Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: UK Japan Engineering Biology for Novel Therapies and Diagnostics Research Collaboration

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Apply for funding to support research projects focused on engineering biology for novel therapies and diagnostics research. We are looking for internationally competitive, full-scale collaborative and innovative partnerships.

We invite joint applications by parallel submission from researchers based in the UK and Japan.

This funding will support joint research activities with specific funding to enable a comprehensive mobility element.

Medical Research Council (MRC) will provide matched funding and bi-lateral support with the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED) for up to three years.

Who can apply

UK and Japan based applicants must apply with jointly developed applications to both the Medical Research Council (MRC) and Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED) by 16 April 2024 for the funding component requested within each country. The application must be based around a common research plan and vision and be jointly prepared by both UK and Japanese applicants.

Japan eligibility

Japan based applicants must be affiliated with a domestic university or research institution in Japan where the proposed project will be carried out. For further details, please refer to the AMED opportunity supplemental guidance for Japanese researchers which can be found on the AMED website.

UK eligibility

Before applying for funding, check the Eligibility of your organisation.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has introduced new role types for funding opportunities being run on the new UKRI Funding Service.

For full details, visit Eligibility as an individual.

Who is eligible to apply

To be eligible to apply for this opportunity you must:

For applicants who do not have a contract of employment for the duration of the proposed project, by submitting an application the research organisation is confirming, if it is successful:

  • contracts will be extended beyond the end date of the project
  • all necessary support for the project and the applicants will be provided, including mentorship and career development for early career researchers

The funders are not seeking to support applicants and partners outside of the UK and Japan through this initiative. Please contact international@mrc.ukri.org (for the UK based ‘Project Lead’) and amed-aspire@amed.go.jp (for the Japan based ‘Project Lead’) if you are considering involving applicants or partners from a third country in your application.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

We are committed to achieving equality of opportunity for all funding applicants. We encourage applications from a diverse range of researchers.

We support people to work in a way that suits their personal circumstances. This includes:

  • career breaks
  • support for people with caring responsibilities
  • flexible working
  • alternative working patterns

Find out more about equality, diversity and inclusion at UKRI.

What we're looking for

Objectives

The main objective of this funding opportunity is to deliver joint research funding for internationally competitive and innovative collaborations between researchers from Japan and the UK in the field of engineering biology for novel therapies and diagnostics. This support will enable important synergy between researchers with shared or complementary interests.

A key aspect of the successful research programmes will be the establishment or enhancement of sustainable partnerships between the UK and Japan, supported through a strong mobility element to the available funding. It is required that 33% of the total requested funding (from both UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and AMED) should be used for the purpose of building and expanding networks with the partner country and promoting mobility.

Specific objectives that underpin the UK-Japan research collaborative initiative are to support and promote the following:

  • joint academic research projects with the potential to further the field of engineering biology and enable progress towards novel therapies and diagnostics
  • development of new and enhancement of existing partnerships to foster sustainable research links between the UK and Japan
  • the exchange of scientists between the two countries, particularly considering the development of the next generation of top researchers that will contribute to the promotion of international talent mobility
  • knowledge or methodology exchange between the two countries
  • complementary access to facilities, resources, and equipment
  • stronger opportunity for collaborative research and catalysis of further synergy

Therefore, it is expected that jointly developed collaborative UK-Japan research applications will be submitted which detail an active research programme between UK and Japan-based researchers.

Scope

This funding opportunity aims to support ‘cutting edge’ fundamental or translational research projects that address major challenges and drive impact in the field of Engineering Biology for novel therapies and diagnostics, leveraging strengths of researchers in both the UK and Japan.

Applications must be demonstrably in the field of engineering biology.

This joint funding will enable progress towards the development of novel technologies and solutions, such as:

  • gene and nucleic acid therapies
  • engineered cells, tissues or networks and biomaterials for regenerative medicine
  • precision drug delivery and targeting
  • new classes of enzymes and drugs
  • novel diagnostics and advanced therapy manufacturing technologies

Examples of potentially relevant activities include but are not limited to:

  • exploiting engineering biology approaches for the innovation of diagnostics such as biosensors or theranostics for the real-time regulation of complex disease states redesigning the genetic code with the intention of developing new materials and functions to improve human health
  • developing engineering biology approaches to dissect molecular pathways and map the relationship between genotype and phenotype to improve health
  • using engineering biology, alongside or to advance regenerative biology stem cells and gene therapies approaches to develop novel technologies and solutions

What is engineering biology?

Engineering biology is the process of taking synthetic biology concepts and translating them into real-world solutions. It is the design and fabrication of biological components and systems, from modifications of natural systems through to artificial biology. For the purposes of this AMED and MRC funding activity, engineering biology refers to the:

  • development or use of synthetic biology, using engineering principles, to design and fabricate biological components and systems
  • adoption of synthetic biology into industrial processes
  • development of tools and technologies that specifically support synthetic biology

Consequently, engineering biology encompasses the entire innovation ecosystem, from breakthrough synthetic biology research to translation and application.

Synthetic biology can be described as the design and construction of novel biologically based parts, devices and systems, as well as redesigning existing natural biological systems for useful purposes. It incorporates the principles of engineering (for example modularity, abstraction and orthogonality) into classical biotechnology.

The following bullet points will help you identify whether your application is within scope of engineering biology:

  • is your project demonstrably and predominantly engineering biology?
  • if your project is not demonstrably engineering biology, will your work enhance the field of engineering biology? For example, development of a solely computational approach that will revolutionise engineering biology design of experiment.

Examples (illustrative, not exhaustive) of engineering biology approaches that we encourage and that are in scope for this funding opportunity include:

  • orthogonal biosystems: engineering cells and organisms to include systems or parts not found in nature to impart new capacities or chemistry
  • regulatory circuits: applications for designing and inserting well characterised circuits or networks, to generate new functions or responses in cells and organisms
  • protocells: including bottom-up chemical design approaches to produce synthetic or semi-synthetic cells and compartments
  • metabolic engineering: involving using complex modifications informed by predictive models of biosynthetic pathways to allow or enhance production of useful products
  • minimal genomes: involving the understanding of the minimal number of parts (genes) needed for life, to serve as a chassis for engineering minimal cell factories for new functions
  • bio nanoscience: utilising and exploiting synthetic molecular nano machines based on cellular systems

Specific examples of activities that are not in scope relevant to this funding opportunity, include:

  • applications that focus on the engineering of a system in which biology is embedded, rather than engineering the biological system itself:
    • for example, engineering the scaffold in tissue engineering, while not engineering the biological component
  • applications that are learning from biology, rather than engineering the biological system.
    • for example, design of a purely physical or chemical mechanical construct, taking inspiration from biological systems, rather than engineering an artificial or modified biological system
  • applications focused on the development of an output of engineering biology, with no tangible engineering biology occurring in the project:
    • for example, an experiment using a metabolite of a well-established engineered chassis as an input to a chemical process, with no demonstrable element of engineering biology conducted by the applicants
    • counter point: projects would be considered in scope if they are taking pre-existing engineering biology in a new context, novel chemical production for the first time using this chassis
  • applications where engineering biology is only a small component of the overall workplan:
    • for example, a large consortia project where only one of six work packages is demonstrably engineering biology

Duration

We will fund projects lasting three years in duration.
In the UK projects are expected to begin within three months of funding confirmation.

In Japan, projects are expected to start in September 2024 and be completed by September 2027.

Funding available

This initiative will provide funding for up to three collaborative research projects. In total, MRC will make up to £3 million available in support of the UK components. Approximately 158 million JPY, in total for the three-year period per research project, will be provided by the AMED in support of the planned Japanese research. The funding agencies intend to use these available funds to support up to three collaborative projects, subject to quality.

Each grant will require a UK based project lead and a Japan based project lead who will equally share leadership and project management for each project. Each project lead will apply for funding to support the specific component of the grant from their respective funding agency.

MRC funding

MRC will fund 80% of the full economic cost and 100% of permitted exceptions.

Find out more about full economic costing.

What we will fund

For the UK elements of your project, you can request funding for costs such as:

  • research costs:
    • staff: directly incurred post (for example, researchers, technicians)
    • staff: directly allocated posts (project lead and co-project lead time)
  • equipment below £10,000: costs should be claimed as ‘other directly incurred costs’
  • other directly incurred costs including (for example, consumables, outsourcing or sub-contracting costs)
  • travel and subsistence for exchange or mobility activities
  • cost of workshops, meetings etc. Should be costed as ‘other directly incurred costs’

Japanese applicants should review the AMED website and the AMED funding opportunity supplemental guidance for details on AMED eligible project costs.

What we will not fund

We will not fund:

  • equipment items costing £10,000 (including VAT), or more
  • costs for PhD studentships
  • publication costs

Please see section three in the standard MRC guidance for applicants for information on full economic cost.

Japanese applicants should review the AMED website and the AMED opportunity supplemental guidance for details on AMED eligible project costs.

What can be included within UK mobility activities

It is required that 33% of the total funding (from both UKRI and AMED) you request, should be used for the purpose of building and expanding networks with the partner country and promoting mobility. These expenses can include the costs of organising workshops and seminars etc., travel of researchers to the partner country and related expenses, personnel costs for staff involved in travel and exchanges, and research and other costs related to hosting researchers from the partner country. More detail:

  • research costs (equipment/supplies) when hosting researchers: Research facilities/equipment/prototypes, software (ready-made goods), purchasing costs for reagents/materials/consumables for use in research
  • travel costs for personal exchanges and joint meetings: Travel costs of UK research participants, travel costs for invited participants such as external experts
  • personnel costs/ services costs for expatriates: Personnel costs for those travelling: personnel costs for researchers, etc., employed to conduct the relevant contracted research (including personnel costs for project leads and co-project leads) and related costs for example interpretation/translation
  • other costs for international partnership and mobility activities: Costs for implementing the relevant contracted research other than the above. Examples are: conference costs, equipment leasing costs, equipment repair costs and subcontract costs.

Team project partner

You may include team project partners that will support your research project through cash or in-kind contributions, such as:

  • staff time
  • access to equipment
  • sites or facilities
  • the provision of data
  • software or materials
  • recruitment of people as research participants
  • providing samples, such as human tissue, for the project

Each project partner must provide a statement of support. If your application involves industry partners, they must provide additional information if the team project partner falls within the industry collaboration framework.

Find out more about subcontractors and dual roles.

Who cannot be included as a team project partner:

The individual named as the contact for the project partner organisation cannot also be a named applicant, such as those with a role of project lead or co-lead and any other named member of staff.

Supporting skills and talent

We encourage you to follow the principles of the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers and the Technician Commitment.

International collaboration

Both UKRI and AMED are committed to promoting effective international collaboration in research and innovation and ensuring that this takes place with integrity and strong ethical frameworks considering potential risks where relevant.

Within your application you should detail the approaches you are going to take to manage responsible research and innovation, and regulation. This also includes identifying and managing the potential for unethical or dual-use of project outputs.

You should ensure that your proposed activities align with UKRI and AMED’s ethical and trusted research and innovation principles. See further guidance on UKRI TR&I principles and MRC policy on managing the risks of research.

Trusted research and innovation (TR&I)

UKRI is committed in ensuring that effective international collaboration in research and innovation takes place with integrity and within strong ethical frameworks. Trusted research and innovation (TR&I) is a UKRI work programme designed to help protect all those working in our thriving and collaborative international sector by enabling partnerships to be as open as possible, and as secure as necessary. Our TR&I principles set out UKRI’s expectations of organisations funded by UKRI in relation to due diligence for international collaboration.

As such, applicants for UKRI funding may be asked to demonstrate how their proposed projects will comply with our approach and expectation towards TR&I, identifying potential risks and the relevant controls you will put in place to help proportionately reduce these risks.

See further guidance and information about TR&I, including additional where applicants can find additional support.

Collaboration Agreement

As the research projects will be carried out by multiple research organisations and project partners, the basis of collaboration between the organisations and project partners, including ownership of intellectual property (IP) generated during the project and rights to exploitation, and costs of IP management [this is not an eligible (direct) cost to MRC UKRI or AMED], is expected to be set out in a formal Collaboration Agreement between the research organisations involved.

It is the responsibility of the research organisations to put such an agreement in place before the research begins and within six months of the adoption of funding. The terms of collaboration shall not conflict with MRC UKRI and AMED terms and conditions.

The collaboration agreement should also include the allocation of resources throughout the project.

Arrangements for collaboration and, or exploitation must not prevent the future progression of academic research and the dissemination of research results in accordance with academic custom and practise and the requirements of the funding bodies. A temporary delay in publication is acceptable in order to allow commercial and collaborative arrangements to be established.

The collaboration agreement does not need to be submitted to the funders however it must be made available if requested.

Find out about getting funding for international collaboration.

How to apply

Expression of interest

Researchers planning to submit to this scheme are encouraged to submit a short Expression of Interest (EOI) by 4:00pm UK time (Greenwich Mean Time) on 28 February 2024. It is the responsibility of the UK project lead to submit the EOI on behalf of the UK Japanese research collaboration.

Please note, this step is voluntary and does not form part of the review process, if you do not submit an EOI you can still apply to the funding opportunity. MRC and AMED will not undertake eligibility checks at this point. You should not await a response from the funders following the EOI submission, but simply continue with the development of the full proposal to be submitted by the deadline. MRC and AMED will use the EOI to help prepare for the review process.

You are not expected to submit an EOI to AMED as well, however, all details submitted to MRC will be shared with AMED.

Full submission

We are running this funding opportunity on the new UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Funding Service. You cannot apply on the Joint Electronic Submissions (Je-S) system.

The project lead (PL) is responsible for completing the application process on the Funding Service, but we expect all team members and project partners to contribute to the application.

Only list one individual as project lead. Japan based applicants should be listed as project co-lead (international) (PcL (I)).

If the lead research organisation is an NHS organisation check it is available in the Funding Service. You are encouraged to check this early as there may be additional steps for the organisation to be set up before you can apply.

Only the lead research organisation can submit an application to UKRI.

To apply

Select ‘Start application’ near the beginning of this Funding finder page.

  1. Confirm you are the project lead.
  2. Sign in or create a Funding Service account. To create an account, select your organisation, verify your email address, and set a password. If your organisation is not listed, email support@funding-service.ukri.org Please allow at least 10 working days for your organisation to be added to the Funding Service.
  3. Answer questions directly in the text boxes. You can save your answers and come back to complete them or work offline and return to copy and paste your answers. If we need you to upload a document, follow the upload instructions in the Funding Service. All questions and assessment criteria are listed in the How to apply section on this Funding finder page.
  4. Allow enough time to check your application in ‘read-only’ view before sending to your research office.
  5. Send the completed application to your research office for checking. They will return it to you if it needs editing.
  6. Your research office will submit the completed and checked application to UKRI.

Where indicated, you can also demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant:

  • use images sparingly and only to convey important information that cannot easily be put into words
  • insert each new image onto a new line
  • provide a descriptive legend for each image immediately underneath it (this counts towards your word limit)
  • files must be smaller than 5MB and in JPEG, JPG, JPE, JFI, JIF, JFIF, PNG, GIF, BMP or WEBP format

Watch our research office webinars about the new Funding Service.

Deadline

UK and Japan applicants are required to submit a co-developed application to both MRC and AMED, based around a common research plan and vision. Please note, failure to submit a valid application to both MRC and AMED by the respective deadlines will invalidate both submissions.

MRC must receive your application by 16 April 2024 at 4:00pm UK time (British Summer Time).

AMED must receive your application by 16 April 2024 at 6:00pm JST

You will not be able to apply after this time.

Make sure you are aware of and follow any internal institutional deadlines.

Following the close of the funding opportunity, your application cannot be changed and applications will not be returned for amendment. If your application does not follow the guidance, it may be rejected.

Personal data

Processing personal data

As part of UKRI, we will need to collect some personal information to manage your Funding Service account and the registration of your funding applications.

You should note that the information you submit to MRC as part of your application may be shared with overseas partners at AMED to facilitate the processing of applications.

We will handle personal data in line with UK data protection legislation and manage it securely. For more information, including how to exercise your rights, read our privacy notice.

Publication of outcomes

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

Summary

Word limit: 550

In plain English, provide a summary we can use to identify the most suitable experts to assess your application.

We may make this summary publicly available on external-facing websites, so make it suitable for a variety of readers, for example:

  • opinion-formers
  • policymakers
  • the public
  • the wider research community

Guidance for writing a summary

Clearly describe your proposed work in terms of:

  • context
  • the challenge the project addresses
  • aims and objectives
  • potential applications and benefits

Core team

List the key members of your team and assign them roles from the following:

  • project lead (PL)
  • project co-lead (UK) (PcL)
  • project co-lead (international) (PcL (I))
  • researcher co-lead (RcL)
  • specialist
  • professional enabling staff
  • research and innovation associate
  • technician
  • visiting researcher

Only list one individual as project lead. Japan based applicants should be listed as project co-lead (international).

Find out more about UKRI’s new grant roles.

Application questions

Vision

Word limit: 1,500

What are you hoping to achieve with your proposed work? Please ensure you outline the work being undertaken in both the UK and in Japan.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Explain how your proposed work:

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

Within the Vision section we also expect you to:

  • identify the potential direct or indirect benefits and who the beneficiaries might be
  • identify potential improvements in human or population health, whether through contributing to relieving disease or disability burden, improving quality of life or providing benefit to the health service or health-related industry
  • identify the originality and novelty of the proposed work
  • identify how the proposed research responds to social needs

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

Approach

Word limit: 2,500

How are you going to deliver your proposed work? Please ensure you outline the work being undertaken in both the UK and in Japan.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Explain how you have designed your work so that it:

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

Within the Approach section we also expect you to:

  • demonstrate access to the appropriate services, facilities, infrastructure, or equipment to deliver the project
  • provide a project plan including milestones and timelines, in the form of an embedded Gantt chart or similar
  • explain and justify how you will approach diversity and inclusion in the study population and follow the MRC embedding diversity in research design policy (if applicable)
  • show how you will use both sexes in research involving animals and tissues and cells (if applicable). If you are not proposing to do this justify why

You have the option to use 500 words to provide additional information about reproducibility and how you will ensure reliability and robustness of your work, such as further details of statistical analyses, methodology and experimental design. If this information is not applicable, then you should not use this space to expand on other areas of your approach and your response to this section should be around 2,000 words.

The reproducibility information should be clearly identified using the heading Reproducibility and statistical design. We expect you to seek professional statistical or other relevant advice in preparing your response, which may include:

  • experimental approach to address objectives
  • sample and effect sizes
  • planned statistical analyses
  • models chosen (for example animal model, cell line)

Refer to the MRC guidance for applicants, section 2.2.3.5 ‘Reproducibility and statistical design’, for further information, examples and online tools.

If your proposed work involves animals (in either the UK or Japan), you should provide information on animal sample sizes and statistical analyses in the approach section, you should not duplicate it in the Research involving the use of animals section. Use the ‘Research involving the use of animals section to provide information on the rationale for using animals, choice of species, welfare and procedure severity.

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

The International Partnership and Mobility Plan

Word Limit: 1,500

Identify the value added of the UK-Japan collaboration to your research, highlighting the uniqueness of the partnership, and expertise of both partners.

You should address the following:

Research partnerships: including strength and clarity of the collaboration and opportunities provided, the sustainability of the partnership, the added value of the partnership and the appropriateness of the governance arrangements, the key considerations include:

  • does your application involve high-level international joint research aimed at enhancing scientific and technological capabilities for both countries?
  • is the target top international research community clearly defined and consistent with the project purpose?
  • is the plan for building and expanding the international collaboration appropriate?
  • is it expected to continue and expand as a global network after the completion of the research program?
  • are the research exchanges and collaborations planned on an equal footing and mutually beneficial for both countries? Is the relationship between the two countries such that one side is not subordinate to the other?
  • does the division of roles between the UK and Japan research teams ensure a feasible and equitable approach to your research?

Plans for international partnership and mobility activities:

  • are there appropriate plans for cultivating next-generation researchers based on past successes?
  • is the strategy for fostering the next generation of top researchers that will contribute to the promotion of international talent mobility appropriate?
  • what strategies are in place to ensure its continuation upon the completion of the research program?
  • show how top-level international joint research will continue after the completion of the research and development, thereby maintaining and improving scientific and technological capabilities for both countries

Capability of the applicants and the project team to foster knowledge and methodology exchange.

Does the project lead have experience in top research communities with the co-leads from foreign institution, and as an example, have experience in human resource development of young researchers, etc.?

Support for early career researchers and a clear strategy for fostering the next generation of top researchers that will contribute to the promotion of international talent mobility. Key questions to consider include:

  • are there appropriate plans for cultivating next-generation researchers based on past successes?
  • is the strategy for fostering the next generation of top researchers that will contribute to the promotion of international talent mobility appropriate?
  • can we expect human resource development to continue in the top research community after the completion of the research program?

Applicant and team capability to deliver

Word limit: 1,500

Why are you the right individual or team to successfully deliver the proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Evidence of how you and your team (including evidence related to your Japanese project lead and co-project leads) have:

  • the relevant experience (appropriate to career stage) to deliver the proposed work
  • the right balance of skills and expertise to cover the proposed work
  • the appropriate leadership and management skills to deliver the work and your approach to develop others
  • contributed to developing a positive research environment and wider community

The word count for this section is 1,500 words: 1,000 words to be used for R4RI modules and, if necessary, a further 500 words for Additions.

Use the Résumé for Research and Innovation (R4RI) format to showcase the range of relevant skills you and, if relevant, your team (project and project co-leads, researchers, technicians, specialists, partners and so on) have and how this will help deliver the proposed work. You can include individuals’ specific achievements but only choose past contributions that best evidence their ability to deliver this work.

Complete this section using the R4RI module headings listed. Use each heading once and include a response for the whole team, see the UKRI guidance on R4RI. You should consider how to balance your answer, and emphasise where appropriate the key skills each team member brings:

  • contributions to the generation of new ideas, tools, methodologies, or knowledge
  • the development of others and maintenance of effective working relationships
  • contributions to the wider research and innovation community
  • contributions to broader research or innovation users and audiences and towards wider societal benefit
Additions

Provide any further details relevant to your application. This section is optional and can be up to 500 words. You should not use it to describe additional skills, experiences, or outputs, but you can use it to describe any factors that provide context for the rest of your R4RI (for example, details of career breaks if you wish to disclose them).

Complete this as a narrative. Do not format it like a CV.

UKRI has introduced new role types for funding opportunities being run on the new Funding Service.

For full details, see Eligibility as an individual.

International applicants

Word limit: 500

Please provide the following details of the Japanese applicants on this application:

  • name
  • institute
  • job title
  • role in project (for example, project lead or project co-lead)
  • email address

Please also indicate who the lead Japanese applicants will be.

Important note: Ensure the Japan ‘project lead’ and any Japan ‘project co-leads’ are each added as a team member within the ‘Core team’ section of your application and assign each of them the role of ‘project co-lead (international)’.

References

Word limit: 1,000

List the references you have used to support your application.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Include all references in this section, not in the rest of the application questions.

You should not include any other information in this section.

We advise you not to include hyperlinks, as assessors are not obliged to access the information they lead to or consider it in their assessment of your application.

If linking to web resources, to maintain the information’s integrity, include persistent identifiers (such as digital object identifiers) where possible.

You must not include links to web resources to extend your application.

Project partners

Add details about any project partners’ contributions.

If there are no project partners, you can indicate this on the Funding Service.

A project partner is a collaborating organisation who will have an integral role in the proposed research, for example a charity partner or, if applicable, a supplier of the project intervention. Project partners do not include project co-leads. This may include direct (cash) or indirect (in-kind) contributions such as expertise, staff time or use of facilities.

Important note: If your application includes industry project partners, you will also need to complete the Industry Collaboration Framework (ICF) section. Find out more about ICF.

You must ensure that any third party individual or organisation you include within the Funding Service as a project partner, also provides you with a supporting email or letter of support (see next section ‘Project partners: letters (or emails) of support’).

The individual (including their organisation) named as the project partner contact, cannot also be included within your application as an applicant, such as project lead or any other core team role.

You cannot include a different department based within the same organisation as a member of your core team, as a project partner.

Add the following project partner details:

  • the organisation name (searchable via a drop-down list or enter the organisation’s details manually, as applicable)
  • the project partner contact name and email address
  • the type of contribution (direct or in-direct) and its monetary value

If there are specific circumstances where project partners do require funding for minor costs such as travel and subsistence (these project partner costs should be claimed and justified within the resources and costs section of your application).

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

If an individual or organisation outside the core team is responsible for recruitment of people as research participants or providing human tissue for this project, list them as a project partner.

Important information when completing the project partners section within the Funding Service

When completing your application in the Funding Service, if you discover that you have entered project partner information incorrectly and you have saved the entry, you should remove the specific project partner record and re-add it with the correct information.

Project partners: letters (or emails) of support

Word limit: 10

Upload a single PDF containing the letters or emails of support from each partner you named in the Project Partner section.

If you do not have any project partners, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.

What supporting statements we are looking for

Important note: MRC is only looking for you to provide letters or emails of support from the following:

  • a third party individual
  • a third party organisation

You must ensure that any third party project partners providing a supporting document, are also added to the ‘project partners’ section within the Funding Service.

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

What supporting statements we are not looking for

MRC is not looking for you to provide any supporting emails or letters related to any individual or organisation already included within your application (this includes other departments within the same organisation). Any individual or organisation included in your application with a core team role cannot also be a project partner.

Check the funding opportunity specific roles available in the core team section for the definitive list.

Do not include any additional documents, email communications or any other type of information we have not requested, including supporting statements (letters or emails), simply expressing supportive opinions (we only expect to see emails or letters of support from third party project partners uploaded to this section).

If you include any information not requested by MRC your application will be rejected.

Supporting document guidance for third party project partners

Each third party project partner supporting letter or email you provide, should:

  • be no more than two A4 pages
  • confirm the partner’s commitment to the project
  • clearly explain the value, relevance, and possible benefits of the work to them
  • describe any additional value that they bring to the project
  • include the name of the project partner organisation and contact information (this should match the partner contact and organisation name details you must add to the separate ‘project partners’ application section)

Project partners letters and emails of support are not required to be on headed paper or include handwritten signatures (electronic signatures are acceptable from the nominated partner contact).

Project partner responsibility for the recruitment of people

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

  • agreement that the project partner will recruit the participants or provide tissue
  • confirmation that what is being supplied is suitable for the proposed work
  • confirmation that the quantity of tissue being supplied is suitable, but not excessive for achieving meaningful results (if applicable)
Multiple project partners

If you have multiple project partners, you should:

  • ensure each separate email or letter of support, does not exceed two pages of A4
  • consolidate all the supporting documents provided by each project partner into a single PDF file before uploading
  • ensure the PDF does not exceed the maximum file size of 8MB

For the file name, use the unique Funding Service number the system gives you when you create an application, followed by the words ‘Project partner’.

The Funding Service will provide document upload details when you apply.

Industry Collaboration Framework (ICF)

Word count: 1,500

Does your application (both UK and Japan elements) include industry project partners?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

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

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

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

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

Find out more about ICF, including:

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

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

1. Name the industry or company project partner considered under ICF.

2. Indicate whether your application is either basic research or applied research.

3. Explain why, in the absence of the requested UKRI funding, the collaboration and the planned research could not be undertaken.

4. State whether your application is under the category of either fully flexible contribution or gated contribution (based on the IP sharing arrangements with the ICF partner).

5. Outline the pre-existing IP (‘background IP’) that each project partner (including the academic partner) will bring to the collaborative research project and the terms under which project partners may access these assets.

6. Outline the IP that is expected to be developed during the collaborative research project (‘foreground IP’) and briefly outline how it will be managed, including:

  • which project partners will own this IP
  • what rights project partners will have to use academically-generated foreground IP during and after the research project, for internal research and development or for commercial purposes
  • any rights of the academic partner to commercialise the foreground IP (including foreground IP generated by project partners)

7. Outline any restrictions to dissemination of the project results, including the rights of the project partner to:

  • review, approve or delay publications (including the time period associated with such rights)
  • request or require the removal of any information

8. Declare any conflicts of interest held by the applicants in relation to the project partners and describe how they will be managed.

9. If applicable, justify collaborating with an overseas industry or company under ICF.

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

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

Facilities

Word limit: 250

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

You should only include details of the required use of UK facilities.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

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

For each requested facility you will need to provide the:

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

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

Data management and sharing

Word count: 1,500

How will you manage and share data collected or acquired through the proposed research, including when sharing data internationally?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

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

Provide your response following the MRC data management plan template.

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

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

Ethics and responsible research and innovation (RRI)

Word limit: 500

What are the ethical or RRI implications and issues relating to the proposed work (including both the UK and Japan components)? If you do not think that the proposed work raises any ethical or RRI issues, explain why.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Demonstrate that you have identified and evaluated:

  • the relevant ethical or responsible research and innovation considerations including the potential for dual use of project outputs.
  • how you will manage these considerations in line with UKRI and AMED’s ethical and trusted research and innovation principles.

Consider the MRC guidance on ethics and approvals.

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

Please note you must include all research taking place in both the UK and overseas.

Information provided here will be reviewed by UKRI and further information may be requested if the application is recommended for funding.

Genetic and biological risk

Word limit: 700

Does your proposed research involve any genetic or biological risk?

Please note you must include all research taking place in both the UK and overseas.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

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

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

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

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

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

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

Research involving the use of animals

Word limit: 10

Does your proposed research (in both the UK and Japan) involve the use of vertebrate animals or other organisms covered by the Animals Scientific Procedures Act?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

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

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

Conducting research with animals overseas

Word limit: 700

Will any of the proposed animal research be conducted overseas?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

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

If your application proposes animal research to be conducted overseas, you must provide a statement in the text box. Depending on the species involved, you may also need to upload a completed template for each species listed.

Statement

Provide a statement to confirm that:

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

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

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

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

If you are proposing to conduct overseas animals research you must also include an additional letter of support within the Letters of Support section of the TFS application. Please see the Letters of Support section for more information.

Research involving human participation

Word limit: 700

Will the project involve the use of human subjects or their personal information (in the UK or Japan)?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

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

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

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

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

Please note you must include all research taking place in both the UK and overseas.

Research involving human tissues or biological samples

Word limit: 700

Does your proposed research involve the use of human tissues, or biological samples (in either the UK or Japan)?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

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

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

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

Confirm whether the research involving human tissues or biological samples is occurring in the UK or overseas.

If your application includes research involving human tissues or biological samples, you must also include an additional letter of support within the Letters of Support section of this application.

Please see the Letter of support section for more details of what to include in your letter of support.

Letters of support

Word limit: 10

The assessors are looking for you to create and upload the required letters of support within this section. Please combine all letters of support relevant to your application into one PDF and upload it to the Funding Service.

If you have multiple letters of support, you should:

  • ensure each separate email or letter of support, does not exceed two pages of A4
  • consolidate all the supporting documents provided into a single PDF file before uploading
  • ensure the PDF does not exceed the maximum file size of 8MB

For the file name, use the unique Funding Service number the system gives you when you create an application, followed by the words ‘Letters of support’.

Overseas research organisation letter of support

Please upload a signed and dated letter of support from each Japan based research organisation demonstrating support for the proposed research projects. If you will need to use an overseas facility, please ensure the letter confirms you have prior agreement in place if you are offered funding. Each letter should be signed by the international departmental head or equivalent.

Conducting research with animals overseas – letter of support

Investigators proposing the use of animals (in either country) should:

  • provide a signed and dated letter with the heading ‘Use of Animals letter’ (uploaded as a letter of support) which must be signed by both the UK project lead and Japanese project lead stating that:
    • all animal research (undertaken in either country) will adhere to all relevant national and local regulatory systems in the UK and Japan
    • they will follow the guidelines laid out in the responsibility in the use of animals in bioscience research. Document and ensure that work is carried out to UK and Japanese standards. If primates are used they should also confirm that they will follow the NC3Rs Guidelines: Primate Accommodation, Care and Use
    • before initiation of the proposed research work, appropriate approvals from institutional or central animal ethics committees or both will be obtained for experimental protocols to be adopted in their projects. Successful applications may be expected to provide copies of these permissions before funding is released
    • details on which animal research will take place in which country (UK, Japan or elsewhere) and through which funder the resources are being sought. You should include confirmation that animal welfare standards at these institutions meet the requirements outlined above.
  • If applicable, you should also submit the MRC ‘Use of Animals Overseas’ form(s) – please see section 4.4.6 of the standard MRC Guidance for Applicants and the use of animals overseas section of the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement & Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) website. This attachment should be uploaded as a ‘Letter of Support
Research involving human tissues or biological samples letter of support

Investigators proposing to conduct research involving human tissues or biological samples should upload a letter of support related to your use of human tissue research within the UK or Japan.

Your support letter must:

  • confirm that all applicants will comply with relevant UK and Japanese policies related to the use of human tissue within research, before the start date of the award
  • confirm where the human tissue research will take place
  • who will recruit the human participants
  • state that what is being supplied is suitable for the research being undertaken that the quantity of tissue (where relevant) being supplied is suitable, but not excessive for achieving meaningful results
  • be signed by both UK and Japan project leads
  • not contain any other information apart from the information relevant to the use of human tissue within the planned research
  • not provide letters of support from the host and co-project lead research organisations

If you include additional information we have not asked for, your application will be rejected.

The letter you provide should:

  • be no more than two pages of A4
  • confirm only the information requested in relation to your projects use of human tissue

Resources and cost justification

Word limit: 1,500

What will you need to deliver the proposed work which will be funded by MRC and how much will it cost?

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

  • are comprehensive, appropriate, and justified
  • represent the optimal use of resources to achieve the intended outcomes maximise potential outcomes and impacts
Funding for international partnership and mobility activities

It is required that 33% of the total requested funding (from both UKRI and AMED) should be used for the purpose of building and expanding networks with the partner country and promoting mobility. These expenses can include the costs of organising workshops and seminars etc., travel of researchers to the partner country and related expenses, personnel costs for staff involved in travel and exchanges, and research and other costs related to hosting researchers from the partner country. More detail:

  • research costs (equipment/supplies) when hosting researchers: Research facilities/equipment/prototypes, software (ready-made goods), purchasing costs for reagents/materials/consumables for use in research
  • travel costs for personal exchanges and joint meetings: Travel costs of UK research participants, travel costs for invited participants such as external experts
  • personnel costs/ services costs for expatriates: Personnel costs for those travelling: personnel costs for researchers, etc., employed to conduct the relevant contracted research (including personnel costs for project leads and co-project leads) and related costs for example, interpretation and translation
  • other costs for international partnership and mobility activities: Costs for implementing the relevant contracted research other than the above. Examples are: conference costs, equipment leasing costs, equipment repair costs and subcontract costs.
What the assessors are looking for in your response
  • are the breakdown of expenses and the expenditure plan appropriate?
  • do you have sufficient research resources to carry out the research activities?
  • is sufficient budget secured for human resource development of researchers dispatched overseas, and is an appropriate budget plan in place?
  • does the project include a budget plan for accepting excellent human resources from overseas under appropriate conditions?

You should also include a clear indication of the UK costs, what is included within the mobility costs and a justification of the application’s more costly resources, in particular:

  • project staff
  • significant travel for field work or collaboration (but not regular travel between collaborating organisations or to conferences)
  • any equipment that will cost more than £10,000
  • any consumables beyond typical requirements, or that are required in exceptional quantities
  • all facilities and infrastructure costs
  • all resources that have been costed as ‘Exceptions’
  • support for public and patient involvement and engagement
  • support for preserving, long-term storage, or sharing of data
  • NHS research costs, when they are associated with NHS studies
  • animal costs, such as numbers that need to be bred or maintained and to maintain high welfare standards
  • MRC unit transition applicants – briefly summarise the resources you will receive for this work from unit funding which are not being requested as part of this application. Use the current unit costing approach to explain these and state the total cost of your proposed work, including unit resources and costs requested from this application

Please ensure that the information supplied here matches Section four of the Justification of Resources template submitted to AMED.

International resources and cost justification

Word limit: 1,000

Japan costs

Resources requested

Please provide an overview of the costs requested for this funding scheme by each international partner.

You should include the Japanese funding requested by international organisations in GBP and Yen, please ensure the total matches the budget submitted to AMED and Section 1 of the Justification of Resources document template.

Please note: so that the value of the total funds requested by the research project can be assessed, for the purposes of completing this section, 1GBP = 185 JPY.

Resources justification

Briefly justify the overseas costs related to this application, in particular:

  • explain why the resources requested are appropriate for the research and mobility proposed
  • detail how the resources will be used, taking into account the nature and complexity of your application
What the assessors are looking for in your response
  • are the breakdown of expenses and the expenditure plan appropriate?
  • do you have sufficient research resources to carry out the research activities?
  • is sufficient budget secured for human resource development of researchers dispatched overseas, and is an appropriate budget plan in place?
  • does the project include a budget plan for accepting excellent human resources from overseas under appropriate conditions?

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

  • are comprehensive, appropriate, and justified
  • represent the optimal use of resources to achieve the intended outcomes maximise potential outcomes and impacts
Funding for international partnership and mobility activities

It is required that 33% of the total requested funding (from both UKRI and AMED) should be used for the purpose of building and expanding networks with the partner country and promoting mobility. These expenses can include the costs of organising workshops and seminars etc., travel of researchers to the partner country and related expenses, personnel costs for staff involved in travel and exchanges, and research and other costs related to hosting researchers from the partner country. More detail of what can be included within Japanese mobility costs:

Research costs (equipment/supplies) when hosting researchers, which are defined as:

  • research facilities or equipment (and prototypes)
  • software ready made goods
  • book purchasing costs
  • purchasing costs for reagents, materials and consumables for use in research

Travel costs for personal exchanges and joint meetings, which are defined as:

  • travel costs of research participants
  • travel costs for invited participants such as external experts

Personnel costs and services costs for expatriates, which are defined as:

  • personnel costs: personnel costs for researchers, etc., employed to conduct the relevant contracted research (including personnel costs for principal investigators and sub investigators)
  • service costs:
    • expenditure for services such as lecture requests
    • guidance/advice
    • test subjects
    • interpretation/translation
    • unskilled labour

Other costs for international partnership and mobility activities, which are defined as:

  • costs for implementing the relevant contracted research other than the above. Such as:
    • research accomplishments publication costs, including: academic paper contribution costs, academic paper offprint costs, website production costs, etc.
    • conference costs
    • equipment leasing costs
    • equipment repair costs
    • printing costs
    • subcontract costs
    • licensing fee
    • expenses for entrusting other persons with ‘project leads’ work (other than research and development ordinarily performed by principal investigators is at their affiliated institutions (buyout expenses), amount equivalent to consumption tax related to untaxed transactions, etc.))
  • You should ensure that the information supplied here matches Section five of the Justification of Resources template

Clinical research using NHS resources

Word count: 250

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

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If not, enter ‘N/A’ into the text box

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to complete a SoECAT

SoECAT guidance can be found on the NIHR website.

These are the steps you need to take:

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

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

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

Related applications

Word count: 500

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

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If not enter N/A

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

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

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

MRC unit transition applications

Word limit: 1,000

What is the relationship between this application and your MRC unit funding?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If you are not based in a MRC unit answer N/A

Explain the relationship between this grant application and your current unit funding and how this grant will help you transition to new funding arrangements, including:

  • activities that will be delivered during the remaining unit-funded period and during this grant
  • important changes or new directions proposed from your unit-funded research (if applicable)
  • feedback from the last unit review that is important for the assessment of these plans (if applicable)
  • the transition approach to staff costs across the unit-funded and grant-funded parts of the proposed work

How we will assess your application

Assessment process

We will assess your application using the following process.

Peer review

We will invite experts from the UK and Japan to join an expert review committee. Your application will be independently assessed, against the specified criteria for this funding opportunity.

As we will be utilising an expert review committee to conduct an initial assessment of applications, you will not be able to nominate reviewers for this funding opportunity.

Following the expert review, you will have 14 days to respond to reviewers’ comments.

Shortlisting

A shortlisting process may be conducted depending on the number of applications received. Shortlisted applications will go to a panel who will make a funding recommendation.

Panel

Following the expert committee review, and shortlisting, we will invite a panel of UK and Japan-based experts to use the evidence provided by the committee, and your applicant responses, to assess the quality of your application. Your application will then be ranked alongside other applications after which the panel will make a funding recommendation.

MRC and AMED will jointly make the final funding decision.

Find out more about MRC’s assessment process.

Timescale

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

Feedback

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

Principles of assessment

We support the San Francisco declaration on research assessment and recognise the relationship between research assessment and research integrity.

Find out about the UKRI principles of assessment and decision making.

We reserve the right to modify the assessment process as needed.

Assessment areas

The assessment areas we will use are:

  • vision of the project
  • approach to the project
  • the International Partnership and Mobility Plan
  • capability of the applicant or applicants and the project team to deliver the project
  • resources requested to do the project
  • ethical and responsible research and innovation considerations of the project

Find details of assessment questions and criteria under the Application questions heading in the How to apply section.

Contact details

Get help with your application

If you have a question and the answers aren’t provided on this page.

Important note: The Helpdesk is committed to helping users of the UKRI Funding Service as effectively and as quickly as possible. In order to manage cases at peak volume times, the Helpdesk will triage and prioritise those queries with an imminent opportunity deadline or a technical issue. Enquiries raised where information is available on the Funding Finder opportunity page and should be understood early in the application process (for example, regarding eligibility or content/remit of an opportunity) will not constitute a priority case and will be addressed as soon as possible.

Contact details

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

For questions related to remit and scientific aspects of this specific funding opportunity email: international@mrc.ukri.org

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

Any queries regarding the system or the submission of applications through the Funding Service should be directed to the helpdesk.

Email: support@funding-service.ukri.org
Phone: 01793 547490

Our phone lines are open:

  • Monday to Thursday 8:30am to 5:00pm
  • Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm

Sensitive information

If you or a core team member need to tell us something you wish to remain confidential, email us at international@mrc.ukri.org

Include in the subject line: [the funding opportunity title; sensitive information; your Funding Service application number].

Typical examples of confidential information include:

  • individual is unavailable until a certain date (for example due to parental leave)
  • declaration of interest
  • additional information about eligibility to apply that would not be appropriately shared in the Applicant and team capability section
  • conflict of interest for UKRI to consider in reviewer or panel participant selection
  • the application is an invited resubmission

For information about how UKRI handles personal data, read UKRI’s privacy notice.

Additional info

Background

AMED will support this activity under the ASPIRE (Adopting Sustainable Partnerships for Innovative Research Ecosystem) fund. It aims to provide sufficient funds for large-scale collaborative joint research projects in cutting-edge fields, to be conducted at the initiative of the Japanese government in collaboration with advanced countries with high standards of science and technology.

Through international research collaboration supported by this program, Japanese researchers will participate in the worldwide scientific top tier. The exchange of excellent researchers between Japan and partner country will also be strengthened. These researchers are expected to be leaders in the next generation. This will promote international talent mobility and circulation and contribute to long-term collaborative networks.

MRC will support this activity under the umbrella of the International Science Partnerships Fund (ISPF). ISPF is designed to enable potential and foster prosperity. It will support UK researchers and innovators to work with international partners on the major themes of our time, and to help them create new knowledge and technology for the world. It is managed by the Department for Science, Innovation Technology. Delivered by a consortium of the UK’s leading research and innovation bodies including UKRI.

Research disruption due to COVID-19

We recognise that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused major interruptions and disruptions across our communities. We are committed to ensuring that individual applicants and their wider team, including partners and networks, are not penalised for any disruption to their career, such as:

  • breaks and delays
  • disruptive working patterns and conditions
  • the loss of ongoing work
  • role changes that may have been caused by the pandemic

Reviewers and panel members will be advised to consider the unequal impacts that COVID-19 related disruption might have had on the capability to deliver and career development of those individuals included in the application. They will be asked to consider the capability of the applicant and their wider team to deliver the research they are proposing.

Where disruptions have occurred, you can highlight this within your application if you wish, but there is no requirement to detail the specific circumstances that caused the disruption.

Supporting links

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