Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Transition support for MRC intermediate fellows

Apply for funding for up to two years. The scheme is for current fellows whose research has been affected by several issues.

It will allow you to:

  • regain research momentum
  • achieve the objectives of your fellowship.

You can apply if you:

  • currently hold an MRC career development award or clinician scientist fellowship
  • are in the final 18 months of your fellowship.

We will fund:

  • half of your salary
  • salaries of existing staff members
  • a small consumables budget.

This is an ongoing annual scheme. The single application round opens once every year in September, closing six weeks later in October.

Who can apply

To be eligible to apply for an MRC transition support award, you must:

  • be a current MRC career development award holder or MRC clinician scientist fellowship award holder
  • be in the final 18 months of your fellowship.

What we're looking for

A transition support award provides funding of up to two years to intermediate MRC fellows whose research momentum has been impacted by multiple issues.

You must have made extensive progress and demonstrated productivity. However, due to genuine mitigating circumstances, you will not yet have achieved the outputs that will enable you to be competitive for the next funding stage.

You will need to demonstrate the added value that a transition support award will offer you, clearly articulating how your proposed plans for the resources and time requested would enable you to regain research momentum and provide a platform towards research leadership.

What we will fund

We will fund 80% of the full economic costs of your project. You can request funding for the following:

  • 50% of your salary
  • salary costs for existing staff members on your fellowship
  • a small consumables budget.

There is no limit on the level of resource you can apply for, however we expect you to justify the funds you are applying for. The typical value of funded applications is around £400,000.

If you have previously been granted a post award amendment (PAA) for your current MRC fellowship award, you are still eligible to apply for transition support. However, you should highlight why this support was insufficient and demonstrate why additional support via a transition support award is required within your case for support.

If you have accessed the UK Research and Innovation COVID-19 grant extension allocation, you can still apply for transition support funding. However, you will be required to demonstrate why further support via the transition support scheme is required as a result of delays or impacts other than COVID-19.

What we will not fund or allow

The host research organisation will need to provide the other 50% of your salary for the duration of the award. We will not provide further funding for your existing MRC fellowship award through this scheme.

You will not be permitted to transfer underspend from your current fellowship to the transition support award.

Applicants should take this into account when requesting research costs for activities that will take place during the transition support award period and when choosing a start date for their transition support award.

If there is significant funding remaining on your fellowship, you should consider a no-cost extension through the MRC PAA process instead.

Support from your host institution

Your host research organisation will contribute 50% of your total salary for the duration of the award. This contribution reflects MRC’s expectation of the host research organisation commitment to support talented researchers at this level. This commitment should be clearly outlined in a letter of support from a senior authority within the host research organisation.

The host research organisation is expected to commit to an open-ended position by the end of your award, in line with their institutional policy.

The expectation remains that 100% of your contracted working time is focused on your research, training and development, as per MRC’s standard fellowship terms and conditions.

What we are not looking for

MRC does not expect to receive applications from you if you:

  • have already achieved the outputs required for being competitive in applying for your next career stage
  • require seed funding for new research projects or outputs not related to the overall aims of the MRC fellowship award
  • require funding to cover delays or impacts solely due to COVID-19. This should be requested via the MRC PAA process. However, it is recognised that COVID-19 is likely to have exacerbated the impact of other factors, which have affected research momentum. If you have experienced delays due to COVID-19 as well as other factors, then you can apply for transition support.

If you are unsure whether transition support or a PAA would be more suitable for your individual circumstances, please contact fellows@mrc.ukri.org for further advice.

How to apply

You must apply using the Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system.

We recommend you start your application early. You can save completed details in Je-S at any time and return to continue your application later.

When applying, select ‘new document’, then:

  • council: MRC
  • document type: fellowship proposal
  • scheme: fellowships, FEC
  • call/type/mode: transition support fellowship 2022.

Once you have completed your application, make sure you ‘submit document’.

You can find advice on completing your application in the Je-S handbook.

Your host organisation will be able to provide advice and guidance on completing your application.

MRC must receive your application by 13 October 2022 at 16:00.

You will not be able to apply after this time. Please leave enough time for your proposal to pass through your organisation’s Je-S submission route before this date.

This is an ongoing scheme. Application rounds open once a year, closing in October.

The guidance below is supplementary to the guidance for fellowship applicants and both should be read ahead of completing your proposal.

Je-S proposal form

Project title

The title of the project should read as follows: ‘MRC TS Award: [followed by the title of your CDA/CSF]’.

Please note, the project title name (including, MRC TS Award, cannot exceed 150 characters including spaces).

Objectives

List the objectives of your proposal for the transition support award, in order of priority.

Summary and technical summary

Information you detail within both the summary and technical summary (including your name and institution included within the application) will be published on publicly available sites including the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Gateway to Research, should the project be funded.

Please ensure confidential information is not included.

Summary

Provide a plain English summary of the proposed research that can be understood by a non-academic audience.

This summary section is limited to 4,000 characters, including spaces.

Technical summary

Provide a more in-depth summary aimed at reviewers (academic and non-academic) who have some knowledge of the areas of research involved.

This section is limited to 2,000 characters, including spaces and returns.

Other support

List any relevant financial support that has been awarded or applied for from other sources.

This should include any funding that has been obtained or requested for any aspect of the project currently being applied for.

Related proposal

Please indicate the MRC grant reference of your current career development award or clinician scientist fellowship award related to your application. You must also select the continuation option to indicate how the proposal is related (then select save).

Fellow salary costs

You are expected to spend 100% of your contracted working time on the award, however you should only request 50% of your salary costs. The host research organisation will need to provide the other 50% of your salary costs.

Enter your salary costs in Je-S, using the following guidance:

  • within the full time equivalent (‘FTE %’ box) field, enter your percentage working pattern. Please do not enter 50% as a way of accounting for the 50% salary cost requirement
  • your percentage would usually be 100, to represent full time working, however this percentage figure may be less if you combine your fellowship with personal or domestic responsibilities
  • within the ‘Total Cost’ box, calculate 50% of the total cost of your annual salary, annual allowances (London or other), superannuation and NI contributions over the lifetime of the award.

Honorary clinical contract and clinical details

Applicants from a clinical background must also complete the ‘honorary clinical contract and clinical details’ section of the Je-S form. Applicants who are not clinically qualified should answer ‘no’ to the question ‘would an honorary clinical contract be sought?’ and enter ‘NA’ or ‘0’ in the subsequent required fields.

Supporting attachment requirements

Case for support

This should not exceed four pages of A4 and must include:

  • details of the progress made to date with your fellowship, specifically the key deliverables and objectives of your fellowship, and any arising achievements, outputs and any unpublished data may be included to support your application
  • why you consider that you are not yet competitive for the next funding stage, by detailing any delays or unexpected issues that have arisen during your fellowship and note any mitigating strategies taken to counter these circumstances
  • the added value that a transition support award would provide you, by outlining how your proposed plans for the resources and time requested would maximise your competitiveness at the next funding stage and provide a platform towards research leadership
  • how your host organisation has already and will continue to support you towards research leadership. You may choose to move institutions for the period of the transition support award. If this is the case, please explain why this will be beneficial for your career development.

Justification of resources

The role of the justification of resources is to aid reviewers when assessing proposals so that they can make an informed judgement on whether the resources requested are appropriate for the research proposed. All items requested in the proposal need to be justified in the justification of resources.

The justification of resources should not exceed two sides of A4.

Data management plan

The data management plan should demonstrate how the applicant will meet, or already meets their responsibilities for research data quality. It should refer to any institutional and study data policies, systems and procedures and be regularly reviewed throughout the research cycle.

If there are no significant differences from the data management plan in your original fellowship application, you may use the same plan.

The data management plan should not exceed three sides of A4.

Letter of support

A mandatory letter of support (maximum of two sides of A4) from a senior authority within the host organisation must summarise:

  • the applicant’s suitability for a transition support award
  • how they have supported the fellow to date (if applicable)
  • the commitment the department will make to mentor and support the fellow
  • confirmation of the commitment to 50% of the fellow’s salary
  • confirmation that 100% of the fellow’s contracted working time will be protected for research, training and development
  • a commitment to providing a secure open-ended position at the end of the award, in line with institutional policies.

Curriculum vitae (CV)

You must include an up-to-date CV (maximum of two sides of A4), using the MRC fellowships CV template.

Publications

The publications list should highlight relevant and recent publications. MRC welcomes the inclusion of preprints in publication lists (maximum of one side of A4).

How we will assess your application

When we receive your application, it will be assessed in a two-step process:

  • clinical and non-clinical training and career development panel members will firstly expertly review your application
  • your application will then be assessed further by a sub-group of these panels, at a meeting where a funding decision will be made.

Assessment criteria

Research achievements

We will carefully consider if you have clearly made progress with your fellowship, against the key deliverables and objectives of your intermediate award.

For example, we will consider if your current outputs provide evidence that your career trajectory is on the path towards research leadership.

We will consider all your achievements and outputs in evaluating your productivity. For example:

  • innovative collaborations or networks
  • an ability to identify and maximise potential in others
  • invitations to seminars or conferences
  • opportunities to access career development support, such as mentoring and professional training development and relevant training courses
  • presentation at scientific conferences and public science fairs
  • influence in their research field such as participation in peer review, committee membership or contribution to publications.

We will also assess the following:

  • if there is clear evidence you have been unable to consolidate your fellowship due to mitigating circumstances
  • if you have clearly evidenced your productivity to date and any mitigating strategies to counter these circumstances and if these circumstances are distinct from those covered by the current MRC post-award amendment route for additional support
  • whether you have made a strong enough case that without a transition support award, you will not be able to fully establish yourself as an independent researcher and be competitive at the next funding stage
  • whether your application provides evidence that additional funding will enable you to maximise your potential and competitiveness by consolidating and expanding existing work
  • whether your outputs can be achieved within the time frame requested.

Leadership, profile and influence

We will assess the following:

  • if you have clearly articulated and evidenced your research leadership potential
  • if you have established your research niche
  • if there is evidence of building collaborations and networks and recognition of your research in the community and on an international level
  • if there is evidence you have learnt new skills or spent time within industry or in a second research centre, as described in the original award
  • if you have demonstrated awareness of your research field and provided evidence of how you have influenced the field and the wider agenda
  • if you have clearly demonstrated that you have maximised the potential of staff employed on your award.

Institutional support

We will assess if your host research organisation has adequately supported you with the following:

  • a strong letter of support, which clearly outlines how the support you have received from your host organisation has assisted you with the objectives of your current MRC funded fellowship to date (if applicable)
  • a committed approach to supporting you with your research leadership goals, whilst continuing to provide the appropriate support and mentorship to you
  • protection of your research time, to allow 100% of your contracted working time to be used solely for research, training and development
  • a commitment to provide you with a 50% salary contribution that matches the MRC contribution for the duration of the award
  • a commitment to offering you a secure open-ended position at the end of the award, in line with your institutional policies.

Contact details

Get help with developing your proposal

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

Ask a question about this opportunity

Email: fellows@mrc.ukri.org

Include ‘Transition Support’’ in the subject line.

We aim to respond within 10 working days.

Get help with applying through Je-S

Email

jeshelp@je-s.ukri.org

Telephone

01793 444164

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