Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Developmental pathway funding scheme: stage one

Start application

Apply for funding to develop and test novel therapeutics, medical devices, diagnostics and other interventions.

You must be based at a research organisation eligible for Medical Research Council (MRC) funding.

Your project can start and finish at any stage on the developmental pathway from early development, through pre-clinical refinement and testing to early-phase clinical studies and trials (up to phase 2a).

There is no limit on the amount of funding you can apply for, but it should be appropriate to the project. We usually fund 80% of a project’s full economic cost.

This is an ongoing funding opportunity. Application rounds close every March, July and November.

Who can apply

Before applying for funding, check the Eligibility of your organisation.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has introduced new role types for funding opportunities being run on the new UKRI Funding Service.

For full details, visit Eligibility as an individual.

Who is eligible to apply

To be eligible to apply for this funding opportunity you must:

  • be a researcher employed by an eligible research organisation
  • show that you will direct the project and be actively engaged in the work
  • be looking to develop and test novel therapeutics, medical devices, diagnostics and other interventions

If you do not have a contract of employment for the duration of the proposed project, by submitting an application the research organisation is confirming, if it is successful:

  • contracts will be extended beyond the end date of the project
  • all necessary support for you and the project will be provided, including mentorship and career development for early career researchers

International applicants

You can include international applicants as project co-leads if they provide expertise not available in the UK and make a major intellectual contribution to the design or conduct of the project. You must justify in your application, why their expertise is required, see ‘Applicant team capability to deliver’ section.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

We are committed to achieving equality of opportunity for all funding applicants. We encourage applications from a diverse range of researchers.

We support people to work in a way that suits their personal circumstances. This includes:

  • career breaks
  • support for people with caring responsibilities
  • flexible working
  • alternative working patterns

Find out more about equality, diversity and inclusion at UKRI.

What we're looking for

Scope

You can apply for academically-led translational projects that aim to either:

  • improve prevention, diagnosis, prognosis or treatment of significant health needs
  • develop research tools that increase the efficiency of developing interventions

All diseases and interventions are eligible for support. You can also address global health issues.

Your project can start and finish at any stage on the developmental pathway from early development, through pre-clinical refinement and testing to early-phase clinical studies and trials (up to phase 2a). You can submit follow-on proposals where you can justify the need for continued support.

Activities we support

You can apply for funding for work on novel:

  • candidate therapeutic entities (for example, drug discovery)
  • vaccines for infectious or non-infectious disease
  • biologics (antibodies, peptides, proteins)
  • advanced therapeutics (for example, gene therapy and T-cell therapy)
  • regenerative medicine approaches
  • repurposing clinical studies or using existing therapies for new indications
  • medical devices
  • digital healthcare, app development or artificial intelligence
  • diagnostics (including biomarker validation)
  • medical imaging technology
  • surgical techniques or tools
  • behavioural and psychological interventions
  • radiotherapy and radiation protocols
  • interventions that benefit health in low and middle-income countries

Activities we do not support

This funding opportunity will not support:

  • fundamental or investigative research not linked to a development plan (supported by the MRC science areas)
  • technology development not aligned to a medical or clinical developmental plan (likely BBSRC or EPSRC remit)
  • clinical studies where the main aim is to investigate disease mechanism (supported by the MRC Experimental Medicine Panel)
  • late-phase clinical trials (supported by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) efficacy and mechanism evaluation and NIHR health technology assessment programmes)
  • late-phase global health trials (supported by applied global health)

Learn about:

Duration

There is no limit to the duration of your project. You should justify the timescale of the project in the context of the proposed work.

Projects should start one to six months after the funding decision date.

Funding available

There is no limit to the amount of funding you can apply for. You should justify the resources needed in the context of the proposed work.

We will fund 80% of the full economic cost and 100% of permitted exceptions.

Find out more about full economic costing.

What we will fund

You can request funding for costs such as:

  • a contribution to the salary of the project lead and co-leads
  • support for other posts such as research and technical staff
  • research consumables
  • equipment
  • travel costs
  • data preservation, data sharing and dissemination costs
  • estates and indirect costs

You can also request costs for work to be undertaken at international organisations by international project co-leads. We will fund 100% of the full economic cost.

The total of such costs requested for international applicants from developed countries (those not on the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) List of ODA Recipients), India and China must not exceed 30% of the total resources requested.

There is no cap on costs requested for international applicants from list countries.
For more information on international costs and what we will and will not fund see costs we fund-overseas costs and the Collaborate with Researchers in Norway guidance.

What we will not fund

We will not fund:

  • costs for PhD studentships
  • publication costs
  • funding to use as a ‘bridge’ between grants
  • costs associated with applying for IP protection, for example, patent filing

Collaborations

We encourage working with charities or industry partners where these partnerships can add value to the project.

Collaborators may add value by giving access to:

  • expertise
  • technologies
  • reagents
  • funding

Please note that collaboration is not a prerequisite for application.

Team project partner

You may include team project partners that will support your research project through cash or in-kind contributions, such as:

  • staff time
  • access to equipment
  • sites or facilities
  • the provision of data
  • software or materials

Each project partner must provide a statement of support. If your application involves industry partners, they must provide additional information if the team project partner falls within the industry collaboration framework.

Find out more about subcontractors and dual roles.

Who cannot be included as a team project partner

The individual named as the contact for the project partner organisation cannot also be a named applicant, such as those with a role of project lead or co-lead and any other named member of staff.

Supporting skills and talent

We encourage you to follow the principles of the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers and the Technician Commitment.

International collaboration

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is committed in ensuring that effective international collaboration in research and innovation takes place with integrity and within strong ethical frameworks.

Trusted Research and Innovation (TR&I) is a UKRI work programme designed to help protect all those working in our thriving and collaborative international sector by enabling partnerships to be as open as possible, and as secure as necessary. Our TR&I Principles set out UKRI’s expectations of organisations funded by UKRI in relation to due diligence for international collaboration.

As such, stage two applicants for UKRI funding may be asked to demonstrate how their proposed projects will comply with our approach and expectation towards TR&I, identifying potential risks and the relevant controls you will put in place to help proportionately reduce these risks.

Find further guidance and information about TR&I – including additional where applicants can find additional support.

How to apply

We are running this funding opportunity on the new UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Funding Service. You cannot apply on the Joint Electronic Submissions (Je-S) system.

The project lead is responsible for completing the application process on the Funding Service, but we expect all team members and project partners to contribute to the application.

Only the lead research organisation can submit an application to UKRI.

If the lead research organisation is an NHS organisation, check it is available in the Funding Service. You are encouraged to check this early as there may be additional steps for the organisation to be set up before you can apply.

To apply

Select ‘Start application’ near the beginning of this Funding finder page.

  1. Confirm you are the project lead.
  2. Sign in or create a Funding Service account. To create an account, select your organisation, verify your email address, and set a password. If your organisation is not listed, email support@funding-service.ukri.org
    Please allow at least 10 working days for your organisation to be added to the Funding Service.
  3. Answer questions directly in the text boxes. You can save your answers and come back to complete them or work offline and return to copy and paste your answers. If we need you to upload a document, follow the upload instructions in the Funding Service. All questions and assessment criteria are listed in the How to apply section on this Funding finder page.
  4. Allow enough time to check your application in ‘read-only’ view before sending to your research office.
  5. Send the completed application to your research office for checking. They will return it to you if it needs editing.
  6. Your research office will submit the completed and checked application to UKRI.

Where indicated, you can also demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant:

  • use images sparingly and only to convey important information that cannot easily be put into words
  • insert each new image onto a new line
  • provide a descriptive legend for each image immediately underneath it (this counts towards your word limit)
  • files must be smaller than 5MB and in JPEG, JPG, JPE, JFI, JIF, JFIF, PNG, GIF, BMP or WEBP format

Watch our research office webinars about the new Funding Service.

For more guidance on the Funding Service, see:

Deadline

We must receive your application by 20 March 2024 at 4:00pm UK time.

You will not be able to apply after this time.

Make sure you are aware of and follow any internal institutional deadlines.

Following the submission of your application to the funding opportunity, your application cannot be changed, and applications will not be returned for amendment. If your application does not follow the guidance, it may be rejected.

Personal data

Processing personal data

MRC, as part of UKRI, will need to collect some personal information to manage your Funding Service account and the registration of your funding applications.

We will handle personal data in line with UK data protection legislation and manage it securely. For more information, including how to exercise your rights, read our privacy notice.

Publication of outcomes

MRC, as part of UKRI, will publish the outcomes of this funding opportunity at Board and panel outcomes.

If your application is successful, we will publish some personal information on the UKRI Gateway to Research.

Summary

Word limit: 550

In plain English, provide a summary of the need you are seeking to address, your proposed solution, the rationale for why your proposed solution is likely to meet the targeted need, and your development plan.

We may make this summary publicly available on external-facing websites, so make it suitable for a variety of readers, for example:

  • opinion-formers
  • policymakers
  • the public
  • the wider research community

Guidance for writing a summary

Clearly describe your proposed work in terms of:

  • context
  • the challenge the project addresses
  • aims and objectives
  • potential applications and benefits

Core team

List the key members of your team and assign them roles from the following:

  • project lead (PL)
  • project co-lead (UK) (PcL)
  • project co-lead (international) (PcL (I))
  • researcher co-lead (RcL)
  • specialist
  • grant manager
  • professional enabling staff
  • research and innovation associate
  • technician
  • visiting researcher

Only list one individual as project lead.

Find out more about UKRI’s core team roles in funding applications.

Application questions

Related applications

Word limit: 800

If this is a resubmission, provide a response to feedback from your previous Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme (DPFS) application.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If your application is not a resubmission, enter ‘N/A’ in the text box, mark this section as complete and move to the next question.

If your application is a re-submission to DPFS, please provide previous reference number and identify any invitations from us permitting your re-submission.

Ensure you describe:

  • how this application differs from the previous application
  • how previous feedback has been considered and addressed

You may demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. Further details are provided in the Funding Service.

Opportunity and market

Word limit: 800

What is the opportunity or challenge you are seeking to address?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Ensure you describe:

  • the health or clinical need you are seeking to address
  • how your work could lead to the development of a new or improved prototype, product, service or technology
  • how meeting this need could significantly reduce disease burden or alleviate an important translational bottleneck
  • the competing solutions and their status, including whether similar or complementary research is being taken elsewhere
  • the key competitive advantages of your proposed solution
  • the potential market for your proposed solution, in terms of the target product profile, patient numbers and financial parameters

Scientific background and current stage of development

Word limit: 1,000

What is the background to this application and evidence to support the proposed solution?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Ensure that you provide:

  • a brief description of the current stage of development
  • an overview of the rationale and scientific background of your application
  • information about your previous or current funding (if applicable) that has enabled and informed the proposed work, include any previous UKRI grant references. If you will have any funding concurrent to this project, explain any overlap and how that funding will support the proposed work
  • in the case of applications involving institutes, units or centres with existing core funding, including those funded by UKRI and NIHR, such as BRCs, describe how the proposed work and resources requested builds on, but is distinct from, core funded programmes of research

In this section, you must also provide supporting data (including a small selection of figures, tables and images where relevant) to demonstrate the current development stage of your project and proof-of-concept to support your application. Further details are provided in the Funding Service.

Small molecule supplementary information

Word limit: 1,500

If you are requesting funding for a hit to lead, lead optimisation or candidate selection project, please provide structures.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If your application is not about hit-to-lead and lead optimisation, enter ‘N/A’ in the text box, mark this section as complete and move to the next question.

Download and complete the DPFS small molecule supplementary information form (DOCX, 47KB), then paste the table into the text box.

Using the following headings, ensure that you provide:

Target Product Profile (TPP) or Key Target Compound Parameters of the proposed Investigational New Drug (IND):

  • target name
  • mechanism of action, such as agonist, antagonist
  • route of administration, such as oral, IV, topical
  • duration of treatment, such as acute, chronic
  • dosage regimen, such as twice daily
Structure and Data
  • provide structures for the most promising chemical series being actively developed. Failure to include chemical structures may negatively impact the ability to assess the suitability or strengths of your proposed chemistry plan
  • using the table as a template, summarise the available data in the same column for each series. Data are requested for any available assays for the lead molecule shown and the range seen within the chemical series, including (but not limited to):
    • biological assays
    • physicochemical properties
    • liabilities and development risks for up to two chemotypes or chemical series
Project Tractability
  • summarise the main structure activity or property relationships for each chemical series
  • highlight the key challenges to optimisation of the series towards the TPP and outline how these will be addressed
  • describe the biological assays and models to be used in the project including their duration and throughput where relevant
  • explain how risk associated with the translation between in vivo assays, in models, and activity in humans will be minimised

Development plan and route to patient benefit

Word limit: 500

What is the proposed approach for further development, and how will the project progress the innovation or technology towards achieving market or health or patient benefits?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Using the following headings, outline your:

Current development plan

You should describe:

  • how the proposed work will enable its development
  • the project’s primary objectives
  • the project endpoint that would indicate that there is a reasonable chance of attracting onward investment
  • the expertise or any consultancy required to deliver the proposed work
  • how the proposed work will inform or deploy the product or technology using the most appropriate route to market or patient benefit
Exit strategy

You should describe:

  • what further support you may need, following this funding, to deliver your product or technology, such as access to further funding, networks, partnerships, private investment and skills
  • the criteria that would need to be met to access further support
  • if you are ultimately seeking to develop a commercial product, the potential market value and how this will be realised, such as business development plans
  • any engagement taken place or planned with potential downstream funders, partners or regulators, outlining who they are and the status of discussions
  • the plans and strategy for further development, outlining the planned route to achieving patient benefits following the end of the DPFS project

Approach

Word limit: 2,000

How are you going to deliver your proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Provide an outline of your project plan, including your plans related to methodology and experimental design, along with your risk management strategy.

Project plan

Provide a summary of the project plan and an embedded ‘Gantt chart’ (to support your application), which should outline:

  • your project specific deliverables
  • your project’s starting point and approaches proposed to deliver the planned objectives
  • a minimum of two key progression milestones, one being the project end
  • for each milestone, the success criteria that will be used, detailing the robust ‘Go or No-go’ criteria, and an estimate of costs per milestone
  • the overall timeframe of the project
  • the resourcing necessary to deliver the proposed work, including access to facilities, infrastructure or equipment
  • if applicable, any NHS costs (excess treatment and NHS support costs), exception costs and outsourcing activity that the project will require
  • the project management requirements, including the commitment and involvement from your:
    • research office
    • translational research office, your technology transfer office’ or both

To support your project plan, you must embed a Gantt chart in the text box, that includes:

  • project tasks (these being short, achievable and measurable activities) with, where relevant, the party responsible for delivering the task and dependency between tasks
  • milestones which are major specifically-timed ‘Go or No-go’ decision points
Methodology and experimental design

As part of your methodology and experimental design, ensure that you outline:

  • the use of animals or patients, including justification for why specific animal models or clinical populations have been chosen, following the MRC embedding diversity in research design policy
  • the access you will have to statistical support during the project
  • the statistical analysis plans, including sufficient detail for the replication of proposed sample sizes and power calculations
  • the anticipated effects sizes and variability
  • potential sources of bias and describe the strategies that will be adopted to minimise their effects
  • for clinical studies, the recruitment and retention approach
Risk management

Outline the key risks to the project and your risk management plan, including:

  • how likely the risks are to occur
  • what their impact would be on the success and deliverability of the project
  • how these risks will be managed, by whom and related escalation or mitigations procedures

You may use a risk table if preferred.

We suggest you structure your response using the following headings, with approximate word counts for each:

  • project plan: 1,000 words
  • methodology and experimental design: 500 words
  • risk management: 500 words

You may demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. Further details are provided in the Funding Service.

Applicant and team capability to deliver

Word limit: 1,500

Why are you the right individual or team to successfully deliver the proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Evidence of how you, and if relevant your team, have:

  • the relevant experience (appropriate to career stage) to deliver the proposed work
  • the right balance of skills and expertise to cover the proposed work
  • the appropriate leadership and management skills to deliver the work and your approach to develop others
  • contributed to developing a positive research environment and wider community

You may demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. Further details are provided in the Funding Service.

The word count for this section is 1,500 words: 1,000 words to be used for R4RI modules and, if necessary, a further 500 words for Additions.

Use the Résumé for Research and Innovation (R4RI) format to showcase the range of relevant skills you and, if relevant, your team (project and project co-leads, researchers, technicians, specialists, partners and so on) have and how this will help deliver the proposed work. You can include individuals’ specific achievements but only choose past contributions that best evidence their ability to deliver this work.

Complete this section using the R4RI module headings listed. Use each heading once and include a response for the whole team, see the UKRI guidance on R4RI. You should consider how to balance your answer, and emphasise where appropriate the key skills each team member brings:

  • contributions to the generation of new ideas, tools, methodologies, or knowledge
  • the development of others and maintenance of effective working relationships
  • contributions to the wider research and innovation community
  • contributions to broader research or innovation users and audiences and towards wider societal benefit
Additions

Provide any further details relevant to your application. This section is optional and can be up to 500 words. You should not use it to describe additional skills, experiences, or outputs, but you can use it to describe any factors that provide context for the rest of your R4RI (for example, details of career breaks if you wish to disclose them).

Complete this as a narrative. Do not format it like a CV.

UKRI has introduced new role types for funding opportunities being run on the new Funding Service.

For full details, see Eligibility as an individual.

References

Word limit: 250

List the references you have used to support your application.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Include all references in this section, not in the rest of the application questions.

You should not include any other information in this section.

We advise you not to include hyperlinks, as assessors are not obliged to access the information they lead to or consider it in their assessment of your application.

If linking to web resources, to maintain the information’s integrity, include persistent identifiers (such as digital object identifiers) where possible.

You must not include links to web resources to extend your application.

Intellectual Property (IP) management and dissemination of project outcomes

Word limit: 800

What IP will be generated and how it would be managed during the project?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If your project will not generate any new IP, enter ‘N/A’ into the text box. A detailed definition of what DPFS considers to be IP is below.

IP is a collective term for all intangible assets such as data, clinical trial results, software, know-how, materials, inventions, methods, designs and the associated intellectual property rights (including patents, copyright and trademarks).

The generation of protectable IP is not an essential requirement for DPFS. Projects that will not generate patentable materials but that will nevertheless have the potential to provide health benefits are accepted on an equal basis. However, ownership and management of IP must be consistent with our funding requirements. Projects with no plausible route to exploitation and ultimate health benefit or impact are extremely unlikely to be supportable.

You should:

  • describe any new IP or knowledge that the project is expected to generate
  • outline how any intellectual assets generated will be managed throughout the project to enable further development and ensure future success
  • confirm the organisations or individuals who will own any arising IP and any live, pending or envisioned agreements governing ownership or exploitation of that IP
  • outline if the applicants have freedom to operate for this project, for future development work, or for clinical use
  • if access to background IP is required, explain this including the organisations or individuals that hold the relevant background IP rights. If this background IP is held by a third party (or a non-academic applicant), has access been agreed? If not, why do you believe you will be able to access the required IP on reasonable terms

Project partners

Add details about any project partners’ contributions. If there are no project partners, you can indicate this on the Funding Service.

A project partner is a collaborating organisation who will have an integral role in the proposed research, for example a charity partner or, if applicable, a supplier of the project intervention. Project partners do not include project co-leads. This may include direct (cash) or indirect (in-kind) contributions such as expertise, staff time or use of facilities.

Important note: If your application includes industry project partners, you will also need to complete the Industry Collaboration Framework (ICF) section during the stage two application. Find out more about ICF.

You must ensure that any third party individual or organisation you include within the
Funding Service as a project partner, also provides you with a supporting email or letter of support (see next section ‘Project partners: letters or emails of support’).

The individual (including their organisation) named as the project partner contact, cannot also be included within your application as an applicant, such as project lead or any other core team role.

You cannot include a different department based within the same organisation as a member of your core team, as a project partner.

Add the following project partner details:

  • the organisation name (searchable via a drop-down list or enter the organisation’s details manually, as applicable)
  • the project partner contact name and email address
  • the type of contribution (direct or in-direct) and its monetary value

If there are specific circumstances where project partners do require funding for minor costs such as travel and subsistence (these project partner costs should be claimed and justified within the resources and costs section of your application).

For audit purposes, UKRI requires formal collaboration agreements to be put in place if an award is made.

If an individual or organisation outside the core team is responsible for recruitment of people as research participants or providing human tissue for this project, list them as a project partner.

Important information when completing the project partners section within the Funding Service

When completing your application in the Funding Service, if you discover that you have entered project partner information incorrectly and you have saved the entry, you should remove the specific project partner record and re-add it with the correct information.

Project partners: letters or emails of support

Word limit: 10

Upload a single PDF containing the letters or emails of support from each partner you named in the ‘Project partners’ section.

If you do not have any project partners, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.

What supporting statements we are looking for

Important note: we are only looking for you to provide letters or emails of support from the following:

  • a third party individual
  • a third party organisation

You must ensure that any third party project partners providing a supporting document, are also added to the ‘Project partners’ section within the Funding Service.

For audit purposes, UKRI requires formal collaboration agreements to be put in place if an award is made.

What supporting statements we are not looking for

We are not looking for you to provide any supporting emails or letters related to any individual or organisation already included within your application (this includes other departments within the same organisation). Any individual or organisation included in your application with a core team role cannot also be a project partner.

Check the opportunity specific roles available in the core team section for the definitive list.

Do not include any additional documents, email communications or any other type of information we have not requested, including supporting statements (letters or emails), simply expressing supportive opinions. We only expect to see emails or letters of support from third party project partners uploaded to this section.

If you include any information not requested by MRC your application will be rejected.

Supporting document guidance for third party project partners

Each third party project partner supporting letter or email you provide, should:

  • be no more than two A4 pages
  • confirm the partner’s commitment to the project
  • clearly explain the value, relevance, and possible benefits of the work to them
  • describe any additional value that they bring to the project
  • include the name of the project partner organisation and contact information (this should match the partner contact and organisation name details you must add to the separate ‘Project partners’ application section)

Project partners letters and emails of support are not required to be on headed paper or include handwritten signatures (electronic signatures are acceptable from the nominated partner contact).

Project partner responsibility for the recruitment of people

If the project partner is responsible for the recruitment of people as research participants or providing human tissue their email or letter of support should include:

  • agreement that the project partner will recruit the participants or provide tissue
  • confirmation that what is being supplied is suitable for the proposed work
  • confirmation that the quantity of tissue being supplied is suitable, but not excessive for achieving meaningful results (if applicable)
Multiple project partners

If you have multiple project partners, you should:

  • ensure each separate email or letter of support, does not exceed two pages of A4
  • consolidate all the supporting documents provided by each project partner into a single PDF file before uploading
  • ensure the PDF does not exceed the maximum file size of 8MB

For the file name, use the unique Funding Service number the system gives you when you create an application, followed by the words ‘Project partner’.

The Funding Service will provide document upload details when you apply.

Ethics and responsible research and innovation (RRI)

Word limit: 500

What are the ethical or RRI implications and issues relating to the proposed work? If you do not think that the proposed work raises any ethical or RRI issues, explain why.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Demonstrate that you have identified and evaluated:

  • the relevant ethical or responsible research and innovation considerations
  • how you will manage these considerations

Consider the MRC guidance on ethics and approvals.

You may demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. Further details are provided in the Funding Service.

Outline costs

Provide costs that reflect, as accurately as possible, the funding you will need.

How we will assess your application

Assessment process

We will assess your application using the following process.

Your application will be assessed in a two-stage process.

Panel

Your stage one application will be considered by an independent panel of experts. If successful, you will be invited to submit a stage two application, which will undergo further assessment.

The decision of the DPFS panel are not open to appeal.

Resubmission

You cannot re-apply with the same or a similar application to DPFS or other MRC funding opportunities if it is less than 12 months since you last applied, unless you have been invited to resubmit early.

Timescale

We aim to complete the process from stage one submission to stage two decision in approximately 24 weeks.

Feedback

We will notify you of the outcome of your stage one application within two working days of the panel meeting and give feedback within eight weeks of the panel meeting.

In exceptional circumstances, the panel may give positive feedback, whereby the application is unsuccessful, but the 12-month moratorium on a resubmission is waived.

Principles of assessment

We support the San Francisco declaration on research assessment and recognise the relationship between research assessment and research integrity.

Find out about the UKRI principles of assessment and decision making.

We reserve the right to modify the assessment process as needed.

Assessment areas

The assessment areas we will use are:

  • fit to the funding opportunity scope
  • opportunity and market
  • scientific background and current stage of development
  • development plan and route to patient benefits
  • approach to the project, including:
    • project plan and milestones
    • methodology, experimental and statistical design
    • risk management
  • capability of the applicants and team to deliver the project
  • intellectual property and its management
  • ethical and responsible research and innovation considerations of the project

Find details of assessment questions and criteria under the ‘Application questions’ heading in the ‘How to apply’ section.

Contact details

Get help with your application

If you have a question and the answers aren’t provided on this page.

Important note: The Helpdesk is committed to helping users of the UK Research and Innovation Funding Service as effectively and as quickly as possible. In order to manage cases at peak volume times, the Helpdesk will triage and prioritise those queries with an imminent opportunity deadline and/or a technical issue. Enquiries raised where information is available on the funding finder opportunity page and should be understood early in the application process (for example, regarding eligibility or content or remit of an opportunity) will not constitute a priority case and will be addressed as soon as possible.

Contact details

For help and advice on costings and writing your proposal please contact your research office in the first instance, allowing sufficient time for your organisation’s submission process.

For questions related to this specific funding opportunity please contact dpfsanddcs@mrc.ukri.org

For general questions related to MRC funding including our funding opportunities and policy please contact rfpd@mrc.ukri.org

Any queries regarding the system or the submission of applications through the Funding Service should be directed to the helpdesk.

Email: support@funding-service.ukri.org
Phone: 01793 547490

Our phone lines are open:

  • Monday to Thursday 8:30am to 5:00pm
  • Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm

To help us process queries quicker, we request that users highlight the council and opportunity name in the subject title of their email query, include the application reference number, and refrain from contacting more than one mailbox at a time.

Find out more information on submitting an application.

Sensitive information

If you or a core team member need to tell us something you wish to remain confidential, email the Funding Service helpdesk on dpfsanddcs@mrc.ukri.org

Include in the subject line: [the funding opportunity title; sensitive information; your Funding Service application number].

Typical examples of confidential information include:

  • individual is unavailable until a certain date (for example due to parental leave)
  • declaration of interest
  • additional information about eligibility to apply that would not be appropriately shared in the ‘Applicant and team capability’ section
  • conflict of interest for UKRI to consider in reviewer or panel participant selection
  • the application is an invited resubmission

For information about how UKRI handles personal data, read UKRI’s privacy notice.

Additional info

Background

Support for applicants

You are strongly encouraged to engage with your organisation’s research office or translational research office who will be able to offer guidance and support.

Ethics and regulatory approval

We do not require ethics permissions and regulatory approvals to be in place when you submit an application (stage one or stage two). However, given that research involving human subjects or requiring the use of human tissue or organs may raise various ethical and regulatory issues, you will be required to demonstrate that you have adequately considered these matters.

Early discussions with regulatory bodies are advised to ensure that all requirements can be met in a timely manner. Once an application is successful, it is the responsibility of the host organisation to ensure that the appropriate ethics and regulatory approval has been obtained and that no research requiring such approval is initiated before it has been granted.

Resources

You may find the following organisations and resources useful when preparing an application.

The MRC Regulatory Support Centre acts as a hub for advice and resources around research using human participants, their tissues, or data.

The National Institute for Health and Care Research provides a clinical trials toolkit that gives practical advice to those planning or running clinical trials in the UK.

Applicants considering a drug repurposing project may wish to explore the Repurposing Medicines Toolkit, developed by MRC and LifeArc.

The MHRA Innovation Office provides free advice to clarify regulatory requirements from an early stage of product development.

The NHS Innovation Service acts as an information gateway to support people developing new innovative products, services or initiatives in healthcare.

The MRC-LifeArc Innovation Hubs for Gene Therapies network supports academic-led early phase clinical development of gene therapies through manufacturing of GMP viral vector, translational and regulatory support, and manufacturing development support ahead of clinical development.

The Nucleic Acid Therapy Accelerator provides dedicated research capability, infrastructure and support to enable advances in the development of nucleic acid therapeutics.

Research disruption due to COVID-19

We recognise that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused major interruptions and disruptions across our communities. We are committed to ensuring that individual applicants and their wider team, including partners and networks, are not penalised for any disruption to their career, such as:

  • breaks and delays
  • disruptive working patterns and conditions
  • the loss of ongoing work
  • role changes that may have been caused by the pandemic

Reviewers and panel members will be advised to consider the unequal impacts that COVID-19 related disruption might have had on the capability to deliver and career development of those individuals included in the application. They will be asked to consider the capability of the applicant and their wider team to deliver the research they are proposing.

Where disruptions have occurred, you can highlight this within your application if you wish, but there is no requirement to detail the specific circumstances that caused the disruption.

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