Fellowship Sponsorship at the CVR

The MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research has an open fellowship sponsorship process that provides full support to talented researchers interested in moving to the CVR, either into one of our existing groups or establishing your own group.

If you have a passion for virology, are looking to apply for a postdoctoral or transition to independence fellowship and would like to work at the CVR, please get in touch.

If selected for sponsorship, we will support you with writing your application and organise peer-reviews, and also work with you to help you prepare for fellowship interviews. The CVR is committed to supporting a diverse, inclusive and well-supported researcher community. We particularly welcome applicants from diverse backgrounds underrepresented in the CVR.


Transition to Independence Fellowships

For transition to independence fellowships, the CVR will announce calls for sponsorship requests twice a year, taking into account upcoming scheme deadlines, and to give sufficient time to write a competitive proposal. Following a triage process, applicants will be invited to the CVR to present their proposal in an open interview session. Applicants will be assessed on several criteria (see ‘Review criteria for transition to independence fellowship sponsorship requests’ below) and the most competitive will be selected for CVR sponsorship. Candidates will then discuss the upcoming fellowship deadlines and decide which would be most suitable for their research and career development needs. We recommend allowing 6 months to prepare a fellowship application, so please keep this in mind when considering application deadlines.

The next deadline to apply for sponsorship for a transition to independence fellowship is 23rd April 2024. For details of how to apply, please see the ‘Requesting fellowship sponsorship’ section below.


Postdoctoral Training Fellowships

There is an open call for postdoctoral training fellowships where potential applicants would identify a suitable host lab where they will carry out their own semi-independent research with the support of their sponsor. Requests will be considered on a rolling basis throughout the year to take advantage of opportunities from funders as they arise. Preparing a strong fellowship application takes time and we would strongly encourage potential applicants to contact us at least 6 months in advance of a deadline that they are considering so that we can properly support them.


If you have any queries about the process, please contact Linda.Rushworth@glasgow.ac.uk.

Figure which details the stages of the applications process for a fellowship sponsorship. This information is detailed in the body of text.

Requesting fellowship sponsorship

Candidates are invited to submit a “Request for Sponsorship” with the following information:

  • An outline of the fellowship project you intend to develop (max 2 pages)
  • A career plan (1 page)
  • Your CV in a narrative form using the following four section headings –
    • How have you contributed to the generation of new ideas, tools, methodologies or knowledge? (please provide a list of up to 10 of your publications or outputs, and in a couple of sentences for each, explain your contribution and why it is impactful. For publications, please give the citation in full).
    • How have you contributed to the development of others?
    • How have you contributed to the wider research and innovation community?
    • How have you contributed to broader research, and towards wider societal benefit?

Please send these as Word documents. Requests should be emailed to cvr-fellowships@glasgow.ac.uk

Review of fellowship sponsorship requests

The following review criteria will be applied to all requests:

  • Is the candidate likely to be competitive for an external fellowship based on their track record to date?
  • Is the proposed research project novel, innovative and feasible?
  • Is the proposed project complementary, yet sufficiently distinct, when viewed alongside existing CVR programmes?
  • Is this a sustainable area of research with strong prospects for future funding?
  • Is this research area synergistic with the CVR’s research strategy?
  • Is the CVR the most appropriate place to undertake this project, is suitable laboratory space available, together with the necessary facilities?
  • Will the candidate contribute to a positive research culture?

In all cases, we will do our best to clearly communicate to candidates the reasons for the decisions made. Candidates might find the information provided on the MRC website 'Skills needed to win support' helpful when evaluating your track record and assessing whether you meet the skills and experience required.

Support with application writing

To give you the best chance of obtaining a fellowship, the CVR offers support with application writing via a comprehensive internal review process. A timeline is prepared for you to ensure you are aware of the relevant deadlines for budget submission and proposal drafts. The scientific case for support is sent to Principal Investigators within the CVR (or appropriate researchers from other university departments) who will provide detailed feedback. There are normally 2-3 rounds of review of your case for support, with the aim being to incorporate any changes and improvements into the next draft.

The ‘non-science’ sections will be reviewed by Research Support and suggestions will be provided. Advice and support for establishing a budget will be given by our project coordinator, who will also provide you with details of the budget deadlines.

Preparing for your interview

If you are shortlisted for interview, we will assist you with your preparation by conducting mock interviews giving you an opportunity to develop your interview skills in a realistic and supportive way. We usually aim to have a minimum of two, usually three, mock interviews and constructive feedback will be given to allow you to improve your responses. The mock interview panels will be made up of CVR PIs, research support and any other researchers with relevant expertise. The aim of these mock interviews is to improve your confidence before the real interview and hone your understanding of the information fellowship panels are looking for.

Interview Presentation

Many fellowship interviews will include a requirement for you to make a short presentation. Depending on the funder and fellowship scheme, the presentation can have varying length and content requirements. You should ensure you read the presentation instructions carefully and adhere to the guidance given. We recommend you also use the following as a guide – 

  • Use a simple and uncluttered layout
  • Ensure you have addressed all the questions in the guidance
  • Have headings on all slides which state the ‘take home message’ of the slide
  • The text should only cover the main points – more details can be given verbally
  • Avoid being overly technical – not all the panel will be experts in your field so pitch it at the right level
  • Aim for the ‘big picture’ to communicate the potential impact of your research
  • Convince the panel that you are the best person to do this research, your host institution is the best research environment for this work, and that the project is both timely and exciting
  • Practice delivering your presentation to family/friends/colleagues to improve your delivery, timing and confidence

Interview Question Session

Depending on the fellowship you have applied for, the focus of the questions can vary from research orientated questions about your proposal, to a broader range of questions on career development and goals, readiness for research independence and leadership. You should do some research on the funder to familiarise yourself with their priorities and write out and practise your responses to potential questions. If you already have feedback from the fellowship reviewers, you should be prepared to address any of the points raised.

During the mock interview, you will be asked a variety of questions by members of the panel, and at the end of the question session, feedback on your answers will be provided along with suggestions of how they could be added to or improved.

The following links may be useful -

Post-award support

Successful applicants with transition-to-independence fellowships will be encouraged to enrol in the University’s Early Career Development Programme. They will be fully supported throughout the process of establishing their independent research programme. They will also be supported to develop skills in budgeting, people management, objective setting and any other training or development requirements that are identified.

“I found the support and insight provided by the CVR internal review process invaluable to my fellowship application. The discussions around experimental plans, feedback on various iterations of the application, and the mock interviews all combined to really put me in the best position possible to help me obtain my fellowship.”
- Ben Brennan (Sir Henry Dale Fellow)

“I am very grateful for the support the CVR has provided during the fellowship application process. At all steps, from writing to interview, my application has benefited from a diverse range of perspectives that reflect the CVR’s breadth of virology expertise.”
Suzannah Rihn (Sir Henry Wellcome Fellow)

“As an external candidate first approaching the CVR for sponsorship, I was impressed by the depth and breadth of advice and support I received throughout the fellowship application process. A detailed schedule was prepared for reviewers’ comments, mock interviews and key submission dates, which allowed me to plan well ahead.”
- Adam Fletcher (UKRI Future Leaders Fellow)