We fund partnerships working to transform our understanding of neuroscience and mental health. Partnership grants are expected to support these research areas, although research itself is not supported through this route.
The neurosciences and mental health board funds research in neurosciences, mental health and disorders of the human nervous system. We aim to transform our understanding of the physiology and behaviour of the human nervous system throughout the life course in health and in illness, as well as how to treat and prevent disorders of the brain.
The research we support includes the interactions between the nervous system and other parts of the body – the brain, mental health and physical health. We are also interested in how episodes throughout life impact on lifelong mental and neurological health.
Research we fund includes, but is not limited to, the following areas:
- clinical neurology and neuroinflammation
- mental health
- addictions and substance misuse
- behavioural and learning disorders including autism
- cognitive and behavioural neuroscience and cognitive systems
- sensory neuroscience including vision and hearing
- neurobiology and neurophysiology
- underpinning support, such as neuroimaging technology, brain banking and neuroinformatics.
Find out more about the science areas we support and our current board opportunity areas.
We encourage you to contact us first to discuss your application, especially if you believe your research may cross MRC research board or research council interests. If your application fits another research board remit better then we may decide to transfer it there to be assessed.
We will fund partnerships between diverse groups of researchers. These partnerships must:
- establish new, high-value collaborative activities/capabilities
- add value to high-quality scientific programmes that are already supported by grants from MRC and other funders.
We will not fund stand-alone, hypothesis-driven research projects which are eligible for MRC research or programme grant funding.
Collaborative activities can include:
- networking and partnership activities
- establishing multidisciplinary collaborative partnerships or consortia
- fostering and enabling a national/international strategy in this area
- enabling knowledge sharing or creation across institutions.
- infrastructure support for establishing a unique shared resource or helping to exploit it. For example, staff, systems, equipment, seminars, workshops
- activities such as specialist data and software platforms or resources.
We may support small scale, pump-priming projects but your focus should not be on specific research questions. These should be interdisciplinary, high-risk and high-gain projects that would exemplify your partnership’s novel capability
Successful partnership grants usually include a combination of these components. We will reject applications for funding only networking activities.
We expect partnership grants to reach maturity by the end of the initial award. You should find alternative ways of funding any follow-on activities.
Resource requests will vary between partnerships so we advise you to discuss this with the relevant programme manager before you apply.
You can request funding for costs such as:
- a contribution to the salary of the principal investigator and key co-investigators, see details below
- support for other posts such as research and technical
- travel costs
- data preservation, data sharing and dissemination costs
- estates/indirect costs.
We won’t fund:
- standalone hypothesis-driven research projects
- funding to use as a ‘bridge’ between grants
- publication costs.
If you are asking for funding to cover investigator time, you must:
- detail each named investigator’s input
- justify why the partnership needs this time commitment.
Usually we will fund only the principal investigator and a small number of co-investigators. Other co-investigators may be involved without funding. We do not expect to fund project partners for participating in the partnership.
You should request minimum resources for research. For example, we will support postdoctoral research positions only in exceptional cases. We may support technical posts if you can justify them.
You may use a partnership grant to buy equipment. You can also use it to cover the cost of essential infrastructure or to provide a platform for partnership activities.
We will fund the cost of working at an overseas research organisation if international collaboration is important to the success of your partnership. You must discuss this with the programme manager before you apply.