UKRI Future Leaders Fellowships fund - Evaluation scoping and feasibility study

The Future Leaders Fellowships is a pan-UKRI flagship programme which will receive £900 million over the next 11 years, with six funding competitions and up to 550 Fellowships awarded. The programme aims to develop the next generation of research and innovation leaders through supporting: high quality and impactful research, increased engagement between industry and academia, increased multi and interdisciplinary research and innovation, and a more equal, diverse and inclusive research and innovation workforce. It provides sustained funding for fellows (up to seven years) and supports careers across all subjects and sectors including academia, industry and the public sector. More information on Future Leaders Fellowships can be found here.  

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is committed to undertaking a rigorous evaluation of the programme, which will identify outcomes and support conclusions about its longer-term impact. However, evaluating the contribution of the FLF against its aims brings particular challenges. To best address and account for these challenges in the programme evaluation, UKRI commissioned the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) and Professor Marc Cowling (University of Derby) to undertake a pre-evaluation stage study to scope the issues and explore the feasibility of various evaluation approaches. 

This scoping and feasibility study will run from November 2020 to March 2021 and provide recommendations for the full external evaluation.

The study involves a number of elements. At its core is engagement with expert stakeholders within the research and innovation community including evaluation experts and those involved in developing and implementing the Future Leaders Fellowships programme. This will take place through a series of workshops, surveys and meetings.

Other activities include:

  • mapping programmes aimed at developing research and innovation capability in the UK, particularly those aimed at early career researchers and developing research leaders across academia and industry;
  • a review and critique of monitoring and evaluation approaches including those used to evaluate researcher development programmes;
  • a review of programme documentation, and analysis of programme monitoring data and wider data to provide a baseline to measure progress;
  • and scoping of potential data sources to produce indicators and impact measures.