MRC Impact Prize


Open Science Impact

The Open Science Impact prize rewards an individual or team of researchers who have developed and implemented open science practices and principles to make research methods, findings and outputs more accessible, transparent and reproducible.

We’re looking for an individual or team responsible for developing pioneering approaches and implementing them to innovate, advocate and utilise open science practices to overcome and address the barriers faced by researchers who engage in open science.

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 winning individual or team will:

  • receive a financial award of up to £20,000 which must be put towards further developing or showcasing the open science activity more widely. 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
  • have their open science activities showcased at the MRC awards ceremony
  • have future opportunities to present their open science initiative 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.

We’re looking for nominations for an individual, team of individuals, or network who have made an outstanding contribution to advancing open science practices and principles into research.

To be eligible for the award, the work for which the individual or team has been nominated has to have been supported by the MRC or Medical Research Foundation. This could be through either:

  • grant funding
  • a PhD studentship or fellowship
  • the research being based within an MRC centre, unit or institute.

The funding must have provided a significant contributing factor to the advancement of the open science activity.

There is a one year resubmission policy. The individual or team can only be put forward for the Open Science Impact prize once every two years.

Nominated teams can consist of a diverse range of members at different stages in their careers and from a variety of disciplines and organisations.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

We are committed to equality, diversity and inclusion. We especially encourage nominations for people who are currently under-represented in some sectors of the research and innovation community. This includes:

  • women
  • those with a disability
  • members of minority ethnic groups.

Organisations are permitted to submit a maximum of two nominations per year, with at least one nomination being for a team or individual which has at least one protected characteristic, for example relating to:

  • gender
  • ethnicity
  • disability.

What the nominated open science activity should be about

The open science activity for which the individual, team or network is nominated must go beyond publishing papers in open access journals or pre-prints. It should demonstrate transformative and innovative ideas which are advancing open research practices in the UK or internationally.

The activities can be at the early stages of development, for example, local initiatives within a single team or department within HEIs or IROs, or more advanced in development and implemented more widely, for example nationally or internationally.

Examples of activities could include, but are not limited to:

  • development of open data sharing platforms and standards
  • embedding open science practices in research workflows
  • establishing or contributing to consortia and networks
  • promoting and sharing best practices
  • development of training or protocols
  • development of open-source software or code that improves community uptake and the use of research data
  • open science advocacy initiatives, for example via outreach and engagement
  • development of institutional disciplinary guidance and policies.

The activities for which the individual, team or network are nominated must have contributed towards breaking barriers to the adoption of open science practices or embedding and advocating for open science in research. This is with the aim to enable reproducibility and transparency of research methods and findings and to improve research culture.

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, Director 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.

For team applications, please refer to the whole team in the letters of support.

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 is comprised of 24 members from across:

  • MRC boards, panels and overview groups
  • MRC strategy board
  • MRC council
  • industry and external representation.

The committee will review and score nominations and select the winner who will be announced in December 2022. The prize will be awarded at an MRC awards ceremony in spring 2023.


For more information email the MRC Impact Prize team.


Last updated: 28 April 2022

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