Application advisors

RLUK and AHRC welcome applications from individuals of all backgrounds to this scheme. We would particularly like to encourage applications from members of ethnic minority communities, who constitute under-represented groups within the library sector.[1] We would also like to offer support to those colleagues who feel that they are disadvantaged in making an application, whether for professional or personal reasons, regardless of their background. 

One of the ways that RLUK and AHRC will support applications is through the signposting of advice and guidance available to applicants, including that available from a small number of application advisors. Application advisors are members of the academic and research community who have extensive experience of applying for academic funding. Utilising their own personal experience, they are willing to offer generic and limited advice to potential applicants regarding what can make a compelling case for research funding.

This support and advice sits outside of the application and assessment process for this scheme, and RLUK and AHRC wish to stress that every application received to this scheme will be assessed on equal terms, regardless of the sex, age, and/or ethnicity of the applicant. Proposals will be assessed and graded on their merits, in accordance with the criteria and the aims and objectives set for this scheme (available within the Full Application Guidance document), and regardless of an individual’s background and whether they have received application advice.

Please be aware that, depending on demand, we may not be able to fulfil every request for an application advisor.

Please note: The advice offered by advisors will be generic and will not relate specifically to your individual application (see below, role of application advisors). If you have a specific question about your application, we advise that you ask this during one of the  scheme’s Application Surgeries or contact AHRC/RLUK directly using the contact details provided within the Application Guidance.

Role of application advisors

A small number of application advisors are available to offer generic advice to potential applicants on how best to submit highly-competitive applications to academic funders. 

Application advisors will:

  • Offer generic and non-tailored advice on how to make a competitive application to a research or academic funder, reflecting their own experience as highly-accomplished and experienced members of the academic and research community.
  • Act as a critical friend to a potential applicant when they are considering their application.

Application advisors are undertaking this role in a voluntary capacity, in addition to their normal role. As a result of time constraints and their other commitments, application advisors will not be able to:

  • Read or comment on draft applications written by applicants
  • Engage in extensive correspondence or meet with applicants on multiple occasions (virtually)
  • Endorse applications or write statements of support
  • Offer advice or answer questions specifically in relation to the Professional Practice Fellowship scheme
  • Speak on behalf of AHRC or RLUK.

Depending on demand from applicants, we may not be able to satisfy all requests. Applicants are encouraged to read existing advice available regarding some of the common considerations when making a research application and to attend one of the application surgeries for further advice and guidance.

If you would like to receive support from an application advisor, please complete this short google form: Request an application advisor.

In completing this form, you agree that your details will be stored by RLUK (in line with its privacy notice) and that the information entered will be shared with a potential advisor. You will be required to accept these conditions on submitting your form.

If you have any questions about this process, please contact RLUK at the address given within the scheme guidance.


[1] CILIP-ARA, Workforce Mapping Survey and Report (2015), https://www.cilip.org.uk/page/workforcemapping; Ishaq, Dr M and Hussain, Dr AM (2019). BAME staff experiences of academic and research libraries. London: SCONUL. https://www.sconul.ac.uk/page/bame-staff-experiences-of-academic-and-research-libraries