Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Population and systems medicine: responsive mode partnership

The four MRC partnership funding opportunities have been combined into one. Apply for an MRC partnership.

Apply for funding to support new partnerships between diverse groups of researchers in population and systems medicine.

You must be a researcher employed by a research organisation eligible to apply for MRC funding.

The grant will allow you to:

  • establish new, high-value collaborative activities or capabilities
  • add value to high-quality scientific programmes that are already supported by grants from MRC and other funders

Funding is available for between one and five years.

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
  • be aiming to create a novel partnership between a diverse group of researchers
  • plan to establish new, high-value collaborative activities or capabilities that add value to high-quality research programmes already supported by MRC or other funders
  • show that you will direct the project and be actively engaged in the work, or contribute to the academic leadership of the partnership
  • focus your application within the science area of population and systems medicine
  • have completed the pre-application stage and been invited to the full application stage

For applicants who 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 the project and the applicants will be provided, including mentorship and career development for early career researchers

Who is not eligible to apply

You are not eligible to apply for a partnership grant if you want funding for a research project. You should instead consider a research grant or programme grant.

If you are based at an MRC institute you are not eligible to apply for a partnership grant as the project lead. You can apply in any other role such as project co-lead.

International co-leads

You can include international 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 and team capability to deliver.

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

We are looking to fund new partnerships between diverse groups of researchers in population and systems medicine.

We want to support new, high-value collaborative activities or capabilities that add value to high-quality research programmes that are already supported by MRC or other funders.

We fund partnerships working to transform our understanding of human health. Partnership grants are expected to support research areas in the MRC remit, although research itself is not supported through this route.

The population and systems medicine board funds research to unlock the complexity of human health and disease across the life course.

Our remit includes population health and the impact of environmental factors including the social environment on health outcomes.

Research focused on the physiology and pathophysiology of all the major organs and systems, with the exception of the brain and the immune system, is normally supported through our other research boards.

We are looking to fund research in areas including, but not limited to:

  • cardiovascular
  • respiratory
  • musculoskeletal
  • gastroenterology
  • renal medicine and liver function
  • endocrinology and reproductive health
  • maternal health and the early origins of health and disease
  • nutrition, metabolic regulation, diabetes and obesity
  • trauma, acute medicine and surgery
  • inflammation in relation to disease processes and the resolution of the inflammatory response
  • medical sociology
  • lifestyle, socio-economic and behavioural impacts on health
  • health inequalities
  • population and disease related cohorts

Collaborative activities can include:

  • networking and partnership activities – establishing multidisciplinary collaborative partnerships or consortia; fostering or enabling a national or international strategy in an area; enabling knowledge sharing or creation across organisations
  • infrastructure support for establishing a unique shared resource or helping to exploit it, for example; staff, systems, equipment, seminars and workshops. This could include networking activities, including outreach work and travel, with a defined output
  • platform activities such as specialist data and software platforms or resources
  • training, career development and capacity building in strategically important areas
  • funds to support small scale, pump-priming projects may be included but specific research questions should not be the focus of the partnership. Any research projects should be interdisciplinary, high risk or gain projects which will demonstrate the novel capability of a new partnership.

Typically, successful partnership applications include a combination of these components. Applications requesting support only for networking activities are not suitable and will be rejected.

Please see our case studies for examples of partnership grants and why they were funded by MRC.

Find out more about the population and systems medicine areas of investment

We encourage you to contact us first at psmb@mrc.ukri.org to discuss your application, especially if you believe your research may cross MRC or research council interests. If your application fits another research board remit better, we may decide to transfer it there to be assessed.

Duration

We will fund partnerships lasting from one to five years.

Contact us at psmb@mrc.ukri.org for advice if you would like to apply for a short or long-duration project.

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

Partnerships are expected to reach maturity by the end of the grant, we will not consider requests for renewals or follow-on activities.

Funding available

There is no limit to the funding you can apply for. Resource requests will vary between partnerships so you are strongly advised to discuss this with the relevant programme manager before applying.

Your application must be for an amount that:

  • is appropriate to the project
  • you can justify in order to deliver the objectives of the proposed research

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 a small number of co-leads contributing to academic leadership of the partnership
  • support for technical staff
  • consumables
  • equipment or infrastructure that is key to the aims of the partnership or provides a platform for activities associated with the partnership
  • 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 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 DAC list countries.

For more information on international costs and what we will and will not fund see costs we fund overseas and the Collaborate with Researchers in Norway guidance.

What we will not fund

We will not fund:

  • resources for research, such as research and innovation associate positions
  • contributions to the salary of co-leads unless critical to academic leadership of the partnership
  • research involving randomised trials of clinical treatments
  • costs for PhD studentships
  • publication costs
  • funding to use as a ‘bridge’ between grants

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
  • recruitment of people, such as research participants
  • providing samples, such as human tissue, for the project

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, 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.

Further guidance and information about TR&I, including additional where applicants can find additional support, can be found on UKRI’s website.

Find out about getting funding for international collaboration.

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.

Submitting your application

Pre application stage

You must contact us at psmb@mrc.ukri.org before you apply to check if your application is suitable. You must do this by 29 November 2023.

When you contact us attach a brief description of your application. The document may be up to four pages, including two pages outlining the proposed partnership, one page for the track record of your team and up to one page of references.

The document should include:

  • the title of the potential partnership
  • the project lead and co-leads and their organisations
  • your collaborators (if known at this stage)
  • an estimate of the likely cost to MRC, including staff and equipment

You should explain the aims of the partnership, including:

  • why the partnership is important
  • the nature of the partnership and its activities
  • how these activities align with the partnership grant scope

You should explain your and your team’s track record and show you have the potential to successfully manage and deliver the partnership, based on your research track record, outputs and funding history.

Full application stage

You should only start the full application stage if you have been invited by email to do so after the pre-application stage.

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.

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.

Watch our research office webinars about the new Funding Service.

Deadline

We must receive your application by 10 January 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 close of 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

As part of UKRI, we 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

As part of UKRI, we 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 we can use to identify the most suitable experts to assess your application.

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 new grant roles.

MRC research area

Word count: 1

Select the primary MRC research area your application most closely aligns to.

In the text box, copy the number corresponding to your selected area:

Population and systems medicine

28. cardiovascular medicine
29. gastroenterology
30. dentistry and orofacial medicine
31. dermatology
32. inflammation
33. endocrinology
34. metabolism and metabolic disease
35. musculoskeletal
36. nutrition
37. obesity
38. population health
39. longitudinal population studies
40. reproductive health
41. maternal health including pregnancy and childbirth
42. renal function and disease
43. respiratory
44. hepatic function and disease
45. paediatrics and child health
46. ageing
47. multimorbidity
48. rare diseases
49. trauma

Cross-board areas

50. data science and integration
51. motor neurone disease
52. myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome

Additional guidance

This is for administrative purposes to help with the initial application processing. We will check your choice and make a final decision on which board will lead the peer review of your application.

MRC grant type

Word limit: 100

Why does your proposed work need partnership type funding?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Explain how your proposed work is a novel partnership and why it needs funding for collaborative activities or capabilities

Within this section we also expect you to:

  • confirm you have completed the mandatory pre-application stage for this opportunity
  • name the MRC programme manager who agreed that this application could be submitted

Vision

Word limit: 500

What are you hoping to achieve with your proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Explain how your proposed work:

  • is of excellent quality and importance within or beyond the fields or areas
  • has the potential to advance current understanding, or generate new knowledge, thinking or discovery within or beyond the field or area
  • is timely given current trends, context, and needs
  • impacts world-leading research, society, the economy, or the environment

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

Approach

Word limit: 5,000

How are you going to deliver your proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Explain how you have designed your work so that it:

  • is effective and appropriate to achieve your objectives
  • is feasible, and comprehensively identifies any risks to delivery and how they will be managed
  • if applicable, uses a clear and transparent methodology
  • if applicable, summarises the previous work and describes how this will be built upon and progressed
  • will maximise translation of outputs into outcomes and impacts
  • describes how your, and if applicable your team’s, research environment (in terms of the place, and relevance to the project) will contribute to the success of the work

Within the Approach section we also expect you to:

  • demonstrate access to the appropriate services, facilities, infrastructure, or equipment to deliver the project
  • provide a project plan including milestones and timelines, in the form of an embedded Gantt chart or similar
  • explain how the partnership will be planned and managed
  • explain how the partnership will enable researchers to work together, network and build capability in a strategic area
  • demonstrate how the partnership will benefit the wider research community
  • if applicable, explain how partnership services, equipment or infrastructure will be accessed by the wider research community
  • outline future plans for sustaining the partnership beyond MRC funding, or for funding research which may develop from the partnership

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

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: 1,000

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.

Project partners

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

What the assessors are looking for in your response

A project partner is a collaborating organisation who will have an integral role in the proposed research. This may include direct (cash) or indirect (in-kind) contributions such as expertise, staff time or use of facilities.

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

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.

If your application includes industry project partners, you will also need to complete the Industry Collaboration Framework (ICF) section.

Find out more about ICF.

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 partner section.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If you do not have any project partners, simply add ‘N/A’ into the text box, mark this section as complete and move to the next section.

Each letter or email you provide should:

  • 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

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

Unless specifically requested, do not include any sensitive personal data within the attachment. Upload details are provided within the service on the actual application.

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

Do not provide letters of support from host and co-project lead research organisations.

Industry Collaboration Framework (ICF)

Word count: 1,500

Does your application include industry project partners?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If industry collaboration does not apply to any of your project partners, or you don’t have any project partners, simply add ‘N/A’ into the text box.

If your research project involves collaboration between an academic organisation and an industry or company you are likely to need to follow the industry collaboration framework and answer this question, check using the ICF decision tree.

By ‘industry or company’ we mean an enterprise that puts goods or services on a market and whose commercial activities are greater than 20% of their overall annual capacity.

The assessors are looking for information relating to the nature, goals and conditions of the collaboration and any restrictions or rights to the project results that could be claimed by the project partner.

Find out more about ICF, including:

  • collaboration agreements
  • definitions of basic or applied research
  • internationally based companies
  • subsidy control
  • Intellectual property (IP) arrangements
  • fully flexible and gated contributions
  • the ICF assessment criteria

In addition to the project partner information completed in the previous section, confirm your answers to the ICF questions in the text box, repeat this process for each ICF project partner:

  1. Name the industry or company project partner considered under ICF.
  2. Indicate whether your application is either basic research or applied research.
  3. Explain why, in the absence of the requested UKRI funding, the collaboration and the planned research could not be undertaken.
  4. State whether your application is under the category of either fully flexible contribution or gated contribution (based on the IP sharing arrangements with the ICF partner).
  5. Outline the pre-existing IP (‘background IP’) that each project partner (including the academic partner) will bring to the collaborative research project and the terms under which project partners may access these assets.
  6. Outline the IP that is expected to be developed during the collaborative research project (‘foreground IP’) and briefly outline how it will be managed, including:
    • which project partners will own this IP
    • what rights project partners will have to use academically-generated foreground IP during and after the research project, for internal research and development or for commercial purposes
    • any rights of the academic partner to commercialise the foreground IP (including foreground IP generated by project partners)
  7. Outline any restrictions to dissemination of the project results, including the rights of the project partner to:
    • review, approve or delay publications (including the time period associated with such rights)
    • request or require the removal of any information
  8. Declare any conflicts of interest held by the applicants in relation to the project partners and describe how they will be managed.
  9. If applicable, justify collaborating with an overseas industry or company under ICF.

Failure to provide the information requested for industry partners under ICF could result in your application being rejected.

You are recommended to discuss the goals and conditions of any collaboration with an industry or company project partner with your university technology transfer or contracts office before applying.

Facilities

Word limit: 250

Does your proposed research require the support and use of a facility?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If you will need to use a facility, follow your proposed facility’s normal access request procedures. Ensure you have prior agreement so that if you are offered funding, they will support the use of their facility on your project.

For each requested facility you will need to provide the:

  • name of facility, copied and pasted from the facility information list (DOCX, 35KB)
  • proposed usage or costs, or costs per unit where indicated on the facility information list
  • confirmation you have their agreement where required

If you will not need to use a facility, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.

Data management and sharing

Word count: 1,500

How will you manage and share data collected or acquired through the proposed research?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Provide a data management plan which should clearly detail how you will comply with MRC’s published data management and sharing policies, which includes detailed guidance notes.

Provide your response following the MRC data management plan template.

The length of your plan will vary depending on the type of study being undertaken:

  • population cohorts; longitudinal studies; genetic, omics and imaging data; biobanks, and other collections that are potentially a rich resource for the wider research community: maximum of 1,500 words
  • all other research, less complex, the plan may be as short as 500 words

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.

Genetic and biological risk

Word limit: 700

Does your proposed research involve any genetic or biological risk?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

In respect of animals, plants or microbes, are you proposing to:

  • use genetic modification as an experimental tool, like studying gene function in a genetically modified organism
  • release genetically modified organisms
  • ultimately develop commercial and industrial genetically modified outcomes

If yes, provide the name of any required approving body and state if approval is already in place. If it is not, provide an indicative timeframe for obtaining the required approval.

Identify the organism or organisms as a plant, animal or microbe and specify the species and which of the three categories the research relates to.

Identify the genetic and biological risks resulting from the proposed research, their implications, and any mitigation you plan on taking. Assessors will want to know you have considered the risks and their implications to justify that any identified risks do not outweigh any benefits of the proposed research.

If this does not apply to your proposed work, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.

Research involving the use of animals

Word limit: 10

Does your proposed research involve the use of vertebrate animals or other organisms covered by the Animals Scientific Procedures Act?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If you are proposing research that requires using animals, download and complete the Animals Scientific Procedures Act template (DOCX, 74KB), which contains all the questions relating to research using vertebrate animals or other Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 regulated organisms.

Save it as a PDF. The Funding Service will provide document upload details when you apply. If this does not apply to your proposed work, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.

Conducting research with animals overseas

Word limit: 10

Will any of the proposed animal research be conducted overseas?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If you are proposing to conduct overseas research, it must be conducted in accordance with welfare standards consistent with those in the UK, as in Responsibility in the use of animals in bioscience research, page 14.

Ensure all named applicants in the UK and overseas are aware of this requirement. Provide a statement to confirm that:

  • all named applicants are aware of the requirements and have agreed to abide by them
  • this overseas research will be conducted in accordance with welfare standards consistent with the principles of UK legislation
  • the expectation set out in Responsibility in the use of animals in bioscience research will be applied and maintained
  • appropriate national and institutional approvals are in place

Overseas studies proposing to use non-human primates, cats, dogs, equines or pigs will be assessed during NC3Rs review of research applications. Provide the required information by completing the template from the question ‘Research involving the use of animals’.

For studies involving other species, select, download, and complete the relevant Word checklist or checklists from this list:

Save as a PDF. If you use more than one checklist, save it as a single PDF.

The Funding Service will provide document upload details when you apply. If this does not apply to your proposed work, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.

Research involving human participation

Word limit: 700

Will the project involve the use of human subjects or their personal information?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If you are proposing research that requires the involvement of human subjects, provide the name of any required approving body and whether approval is already in place.

Justify the number and the diversity of the participants involved, as well as any procedures.

Provide details of any areas of substantial or moderate severity of impact.

If this does not apply to your proposed work, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.

Research involving human tissues or biological samples

Word limit: 700

Does your proposed research involve the use of human tissues, or biological samples?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If you are proposing work that involves human tissues or biological samples, provide the name of any required approving body and whether approval is already in place.

Justify the use of human tissue or biological samples specifying the nature and quantity of the material to be used and its source.

If this does not apply to your proposed work, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.

Resources and cost justification

Word limit: 1,000

What will you need to deliver your proposed work and how much will it cost?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Justify the application’s more costly resources, in particular:

  • project staff
  • significant travel for field work or collaboration (but not regular travel between collaborating organisations or to conferences)
  • any equipment that will cost more than £10,000
  • any consumables beyond typical requirements, or that are required in exceptional quantities
  • all facilities and infrastructure costs
  • all resources that have been costed as ‘Exceptions’
  • support for public and patient involvement and engagement
  • support for preserving, long-term storage, or sharing of data
  • support for international co-leads, demonstrating this is within the 30% costs cap for co-leads from developed countries, India and China
  • NHS research costs, when they are associated with NHS studies
  • animal costs, such as numbers that need to be bred or maintained and to maintain high welfare standards

Justify why the partnership cannot be supported in any other way than the MRC funding requested.

Justify why each applicant is necessary for the partnership, including their level of time commitment.

Assessors are not looking for detailed costs or a line-by-line breakdown of all project resources. Overall, they want you to demonstrate how the resources you anticipate needing for your proposed work:

  • are comprehensive, appropriate, and justified
  • represent the optimal use of resources to achieve the intended outcomes
  • maximise potential outcomes and impacts

Clinical research using NHS resources

Word count: 250

Will your research involve participants from the NHS or Health and Social Care duty of care?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If not, enter ‘N/A’ into the text box

Researchers applying for clinical research in the NHS, public health or social care need to complete a Schedule of Events Cost Attribution Tool (SoECAT) to be eligible for the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network (CRN) portfolio. This is the route through which support and excess treatment costs are provided in England.

You must answer ‘Yes’ and complete and upload a SoECAT if you are applying for clinical research funding, and:

  • you will carry out your research in the UK
  • it is intended for the NIHR CRN portfolio; this may include studies in a social care or public health setting
  • the research requires approval by Health Research Authority (England) or its equivalents in Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales
  • your research will use NHS resources

You must complete a SoECAT even if you don’t think your clinical research will involve excess treatment costs (ETCs).

See MRC guidance 3.5.1 on who needs to complete a SoECAT.

If you are applying for clinical research in the NHS, public health or social care and don’t think you need to complete a SoECAT, answer ‘Yes’ and explain why a SoECAT is not necessary.

We want to know that you have taken the appropriate steps for the full costs of your research to be attributed, calculated and paid.

We want to see the expected total resources required for your project, such as Excess Treatment Costs (ETCs), to consider if these are appropriate.

How to complete a SoECAT

SoECAT guidance can be found on the NIHR website.

These are the steps you need to take:

  1. Contact an attributing the costs of health and social care Research & Development (AcoRD) specialist as early as possible in the application process.
  2. Complete an online SoECAT. Excel versions of the form have been discontinued. If you don’t have an account for NIHR’s Central Portfolio Management System (CPMS) you will need create and activate one. See the user guide for instructions.
  3. Request authorisation of your SoECAT.
  4. Once authorised extract the ‘study information’ and the ‘summary’ pages from the ‘Funder Export’, combine them as a single PDF and upload it to your application.

Applications that require a SoECAT but have not attached the SoECAT funder export study information and summary may be rejected.

Contact psmb@mrc.ukri.org if you have questions about the UKRI aspects of this process or have concerns that your SoECAT may not be authorised in time for the application deadline.

Related applications

Word count: 500

Is this application related to another application to MRC or other funding organisation?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If not enter N/A.

If yes, state your previous reference number and explain how this new application is related to the other application.

If the related application was submitted to another funder you should identify the name of the funder and when you applied.

If this is a resubmission, describe how it differs from the previous application and how feedback on the previous application has been considered and acted on.

Lead agency

Word limit: 50

Is your application using a lead agency agreement?

What assessors and looking for in your response

If not enter N/A in the text box.

If your application is using a lead agency agreement (LAA), identify the agreement concerned by answering ‘Yes’ followed by ‘FAPESP’ or ‘FNR’:

  • lead agency agreement with Luxembourg (FNR)
  • lead agency agreement with Sao Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP)

The assessors are looking for you to create and upload the required lead agency documents, to support your application. You must complete all the relevant documentation and attach it to this application as a single PDF.

FAPESP

FAPESP applicants must complete the FAPESP-specific forms.

Documents and guidance are available on the FAPESP website, including a FAPESP:

  • consolidated budget form
  • proposal form
  • letter of eligibility

FNR

FNR applicants should complete the FNR-specific forms.

Documents and guidance are available on the FNR website, including:

  • INTER budget sheet
  • INTER budget justification
  • INTER budget plan
  • FNR eligibility letter of support

You must also complete the project partners section, with information about the international research partner, including:

  • international lead applicant contact name and organisation details
  • contribution from the international funder (FAPESP or FNR)

Include the experience, skills and contributions of your international research partners in the response to Applicant and team capability to deliver.

You should ensure that you have read and understood the specific requirements for the LAA you are applying to, especially for costing the applications. Failure to comply with the specific LAA guidance may result in the rejection of your application.

On receipt of your application we will provide the international funder (FAPESP or FNR) with a copy to complete eligibility checks and provide names of expert reviewers.

For general FAPESP guidance please see the FAPESP website.

For general FNR guidance please see the FNR website.

How we will assess your application

Assessment process

We will assess your application using the following process.

Peer review

We will invite experts to review your application independently, against the specified criteria for this funding opportunity.

You will not be able to nominate reviewers for applications on the new UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Funding Service. Research councils will continue to select expert reviewers.

We are monitoring the requirement for applicant-nominated reviewers as we review policies and processes as part of the continued development of the new Funding Service.

Shortlisting

Experts will review the comments and scores for each application. Shortlisted applications will go to a panel who will make a funding recommendation.

If your application is shortlisted, you will have 14 days to respond to reviewers’ comments.

If your application is not shortlisted, we will give you the reviewers’ comments and any feedback from the shortlisting panel.

Panel

Following peer review and shortlisting, we will invite experts to use the evidence provided by reviewers and your applicant response to assess the quality of your application and rank it alongside other applications after which the panel will make a funding recommendation.

MRC will make the final funding decision.

Find out more about MRC’s assessment process.

Feedback

If your application was discussed by a panel, we will give feedback with the outcome of your application.

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:

  • vision of the project
  • approach to the project
  • capability of the applicant or applicants and the project team to deliver the project
  • resources requested to do the project
  • 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 UKRI 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 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/remit of an opportunity) will not constitute a priority case and will be addressed as soon as possible.

Contact details

For help on costings and writing your application, contact your research office. Allow enough time for your organisation’s submission process.

For questions related to remit and scientific aspects email: psmb@mrc.ukri.org

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

Any queries regarding the system or the submission of applications through The UKRI 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 your enquiry faster please state your application reference number, and the council and opportunity title you’re applying to.

Find 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 us at psmb@mrc.ukri.org

Include in the subject line: [the funding opportunity title; sensitive information; your UKRI 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

International agreements

You can apply for this opportunity using these lead agency agreements:

You should check the requirements for the agreement you are using and submit the joint application to the international funder within seven days after your submission to the MRC.

You can apply for this opportunity using this international agreement: Collaborate with researchers in Norway.

Webinar for potential applicants and research offices

MRC hosted a webinar for applicants and research offices applying to MRC responsive mode board and fellowship opportunities closing in January 2024. This webinar consists of a presentation with information and tips on using the new Funding Service followed by a question and answer session with MRC staff.

Watch the webinar.

See the question and answer session (PDF, 120KB).

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.

Updates

  • 29 November 2023
    Webinar for potential applicants and research offices added.

This is the website for UKRI: our seven research councils, Research England and Innovate UK. Let us know if you have some quick feedback or help us improve your experience by taking three minutes to tell us what you think of the UKRI website.