CRAC tracks careers of Royal Society Research Fellows


CRAC has published an independent evaluative study for the Royal Society tracking the careers of those benefiting from its Research Fellowships and considering the impact of those fellowships: Royal Society Research Fellowships: Career Pathway Tracker.

The research, compiled with support from the Institute for Employment Studies (IES), was commissioned by the Royal Society as the first part of its Research Fellows’ Career Pathway Tracker project. This aims to understand the long-term impact of the funding support it provides through the University Research Fellowship (URF) Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship (DHF) programmes. These schemes aim to support the transition of talented Early Career Researchers to become independent research leaders, and have supported over 1,600 individuals since 1983.

Results from this baseline survey, which obtained an 80% response rate from Research Fellowship alumni over this 35-year period, provide strong evidence of the transformative impact of this funding on researchers’ careers, in academia and beyond. Part of CRAC’s role was to define a series of indicators of the establishment of independent research leadership and track respondents’ progression in relation to them.

CRAC’s Director of Research & Intelligence said “Our tracking approach reveals new insights into the development of scientific research leadership for the men and women awarded these fellowships, and their subsequent career outcomes. We are delighted that it has produced such a strong validation of these prestigious fellowship schemes.”

Other themes in the survey include wider contributions to science (such as public engagement and policy-making), career breaks, and international and intersectoral mobility.

Insights from the Career Pathway Tracker programme will be used to inform the Royal Society’s future early career research programmes and support, and its relationship with alumni. CRAC looks forward to opportunities to apply similar tracking approaches with other research funders and schemes, to consider impact and career progression.

In parallel with CRAC’s independent report, the Royal Society is publishing a commentary on the results together with case studies of scientists who were awarded these Research Fellowships, to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the launch of the University Research Fellowship scheme.

Read the reports on The Royal Society website

CRAC tracks careers of Royal Society Research Fellows