MMU Research and Knowledge Exchange Blog

Funding opportunities, news and guidance from RKE at Manchester Met

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Wellcome Trust Visit Day

Diversity-and-Inclusion-at-Wellcome-Trust1The Wellcome Trust will be visiting Manchester Met on Wednesday 14th September, to present to an audience of researchers across the University. The presenters from the Trust will be Dr Candace Hassall and Thomas Bray.

The Wellcome Trust primarily funds research in bio-medical science and healthcare disciplines. However, the Trust also supports health research across humanities and social sciences. The aim of the event will be to gain a deeper understanding of the Trust as a funder. It will also provide an opportunity to network with staff from other disciplines.

The day will be split into two sessions:

Morning (2.5 hours) 10am to 12.30pm – open to all interested researchers.

10am – arrival, registration, refreshments.

10:30am – overview of Wellcome Trust grant schemes and priorities; more detailed discussion of Seed Awards; time for questions; short talk by Professor Richard Greene.

Lunch 12:30 to 1:30 – networking lunch open to all staff.

Afternoon (2 hours) 1:30pm to 3:30pm – invited researchers only. General overview of collaborative awards; discussion with invited groups of senior researchers developing collaborative awards; facilitate discussion within groups with feedback provided by the Wellcome Trust.

To register for this event, please click HERE.

Please select which session you would like to attend. Those of you selecting the Afternoon session will be contacted by the RKE Office to ensure you are currently developing a collaborative award proposal and that this session is appropriate for you.

Manchester Met Business School, Room 3.15

Wednesday 14th September 10:00 – 16:00

For more information, please contact Justin Smith or Emma Hodson-Tole



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Grab a Grant

Take a look at these research related funding opportunities.

Nuffield Foundation Grants for Research and Innovation

These support research, practical experiments or development work in areas such as children, families, education and the elderly.

Deadline for applications: 18 Apr 16

British Tinnitus Association Large Research Project Scheme

This supports projects which help to improve the lives of people with tinnitus.

Deadline for applications: 30 Apr 16

Viking Society for Northern Research Support Fund

The purpose of the fund is to assist in the development of the study of the literature, history, language and archaeology of early and medieval Scandinavia.

Deadline for applications: 01 May 16

Wellcome Trust People Awards

These support projects that are innovative and creative and engage the public with biomedical science or the history of medicine.

Deadline for applications: 20 May 16

British Psychological Society Sections Initiative Fund

This supports scientific initiatives that promote or advance psychology.

Deadline for applications: 01 Sep 16

For support during your application, please contact Research Development.

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Wellcome Trust Awards and Fellowships

The Wellcome Trust invites applications for two fellowships and its art awards for large projects.

Sir Henry Wellcome postdoctoral fellowships

These enable newly qualified postdoctoral researchers to make an early start in developing their independent research careers. Candidates are expected to identify an important biomedical research question and to develop and deliver a personal programme to achieve their research aims.

Career re-entry fellowships in biomedical science

These support postdoctoral scientists who have recently decided to recommence a scientific research career after a break of at least two years. Scientists are given the opportunity to return to high-quality research, with the potential to undertake refresher or further training.

The deadline for applications for both fellowships schemes is 2 May 2016.

For more information on Wellcome Trust fellowships, please visit:

Arts awards – large projects

These support the creation of new artistic work that critically engages artists and audiences with biomedical science.

The deadline for applications is 17 Feb 2016.

For more information, please visit:

For advice on applying to any of the above, please contact your relevant Research Development Manager.

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Wellcome trust refresh their funding schemes and announce a new funding framework

wellcometrust_logo The Wellcome Trust has announced a refreshed funding framework. Here is their guide to the most significant changes:

We are drawing a clearer distinction between strategic and responsive funding:

Strategic funding is available in research areas that we judge to be strategically important, informed by dialogue with our researchers and the wider community. Applications will be invited, but we welcome the opportunity to discuss research ideas that might fit with our strategic priorities, and that might be suitable for an invitation. Final awards under our current Strategic Awards scheme will be made in July 2015.

Responsive funding, which represents the majority, is divided into five categories that run across our Science, Innovations, Medical Humanities, Society and Ethics, and Engaging Science funding.

The five categories are: people, seeds, teams, places and resources.


We believe that breakthroughs emerge when talented researchers are given the resources and freedom they need to pursue their goals. We will continue to offer personal support to researchers through schemes such as Investigator Awards and fellowships.

Changes include:

  • Investigator Awards have merged

Our New Investigator and Senior Investigator Award schemes have been merged into single Investigator Award schemes specific to Science, Medical Humanities or Society and Ethics. All candidates will continue to be considered according to their career stage and experience to date.

  • More opportunities for the research leaders of the future

We have increased funding opportunities available through our Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowship and Sir Henry Dale Fellowship schemes.


This is a new kind of funding to support the generation of new ideas. It aims to address a gap identified by our community: small awards to investigate riskier concepts.

Seed Awards in Science, Medical Humanities and Society and Ethics provide funding to develop original and innovative ideas, enabling researchers to generate preliminary data, resources, networks, tools or archival research towards a larger research application.

In Innovations, our updated Pathfinder Awards offer pilot funding to catalyse innovative early-stage applied research and development projects in areas of unmet medical need to develop assets and de-risk future development.

Within public engagement, we offer seed funding through our Development Awards (Broadcast, Games and Film) and we have increased the cap on seed funding available through our People Awards and Small Arts Awards.


We recognise that collaboration is a key component of a vibrant research environment. It promotes the development of new ideas and can bring different disciplines together to speed up the pace of discovery. We have developed a new kind of funding for collaborative research.

Collaborative Awards in Science, Medical Humanities and Society and Ethics provide groups of researchers with the support to pursue key research questions where a team effort is required.

Portfolio Awards support collaborative research and technology development by funding programmes which require a portfolio of projects to deliver leading-edge innovations in healthcare.

The call for Collaborative Awards will open in the new year.

We continue to support innovative projects that engage and involve the public with biomedical science through existing programmes and our new Sustaining Excellence Awards, which support the enhanced delivery of outstanding public engagement work.


To ensure that researchers can work and train in world-class environments, we continue to provide long-term support for centres of excellence in the UK and in low- and middle-income countries.


This support provides funding for shared equipment, facilities and research resources, including support for longitudinal studies.

Further information

Register for our webinar on 12 December at 11am GMT. It will outline what the key changes mean in the context of our Science Portfolio. This webinar will be of interest to researchers working in biomedical science and public health who are based in the UK or low- and middle-income countries.

Read our Q&A document, which provides answers to questions about the refreshed funding framework.

Their press release is here: and there is a very useful summary article on Research Professional:

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TSB and MRC call: Biomedical Catalyst – Late stage award


MRC - Medical Research Council




In order to meet the challenges faced by healthcare systems, both companies and academics must recognise the drivers behind them and work together towards developing innovative technologies and processes which provide solutions for:
  • disease prevention and proactive management of health and chronic conditions
  • earlier and better detection and diagnosis of disease leading to marked improvements in patient outcomes
  • highly effective treatments that are tailored to patients’ needs and either modify the underlying disease or offer potential cures.
Supporting businesses (SMEs only) and academics to develop solutions to these challenges, the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) are working together to deliver the Biomedical Catalyst scheme. This scheme will provide responsive and effective support for the best life science opportunities arising in the UK.
Support is available for projects arising from any sector or discipline that are aimed at addressing healthcare challenges. Example solutions may include (but are not limited to):
  • Stratified healthcare (both therapy and diagnostic components)
  • Regenerative medicine
  • Diagnostics
  • eHealth and mHealth solutions
  • Enabling medical technologies and devices.
This grant takes a well-developed concept and demonstrates its effectiveness in a relevant environment through:
  • initial human proof-of-concept studies
  • demonstration of clinical utility and effectiveness
  • demonstration of safety and efficacy (including phase I and II clinical trials)
  • development of production mechanisms
  • prototyping
  • market testing
  • intellectual property protection.

Proposals must be business led, but University partners can claim up to 50% of the total budget. Projects can be for up to three years, and the maximum grant is £2.4 million. SMEs can claim up to 60% of eligible project costs; Universities can claim 80% of full Economic Costs.

Applicants will follow a 3-stage process involving an Expression of Interest, a Full Stage proposal and final presentation and interview in front of a committee. Progression between stages will be by invitation only and informed by independent expert review. The deadline for Expressions of Interest is 01 October 2014.
For University-led proposals please see the linked MRC call for the Biomedical Catalyst: Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme (DPFS). Details of this call can be found here:
There will be additional TSB calls  for Early-stage and Feasibility applications that will open on 02 October 2014. The application deadline will be 28 January 2015.

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Wellcome Trust expand the remit of their ‘Medical Humanities’ and ‘Society & Ethics’ schemes (backed up with an expanded budget too…)

wellcometrust_logo I attended a Wellcome Trust regional roadshow last week at the University of Manchester.  The Trust are on the road to discuss the expansion of the their Medical Humanities, Research Resources and Society and Ethics funding streams, which are now open to a wider range of applications from the humanities, the social sciences and the arts.

The Medical Humanities stream encourages bold and intellectually rigorous research applications that address important questions at the interface of medicine, health-related sciences, and the wider humanities, including the arts and social sciences. This used to be essentially the History of Medicine but from this year an historical component is not required and they will consider application from any humanities discipline.

The Society and Ethics stream supports research that examines the social and ethical aspects of biomedical research and health, with the aim of addressing tractable, real-world problems. Again , remit has expanded and now encompasses a much broader social science remit to include health and well-being rather than a narrow bio-ethics focus.  e.g. animal husbandry, maternal mortality in Mexico, ethics in end of life care. They described this as a “big leap” for the Trust requiring a recalibration of their reviewing committees so that appropriate expertise is in place.

The Research Resources stream underpins research across the medical humanities and the social sciences by supporting cataloguing and preservation projects of significant primary source material in libraries and archives in the UK and Ireland.

Looking primarly at the top two strands above, they offer a range  of grant schemes ranging from PhD Studentships through the career pathway up to Senior Investigator.  Full details of these are on the Wellcome Trust website but to summarise the key points from the workshop:

a) Fellowships (Post-Doc)

This scheme supports individuals at all stages of their career not in established academic posts, wishing to undertake a period of research. The majority of applicants are 5-10 years post-doc. Strong preference is given to applicants with a good prospect of achieving an academic career as a specialist in medical humanities. Funds posts of up to 3 years and associated research expenses.

b) University Awards

This scheme allows universities to attract outstanding research staff by providing support for up to five years, after which time the award holder takes up a guaranteed permanent post in the university. The post is fully funded (plus research expenses)  for the first 3 years with salary contribution tapering away in years 4 and 5 to become the responsibility of the University.

A monograph and other substantial publications are expected to result from an award, so teaching and other non-research commitments are expected to be minimal during the period of full Wellcome Trust support. Very competitive.

c) Investigator Awards 

Investigator Awards build on Wellcome’s strategic goal of supporting the brightest researchers with the best ideas and extend our successful fellowships funding model to researchers in established academic posts (i.e. those who have permanent, open-ended or long-term rolling contracts of employment salaried by their university or research institution).

With respect to Medical Humanities, they wish to encourage bold and intellectually rigorous research applications that address the important questions at the interface of science, medicine and the wider humanities (including the social sciences and the arts). They expect that the funded research will further develop our understanding of the impact of medicine and medical sciences on human and animal health.

These Awards support world-class researchers who are no more than five years from appointment to their first academic position but can already show that they have the ability to innovate and drive advances in their field of study. The Awards provide flexible support at a level and length that is sufficient to enable exceptional researchers to address the most important questions about the historical and cultural contexts of health and disease

At the roadshow they described this scheme as their “flagship” for those in established positions. There are separate schemes for New (no more than 5 years post-PhD) and Senior Investigators.  Applicants need an outstanding track record (appropriate to their career stage of course).  Projects should be “visionary” and joint applications can be made. There are no hard and fast rules but typically project applications would be in the region of £250k – £500k for New Investigators and £350k – £1.5m for Senior level. Note: the investigators salary costs are not funded through the grant so the money goes on research assistance, symposia, public engagement, travel, and some buy-out. On average, applicants devote an average of  40% fte over the course of the award (this could be 0% in one year and 100% in another). Now 2 deadlines per year.

d) Small Grants

Up to £5k. Can apply on a rolling basis – there are no deadlines. This scheme is for small-scale research projects, scoping exercises or meetings. Research trips under this scheme may be to consult libraries or archives.

This scheme can also provide institutions with financial support for conferences (or a session within a conference), symposia, seminar series, and so on.  You cannot apply for external conference attendance though.

There are also some ‘Opportunity profiles’ for these schemes on the Research Professional website:


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Lister Research Prize Fellow Awards in Biomedical Science

Lister Institute

The Lister Institute of Preventive Medicine invites applications for its research prizes. These are one-off fellowships that seek to support future leaders of biomedical research. The awards are aimed at younger researchers who might be in the early years of running their own groups and for whom receipt of the prize would have a high career impact.

Scientists with at least three and no more than 10 years of postdoctoral experience as of 1 October 2014 are eligible. Applicants should be working in any not-for-profit institution, such as as university, charity-funded research institute or research council institution, in the UK and Republic of Ireland. The bulk of the research must be conducted in the UK or RoI, but research with some overseas studies is acceptable, and awards are transferable between institutions. Applicants may be scientifically or medically trained and will have their personal salary provided from either their host institution or another source such as a fellowship.

Up to three awards are available per year, each worth £200,000 over a maximum period of five years.

Deadline 6th December 2013