The Global Talent visa: a streamlined route to bring your ageing research to the UK

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Have you considered a Global Talent visa? The Trust is an endorsed funder under the scheme so we spoke to Dr Sophia Amenyah, Dunhill Medical Trust Research Fellow, who has a Global Talent visa to carry out her research at Bournemouth University. We also spoke to Gabrielle Newson, Global Mobility Engagement Lead at UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), to understand what makes the scheme stand out.

I felt like the Global Talent visa validated my skills and presence in the UK. It made me feel valued as a researcher

Dr Sophia Amenyah, Dunhill Medical Trust Research Fellow
What is the Global Talent visa?

The Global Talent visa (GTV) is the UK’s visa for research and innovation. It’s the only visa fully integrated into the UK’s academic system and one of the quickest routes for researchers to come to the UK to carry out their work.

It has been purposefully designed to be flexible and gives researchers the freedom to move between UK organisations, institutions and roles, so they can follow the best career choices for their research. It also allows researchers to be eligible to settle in the UK after three years, if that’s what they wish to do.

The GTV is a great option for early career researchers, including those who are working towards demonstrating their independence

Gabrielle Newson, UKRI
Giving researchers peace of mind to focus on their research

Dr Sophia Amenyah is one of the Trust’s first grant-holders to hold a GTV. Sophia’s research is investigating how better nutrition can improve the health and well-being of older people. The research is set within United St Saviour’s Charity’s (USTSC’s) newly-built independent sheltered housing almshouse, Appleby Blue, located in Bermondsey, London. She is co-creating her project with older people and will also explore how community-based food models can support social connectedness. 

Dr Sophia Amenyah

“The GTV gave me the freedom and peace of mind to focus on my research, shaking off stress and worry,” she tells us. Not knowing which country you’ll be living in over the next two to three years is a big worry for many researchers. Having previously been on a three-year Skilled Worker visa, Sophia found herself always thinking a few years ahead and being tied to one employer or institution.

“Now, with a five-year GTV, I can move between institutions so my focus can be on the research, the reason why I’m here, and not worrying about whether I am still able to live in the UK or not, “ she explains. “I felt like the GTV validated my skills and presence in the UK. It made me feel valued as a researcher.”

Why researchers should choose the Global Talent visa

Applying is straightforward: if you’re funded by an UKRI endorsed funder and will be employed or hosted by an approved organisation, applying for a GTV simply involves providing a copy of your grant award letter and a letter from human resources at the organisation hosting your research project.

There’s less paperwork: in contrast to the Skilled Worker visa, the funder’s endorsement acts as proof that your research is topical, and that you have the right skills and expertise to carry it out. There’s no need to repeatedly justify your credibility as a researcher.  

It allows for more flexibility and freedom: the GTV doesn’t require an employer sponsor, whereas the Skilled Worker visa does, meaning researchers are free to move around within and between organisations, with no need to reapply or pay more fees for each change. Researchers can also switch to the GTV if they are already working in the UK and eligible.

The GTV is also suitable for early career researchers. The scheme is open to grants that are £30,000 and over covering a minimum period of two years, with many smaller charities and organisations on the endorsed list.  “Sometimes researchers think the GTV is only suitable for them later on in their career, and not fit for the first grant they lead or work on. This isn’t the case,” explains Gabrielle. “The GTV is a great option for early career researchers, including those who are working towards demonstrating their independence.”

The Dunhill Medical Trust is an endorsed funder under the Global Talent visa

We know that diversity is essential for great research. Being an endorsed funder of the scheme is important to us as it helps ensure that UK ageing research has access to a wider and more diverse talent pool. The Trust’s grant-holders are eligible for the GTV, as are other team members who are named or whose posts are listed on the grant.

If you’re still not sure whether the scheme is for you, or you have questions, then reach out to us at [email protected] or [email protected] at UKRI to find out more. 

We’d like to see more of the ageing research community become aware of the GTV and take advantage of the route, along with the teams they recruit, if it’s relevant to them. Help us spread the word about the GTV by sharing this blog with your institution, colleagues and friends.