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Early-career small grants

Key information 

  • To support: Scientists at an early stage in their career to develop their work, understanding small research projects or pilot studies. 
  • Career level: Early-career basic scientists 
  • Funding period: Up to 12 months 
  • Funding amount: Up to £15,000 


  • 31 March (Committee in July) 
  • 31 July (Committee in November) 
  • 1 December (Committee in March) 

The scheme operates through three distinct funding streams: 


  • Applicants must be in receipt of a salary for the duration of the proposed award. 
  • The research must take place at an established research institution in the UK. 
  • Applicants should normally be no more than four years into 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 that provides salary support are eligible to apply for this scheme. We advise that these potential applicants contact to discuss their eligibility in more detail. 
  • Applicants must identify a mentor on the application. 

Researchers who do not meet the eligibility criteria for the early-career small grant scheme may apply for small amounts of funding through the project grant scheme. However, these applications will be in competition with all other project grant applications. 

Financial support 

Awards are provided for up to one year (longer periods of time may be requested if fully justified). Up to £15,000 can be provided for material and consumables, small pieces of equipment, animal purchase and maintenance and collaborative travel. Specific training costs required to undertake the research may be allowed and will be reviewed on a case by case basis. All costs should be fully justified.

The scheme does not support costs associated with salaries. Early-Career Small Grants are not intended to be used as ‘top-up’ funds to meet a shortfall in funding from another body. 

How to apply 

Administrative process 

All applications will be reviewed by a sub-Committee Panel (with co-opted members if necessary) instead of sending out for external peer review. 

Grants Advisory Panel and Research Committee Sub-Panel Teleconference  

Prior to the Research Committee Sub-Panel teleconference, the Diabetes UK Grants Advisory Panel (GAP) will discuss all Early Career Small Grant applications. GAP is comprised of people living with and affected by diabetes, who use the lay summary of each grant application to establish how relevant the research is to people living with diabetes.  

The GAP perspective can directly influence the funding decision made. We recommend applicants take this into consideration, making sure that the summary for people living with diabetes is written in plain English.  

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. 

Please read the guidance below to determine which scheme to apply for and contact us at if you have any questions. 

Funding decision

Feedback letters will be sent to all lead applicants within one of the Research Committee Sub-Panel teleconference. Funded applicants will have two weeks to respond to comments raised by the Panel. Funded applicants should expect to receive an award letter within two months of the Research Sub-Panel teleconference.  

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