MMU Research and Knowledge Exchange Blog

Funding opportunities, news and guidance from RKE at Manchester Metropolitan University

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NIHR 2018 Mental Health Themed Call Update and Funding Opportunities

NiHR for Public Mental Health

The 2018 NIHR Mental Health Themed Call is ‘Promotion of good mental health and the prevention or treatment of mental ill health’ across the whole life course’.

NIHR are welcome proposals for clinical and applied health research that evaluate healthcare interventions, health services, social care or public health measures operating at either the individual, or the population level. Issues of particular interest include proposals that utilise new digital health technologies or investigate their effects.

The remit for this call includes conditions listed in the Health Research Classification System (HRCS) category ‘Mental Health’.  (Depression, schizophrenia, psychosis and personality disorders, addiction, suicide, anxiety, eating disorders, learning disabilities, autistic spectrum disorders and studies of normal psychology, cognitive function and behaviour).

Studies may also include individuals with co-morbidities included in HRCS category ‘Neurological’, (Dementias, transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, Parkinson’s disease, neurodegenerative diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and studies of the normal brain and nervous system) provided the main focus remains the mental health condition.


There is currently a number of opportunities across the NIHR portfolio. For more information on the calls for early next year, please visit the NIHR  website.

Please contact the relevant RDM to discuss further.


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NIHR  I4I Challenge Awards Call 8 Dates – Mental Health 

NiHR for Public Mental Health


NIHR i4i Challenge Awards

Challenge Awards are commissioned on an ad hoc basis in areas of existing or emerging healthcare need. The expected output is a disruptive technology with the potential to offer improved outcomes for NHS patients. 

Applications for these late-stage awards must be based on a working prototype or proven concept with a strong evidence base and comprise the clinical development of laboratory-validated technologies or interventions, requiring minimal preclinical development. Minor or incremental changes to technologies in current clinical use are outside the scope.

Current Challenge Award – Mental Health 2018

Mental illness inflicts a heavy toll on affected individuals, carers and society as a whole. It’s the largest single cause of disability and represents 28% of the national disease burden in the UK. Annually this leads to an estimated 70 million working days lost, costing the economy £70 billion a year (OECD 2014).

Applications are invited for the development of innovative technological solutions which can influence the patient care pathway and improve patient outcomes for mental health conditions. Download the full scope for more information about the 2018 Challenge Award, essential requirements are as for Product Development Awards plus:

  • Projects can be up to 5 years in duration
  • Applications must include one collaborator from an NHS Trust or NHS service provider.
  • Projects must include first-in-man or later stage trials.
  • We will not consider applications focused on neurodegenerative conditions including Parkinson’s, Dementia, Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s.

Challenge Awards Call 8 Dates – Mental Health 

Stage 1 Stage 2 (if invited)
Competition launch 01 February 2018 (9am) 23 May 2018 (9am)
Submission deadline 04 April 2018 (1pm) 26 September 2018 (1pm)
Submission outcome May 2018 December 2018 (earliest)NiHR for Public Mental Health

Please contact your RDM to discuss proposals for NIHR funding

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Developing funding proposals in applied health and social care: NIHR funding programmes

NiHR for Public Mental Health

RDS North West will be hosting a free event, 1 March 2018, 9.30 am to 3.00 pm – The Foresight Centre, University of Liverpool, 1 Brownlow Street, Liverpool, L69 3GL. 

The RDS NW event is for health and social care professionals and researchers in the North West of England who want to develop and submit an application to National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) funding programmes.

What will you get from the day?

For those intending to develop and submit an application to NIHR, this seminar will highlight:

  • the funding opportunities available
  • the application process
  • what funders are looking for in a submission
  • how to design a study to answer your research question effectively
  • building a team of collaborators

What do I need to do?

As this event is aimed at those wanting to develop and submit a research funding application, we ask that:

  • you have at least an outline idea of your research question
  • you are prepared to discuss your idea with an RDS NW adviser.

Registration and the event flyer are now available on the event website.

Please contact your RDM to discuss your proposal ideas. 

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Pre Call Announcement: ESRC-NIHR dementia research initiative 2018 – prevention, interventions and care delivery


ESRC-NIHR will announce an initiative making up to £16.5 million available for social science research in dementia prevention, interventions and care delivery. This new initiative will deliver part of the ESRC’s innovation in health and social care priority.

Funding will be available to fund large grants which will be national or international focal points for social science research in dementia, making a significant contribution to scientific, economic and societal impact. Applications are expected to be between £2 million and £5 million (at 100% full economic cost) with a duration of between three to five years, and must start in January 2019. 

Potential applicants are being asked to think innovatively about interdisciplinary aspects and how to embed underpinning research, particularly to address inequalities and workforce issues. Grants should provide opportunities for early career researchers to move towards becoming independent researchers in this field.

We expect that proposals will be invited in the following areas:

  1. Prevention based on an understanding of socio-economic and environmental risk or protective factors and how best to effect changes in behaviour in order to lessen the risk of developing dementia.
  2. Social interventions to slow cognitive decline and promote social inclusion, carer involvement, carer support and quality of life in dementia, underpinning cost effective care models tailored for the population in need.
  3. Delivery of interventions looking across care settings, care givers and care providers to deliver the right set of care arrangements in the most appropriate place at the right time.

The call will operate a two-stage application process!

Further information will be released in January 2018.

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New Funding Opportunity: UK Prevention Research Partnership


The UK Prevention Research Partnership (UKPRP) is an exciting £50m initiative focussed on improving population health, and reducing health inequalities, through the primary prevention of NCDs. It covers physical health as well as mental health and wellbeing in the UK.

The UKPRP is a new model of public health funding in the UK that seeks to:  build and support interdisciplinary research teams to develop, implement and evaluate generalisable and scalable preventive policies, practices, designs and interventions which will enable change within complex adaptive systems to prevent NCDs.

deliver solutions for large-scale and cost-effective improvements in health and the prevention of NCDs that meet the needs of providers and policy makers and are responsive to the challenging timescales of policy making. This will involve co-production of research with the public, policy makers, professionals and those likely to implement the intervention.

The UKPRP will cover physical health as well as mental health and wellbeing in the UK

  • Alzheimer’s
  • Asthma
  • Cataracts
  • Chronic Kidney Disease
  • Chronic Lung Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Heart Disease
  • Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)
  • Obesity
  • Osteoporosis
  • Stroke
  • Cancer
  • Several other cardiovascular disease

The call seeks to build and support interdisciplinary research consortia and networks that will focus on the upstream-determinants of health; on developing large-scale solutions relevant to policy and practice; and on enabling change within complex adaptive systems.

The UKPRP will support two types of award:

  • Consortium award: £4-7m for five years – provide substantial, long-term investment (five years) to support novel combinations of partners, including, where appropriate, industry (i.e. commercial/business partners), representing a range of academic disciplines and undertaking interdisciplinary research addressing a specific challenge in the primary prevention of NCDs. These groups should develop research strategies with users, for example policy makers, practitioners, health providers, the public etc. who may be part of the consortium, for the generation and implementation of new knowledge. The thinking behind consortia is that drawing together teams of experts from different disciplines and sectors, and including users, should enable researchers to capitalise on a range of expertise to develop novel research into high quality interventions that can deliver change at a population level.


  • Network award: £100k per annum for up to four years – will be expected to build a community of researchers and users around a broad NCD primary prevention research challenge and support interdisciplinary networking activity. Networks will address research challenges in NCD prevention by developing new relationships across diverse disciplines and organisations where time is needed to do this successfully. Each network award will fund the operating costs of the network, for up to four years, and provide limited funding to pump prime new research collaborations. The UKPRP networks will develop future capacity in the UK to address NCD prevention challenges.

There is a two-stage process for applications for the awards. The call for outline applications closes at 16:00 on 18 January 2018.

The Medical Research Council will administer the call for proposals on behalf of funding partners (BHF, Cancer Research UK, CSO, EPSRC, ESRC, Health & Care Wales, Public Health Agency, MRC, NERC, NIHR, The Health Foundation and Wellcome).

Please contact your Research Development Manager if you are interested in this call.

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Cross-Research Council Mental Health Network Plus call is now open

The seven research council have released a NETWORK PLUS funding call which will be managed be the ESRC.  Total funding available through this call is £9-10 million, with network plus applicants able to bid for up to £1.25 million (100% fEC) per network for up to 48 months’ duration.

The call for network plus proposals closes at 16:00 on 22 March 2018.


The aim of the call is to encourage the creation of multi-disciplinary networks that cross the remit boundaries of the research councils. These networks will address important mental health research questions that require an innovative, cross-disciplinary approach to accelerate progress; to build cross-disciplinary research capacity in the field; and to strengthen the UK mental health research base.


The cross council agenda document can be accessed here . Below is the highlighted research areas and cross cutting themes.

Research areas:

  1. Understanding mental health and mental health problems
  2. Connection between physical and mental health
  3. Public health, prevention and wellbeing
  4. Living with mental health problems

Cross-cutting themes

  1. Effective intervention(s)
  2. Technology and data
  3. Lifestyle and behaviour
  4. Inequalities
  5. Empowerment, ethics, confidentiality and trust

Please contact the central RKE team if you are interested in this funding call and/or are invited to be part of a Network!

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NIHR Fellowship Update

NiHR for Public Mental Health
The latest round of NIHR Fellowships (Round 11) has launched and applications are now open for doctoral and post-doctoral levels.

The fellowships programme offers opportunities at all levels; from PhD through to Senior Research Fellowships, and is aimed at anyone looking to further their career in applied health research and funds research from across the breadth of the NIHR’s remit.
The post-doctoral levels will be open for applications until 5 December 2017 and the doctoral level will be open for applications until 19 December 2017.

Further information can be accessed here

Please contact the RKE office for support and further guidance!