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Becoming a sponsored scientific researcher under the scheme


The RCUK Tier 5 Sponsored Scientific Researcher Initiative supports overseas postgraduate scientists to undertake a fixed-term research project in the UK for up to 24 months.  If you are a national from outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) and hold an offer to work at a UK organisation as a scientific researcher you may be eligible for sponsorship to work in the UK under the Sponsored Scientific Researcher Initiative.


To come to the UK as a Sponsored Scientific Researcher under this scheme you must meet the following requirements:

  • A Sponsored Scientific Researcher is a person specifically coming to the UK to lead, or take part in, any formal research project; and is receiving sponsorship funds for this purpose. Funding can be from sources within the UK or overseas.
  • You will be involved in a formal collaboration between a reputable research organisation/institute (there will be a formal hosting arrangement or memorandum of understanding in place)
  • The funding you receive must meet the national minimum wage and you must be able to support yourself without recourse to public funds.
  • You must hold, or be working towards a PhD.
  • You must adhere to the Sponsored Scientific Researcher scheme rules (Please email us for Terms & Conditions) and adhere to the UK’s immigration rules.

What to do next

If you think you may be eligible for sponsorship under the scheme, please speak to your future employer.

Note: If you and your host institution are eligible and accepted onto the scheme, your host must apply for your Certificate of Sponsorship through UK SBS. Once a CoS has been issued, you will be responsible for applying for a Tier 5 (Government Authorised Exchange) visa through the UK Border Agency, undertaking any application processes required by the UK Border Agency and advising UK SBS of any issues during the process.


Sposored Scientific Researcher Initiative


Sponsored Scientific Researcher Initiative  

Hosting a sponsored scientific researcher

Tier 5 Initial Assessment

Host briefing note


Contact the UK SBS Immigration Team


Telephone: +44(0)1793 867946