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RD Lawrence Fellowship

Key information 

  • To support: postdoctoral researchers to establish their independence in diabetes research. 
  • Career level: three to ten years postdoctoral experience.
  • Funding period: over four or five years, depending on the study requirements. 
  • Funding amount: up to a total of £525,000. 
  • Deadline for preliminary application: 1 October.
  • Deadline for full application: 31 October.

The RD Lawrence Fellowship was established in recognition of the life and work of the late Dr Robert Daniel Lawrence, co-founder of Diabetes UK.

Our RD Lawrence Fellowships…

  • Empower researchers to become independent leaders in their field;
  • Help researchers obtain recognition from their institutions;
  • Enable researchers to nurture the next generation of PhD students and early-career researchers. 

Our recent career impact evaluation looked at what former grant holders of RD Lawrence Fellowships over the past 15 years have gone on to do and the impact of receiving the grant. Results show that most of them have become independent leaders in diabetes research and are nurturing the next generation of researchers. 


Our RD Lawrence Fellowships help cultivate confident future leaders in diabetes research. 92% of our former fellows over the past 15 years secured further funding to grow their ideas within one year of their grant ending. 67% received permanent position within four years, and 64% are leading their own diabetes research group. 8 former fellows are currently mentoring 52 early-career researchers.
RD Lawrence
RD Lawrence


  • The research must take place at an established research institution in the UK. 
  • Applicants usually have three to ten years' postdoctoral experience from the date of their doctoral degree examination (PhD viva). Allowance will be given to applicants whose career has been subject to a late start or interruption for family or personal reasons. Applicants are advised to contact us at if they fall outside the stated experience band but feel they should still be considered for the fellowship. 
  • Applicants are expected to have proven research experience and plan to maintain a long-term interest in diabetes. 
  • All applicants must have identified a sponsor before applying. We cannot identify sponsors for potential applicants and will not accept applications from applicants without a potential sponsor. 

Financial support 

Funding can cover:  

  • the salary for the applicant,
  • the salary for a technician or postgraduate research assistant,  
  • consumables, materials, equipment and animal costs,
  • conference costs of up to £2,500 for registration, travel and accommodation, 
  • training costs of up to £1,500 relevant to the project.

All costs must be fully justified and will be considered by the review panel.

How to apply 

Preliminary applications open in March each year, and have a deadline a month before the full applications.

To apply, please read the general guidelines for grant applicants and tips for writing a grant application. Then log on to the Diabetes UK online grants management system and complete the preliminary application with a CV, list of publications and details of a potential sponsor. 

Eligible applicants will be invited to submit a full application. 

Administrative processes 

All applications will be sent out for external peer review. All applicants will be informed well in advance when they should expect to hear if they have been shortlisted for interview. 

Shortlisting and interview 

Applications will be sent to a specialist review panel, made up of a subset of the Diabetes UK Research Committee, to make recommendations for shortlisting based on the criteria listed below. 

Applicants will be informed via email whether they have been shortlisted for interview. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend an interview with the relevant panel. Anonymised peer reviews will be sent to all applicants.  

Interviews will take place in May or June. Shortlisted applicants will be required to give a 10 minute presentation on background and justification of their proposal.  

Assessment criteria 

Applications are assessed on the following criteria: 

  • Quality of the proposal and its relevance to people with diabetes.

  • Track record of applicant.

  • Applicant’s leadership potential.

  • Quality of research environment and support.

Funding decision 

Feedback letters will be sent to all shortlisted applicants within two weeks of their interview. Funded applicants will then have two weeks to respond to comments raised by the review panel. Funded applicants should expect to receive an award letter within two months of their interview. 

Mid-fellowship review 

Alongside annual reporting, funded fellows will be required to attend a mid-fellowship review. This informal and supportive review aims to provide encouragement and advice and is not designed as a stop/go assessment of progress. Fellows will be encouraged to discuss any issues or problems openly. The mid-fellowship review panel will involve different individuals to those who originally interviewed the fellow. For more details about this process please contact us at  

Additional information 

We are committed to supporting our early career and fellowship researchers on their journey to independence. Please visit our support for early career researchers webpage for more information. 

All funded applications are eligible for the Academy of Medical Sciences Mentoring Scheme. 

Global Talent Visa  

Diabetes UK Fellowship holders requiring a visa to work in the UK are eligible to apply for a Global Talent Visa under the fast-track process of endorsement (route 2: individual fellowships). In line with the highly prestigious nature of your award, the Global Talent Visa is designed for people who are recognised as leaders and potential leaders in their field.  

This initiative is approved by the British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society. Should you wish to apply for this visa you should select the ‘Fast Track consideration’ option on the Home Office endorsement application form and use your award letter as evidence of your Fellowship. You can apply for fast-track Global Talent Visa endorsement up to five years after the end of your fellowship and you do not need to have a post or institution confirmed. It is recommended that you arrange your visa in plenty of time before the start date of your award. Further details can be found on the UK government website and the Royal Society’s website. You can also contact the Royal Society at 

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