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Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) - An Accelerated process to support international mobility for top researchers

Research Councils UK will be cooperating with the Royal Society, British Academy and Royal Academy of Engineering, the Designated Competent Bodies, to pilot a streamlined endorsement process in order to make it easier for outstanding international researchers who have been awarded Research Councils funded fellowships to obtain a Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa.

This visa route is designed to bring the brightest and best to the UK – in the fields of natural science, humanities and social science, engineering and the arts – from outside the European Economic Area, and is open both to those who have already been recognised as world leaders (Exceptional Talent) and those with the potential to be future leaders (Exceptional Promise) in their fields. The Designated Competent Bodies under the new process, will be able to provide endorsement decisions on applications from researchers awarded specific Research Council fellowships under an accelerated timeframe, due to the rigorously competitive and peer reviewed process already conducted by the Research Council.

The Research Councils want to ensure that the individuals funded as fellows or future research leaders are equipped to be adaptable in an increasingly global research environment. We believe that the utilisation of the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent route will enhance our ability to attract outstanding researchers from around the world to work in the UK.

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Further information

Nicholas Turner
Press and Communications Manager
Tel: 01793 444592 or email: Nicholas Turner

Notes to editors

  1. If you would like further information on which grants or fellowships are eligible for the accelerated process please email For more information see

  2. Research Councils UK (RCUK) is the strategic partnership of the UK's seven Research Councils who annually invest around £3 billion in research. We support excellent research, as judged by peer review, that has an impact on the growth, prosperity and wellbeing of the UK. To maintain the UK’s global research position we offer a diverse range of funding opportunities, foster international collaborations and provide access to the best facilities and infrastructure around the world. We also support the training and career development of researchers and work with them to inspire young people and engage the wider public with research. To maximise the impact of research on economic growth and societal wellbeing we work in partnership with other research funders including the Technology Strategy Board, the UK Higher Education funding bodies, business, government, and charitable organisations.

    The seven UK Research Councils are:

    • Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC);
    • Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC);
    • Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC);
    • Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC);
    • Medical Research Council (MRC);
    • Natural Environment Research Council (NERC);
    • Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC).

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