Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: 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.

Research organisations are asked to only put forward 1 application to this opportunity for this round, unless otherwise notified by MRC head office. Potential applicants are advised to contact their research office to discuss their application at the earliest opportunity

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.

Awards will be made for spending in 2023 to 2024 financial year.

Update: You will not need to submit a diagrammatic work plan as part of your application.

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.

Research organisations are asked to only put forward 1 application to this opportunity for this round, unless their research office has been otherwise notified by MRC head office. We would encourage organisations to discuss and prioritise their submissions as soon as possible. Potential applicants are advised to contact their research office at the earliest opportunity.

As an individual, you can only lead on 1 submitted application, except by prior agreement with MRC.

As principal investigator on 1 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 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.

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. Relevance to the priority areas in MRC’s strategic delivery plan 2022 to 2025 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, and 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.

If you plan to request several components that could constitute a platform, it is important that you approach MRC for permission before submission (ca@mrc.ukri.org), providing a short one page document outlining how your proposal constitutes a single platform

Funding available

Applications may seek the cost of capital equipment over £100,000, (including VAT, if payable) 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 by quarter one in the 2023 to 2024 financial year. Successful applicants need to complete their spending by 31 March 2024.

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 up to 5 years in duration may be included but the contract cost must be paid by 31 March 2024. Should the expected length of the contract exceed 5 years in duration, then the cost included in the application should be reduced on a pro rata basis 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. Equipment should exceed this threshold and equipment prices should be based on standard higher education institution discounted prices not the list price
  • proposals that cannot complete by the expected end date of 31 March 2024
  • 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 extends largely beyond a small number of specific projects or 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 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

Please note that there is no expression of interest stage for this round of MRC Equip and this opportunity is open immediately for full applications.

Each research organisation may submit 1 application to this full opportunity, unless their research office has been otherwise notified by MRC head office. We would encourage organisations to discuss and prioritise their submissions as soon as possible. Potential applicants are advised to contact their research office at the earliest opportunity.

Please refer to the opportunity guidance (PDF, 232KB) for full details.

Applications must be submitted using the Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system by 4pm on 12 January 2023.

Please consider the time required by your research office to process the application as late submissions will not be accepted.

Applicants should select:

  • council: MRC
  • document type: standard proposal
  • scheme: research grant
  • call/type/mode: Opportunity to purchase mid range equipment for biomedical research Jan 2023

In addition to the completed Je-S proforma, the application should include the following attachments:

  • application cover letter (mandatory)
  • case for support (mandatory) Please use the headings in the guidance document
  • justification of resources (mandatory) Please use the template provided in the ‘Additional info’ section
  • business case (not needed, but you must attach a blank document)
  • data management plan (mandatory)
  • CVs for named applicants and research staff only (mandatory)
  • publications for named applicants and research staff only (mandatory)
  • letters of support for institutional support and any project partners (mandatory)
  • equipment quotations (see guidance)
  • additional letters of support (optional)

Attachments must conform to the following requirements:

  • in a sans-serif typeface (Arial or equivalent, not Arial Narrow) and font size of 11pt, excluding text on diagrams and the use of mathematical symbols
  • a minimum of single line spacing and standard character spacing must be used
  • margins must not be less than 2cm

Failure to provide required components or information may mean that your proposal will be delayed or returned, or its assessment prejudiced.

When uploading PDF documents, please ensure they are given a logical file name and description so that information can be found easily. Also ensure that all pages of each document are numbered.

You should discuss your application with your relevant procurement and finance officers prior to submission, particularly bearing in mind the EU tender and procurement rules.

If you expect expenditure by 31 March 2024 (given a 1 July 2023 award date) to be challenging within the given time constraints regarding grant duration or start date (for example, because the equipment may require an export license or due to current supply chain delays for components), you must contact MRC before submitting an application.

In order to ensure compliance with basic requirements of the opportunity, you should refer to the MRC pre-submission checklist and all associated guidance before submitting your application. Once the application has been submitted, no further modifications can be made.

How we will assess your 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).

Applications will be assessed on the following aspects:

  • scientific quality and impact of the investment
  • arrangements for the management and support of the equipment
  • value for money
  • environmental sustainability

Please see the opportunity guidance (PDF, 232KB) for full details. It is important that applicants demonstrate that their proposal addresses all of the assessment criteria.

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

MRC will be holding a webinar to provide tips on applying.

Please email ca@mrc.ukri.org to be added to the mailing list for details.

Supporting documents

Opportunity guidance (PDF, 232KB)
Pre-submission checklist (DOCX, 32KB)
Justification of resources template (DOCX, 40KB)

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