RSE Sabbatical Research Grants

Funding area: Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM), Social Sciences

These Grants offer academic staff on open-ended or continuing contracts of employment in Scottish Higher Education Institutions the opportunity to take up to twelve months sabbatical leave to focus on a research project of their choice.

In addition to funding the salary for the replacement member of staff up to point 37, this Grant funds research costs for the awardee of up to £10,000.

These Grants are supported by funding from the Scottish Government and research projects proposed must align to one or more of the Scottish Government National Outcomes, as detailed in the National Performance Framework.

Please note: we recently clarified our eligibility criteria to minimise confusion. Please check the ‘Eligibility’ tab below or log into your account to view the revised Guidelines.

Fund deadline passed

This fund is currently closed for applications.

Fund value

For the salary of a replacement staff member up to scale point 37, £41,526 as of August 2019, and research costs up to £10,000.

Fund duration

Awards will be made for projects up to a maximum of 12 months.

Additional Information

Applicants must be existing members of academic staff who acquired their PhD under 7 years ago and who have held a teaching appointment for a maximum of 7 years (since acquiring their PhD) in any Higher Education Institution in Scotland at the time of the application closing date.  Please note that grants are for academic members of staff on open-ended or long-term contracts, not postdoctoral Research Fellows.
Consideration will be made for periods of maternity/paternity/adoption leave after award of PhD of up to 18 months per child. Please include the time you were away from work on maternity/paternity/adoption leave in the section ‘career history’ of the application form. Documented periods of leave for other reasons, i.e. long term medical absence, will also be taken into consideration.

Applicants are required to pursue their research in a HEI or Research Institute (RI) in Scotland. Only these are acceptable as Host Institutions.

The Grant must be in one of the STEM disciplines as defined in Section C of the guidelines, including inter-disciplinary areas: Biomedical Sciences, Engineering, Mathematical and Computational Sciences, Physical Sciences, Environmental Sciences, Social Sciences, and Health and Life Sciences. Please note that subjects in the Arts & Humanities are not eligible for this scheme. The RSE uses the AHRC definition of Arts and Humanities, available here.

The research projects proposed must align to one or more of the Scottish Government National Outcomes, as detailed in the National Performance Framework.

Once appointed, the awardees will be required to devote their full time to the research project specified in the application form.

Awardees must not hold other paid appointments without the express permission of the RSE.

Due to a recent review of the RSE Awards programme, please note that RSE Committee members are not permitted to apply for funding from an award scheme for which they serve on the Committee.  Committee members who wish to apply should step down from their post first.

Applications for Sabbatical Research Grants are now open. The deadline for applications is Monday 14th October 2019 at 5pm.

To apply, create a personal profile on the RSE website, or log in using your existing details:

Once in your personal profile, register to apply under “apply for funding” in the menu on the left hand side of the screen. You will then be able to access the application form, guidelines, terms & conditions and referee forms for the relevant award. Please ensure you read all eligibility criteria carefully before applying. Once completed, email your application to

If you have any questions in the meantime, please contact us.