working, sabbaticals and secondments. There is also provision for maternity, paternity, adoptive or extended sick leave (PDF).

Am I eligible to apply?

Research must be within the Royal Society’s remit of natural sciences, which includes but is not limited to biological research and biomedical sciences, chemistry, engineering, mathematics and physics. For a full list, please see the breakdown of subject groups and areas  supported by the Royal Society.

Those applying from Ireland (ROI) are funded by Science Foundation Ireland and will need to read the eligibility requirements in the specific scheme notes.

You can apply for this scheme if you:

For further information about how to apply, read the FAQs (PDF) .

Before applying, please ensure that you meet all eligibility requirements laid out in the scheme notes.

What is the scheme’s value and duration?

From the round opening in July 2022, appointments will be made for an eight-year period, but confirmation of funding for years 6 to 8 will be subject to completion of a satisfactory mid-fellowship checkpoint review at the start of year four.

The scheme provides:

Read the scheme notes for full value of award information.

University Research Fellows have the opportunity to access a range of training programmes  covering topics including leadership, science communication and public engagement. Furthermore, opportunities arise throughout the year for University Research Fellows to meet with other award holders and participate in activities coordinated by the science policy, public engagement, schools outreach and industry engagement teams at the Society. For further details relating to the additional benefits of holding a Royal Society Research Fellowship, read our summary page .

What is the application process?

Applications should be submitted through the Society’s grant management system Flexi-Grant®.

Your application will go through the process detailed on the Making a grant application  page overseen by one of our five research appointment panels based on your research area.

For further information on the Research Appointment Panels, please see our Standing Committees  page.

Interviews will be held in April at the Royal Society - you are advised to keep this period free. You will be notified of the result of the application process in May.

The Royal Society recognises that diversity is essential for delivering excellence in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The Society wants to encourage applications from the widest range of backgrounds, perspectives and experiences to maximise innovation and creativity in science for the benefit of humanity. We regularly review and revise processes to help ensure that all talented applicants have an equitable chance to succeed as per the assessment criteria. This includes ensuring all panel members are briefed on unconscious bias in decision making  as part of the assessment process.

Please note a new statement for applicants on the impacts of COVID-19  has been released on our website. 

Support with your application

For additional advice and information to support your application, see our page  with top tips, details of the support we offer to applicants with disabilities, and Frequently Asked Questions.

For more information regarding the scheme, please contact the Grants team on  [email protected]  or call us on +44 20 7451 2666.

Below, you can read case studies from our University Research Fellows. You can also read an in-depth report on the career pathways of our alumni on the  Career Pathway Tracker  page.

Meet our University Research Fellows

Dr Jon Agirre, University of York

Portrait photograph of Dr Jon Agirre

Dr Toby Cubitt, University of Cambridge

Toby Cubitt

Dr Ross Forgan, University of Glasgow

Ross Forgan

Dr Ashleigh Griffin, University of Oxford

Ashleigh Griffin

Dr Lauren Hatcher, Cardiff University

Portrait photograph of Dr Lauren Hatcher

Dr Lynette Keeney, University College Cork

Dr Lynette Keeney

Professor Krzysztof Koziol, Cranfield University

Professor Krzysztof Koziol

Professor Rahul Raveendran Nair, University of Manchester

Rahul Raveendran Nair

Dr Amelie Saintonge, University College London

Amelie Saintonge

Dr Steven Spoel, University of Edinburgh

Steven Spoel

Dr Asel Sartbaeva, University of Bath

Dr Asel Sartbaeva

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Considering a Research Fellowship? Here’s How to Land the Right One

Looking to get an edge on a competitive graduate school admission, or in the job market? You may want to consider pursuing a research fellowship. These opportunities can help you develop important skills like critical thinking, communication, time management, organization, and self-motivation. They can also help your résumé stand out when you’re applying to graduate schools and jobs.

“Fellowships offer students opportunities to build credibility by contributing to knowledge building in their area of interest and to publicly share the relevance of their research and key findings to their communities,” said Anupama Jacob, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Social Work at Azusa Pacific University.

A research fellowship presents an opportunity to collaborate with—and be mentored by—a faculty member in your specific area of interest. Additionally, fellowships typically include a stipend or monetary award to help you as you pursue your research.

7 Tips for Obtaining Your Desired Research Fellowship

Getting the fellowship you want isn’t always easy—mainly because you’re not the only one pursuing it. Most good fellowships come with some competition. The people judging your application want to see evidence that you can work hard and contribute something unique.

You can lean on some well-worn principles to increase your chances of getting a fellowship. Try building these seven practices into your process, and you’ll be well on your way to the research fellowship you want.

Finding Research Fellowships at APU

Jacob noted that there isn’t a set time to apply for a fellowship. Some fellowships require you to be in graduate school or at least an undergraduate junior or senior. Others are available earlier.

Azusa Pacific University has a variety of options to consider if you’re trying to secure a fellowship, including research fellowships in the Department of Mathematics, Physics, and Statistics . These fellowships provide about $3,000 in support. You’ll also get a chance to serve as a tutor, teaching assistant, or research assistant.

Additionally, APU’s Scholarly Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) Award funds several undergraduate research grant proposals. The goal of SURE is to foster a culture of undergraduate research. Since the award began in 2013, it has funded 36 faculty/student dyads. These awards have led to professional conference presentations, published articles in peer-reviewed journals, participation in APU’s Undergraduate Research Showcases, and at least one national award.

APU students also have the opportunity to participate in the Student-to-Scholar (S2S) program , an undergraduate research fellowship offered through the Department of Biology and Chemistry . This annual program offers a few select students the ability to work in a laboratory research setting alongside a faculty-mentor.

Finally, APU’s Career Center can help you shape (or reshape) your proposal, so don’t hesitate to reach out if you’re struggling to get your foot in the door.

Do you want to learn about additional research opportunities? Contact APU’s Office of Research and Grants for more information.

Posted: June 4, 2020

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