Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Public Health Intervention Development (PHIND): Mar 2023

Apply for funding for the early-stage development of an intervention that seeks to address a UK or global public health challenge.

Any researcher employed by an eligible research organisation, including MRC institutes and units (including those in The Gambia and Uganda), can apply for this funding opportunity.

MRC will fund up to £150,000, for a maximum of 18 months.

Funds requested by UK research organisations will be funded at 80% of the full economic cost, in which case the full economic cost of your project can be up to £187,500. Overseas costs will be funded at 100% of the full economic cost.

Who can apply

Before applying for funding, check the following:

Who is eligible to apply

To be eligible to apply for this opportunity you must:

  • be a researcher employed by an eligible research organisation
  • have at least a postgraduate degree, although we expect most applicants to have a PhD or medical degree
  • show that you will direct the project and be actively engaged in the work
  • focus your application within the science area of early-stage development of interventions that seek to address either UK or global public health challenges

Applicants and other members of the team

You can include international co-investigators if they provide expertise not available in the UK.

Discussion with MRC for permission to include international co-investigators within your application is not required, however, the expertise being provided by the international co-investigator should be clearly defined within the ‘your research team and capability to deliver’ section of your application.

Researcher co-investigator role

Find out more information about the role of researcher co-investigator.

When adding any eligible researcher co-investigator to your Funding Service (TFS) application, please ensure you follow the guidance provided within the ‘How to apply’ section, specifically the ‘Applicants’ section (selecting the role of ‘Researcher’) and providing the required information within the ‘researcher co-investigator’ section of the application.

Equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI)

MRC is 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

Read MRC’s guidance on flexible working and career breaks. You can also find out more about MRC’s current EDI initiatives and equality, diversity and inclusion at UKRI.

What we're looking for

MRC is looking to support the early-stage development of interventions that seek to address either UK or global public health challenges. This might include qualitative and quantitative primary research and the development of theory and logic models. However, emphasis should be placed on developing the intervention.

This opportunity supports the incorporation of systems thinking in addressing public health challenges. It is justifiable to focus on just 1 aspect of a system as long as the wider systems context is recognised, for example, in the framework for evaluation.

It also encourages the use of multidisciplinary teams and co-production with users and other relevant stakeholders, such as policy makers.


Population level interventions, with a focus on non-health care settings. Examples of the focus of health-related population level interventions include:

  • transport
  • education
  • employment
  • leisure
  • the built environment

For the purposes of this funding opportunity, ‘population’ is defined as groups of individuals for which an intervention may subsequently be delivered and evaluated. For example, this includes organisations such as schools, prisons and workplaces, or settings such as:

  • neighbourhoods
  • communities
  • regions
  • countries

Health care settings can be included, but projects should demonstrate potential for improved health of general, high-risk or vulnerable populations.

The creation of new interventions, where active components of existing interventions are combined to create a new intervention, is allowable within the scope.

The following activities are not within the scope of this opportunity:

  • NHS interventions
  • interventions treating clinical conditions or improving health services delivery
  • systematic reviews and meta-analyses
  • standalone feasibility studies and pilot studies
  • the wholesale transfer of a proven intervention to a new context, setting or target population

The application

You should address the following points about the proposed intervention:

  • its definition
  • a clear theory behind its mechanism of action
  • an indication of its forms and functions
  • its likely components and their inter-relationships
  • its continued refinement and sustainability
  • its scalability

The application should demonstrate a pathway to further development and evaluation of the intervention, and criteria for its progression to the next stage of development (detailed within the case for support).

Engagement of potential commissioners and users of an intervention is often crucial to its potential success. You should be able to identify potential beneficiaries of your intervention, who would be delivering the intervention and who would commission it.

Your application will be strengthened by demonstrating that users and the target population will be willing to participate in the development study (and potentially further testing and evaluation).

It may be helpful to refer to the MRC and National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) guidance for developing and evaluating complex interventions. This supports the development or identification, feasibility testing, evaluation and implementation of complex interventions.


We will fund projects lasting up to 18 months.

For information, MRC has previously funded awards with a shorter duration of 8 and 10 months, however, successful awards typically span anywhere from 12 to 18 months in duration.

Funding available

MRC will fund up to £150,000, for a maximum of 18 months.

Funds requested by UK research organisations will be funded at 80% of the full economic cost, in which case the full economic cost of your project can be up to £187,500. Overseas costs will be funded at 100% of the full economic cost.

What we will fund

You can request funding for costs such as:

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

A limited amount (approximately 15%) of the overall cost may be allocated to some acceptability and feasibility research, to:

  • further develop the intervention
  • help cement a collaboration
  • underpin further work to help the case for a future grant application

What we will not fund

We will not fund:

  • research involving randomised trials or clinical interventions
  • costs for PhD studentships
  • publication costs
  • funding to use as a ‘bridge’ between grants

Team project partner

You may include 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 please see the team project partners and  industry collaboration framework section of the the Funding Service application for further guidance.

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 all those with a role of ‘investigator’ and any other named member of staff.

International collaboration

If your application includes international applicants, project partners or collaborators, visit Trusted Research for more information on effective international collaboration.

How to apply

You must apply using UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) new Funding Service (TFS).

We recommend you start your application as soon as possible after the opportunity opens on 27 January 2023.

Your host organisation will also be able to provide advice and guidance to assist you with the creation and completion of your application. They will also be able to guide you through any internal deadlines they have put in place, allowing them sufficient time to complete a review of your application before completing the final submission through TFS.

Information for research office professionals

If an application is created by a member of an organisation where we do not currently have contact details with their research office, we will contact them to enable administrator access. This provides:

  • oversight of every funding service application opened on behalf of your organisation
  • the ability to review and submit completed applications before the advertised opportunity closing date 8 March 2023 4:00pm UK time

If you anticipate researchers from your organisation applying for this opportunity but have not already received an invitation to open an account, email:

As an administrator, you will be responsible for the final submission of the application to UKRI and ensuring internal deadlines are made clear to applicants from your organisation. To hear more about the role of administrators, and the current functionality of the new funding service and how it will further develop, please see a recording of the most recent research office webinar.

Information for applicants

What follows is the essence of the sections and questions you will need to complete and answer on TFS.

You cannot apply for this funding opportunity on the Joint Electronic Submissions (Je-S) system.

Submitting your application

Applications should be prepared and submitted by the lead research organisation but should be co-created with input from all investigators, and project partners, and should represent the proposed work of the entire consortia.

You will need to take the following steps to apply:

  • select the ‘Start application’ button at the start of this page (this will be available from 27 January 2023, until the opportunity closes)
  • this will open the ‘Sign in’ page of TFS. If you do not already have an account, you’ll be able to create 1. This is a 2-minute process requiring you to verify your email address and set a password
  • start answering the questions detailed in this section of ‘How to apply’. You can save your work and come back to it later. You can also work ‘offline’, copying and pasting into the text boxes provided for your answers
  • once complete, use the service to send your application to your research office for review. They’ll check it and return it to you if it needs editing
  • once happy, your research office will submit it to UKRI for assessment. Only they can do this

As citations can be integral to a case for support, you should balance their inclusion and the benefit they provide against the inclusion of other parts of your answer to each question. Bear in mind that citations, associated reference lists or bibliographies, or both, contribute to, and are included in, the word count of the relevant section.


MRC must receive your application by 8 March 2023 at 4:00pm.

You will not be able to apply after this time.

You should ensure you are aware of and follow any internal institutional deadlines that may be in place.

Section guidance

External links are only permitted in the ‘References’ section. Your application should be a self-contained description of the proposed project and should not depend on additional information.

Application name

You will be asked to enter a distinct name for your application using 150 characters or fewer.

Start date and duration

This is a standard TFS section that asks applicants to tell us the start date and duration of their proposed project. Your project can last up to 18 months.

Details and summary


In plain English, provide a summary of your proposed intervention.

This summary may be made publicly available on external facing websites if funded, so please ensure it can be understood by a variety of readers, for example:

  • opinion-formers
  • policymakers
  • the general public
  • the wider research community
Guidance for writing a summary

Succinctly describe your proposed work in terms of:

  • its context
  • the public health challenge the project addresses and its potential impact
  • its aims and study objectives
  • its potential applications and benefits

Word count: 400


List the key members of your team and assign them roles, for example:

  • principal investigator (only 1 person is permitted to be included with the role of principal investigator)
  • co-investigator
  • researcher (including researcher co-investigator)

MRC policy only allows 1 person to be named principal investigator within your Public Health Intervention Development (PHIND) application. Applications that include more than 1 principal investigator will be rejected by MRC.

Team member eligibility

Question: Do the principal investigator and any included co-investigators meet the MRC applicant eligibility criteria?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

The assessors are looking for information related to the contract of employment status for the principal investigator and any co-investigators to be included within your application (this does not include international co-investigators or researcher co-investigators).

MRC individual eligibility criteria includes the requirement that the principal Investigator and any co-investigators, must have a contract of employment that:

  • is in-place at point of application
  • will cover the duration of the project

Investigators that do not have a current contract of employment at the point of application, should not be included within your application.

If any investigator has a contract of employment that does not cover the duration of the project, they can be included within the application if the assurances required can be provided to MRC (required at point of application).

Assurances required

When assurances are required, these must be provided by a senior member of staff (from the investigators research organisation), such as an ‘Head of department’.

Please use a separate set of responses for each investigator where assurance needs to be provided.

The below information is required within a table (please see the TFS application for further guidance). The table is then pasted into the text box provided.

  1. Name of the investigator you are providing the assurance for.
  2. Confirm the person providing the contract assurance for question 3 to 5:
    • name of the person (title, first name, last name) providing the assurance
    • their position within the research organisation, such as ‘Head of Department’.
  3. Does the investigator (named in 1), have a pre-existing contract of employment, that will be extended beyond the end date of the grant, if the application is successful (this must include, where required, to cover any grant extensions), ‘yes’ or ‘no’?
  4. Will the employment contract cover the investigator for their full employment or contracted time and not just for the time spent on the grant over the course of the project ‘yes’ or ‘no’?
  5. Will the investigator be provided with appropriate laboratory space and access to facilities to carry out the research ‘yes’ or ‘no’?

Ensure you include all the required responses within the text box provided within TFS. Repeat the process for any additional principal or co-investigators, save, and mark the section as complete.

If assurances are not required (because the principal investigator and all co-investigators have the required contracts of employment at time of application), please state ‘Assurances are not required’, within the section text box, save and mark the section as complete.

Information relating to international co-investigators, and the expertise (not available within the UK), they are providing the project, should be included within the ‘Your research team and capability to deliver’ section of your application.

Information relating to the inclusion of any researcher co-investigators included within the project, should be included within the ‘Researcher co-investigator’ section of your application.

Read the MRC applicant eligibility criteria.

Word limit: 10,000

Public health outcomes

Question: Explain the public health outcomes being addressed with this intervention, including the target population, and how it addresses strategic public health priorities.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

The assessors are looking for the importance of the public health question and the need for an intervention to address the issue or issues, taking account of the current landscape.

In your response, refer to relevant literature and what is already known, including what has previously been tested. Please reflect on:

  • utility
  • applicability
  • affordability
  • feasibility

You should give details of how this project addresses strategic public health priorities. For example, lack of physical activity in sedentary older adults leading to poor physical and mental health.

You should fully justify the target population identified in your proposal, with clear consideration of the potential for differences according to:

  • socioeconomic status
  • ethnicity
  • gender
  • age group
  • other characteristics

Word count: 600

Evidence gap

Question: What is the evidence gap this study addresses?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

The assessors are looking to understand the need for an intervention in this research area and what gap your intervention will fill.

It’s rare that a proposed intervention will be the first of its kind to tackle a particular public health problem. Explain what the literature shows and why a new intervention is needed. For example, is it likely to be more effective, cheaper or more practicable?

Word count: 500

Future development phases

Question: What are the next steps for the development and evaluation of the intervention after the proposed PHIND project has been completed?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

This question refers to future development and evaluation phases that would be informed by, or could lead on from, the proposed intervention development study. Include criteria for progression, the pathway to the next stage of evaluation and give an indication of what the intervention would likely involve.

It’s important to demonstrate:

  • the pathway to the next stage of intervention development and evaluation
  • what the intervention would likely involve, such as the type and format of the intervention, clearly describing the system context, where applicable

Be as clear as possible about the future plans, including an outline of the design of a full-scale evaluation.

While you’re not expected to know the outcome of your research, a strong application will provide:

  • an indication of the anticipated intervention’s form and function (for example, specifying that you intend to develop an online alcohol reduction programme would give the panel a clearer picture of what you envisage than simply referring to an educational resource)
  • how the proposed research will feed into the development and refinement of the intervention and inform whether it is likely to be affordable and feasible to deliver
  • an updated logic model and relevant programme theory to underpin and explain the intervention and its likely effects

Not all PHIND projects will necessarily be developed into feasible interventions and high-risk high-impact projects are encouraged. Either way, results will be valuable for informing future research and should be appropriately disseminated.

You should also detail the criteria you’ll use to determine whether the project should progress to the next stage of evaluation. This may be related to uptake of the intervention, its feasibility or scalability, or practicality of delivery. It’s not essential to provide figures but you should give the panel an indication of what you’ll be looking for.

Word count: 400


Question: What methods are you proposing to use during your PHIND project?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Detail the methodological approach you intend to use. In your response:

  • provide the expected number of focus groups, participants, people completing a survey and so on, where applicable
  • clearly describe how the intervention content will be developed from the data collected, including justification for the approach taken
  • highlight any novel aspects of this project or proposed approach
  • outline how co-production will be embedded into development of the intervention
  • discuss how systems thinking has been applied to the design of the research study

Successful PHIND applications clearly describe robust methods. For example, if you are using focus groups, specify the number of sessions that will be involved and justify group or sample sizes. You should also define the selection criteria and recruitment strategy for your study participants.

Additionally, outline how co-production with relevant stakeholders, such as end-users and local public health specialists, is embedded throughout the design and delivery of the study.

Ensure you evaluate the potential for unintended consequences. For example, some interventions may risk widening inequalities. App-based interventions may generate negative health effects associated with increased screen-time. Some community-based interventions improve the health and well-being of those directly involved, but not the target population.

Please explain what you could put in place to mitigate these risks using a systems approach. Equally, be open to the possibility of unexpected positive outcomes and consider how these might best be captured.

Word count: 1,000

Your research team and capability to deliver

Question: Submit a ‘Résumé for Research and Innovation (R4RI)’ for you and your team to demonstrate your ability to successfully deliver the proposal.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

The assessors are looking for you to provide a flexible narrative CV template as a single R4RI when applying to this funding opportunity.

R4RI has been designed to help you, or your team, evidence a wider range of skills and experience (than a traditional academic CV) when applying for UKRI funding opportunities.

R4RI is halfway between a CV and cover letter, providing the space to explain the context of your achievements.

Please note, only 1 R4RI should be submitted even for large teams across multiple organisations.

Provide 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

Use the R4RI format to showcase the range of relevant skills you, and if relevant your team have and how this will help to deliver the proposed work. Team members can include:

  • investigators
  • researchers
  • other (technical) staff: for example, research software engineers, data scientists
  • partners

Individual’s specific achievements can be included but only choose past contributions that best evidence their ability to deliver this work.

Complete this section using the R4RI module headings listed below. You should use each heading once and include a response for the whole team.

Please also read the UKRI guidance on R4RI.

You can enter ‘N/A’ for any you think irrelevant, and won’t be penalised for doing so, but it is recommended that you carefully consider the breadth of your experience:

  • 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 (you can use this heading to provide information which provides context to the wider application, such as detail of career breaks, it is not a requirement)

You should complete this as a narrative and you should avoid lists.

You can read further guidance on how to complete R4RI.

Word count: 1,000

Researcher co-investigator

Question: Are you including any team member with the role of researcher co-investigator?

This section is to assure the assessors that any researcher co-investigators named as part of the project research team are eligible to be included in the application.

To be considered eligible for the role of researcher co-investigator, applicants are not expected to be eligible as a principal or co-investigator in their own right.

If your application does not include any researcher co-investigators, please add the following statement to the section text box provided: ‘I confirm that the application does not include any team member with the role of researcher co-investigator’. Make sure you save the text and mark the section as complete.


Where your application will include 1 or more researcher co-investigators, please provide the responses and assurances required below.

Researcher co-investigator details required:

  1. Confirm the name of the researcher co-investigator (including title, first name, last name).
  2. Confirm the name of the person (title, first name, last name) that is representing the research organisation in providing the assurance information required for this step and step 3, and their position or post in the organisation.
  3. Confirm how the named researcher co-investigator (detailed within step 1), has contributed to the design and writing of the project.
  4. Confirm the percentage of time the researcher co-investigator will spend working on the proposed research project.
  5. Individuals can be named as researcher co-investigator on several grant applications however, our expectation is that under normal circumstances they would only be named on 1 active award. Confirm if they are currently named as researcher co-investigator on any current active awards?

Please also provide a statement of support from the principal investigator or a senior authority, such as department head (within the host research organisation).

  1. Confirm the identified next stage in their career progression and their long-term aspirations for their career.
  2. Provide details of the support to be provided to the named researcher co-investigator, including training, mentorship and career development.

Ensure you include all the required responses within the text box provided. Repeat the process for any additional researcher co-investigators. When you have added all the required information for all applicable researcher co-investigators to be included within the project, save the information and mark the section as complete.

Please note, any submitted applications involving a researcher co-investigator that does not include the required confirmation of the person’s eligibility and research organisation support will be rejected.

Word count: 5,000

References and resources

Question: List the references you’ve used to support your application

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Ensure your application is a self-contained description. You can provide hyperlinks to relevant publications or online resources. However, assessors are not obliged to access the information they lead to or consider it in their assessment of your application.

You must not include links to web resources in order to extend your application. If linking to web resources, to ensure the information’s integrity is maintained include, where possible, persistent identifiers such as digital object identifiers.

Word count: 800 words

COVID-19 impact

Question: If applicable, outline the impact of disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Applicants are invited to provide an impact statement on their personal experience during the pandemic.

The purpose is to allow the applicant to provide additional information, of relevance to the application and the research case, to explain specific disruptions to previous or current research caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. For example:

  • illness due to COVID-19, either themselves or their families
  • caring responsibilities
  • restricted access to facilities and normal research environment
  • clinical responsibilities: details on their specialty, whether they were on the front-line, required to back-fill posts, and so on
  • impact on research and the production of preliminary data, development of collaborations, loss of research resources, and restrictions to research approaches
  • impact on publications or other outputs

Word count: 500 words

Timeframe and logic model

Question: Provide a Gantt chart to support your proposal (mandatory). You may also provide a logic model if you wish (optional).

What the assessors are looking for in your response

The assessors are looking for you to provide a Gantt chart to show milestones and the overall timeframe of your application.

Please do not use the Gantt chart to include information which should be detailed in the other sections of your application. Your Gantt chart must not exceed 1 page of A4 and must be in a readable font size for panel review.

You have the option to also provide a logic model, to help describe the anticipated mechanism of action, delivery, key components and their inter-relationships, outputs and outcomes of the intervention. If you chose to include a logic model, it must not exceed 1 page of A4 and must be in a readable font size for panel review.

Important information

It is a mandatory requirement that you create and upload a 1 page Gantt chart to this section of your application. You also have the option to include a 1 page logic model. If a logic model is included, please combine the 2 together into a single file (ensuring it does not exceed 2 pages) before completing the upload.

All applicants should be aware of the following:

  • any file uploaded that that exceeds the applicable permitted page limit will be removed from your application and will not be made available to the panel
  • MRC will not be returning applications for amendment
  • applicants will not have the option to update either Gantt chart or combined Gantt chart or logic model after the advertised funding opportunity closing date (MRC will not permit late application submissions)
  • if your application does not include a Gantt chart, your application will be rejected

Word count: 10 words

Full economic costs (FEC) and your justification of those resources

Question: Complete the template contained within ‘What the assessors are looking for in your response’ to provide full economic costings for your proposal and then justify them within the text box provided.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

The assessors are looking for you to only include costs we fund within the FEC template (DOCX, 75KB).

After downloading the FEC template, please complete and share with your finance office before saving it as a PDF and uploading to this section.

Using the text box, explain why the resources requested are appropriate, taking into account the nature and complexity of the research proposal. It should not be simply a list of the resources required, as this will already be given in the ‘costs’ section. Where you do not provide explanation for an activity that requires justification, these costs may be cut.

Do not duplicate information that you have included in the ‘Your team and Your Capability to Deliver’ section. Your answer in this section should describe how your project offers value for money.

Estates, indirect and infrastructure technician costs do not need to be justified within the justification of resources. Quotes for equipment exceeding £10,000 are not necessary for this application.

However, appropriate processes must be used to ensure requested costs are:

  • accurate
  • inclusive of VAT
  • where appropriate, inclusive of import duty

Successful applicants must be able to show UKRI evidence of adherence to procurement rules (such as quotes) if audited.

If your organisation is audited and asked for further information, you will need to provide evidence of how you arrived at these costs. If there are estimated costs entered under the fund headings, the grants will be cash limited and MRC will not provide additional costs at a later time.

Word limit: 500

Industry Collaboration Framework (ICF)

Question: Does your application include industrial project partners?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

The assessors are looking for information relating to any restrictions or rights to the project results that could be claimed by the project partner.

The ICF has been developed to support you when your research project involves collaboration between an academic organisation and an eligible industry or company.

ICF also provides MRC with information and assurances that initial discussions and considerations have taken place with all involved in the project, related to the nature, goals and conditions of the collaboration, including intellectual property (IP) rights and dissemination of results generated if the project is funded by MRC.

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.

Read the ICF for further guidance related to the purpose of the ICF process, including:

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

Please note, this PHIND opportunity does not require the inclusion of the ICF form or company partner letter of support (as detailed within the ICF guidance) and instead, details should be included within the text box.

All applicants must also include any industry or company partners within the project partners section, providing the information requested within that section (whether the industry or company project requires ICF or not).

If you have read the ICF guidance and it does not apply to any of the project partners included within your application (or you don’t have any project partners), simply add ‘N/A’ into the text box, mark this section as complete and move to the next section.

Where ICF does apply to your project, please confirm your answers to the questions below, within your TFS application (please see the TFS application for further guidance how this information is required to be added to the ICF section).

Please repeat this process for each industry project partner, if you have more than 1 partner that has potential to be included under ICF.

  1. Name the industry or company project partner considered to be eligible under ICF.
  2. Indicate whether your application is either basic research or applied research.
  3. Detail 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 company 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 details on 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 participating academic in relation to the project partners and describe how they will be managed.
  9. If applicable, provide a justification for collaborating with an overseas company or industrial project partner when their inclusion is under ICF.
  10. Ensure you also include any eligible ICF industry or company partners within the project partners section (including a statement of support from the partner), of this application, by indicating a ‘yes’ response to question 10.

If the proposal is awarded, successful applicants will need to provide an electronic copy of a signed collaboration agreement within 3 months of the issue of an award letter and before the project begins.

Please note, failure to provide the information requested for industry partners eligible 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 completing the submission of your application to MRC.

Word limit: 10,000

Project partners

Question: Provide information related to collaborating project partners and the contributions and support they are providing your project.

MRC encourages and supports collaborative research projects and team approaches. Collaborators based in different organisations to the investigators named within your application, or from industry, can be formally recognised within your application as a named project partner.

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.

If you do have 1 or more project partners that have agreed to support your project, please provide them with the guidance included within this section and request they provide responses to the 8 questions as detailed  below.

MRC expect the project partner to provide you with information confirming the nature of the collaboration, including the value of their contribution. We also require each partner to provide other relevant information that will clearly identify the relevance and possible benefits of the proposed work to the project and to the project partner. The information provided will be used during the assessment of your application.

When the partner has provided you with the required information, check that the responses adequately provide the information MRC requires and then copy and paste their responses into the text box provided.

When you have pasted the responses for each separate partner within the text box provided, please mark the section as complete and move onto the next application question.

Statement of support from project partners

Please note, whilst a statement of support is required to be provided by each project partner, a formal letter of support from the project partner is not required.

Where a partner has provided a formal letter of support, the relevant text confirming the responses to each question (1 to 8) should be extracted from the letter and pasted into the text box (using the template format as detailed within the TFS application). Under no circumstances should any letter of support (including signature and letter head), be uploaded to the text section or any other section of your application.

  1. Provide the name of the project partner organisation.
  2. Detail the partner website address (or postal address).
  3. Confirm the following, related to the partner contact information:
    • partner contact name (title, first name, family name format)
    • job role or title
    • the person’s department (if applicable)
    • confirm ‘yes’, that any person included within the application as a partner contact, are made aware their person their personal information has been shared with UKRI and their personal information will be processed as set out in UKRI’s privacy notice.
  4. Confirm the total cash or detail a £ value for any in-kind contributions being provided by the partner organisation. You are encouraged to provide a detailed description to ensure assessors can evaluate the contribution fully (the list below are examples; please add you own descriptors if a different type of contribution better describes the contribution being provided):
    • cash contribution: £
    • staff time: £
    • access to equipment: £
    • provision of date: £
    • consumables and materials: £
    • expertise: £
    • use of facilities: £
    • recruitment of people as research participants: £
    • providing human tissue: £
  5. Confirm any costs being requested by the project partner, such as minor travel and subsistence costs or if the partner is claiming costs as a subcontractor (please provide a costs breakdown to provide the assessors with detail of any costs requested by the project partner). If the project partner is not claiming any costs, indicate: ‘Question 5: zero costs requested by this project partner’.
  6. Confirm if your project partner has a dual role as a subcontractor.
  7. Please confirm if the project partner you have named in your response to question 1, is from industry (or a company) ‘yes or no’? If you have responded ‘yes’, please ensure you have completed the previous industry collaboration framework section.
  8. Confirm the partner’s commitment to the project, by requesting they provide a statement of support, including information that explains:
    • the full nature and relevance of the collaboration and support being provided by the partner
    • how this will benefit both the project and partner
    • any additional value the collaboration will bring to the project
    • where relevant, projected market size, customer sales and how the organisation will commercialise the technology beyond the project
    • the period of support the collaboration will cover.

Please note, it is expected that the partner statement should be as concise as possible and therefore should not duplicate any information provided within any of the responses to the preceding 7 questions.

When completed, the statement of support should be included within row 8 of the table including the following text (with appropriate edits):

  • I confirm the statement of support provided in response to question 8, has been provided by [name of partner organisation] on [date the partner statement was provided by the partner]
  • their support statement is as follows: [paste the copied statement of support provided by the project partner]

Word limit: 10000

Ethical implications

Question: Are there ethical implications arising from the proposed research?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

The assessors are looking for you to confirm if any approvals are required in relation to the research you are proposing to undertake. Answer either ‘yes’ or ‘no’ within the text box provided.

If you have responded ‘yes’, confirming approvals are required, please provide responses to the following:

  • confirm the authority who will provide the approval
  • confirm if approval has been sought and approved before the application has been submitted
  • provide any other relevant details of ethical implications and how they would be addressed if your application is successful

If you have responded ‘no’ to the initial question and ethical implications will not arise from the proposed research, you should only indicate ‘no’, save this and mark the section as complete.

Word count: 500

Research involving human participation

Question: Will the project involve the use of human subjects?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

The assessors are looking for you to confirm if your proposed research will include the involvement of human subjects. Answer either ‘yes’ or ‘no’ within the text box provided.

If you have responded ‘yes’, please provide responses to the following:

  • provide the name of any required approving body
  • confirm whether required approval is already in place
  • justify the number and the diversity of the participants involved
  • confirm any procedures that would be required, in relation to the research you are proposing to undertake
  • provide details of any areas of substantial or moderate severity of impact

If you have responded ‘no’, that the project will not involve the use of human subjects within the proposed research, you should only indicate ‘no’, save this and mark the section as complete.

Word count: 700

Research involving human tissues or biological samples

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

What the assessors are looking for in your response

The assessors are looking for you to confirm if your proposed research will include the use of human tissue, or biological samples. Answer either ‘yes’ or ‘no’ within the text box provided.

If you have responded ‘yes’, please provide responses to the following within the text box provided in TFS, save and mark the section as complete:

  • provide the name of any required approving body
  • confirm whether required 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
  • specify the nature and quantity of the material to be used and its source

If you have responded ‘no’, that the project will not involve human tissue or biological samples within the proposed research, you should only indicate ‘no’, save this and mark the section as complete.

Word count: 500

Data collection or acquisition

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

What the assessors are looking for in your response

The assessors are looking for you to provide a data management plan to demonstrate how you will comply with MRC’s data sharing policy, and plan to meet your responsibilities for research data quality.

Please provide your responses to the questions below in the text box provided. Please note that an attachment upload function is not permitted for this section.

  1. Summarise the type of study (or studies) for which the data are being collected, how this will be managed, including the format and scale of the data.
  2. Justify why data collection or long-term management is needed.
  3. Describe how data quality will be collected, stored and curated.
  4. What metadata is produced about the data generated from the research?
  5. Plans and place for long-term storage, preservation and planned retention period for the research data. Formal preservation standards, if any. Indicate which data may not be retained (if any).
  6. Data security and confidentiality of potentially disclosive information. If your research data includes personal data relating to human participants in research. For other research, the safeguarding and security of data should also be considered. The information provided will be in line with your ethical review. Please note this section concerns protecting the data, not the patients.
  7. Identify formal information standards with which your study is or will be compliant, such as ISO 27001. If your organisation is ISO compliant, please state the registration number.
  8. Summarise the main risks to the confidentiality and security of information related to human participants, the level of risk and how these risks will be managed. Cover the main processes or facilities for storage and processing of personal data, data access, with controls put in place and any auditing of user compliance with consent and security conditions. It is not sufficient to write not applicable under this heading.
  9. Identify any data repository that are, or will be, entrusted with storing, curating or sharing data from your study, where they exist for disciplinary domains or data types. Information on repositories is available here.
  10. Is the data you propose to collect (or existing data you propose to use) in the study suitable for sharing? If yes, briefly state why it is suitable. If not, indicate why the data will not be suitable for sharing.
  11. Indicate how potential new users (outside of your organisation) can find out about your data and identify whether it could be suitable for their research purposes.
  12. Indicate whether your policy or approach to data sharing is (or will be) published on your study website (or by other means).
  13. Identify who makes or will make the decision on whether to supply research data to a potential new user. Indicate whether the research data will be deposited in and available from an identified community database, repository, archive or other infrastructure established to curate and share data.
  14. What are the timescale and dependencies for when data will be accessible to others outside of your team? Summarise the principles of your current or intended policy.
  15. How will any consent process for data sharing be set out?
  16. Indicate whether external users are (will be) bound by data sharing agreements, setting out their main responsibilities.
  17. Apart from the principal investigator, who is responsible at your organisation or within your project for:
    • study-wide data management
    • metadata creation
    • data security
    • quality assurance of data.
  18. Indicate and other relevant institutional, departmental or study policies on data sharing and data security not covered by any of the previous 17 questions.

Word count: 1500

Personal information

Question: Will personal information be used?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

The assessors are looking for you to confirm if any personal information will be used during the proposed research project. Answer either ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

If you have responded ‘yes’, please provide responses to the following within the text box provided, save and mark the section as complete:

  • provide confirmation whether the personal information used will be anonymised
  • confirm how the personal information will be stored securely

If you have responded ‘no’, that the project will not involve human tissue or biological samples within the proposed research, you should only indicate ‘no’, save this and mark the section as complete.

Word count: 500

Related applications

Question: Has a related application been previously submitted to MRC or another funding organisation?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If the application is a resubmission, provide information on how this new application differs from that submitted previously. It must not be used to cover anything which should be included in the case for support.

If the application was previously submitted to another funder, you should provide:

  • the name of the funding body
  • a brief description of the project

Word count: 500 words

How we will assess your application

Assessment process

We will assess your application using the following process.

Examination of applications

Following the close of the PHIND opportunity, all submitted applications will be examined by MRC to ensure the proposed project is within science remit of the PHIND opportunity.

Following our completion of the application examination process. all those with an application outside of the science remit of the PHIND scheme, will be advised their application has been rejected shortly before the advertised expert review panel meeting planned for May 2023.

Applications within the science remit of the PHIND scheme will be taken forward to the expert review panel meeting planned for mid-May 2023.

Expert review panel

We will invite experts, including independent academics and public health practitioners.

The panel of experts will have close links with National Institute for Health and Care Research and the MRC applied global health research board. The aim is to collectively review your application against the criteria of the PHIND opportunity, which is to:

  • ensure the public health relevance of projects
  • increase the potential success of future applications for piloting and evaluative studies

Applications will rank alongside other applications after which the panel will make a funding recommendation.

The expert review panel will use the following criteria to assess your PHIND application:

  • the importance of the public health question and the need for an intervention to address the issues, taking account of the current landscape
  • the proposed approach including methodology, innovation and likelihood of the outcomes of the proposed study to fill a current gap in knowledge
  • the research team, research environment, stakeholder partners and user participation and engagement
  • how novel the intervention is and whether it brings together disciplines and actors that may not normally be involved in health research
  • its potential impact, including appropriate engagement plans with users, key stakeholders and target populations, and the appropriateness of communication and knowledge exchange plans

Principles of assessment

UKRI supports the San Francisco declaration on research assessment (DORA) and recognises the relationship between research assessment and research integrity.

Find out about the UKRI Principles of Assessment and Decision Making (PDF, 176KB).


We aim to complete the assessment process within 3 months of receiving your application.

The expert review panel meeting will take place approximately 12 weeks after the closing date.

Publication of outcomes

MRC, as part of UKRI, will publish the outcomes of this funding opportunity at public health intervention development scheme – funding decisions.

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

To see summaries of successful PHIND applications, you can search project reference IDs from the funding decision spreadsheet on Gateway to Research.

Contact details

Get help with your application

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

Get help with applying through The Funding Service


We aim to respond to emails within 2 working days.

Phone: 01793 547490

Additional info

Personal information

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.

This is the website for UKRI: our seven research councils, Research England and Innovate UK. Let us know if you have feedback.