Early-career Research Fellowship

We are investing in our future movement

As one of the very few registered charities devoted to addressing the most important gaps in research funding in bone, joint and muscle wellbeing, we must always keep investing in our future movement.

The need we serve is ever-worsening: 19m people suffer from musculoskeletal (MSK) problems in the UK, resulting in ever-lengthening NHS waiting lists, and the loss of 30m working days to the UK economy.

We want to use our funding to drive breakthrough research to reduce the burden on individuals, on workplaces, and our health system. We aim to support research capable of being translated into benefits for people. This is achieved by investing in academic and non-academic research within the following two areas:

  • Diagnosis
  • Treatment

Research with patients at its heart

The research we fund should be aimed at enhancing the quality of life for those affected by debilitating bone, joint and muscle conditions. The goal is to identify challenging areas in diagnosis and treatment, understand the underlying mechanisms involved, and develop appropriate scientific, clinical or technological solutions to address them.

The purpose of the Fund

Designed to support the brightest and best academic talents interested in advancing MSK research in the UK.

  • Help establish researchers’ academic independence and international reputation
  • Develop ambassadors for ORUK and support them to become future MSK leaders
  • Funding of up to £110K over 2 years

Help & Support

The supervisor plays a key role in helping with the writing and structure of the application, as well as offering support during the research.

Who can apply?

Early-career clinical and scientific researchers who are within eight years of their PhD award or equivalent professional training, or within six years of their first academic appointment, are invited to apply (ECR definition).

At the end of each period of research, the fellow is asked to submit an evaluation and a report along with details of publications and presentations. It is expected that the successful Fellows will support ORUK with public engagement, annual reports and publications, as well as fundraising campaigns (if any).

The financial and non-financial support of ORUK must be duly acknowledged in all the presentations given by the Fellows.

How many Fellowships will be funded?

Up to five (dependent on the quality and available budget)

Supporting documents

Expression of Interest (EoI) online application form

Guidelines for researchers

When is the deadline?

The application form must be submitted by no later than Monday, 5 June 2023 at 17:00.


To Apply



Help us continue funding research

The generosity of our donors will help us fund innovative research projects in the UK that expand knowledge, improve patient outcomes and pioneer new forms of orthopaedic treatment. Your support makes a real difference to the lives of millions of people suffering poor orthopaedic health, today and into the future.


What our community has to say

Musculoskeletal tissue engineering

ORUK has been very supportive of a younger career researchers like me. It has been great to have people that put faith in you, rather than always going for the big groups and big universities.  I would not be in the position I am now, has it not been for the support of ORUK.

Dr Jennifer Paxton

Senior Lecturer in Anatomy at the University of Edinburgh

Guiding sarcoma surgery

ORUK was the perfect partner for this project because it focuses on the treatment of people facing the most extreme musculoskeletal challenge – reducing the impact of orthopaedic surgery on sarcoma patients.

Mr Kenny Rankin

Consultant Orthopaedic Oncologist and Honorary Senior Lecturer at Newcastle University

Stem cell therapy

ORUK provides an invaluable source of research funding for those of us working within orthopaedics and especially those of us involved with smaller, but still valuable, research projects which can struggle to attract support from the larger funds. The MSK network represents an amazing opportunity, especially for academics like me to meet entrepreneurs and potential investors – to bounce ideas off each other and maybe even secure funding for our ideas.

Mr Vipin Asopa

Consultant Orthopaedic & Trauma Surgeon at South West London Elective Orthopaedic Centre