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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.