Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Expression of interest: purchase mid-range equipment for biomedical research: MRC Equip

Apply for funding for mid-range equipment for research across MRC’s scientific areas.

You must be a researcher from an eligible UK research organisation.

You can only lead on one application, except by prior agreement with MRC.

You can request a contribution of between £100,000 and £800,000 for equipment.

MRC will fund up to 100% of the full economic cost.

It is expected that awards will be made for spending in the 2022 to 2023 financial year and must be spent by 31 March 2023.

Who can apply

The MRC Equipment opportunity is open to institutions and researchers normally eligible to apply to MRC, as described in MRC’s guidance for applicants.

As an individual, you can only lead on one submitted application, except by prior agreement with MRC.

As principal investigator on one proposal, you can still be a member of a consortium on a different application, as long as you do not take a leading role as principal investigator.

However, as such applications will be in direct competition, this is not recommended unless the applications are in very different areas.

As the first funder to sign the Technician Commitment, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) recognises the value of technical expertise to the UK research workforce. To reflect this, MRC welcomes applications from eligible facility staff as either principal investigators or co-investigators.

Please email the MRC Capital Awards team at ca@mrc.ukri.org if you are unsure of staff eligibility.

There is no limit to the number of expressions of interest a research organisation can submit. However, we may impose a limit on the number that an organisation can advance to the full application stage if demand is high.

We would encourage organisations to discuss and prioritise their submissions as soon as possible.

What we're looking for

Scope

The primary purpose of the equipment must be biomedical research.

Applications from all scientific areas within MRC remit are eligible at this expression of interests stage, but we reserve the right to focus the remit of the full funding opportunity to manage demand.

Relevance to the priority areas in MRC’s delivery plan (PDF, 5.6MB) is particularly encouraged.

Applications may be for new capability or replacement equipment for existing capability. In the case of the latter, applications are encouraged to outline any additional new capacity or capability provided by the replacement.

Applications for second-hand or beta-testing equipment are also permitted, if you can demonstrate how you are addressing any associated risks with increased chance of equipment failure.

Requests for contributions to the following are outside the scope of this funding opportunity:

  • very large facilities
  • the purchase of equipment that constitutes normal elements of a well-founded laboratory, including:
    • centrifuges
    • fridges and other sample storage
    • incubators
  • buildings and other types of infrastructures
  • establishment of generic departmental computing platforms (for example, high performance computing clusters) for data analysis or data storage.

Applications must consist of a single piece of capital equipment, although this can include equipment that requires assembly or involves several components (not necessarily physically linked) provided they constitute a single technology platform.

Funding available

Applications may seek the cost of capital equipment over £100,000, including VAT, requested under the ‘directly incurred equipment’ heading only.

An MRC contribution of up to 100% of the total cost can be requested. The MRC contribution requested must be over £100,000.

The maximum MRC contribution for an item of equipment will be £800,000, although the total item cost may be higher, with the remainder being met by institutional or partner contributions.

Contributions from the host institution or institutions and other external sources are encouraged but not mandatory.

It is expected that awards would be made in quarter three 2022. Successful applicants need to complete their spending by 31 March 2023.

Costs such as initial installation or service maintenance contracts can be included if they are one-off costs and part of the manufacturer’s offer. These costs should be included in the equipment quotation.

Service maintenance contracts may extend a maximum of 30 months past the end date of the award but the contract cost must be paid by the award end date.

Should the expected length of the contract exceed 30 months past the end date, then the cost included in the application should be reduced on a pro-rata basis so as to fit within the conditions as stated.

MRC expects that institutions will make longer term arrangements to ensure appropriate ongoing support over the lifetime of the equipment. Separately negotiated service contracts are not eligible for this opportunity.

Exclusions

Applications in the following areas will not be accepted and MRC withholds the right to reject these applications without consultation:

  • applications that request any other costs apart from capital funding
  • equipment requested valued below the £100,000 (VAT included) threshold
  • requests for funding for equipment that is scheduled for market release after the opportunity closing date
  • principal beneficiaries outside the UK (except for eligible MRC units in Africa)
  • principal beneficiaries outside biomedical research
  • establishment of generic computing platforms (for example, high performance computing clusters) when the intended use largely extends beyond research areas that are within the MRC remit
  • requests for contributions to very large facilities or to the purchase of equipment that constitutes normal elements of a well-founded laboratory (for example, centrifuges, fridges and incubators) or for buildings and other types of infrastructures
  • proposals for the development of new technology that are outside of the scope of this opportunity and will be rejected, although the use of new or emerging technologies is encouraged
  • proposals to develop software packages
  • applications of the same nature that at the same time have also been submitted to other award schemes (including research council grant schemes)
  • unsolicited resubmissions of proposals that have previously been considered by MRC or any other funder.

How to apply

An expression of interest for each item must be submitted by completing the survey by 16:00 on 28 April 2022.

Submit your expression of interest (SurveyMonkey)

If we are able to proceed with opening the full application stage for the opportunity in May, then applicants to the expression of interest stage will receive an email directing them to the details of how to submit the full application through the Joint Electronic Submission system (Je-S).

It is mandatory to complete the expression of interest stage before submission of a full application.

There is no limit to the number of expressions of interest a research organisation can submit, however we may impose a limit on the number that an organisation can advance to the full application stage if demand is high.

We would encourage organisations to discuss and prioritise their submissions as soon as possible.

How we will assess your application

Expression of interest

At the expression of interest stage, applications will only be invited to the full application stage if they are judged to be in scope for this opportunity.

As demand is expected to be very high, MRC may need to limit the number of applications that can progress to the full application stage. This may include:

  • reducing the scope of the opportunity, such as by limiting to certain technologies
  • imposing a limit on the number of applications per research organisation.

Full application

Applications will be assessed by a multidisciplinary panel of experts covering scientific, managerial, technical and user aspects of equipment provision and management. External reviews will not be sought (except where exceptionally required).

Full assessment criteria will be made available prior to the launch of the full opportunity.

Contact details

Ask a question about this opportunity

Email: ca@mrc.ukri.org

Please provide as much information as possible in your email to ensure a rapid response.

Additional info

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