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Early-career small grants

Our early-career small grants schemes offer support to researchers at key career transition points with the aim of enabling successful recipients to go on to secure further, more significant, funding. The scheme will now operate through two three distinct funding streams, one for medically qualified scientists and one two for basic scientists.

Please read the guidance below carefully and contact us at if you have any questions relating to your eligibility for either a Starter Grant for Clinical Lecturers, Springboard for Biomedical Scientists or an Early-Career Small Grant for Basic Scientists.

Researchers who do not meet the eligibility criteria for the Early-Career Small Grant scheme may continue to apply for small amounts of funds through the project grant scheme but should note that these applications will be in competition with all other project grant applications.


Medically qualified applicants

Applications from medically qualified applicants will be considered through our partnership with the Academy of Medical Sciences and their Starter Grants for Clinical Lecturers.

Starter grants for clinical lecturers

These grants provide up to £30,000 over 1-2 years for consumables, to support Clinical Lecturers who are looking to develop and strengthen their research careers. The grants allow research-active Clinical Lecturers to gather data to strengthen their bids for longer-term fellowships and funding. Starter Grant holders can also benefit from the Academy’s one-to-one mentoring scheme and a programme of career development events.

How to apply

There are two funding rounds each year with closing dates in March (for a June panel) and September (for a December panel). Further details including full eligibility requirements are available on the Academy of Medical Sciences website.

Allied Health Professionals

Applications members of the Allied Health professions will continue to be considered by Diabetes UK through our revised Early-Career Small Grant scheme. Please note that the eligibility criteria have been revised to target support to researchers who are in the early stages of their career.

Basic Scientists

Applications from basic scientists be considered through two funding streams either through our partnership with the Academy of Medical Sciences and their Springboard for Biomedical Scientists or the Diabetes UK Early-Career Small Grants.

Springboard for Biomedical Scientists

Springboard offers a bespoke package of support to biomedical researchers at the start of their first independent post to help launch their research careers. This includes funding of up to £100,000 over two years and access to the Academy’s acclaimed mentoring and career development programme.

How to apply

There is one funding round each year with a Selection Panel meeting usually in November/December. There is a two stage application process: eligibility check and full application.

Applications are invited from selected research-active higher education institutions (HEIs), which may put forward up to three applications per round.

Further details including full eligibility requirements are available on the Academy of Medical Sciences website.

Early-career small grants for basic scientists

The Early-Career Small Grant scheme for basic scientists supports early career-researchers to undertake small research projects related to diabetes. This scheme provides consumables for high-quality research which will enable scientists who are at an early stage in their career to develop their work and go on to obtain additional more sizeable grant funding from other organisations.

Early-Career Small Grants are not intended to be used as ‘top-up’ funds to meet a shortfall in funding from another body.

Nurses, pharmacists and members of the Allied Health Professions who meet the eligibility criteria may apply through this scheme.

Financial support

Support may be requested for up to one year; however, longer periods of time may be requested if fully justified.

An Early-Career Small Grant offers a maximum of £15,000 in funding and is available for materials and consumables, small pieces of equipment, animal purchase and maintenance and collaborative travel. We would not normally expect costs associated with salaries to be requested on these applications. All costs must be fully justified within the application.


  • Applicants must be in receipt of a salary for the duration of the proposed award.
  • Applicants must be based at, and the grant must be administered by, an established research institution in the UK.
  • Applicants should normally be no more than four years from appointment to their first academic position. Allowance will be made for applicants whose career has been subject to an interruption for family or personal reasons.
  • Applicants who currently hold an early career fellowship providing salary support are eligible to apply for this scheme. We advise that these potential applicants contact the Research Team to discuss their eligibility in more detail.

Applicants who are current grant holders must clearly identify that this support is distinct from any current awards held.


The next deadline for this scheme is:

  • 1 June (Committee meets in October)
  • 3 December (Committee meets in May/June)

How to apply

Administrative processes

Peer review

Applications will be sent out for peer review to researchers who have not published or worked in the same institution as any of the applicants for at least five years. Please consider this when suggesting reviewers in the application.

The Research Committee

Applications are sent to the Research Committee, who recommend which applications should be funded.

Grants Advisory Panel

Prior to the Research Committee meeting, the Diabetes UK Grants Advisory Panel (GAP) meets to discuss all early-career small grant applications and directly provide feedback to the Research Committee through the members of the GAP who attend Research Committee.

The GAP perspective can directly influence the funding decision made and so applicants should take this into consideration, especially when they are completing the summary for people living with diabetes, by making sure that the summary is written in plain English. 

Our Research Funding Process and Review Panels page gives you more insight into the grant application lay review process.


Feedback letters will be sent to all lead applicants within one month following the Research Committee meeting. Those applications which are funded should expect to receive an award letter within two months of Research Committee meeting.

Assessment criteria

Applications are assessed on the following criteria:

  • The potential difference the research will make to the lives of people with diabetes.
  • Scientific excellence.
  • Track record of the applicants.
  • Value for money.
  • The potential for obtaining further funding resulting from the proposed research.
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