The Early Career Impact prize recognises and celebrates an individual or team of early career researchers (ECRs) who have been pioneers in medical research to improve the wider research environment and culture.
The prize will shine a light on the leadership and dedication our ECRs are providing to transform and support the research system of the future and reward the achievements that often go unrecognised.
Nominations will be accepted from representatives of:
- higher education institutions (HEIs)
- independent research organisations (IROs)
- other organisations, such as industry, clinical organisations and government bodies.
The winner or winners will:
- receive a financial award of up to £20,000 which must be put towards the further learning and development of the individual or team. Please note that the prize will only be payable to organisations, not individuals.
- be presented with a trophy and financial award at a dedicated MRC awards ceremony in spring 2023, and have their impacts showcased at this event
- have future opportunities to present their impacts via other UKRI or MRC-led events and forums.
Who you can nominate
Only representatives of HEIs, IROs and organisations such as industry organisations or government bodies can submit nominations.
To be eligible for the prize the work of the individual or team must be (or have been) supported by the MRC or the Medical Research Foundation. This could be through being in the receipt of funding through a:
- research grant
- new investigator research grant
- being included as a postdoc on a grant
- work at an MRC unit, centre or institute.
There is no strict eligibility criteria relating to the amount of postdoctoral experience candidates must have gained. However, nominees should be able to clearly demonstrate that their skills and experience at the time of the application match either the:
- exploration (early postdoctoral) career stage
- transition to independence career stage.
You can find information about these definitions in the MRC applicant skills and experience requirements.
Early career researchers working across a range of sectors are eligible for nomination, including but not limited to:
- non-governmental organisations
- government organisations
- small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
- start-up companies.
There is a one year resubmission policy. The individual or team can only be put forward for the Early Career Impact prize once every two years.
Equality, diversity and inclusion
We are committed to equality, diversity and inclusion. We especially encourage nominations for those who are currently under-represented in some sectors of the research and innovation community, including:
- those with a disability
- members of minority ethnic groups.
Organisations can submit a maximum of two nominations per year, with at least one nomination being for a team or individual that has at least one protected characteristic, for example relating to:
What we want to see in the work of nominees
This prize will recognise and celebrate an individual or team of early career researchers who have developed and implemented pioneering approaches in areas that are critical to support future scientific advances, such as improving research culture and environment.
This could include activities to:
- champion open science and research integrity
- advocate and advance equality, diversity and inclusion
- develop laboratory and research sustainability initiatives
- foster team science and collaborations across disciplines and organisations
- influence policy and practice
- improve public and patient involvement and engagement.
The activities can be:
- at the early stages of development, for example, local initiatives within a single team or department within HEIs or IROs
- more advanced in their development or implemented more widely, for example, nationally or internationally.
The achievements for which the individual or team is nominated can have occurred in-award, for example, whilst in receipt of funding from the MRC or the Medical Research Foundation, or post-award, where the funding provided a platform to enable the development of further achievements and impacts.
How to make a nomination
Nominations open on 23 May 2022 for 10 weeks. Further information about the nomination process and where to find the nomination form will be released on 23 May 2022.
Nominators will be asked to submit:
- a nomination form (available from 23 May 2022)
- up to two letters of support.
Letters of support
You should provide no more than two letters of support on headed paper. These can be from a senior member of the lead nominee’s institution (such as the Dean, Head of Department or equivalent) or other individuals who can provide a supporting statement for the achievements of the nominee or nominees. The letters should detail the relationship with the nominee or nominees and clearly explain the reasons why they should receive an MRC Impact Prize.
How we will assess nominations
A dedicated MRC prize committee oversees the MRC Impact Prize.
The committee is chaired by the MRC Executive Chair and comprised of 24 members from across:
- MRC boards, panels and overview groups
- MRC strategy board
- MRC council
- industry and external representation.
The committee reviews and scores the nominations received and selects the winning entries.
The shortlisted entries will be announced in December 2022.
Winning entries will be announced at a dedicated MRC awards ceremony in spring 2023.
For more information contact the MRC Impact Prize team.