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CARINA Network Early Career Development Application Guidance Notes

The CARINA Network Early Career Development Grant is designed to assist the career prospects of CARINA Network members who are in the CARINA ECR Forum by providing funding for a wide range of activities and initiatives that will build their skillset and boost future employability. Through this scheme, we aim to provide more intensive support, across sectors, for networking, skills acquisition, ‘pump-prime’ activity and activities that aid transition between sectors. These grants aim to provide flexible financial support to members for activities that will enhance their careers. Examples of projects this grant scheme aims to fund includes: 

  • Fund pilot projects/proof of concept data to aid future research grant applications
  • Purchase equipment to help you further your research
  • Lab placements or visits to allow you to learn a new technique
  • Training courses to build your skill set e.g. leadership courses or higher education teaching courses
  • Presenting your work at an international conference

We are committed to the principles of diversity, equality and inclusion, and thereby welcome applications from individuals of all backgrounds. If you have an idea for funding but are not sure whether it’s eligible for this grant scheme or not, please email to discuss. 


The grant can be from £100 up to £5,000 with a strong justification required for the level of funding being requested. 


Applications will close on 12 June 2024.  

Who can apply

You must be an early-career member of the CARINA Network and part of the CARINA ECR Forum to be eligible for this grant. 

Membership of the ECR Forum is open to CARINA Network members who meet the UKRI criteria for Early Career Researchers (i.e., researchers who are within eight years of their PhD award or equivalent professional training and/or are within six years of their first academic appointment). 

If you would like to discuss your eligibility for this grant please email  

Information about completing the application form

Applications should be sent to You will need to send through a completed application form and your CV (max. 2 sides). Applications for £1,000 or more should also include a letter of support from a relevant referee to confirm your suitability for the proposed activity/project. If you are requesting funding to visit a lab or institute in the UK or abroad for training, please provide of letter of support from that lab or institute and your current place of work even if the funding request is under £1,000.

For applications up to £999, no referee letter of support is needed unless specifically requested by the review panel or if you are planning to undertake a lab visit (see point above).

As part of the application, the applicant will be required to describe the project/activity in detail, how it will progress their career and how it will be evaluated. 

Applicants need to provide a full budget breakdown of specific costs involved with the project/activity. Applicants should provide exact costings and should not apply for more than they need, e.g. don’t put down the maximum amount of £5,000 if you don’t need all of it. Provide a budget breakdown that shows how all of the grant applied for will be used.

Applicants need to give an approximate timeline of the project or activity. This should include start and end dates and also key dates in between to help frame the overall project or activity. 

When completing sections 6 and 7 of the application form concerning rationale, impact & evaluation, the information you supply should be proportionate to the grant amount requested in terms of length and detail. 

Throughout the application, you should focus as much as possible on your own career progression and how the funding will help you. While you can contextualise it to the activities of your lab or PI, you should emphasise how your own career will be supported and enhanced by the grant. 

The section 7 on the application form ‘impact and evaluation’ should be used to highlight i) the short-term learning you think you will gain from the project/activity and the effectiveness of it and ii) the longer-term impact of the project/activity on your career plans.

Grant criteria

Grants are awarded through a competitive process and assessed by our dedicated grant panel, chaired by the CARINA Management Board.  Applications are reviewed against the following criteria:

  • There is clear benefit to the applicant in how this grant will further their career, both in the short and longer term
  • There is a clear focus on immune ageing
  • Full and reasonable costings are provided
  • A clear, concise and relevant rationale for undertaking the project/activity
  • A clear timeline of activities is provided
  • A letter of support from a manager/ principal investigator/relevant individual for grants of £1,000 or more
  • If you are requesting funding in order to visit a lab or institute abroad for training, please provide of letter of support from that lab or institute and your current place of work even if the funding request is under £1,000.

Key information for grant holder

Grant holders will be required to use the grant before the end of March 2025 (unless with prior agreement with the CARINA Network’s Management Group). 

Grant holders will be required to write a shote report about the impact of their grant within three months after the end of the grant, which may be published on the CARINA website and elsewhere. More information will be provided to successful applicants.

When applying for a grant, applicants should be aware of the application timeline and should not apply for any project/activity that takes place before the grants are awarded. 

Other terms and conditions

This grant is not for core funding of PhD studies or postdoc employment. Any applications looking to fund costs that should be covered by the applicant's PhD funding or postdoc fellowship will be rejected. 

If the grant is used for research purposes, it is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that all relevant approvals (e.g. ethics, animal licenses) etc are in place as required. 

The grant recipient will comply with the law and generally accepted and appropriate health and safety standards.

The grant recipient shall not knowingly do anything which will or is intended to adversely affect the name or reputation of the CARINA Network.

If your grant involves travel, the CARINA Network will not accept any liability to the grant recipient or to any third party for any costs, claims, damages or losses that are incurred due to the need to travel  either when arriving in your destination country, during your visit or when arriving back into the UK or any other costs relating to the travel placement.

Grants cannot be awarded retrospectively. 

The CARINA Network’s decision shall be final. Incomplete applications will be rejected.


The CARINA Network will not accept any liability to the grant recipient or to any third party for any costs, claims damages or losses, however they are incurred.

Data protection and privacy

This grant scheme will be administered by the British Society for Immunology on behalf of the CARINA Network. We take your data security extremely seriously. We keep it safe, treat it with respect and we will never sell or share your data to any third parties for marketing purposes. To find out more information you can read our Privacy & Security Policy and Data Protection Policy on our website. If you have any queries, please contact