Supporting the UK's change-makers

Our proposition is simple:

  1. We find potential change-makers from all areas and sectors of the UK.
  2. We fund them to visit the world’s most innovative projects and organisations.
  3. They bring back ideas that can transform their professions and communities.
  4. We help them to share their ideas and make change happen across the UK.

Finding change-makers across the UK

For over 50 years we have been finding and helping some of the UK’s most inspiring people to pursue the causes they care about most – topics central to the quality and progress of their communities and professions.

They might be a policewoman keen to reduce stress in her force, a teacher eager to promote woodworking in primary school, a musician using carnival for community cohesion or a botanist exploring tropical plant selection. The range of topics is as varied as the Fellows themselves, who come from every walk of life and represent every aspect of society.

What unites them all is a sense of vocation. They have found the cause that could be their life’s work, something so powerful that many will put their careers on hold while they pursue the purpose they’re passionate about.

They are change-makers, self-starters, entrepreuners of ideas, tomorrow’s knowledge leaders – and what they need is support to turn their vision into action.

Funding their global research

That’s where we can help. Every year we invite applications from anyone across the country who can present a compelling idea that could improve our national life and would benefit from being researched abroad.

The only threshold for applicants is that they must be a UK resident citizen aged 18 or older. And the only criteria for success are the power of their idea and the potential of their commitment to make a real impact when they return.

Our selection panels of experts cover every field, from science to education, healthcare to the arts and beyond. They carefully review over a thousand applications each year to find the outstanding individuals who will become Churchill Fellows.

For the recipients, this is the beginning of a journey that is often transformational, for themselves and for the issues they’re passionate about.

Afterwards many tell us their Fellowship has been life-changing. And the aspect they value most is that we spotted their potential, trusted their talent and helped them to achieve more than they had ever expected.

That journey starts with their research trip overseas, to explore their idea among global leaders in their field. It continues when they return and develop their findings into a practical programme of action in their sector or their community. And its effects expand for years afterwards, with our ongoing support.

Transforming professions and communities

We track Fellows’ progress over many years and find that the effect on their sectors, as well as on themselves, can be profound. Many go on to become experts in their field, leaders of programmes and organisations, and opinion-formers in their areas. Decades later, they are still drawing on the insights and acceleration that their Fellowship provided.

“This was a truly life-changing experience, professionally and personally,” said headteacher John Boulton, ten years after his Fellowship.

“It was one of the most valuable experiences of my career,” reflected Dr Deanna Gibbs. “I felt inspired, challenged, reflective, honoured and humbled by the opportunities I’ve had.”