Translational Fellowships

Our Translational Fellowships funding programme enables non-academic practitioners and policy makers to undertake research that addresses particular vulnerability and policing problems or solutions in their work.

Man and woman sat at a table talking to each other

The Translational Fellowships programme will fund or part-fund the release of these staff from relevant public and third sector UK or international organisations for collaborative work with the ESRC Vulnerability & Policing Futures Research Centre. Research will be co-produced between practitioners who have intimate knowledge and understanding of ‘front line’ support or policy issues, and researchers who have expertise in conducting robust academic research. The emerging research or research-related tools will therefore be both evidence-based and readily applicable to policy and practice, providing mutual benefit for fellows, their employers and the Centre.


The programme seeks to:

  • Support projects that combine the strengths of academic research and practice-orientated expertise to improve approaches to reducing harm among vulnerable groups in society;
  • Support further development of analytic capabilities within public, voluntary and private sector agencies working on issues of vulnerability and policing, e.g. the police, local authorities, support charities and campaigning organisations;
  • Promote research on vulnerability and policing that respects diverse insights, perspectives and contributions.

The form that specific projects take will vary and the funding is flexible to suit project needs within the resource constraints. The projects may involve an individual or a small team, but will usually have a named project lead. The programme is intended to provide sufficient flexibility to accommodate projects and ideas that are tailored to the needs of the fellows, their employer and the Centre.

The Translational Fellowship projects will align with and advance the Centre’s mission, programme of research, values and principles.

Get in touch

If you have an idea for a project, we want to hear from you. We recognise that to design projects which align with the scope and mission of the Centre, employers and individuals will benefit from input from Centre colleagues to develop your ideas; we are keen to do this with you. If you are interested in applying but would like to meet to discuss development of your idea, please get in touch with Centre Communications and Engagement Officer, Nathan Capstick via

Benefits of the programme

For employers:

  • enabling research projects which directly support their work and priorities
  • building organisational capacity for research and analytic capability
  • enhancing professional development opportunities for staff
  • building/strengthening networks with other agencies active in the area of vulnerability and policing

For Translational Fellows:

  • leading projects that help address systemic issues
  • developing methodological, analytical and research-related skills in ways that are tailored to their individual personal development goals
  • leading to possible future research or work towards a higher degree (Master’s/PhD)
  • contributing to building coalitions for change in the area of vulnerability and policing

For the Centre:

  • Advancing work which is in line with the mission and values of the Centre
  • Supporting collaborations and knowledge exchange between academic research and non-academic partners
  • Supporting initiatives which are of practical benefit in the area of vulnerability and policing research, policy and practice

Key stakeholders in the programme are therefore Translational Fellows (TFs), Employers of TFs (employers), the Centre and the wider community of professional experts and academics working in the area of vulnerability and policing.

Who can apply to be a Translational Fellow?


Applications are invited from people working in the fields of policy and practice related to the research programme of the Centre within the area of vulnerability and policing.

  • People employed by organisations that are active in work related to vulnerability and policing.
  • The support of the applicant’s employer is key to the success of Translational Fellowships. It will be expected that the employer will provide the Fellows with sufficient time/resources to spend on the project. Further detail on employer commitment is included below.
  • Interest in working collaboratively with academics and UK Universities.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

In line with Centre values and principles, we especially welcome applications from under-represented groups (in either academia or in practice) including people of colour and women. Funding is available for reimbursement of childcare/caring responsibilities associated with translational fellowships, subject to the requirements of University policy on reimbursements, please do ask us if you would like more information on this. We are keen to work to address other practical barriers to undertaking fellowships and would always explore opportunities to find ways of addressing these through dialogue and institutional collaboration.

What types of projects are supported?

If you have an idea for a project, we want to hear from you. We recognise that to design projects which align with the scope and mission of the Centre, employers and individuals will benefit from input from Centre colleagues to develop your ideas; we are keen to do this with you.

We anticipate that the types of projects will vary considerably, but the following are examples which may support the generation of ideas:

  • Making better use of existing administrative data to shed light on policing vulnerability
  • Developing better inter-agency coordination across organisations working with vulnerable groups
  • Improving police procedure/protocols when dealing with specific types of cases/situations involving vulnerable people
  • Developing evidence-based training materials for professionals to help them deal sensitively and constructively with people from vulnerable groups
  • Developing tools or applications that better enable service providers to engage and communicate with vulnerable groups
  • Tailoring vulnerability-related services in ways that better promote equality, diversity and inclusion of under-represented communities and hard to reach groups.
  • Fostering trauma-informed approaches to service provision for victims and vulnerable individuals

What support is available?

The Centre comprises an extensive network of leading researchers from a wide range of disciplines with expertise in research into vulnerability and policing, at 13 institutions across the UK and beyond. We will identify and allocate an appropriate academic mentor to act in both a supportive and an advisory capacity to each successful Translational Fellow project. The designated mentor will be able to provide guidance and input on project design and delivery including research methods and ethics. Mentors will commit to meeting with Translational Fellows monthly.

The Centre is committed to building research capacity, and as such is able also to provide support and guidance in practical aspects of doing research and project management and dissemination support from the Centre’s professional services team.

What funds are available?

It is anticipated that a Translational Fellowship award will be approximately £10K for a six-month project, although we will consider applications for short and smaller amounts as well as larger or longer applications if they are especially strong in terms of advancing the aims of the programme. Short intensive projects may pose challenges for ensuring suitable mentor support, but we are open to discussion and would seek to work with you to establish a work pattern/duration that worked for fellows, employers, mentors and for the proposed project.

How funding can be used

It is envisaged that funding will primarily be paid to the employer to release the Fellow for a period or a proportion of their time. The employer may, for example, wish to use this to ‘backfill’ i.e. pay for temporary cover for the Fellow’s normal duties, at its discretion.

Travel and subsistence costs and any other direct costs relating to the Fellow’s project may also be funded, but must be costed into the proposal at the outset.


For example, an award of £8K might be allocated as follows, based on an assumed salary at the employer organisation of £40K:

Fellow’s time:

  • 1 day per week for 6 months: £4,000
  • 2 weeks full time – writing up time: £1,667

Other costs:

  • Travel: £2,333

Total award value: £8,000

The amount awarded will be the total funding available. Changes to how the funds are allocated within the award may be possible, provided proposed changes are agreed with the ESRC Vulnerability & Policing Futures Research Centre in advance.

Employer contributions

We are particularly keen that employers and other organisations benefiting from TF projects also support the planned work through matched commitments. The Centre aims to use its ESRC funding to leverage additional investments, wherever possible and available, to maximise potential benefit for the public good. As such, co-funding commitments from employers in relation to proposed Fellowship projects are encouraged. These may be cash or in-kind commitments (such as staff time, access to resources, equipment or datasets).

Transfer of funding

Following a successful application, a funding agreement will be shared with the Employer, which will form a contractual agreement covering delivery of the project, intellectual property/ownership of outputs and transfer of funds. Employers will then invoice the University of Leeds in instalments throughout the project to receive the funding.


We are open to how the individual and the employer would like to make best use of the funding, to cover the cost of the individual’s time and travel.

In the above example (see ‘How funding can be used’), if the employer organisation were able to make a match funding contribution e.g. of an additional day per week either for the same six months or to extend the one day per week for a further six months, the full Fellowship could run at two days per week for six months, or one day per week for 12 months.


While the outputs of all projects are likely to be different, the Centre requires that all Fellows produce a short four-page report (in accordance with a template/structure to be provided by the Centre), outlining their project, to be submitted within three months after the end of the Fellowship. These reports will be disseminated via the Centre and used as case studies on the Centre website and form other types of publicity. The Centre also requires that all Fellows present on their project to the Centre at an agreed time.


Project leads will be supported by an academic mentor to secure any ethical approval for research activity via the University of York or the University of Leeds, or alternatively through a relevant ethics committee at the institution where the academic mentor is based.

Intellectual Property

While authors, including Translational Fellows themselves, mentors and others associated with projects, will retain Intellectual Property rights of outputs generated, the Centre will have the right to publish, share, and use the short summary reports to promote public and policy engagement with the work of the project and the Centre more widely. Any such activity will be done in consultation with the authors.

Open research

In line with the Centre’s commitment to open research, we encourage Fellows to explore formal means of sharing their methods and tools to support replication and extension by others. Similarly, where datasets can be appropriately anonymised to permit sharing, we encourage this.

How to apply

To apply, please complete the application form and submit it by email to, including ‘Translational Fellowship application’ in the subject line.

The Centre Leadership Team will initially review applications to ensure that they are relevant and fit with the Centre’s strategic priorities and can be suitably supported. Applicants may be invited for a short interview to discuss their applications. Applications that fit the Centre’s strategic priorities will then be reviewed by an assessment panel. The panel will comprise a mix of academic and practitioner representatives working with the Centre to bring a balance of research and service delivery expertise in the context of vulnerability and policing. Membership will be built from a sub-group of the Centre’s existing Core Academic Team of Co-Investigators, combined with representation from a range of the Centre’s external partner organisations.

The Centre will aim for the composition of the panel to include appropriate expertise related to the subject of the project proposal and to reflect the principles and values of the Centre. We aim to review applications and respond within three months.


If you are interested in applying but would like to meet to discuss development of your idea, please get in touch with Centre Communications and Engagement Officer, Nathan Capstick via