MMU Research and Knowledge Exchange Blog

Funding opportunities, news and guidance from RKE at Manchester Met

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Second Call for Transformative Healthcare Technologies – Pre-announcement and engagement event

The EPSRC, in collaboration with the MRC, will shortly be inviting proposals for adventurous (high risk, high gain) projects as part of the second phase of Transformative Healthcare Technologies for 2050 call, otherwise referred to as the Transformative Healthcare Technologies 2.0 call.

This call will target projects that are guided by a longer-term vision to pursue new, ideas that develop thinking and approaches supported by the next generation of underpinning science, engineering and emerging technologies in the healthcare space.

Key Dates

EOI for Engagement Event: Thursday 30th July 2020, 4pm.

Virtual Engagement Event: 16th September 2020

Call Opening: Early-September 2020

Outline proposal deadline: Early-November 2020

Outline proposal decision: Mid-December 2020

Full proposal deadline: Early-March 2021

For more information on the call and for the EOI form to attend the Engagement Event (which is not compulsory) please visit the EPSRC website.

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LifeArc and MRC partnership to create new £16m fund to establish Gene Therapy Innovation Hubs

The Medical Research Council (MRC) and LifeArc are making £16m available to establish a network of Gene Therapy Innovation Hubs, providing access to clinical grade viral vector and translational support for early phase academic-led gene therapy clinical trials. Funding is available through grants up to 5-years, to create a diverse network of centrally coordinated and complementary gene therapy facilities in the UK.

Funded centres will form part of a centrally organised network to facilitate coordinated project selection, skills and training activities and engagement with the wider vector manufacturing and gene therapy communities.

Grants will pay for, but are not limited to key staff posts and infrastructure costs. It is expected that application may be of a range of sizes, from smaller awards of £1-2m to repurpose or import additional platforms to existing facilities, to larger scale investments of £5-7m in new or expanded infrastructure.

Key Dates

Expression of Interest Deadline1 June
Workshop (Virtual)23 June
Call for ProposalsJune (tbc)
Funding Panel Meet November (tbc)

For more information about this call and further details on the application process please visit the MRC website.

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Discontinuation of MRC Skills Development Fellowships

The Medical Research Council have today announced that they will no longer be offering the Skills Development Fellowship to instead provide more funding for their other fellowship schemes.

The Postdoctoral Skills Development Fellowships have played an important role in providing training opportunities for early career researchers with £68m invested in 240 fellows since it’s launch in 2011. MRC feel that it is more appropriate to develop new ways to support the postdoctoral workforce given the more interdisciplinary nature of research opportunities.

MRC still offer a variety of both Clinical and Non-Clinical Fellowships, further details of which can be found on their website.

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Pre-call Announcement: MRC/AHRC/ESRC Adolescence, Mental Health and the Developing Mind Initiative – Call for Research Programmes

The Medical Research Council (MRC), Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) will soon be launching a £24M call for ambitious multi and inter-disciplinary Research Programmes. This funding will come from the new cross-Council initiative in Adolescence, Mental Health and Developing Mind, which is supported through the UKRI Strategic Priorities Fund.

The call will make £24M available to fund impactful multidisciplinary research at a range of interfaces, including medicine, biology, social science, arts and humanities. Applications are also welcome which draw in non-traditional disciplines that can provide novel insights and approaches to mental health research. It is excpected that the call will fund a number of multidisciplinary research programmes for up to £4M each over a 4 year period.

The initiative will provide funding for multi- and inter-disciplinary teams with the aim to:

  • Address important and novel research questions under the broad scope of Adolescence, Mental Health, and Developing Mind.
  • Actively strengthen intersections between disciplines that do not routinely engage with each other, build capacity in the field and develop skills.
  • Embed knowledge mobilisation and strengthen patient and public involvement.

The call will involve a 3 stage process, with an invitation for outline proposals, invitation to a full stage proposal and international peer-review and interview by an expert panel.

Key Dates

Pre-call announcement January 2020
Call for Outlines opensMarch 2020
Outline deadlineJune 2020 tbc
Call for full proposals opens (invite only)August 2020 tbc
Full proposal deadline (invite only)October 2020 tbc
Start Date1 April 2021

For more information about this call, including the scope, please visit the MRC website.

If you are interested in applying to this scheme please contact the Research Development Team.

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Pre-announcement: MRC Launching New Board to Support Applied Global Health Research

MRC will be launching a new Research Funding Board in January 2020 and will be inviting applications in applied global health research,

The new Board will fund global health research that is embedded within local contexts in low- and middle-income countried (LMICs) where proposals should focus on real world, practical applications to improve health.

The research objectives will focus on health impact, but inputs and activities need not be limited to the health sector and proposals will be encouraged to be multidisciplinary. The Boards remit will have a broad focus including the MRC’s existing health priority areas such as environment and health, urban health, maternal and neonatal health, adolescent health, early childhood development, multimorbidity, and implementation research.

Applications led by UK PI’s must include LMIC co-applications and be founded upon genuine equitable partnerships.

Key Dates

The Board will have two funding rounds per year. Dates for the first two rounds are as follows:

Round 1

Outline Deadline: 7th April 2020

Outcome of outline: July 2020

Full Stage Deadline: 6th October 2020

Final Outcome: February 2021

Round 2

Outline Deadline: 6th October 2020

Outcome of outline: February 2021

Full Stage Deadline: April 2021

Final Outcome: July 2021

For further information please visit the MRC website.

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Tackling Multimorbidity at Scale: Understanding Disease Clusters, Determinants & Biological Pathways

The MRC have released a new funding opportunity on tackling multimorbidity. This area of research has been identified as an urgent priority for the UK and globally following the Academy of Medical Sciences’ (AMS) report. Multimorbidity is defined as the co-existence of two or more chronic conditions in a single individual, including mental and physical conditions and long duration infectious diseases.

The objective of this funding call is to bring together world-leading multi-disciplinary expertise in epidemiological research, mechanistic and data science to catalyse multimorbidity research nationally and at scale through supporting portfolio of Research Collaboratives. There are two different streams available:

Consolidator Grants

A pot of up to £1.5 million is available to support projects of 6 months duration with a maximum budget of £100k. Awards must be collaborative and multidisciplinary in nature and used to:

  • Consolidate partnerships and bring in experts who might not traditionally view themselves at multimorbidity researchers.
  • Perform rapid linkage and analyses of existing data including, for example, health data, population and environmental datasets.
  • Obtain preliminary data or proof of principle evidence.
  • Identify ket gaps that would be addressed at the full Research Collaborative stage.
  • Verify their approaches towards addressing those gaps.

Research Collaborative Award

Research groups with more mature collaboration links; ownership or existing access to the relevant datasets; and sufficient evidence, unerpinned by strong preliminary data, of their ability to perform multimorbidity research at scale, can apply for the Wave 1 Research collaborative awards, bypassing the consolidator stage.

These awards will provide substantial investment to support ambitious studies (where appropriate involving industrial partners). The competition seeks to support a balanced potfolio of several Research Collaboratives for 2-4 years (£3-5m each).

Deadline for both streams: 11th February 2020, 4pm

For further details please visit the MRC website.

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Pre-call announcement: UK-Japan Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research Initiative

The MRC and the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED) are pleased to announce they will soon be launching a joint call for research proposals focused on Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research.

This initiative will support collaborative (UK-Japanese) research projects that build upon fundamental insights and initial early-stage discoveries, to advance regenerative approaches towards clinical use in the future and to utilise stem cells as medial research tools.

Applications will be particularly welcome for projects focusing on:

  • Human cell engineering, gene editing and cellular reprogramming approaches where a clear future therapeutic goal has been identified.
  • Investigations into modulation of the human tissue niche, or improving understanding of the niche; this may include for example establishing mechanisms for differentiation in transplanted stem cells or understanding immunological barriers.
  • Improving efficacy of engraftment and regeneration of transplanted cells.
  • Developing tools, technologies and methods to enable translational regenerative medicine research including, but not limited to, in-vivo cell imagining approaches or high throughput screening techniques.
  • Creating novel on-vitro models utilising stem cells which could be used for robust predictive safety testing or as drug screening models.

Alternative project outcomes such as therapeutic candidates, medical devices and diagnostic agents mat also be supported by this call.

MRC will make up to £5m available to support the UK component of the collaborative research projects. It is expected that the available funds will support approximately 8 projects/

For further details and updates please visit the MRC and AMED websites in December.

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UKRI-NHMRC Built Environment and Prevention Research Scheme

The Medical Research Council and the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council together with the Economic and Social Research Council are inviting proposals to the UKRI-NHMRC Built Environment Prevention Research Scheme.

Award Amount: £2m will be made available for the call to fund all projects that are awarded ($4m AUD will be made available to cover the Australian budgets).

Duration: 3 years

Deadline: 15th October 2019, 4pm

There is a need in both the UK and Austrailia to improve our understanding of the factors that work to shape and support healthy, liveable and resilient built environments, and to develop approaches for improving the built environment and prevents NCDs. Applications are encouraged across the breadth of the built environment research areas, the following are examples of what is expected:

  • Urban planning and regeneration.
  • City design, including increasing conditions that promote health such as ‘active travel’ and access to green space,
  • Housing.
  • Transportation systems.
  • Air quality, both indoor and outdoor, and noise.
  • The indoor environment.
  • Neighbourhood diversity, including social regeneration and social, cohesion, and access to health services.
  • The relationship between the built environment, extreme weather events, and their impact on health.

For Further information on this call please visit the call announcement. If you would like to apply for this scheme then please get in touch with your Research Development Team.

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MRC Pre-call announcement: UK-Canada Diabetes Research Team Grants

The UK Medical Research Council (MRC), the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) are pleased to announce the up-coming launch of the UK-Canada Diabetes Research Team Grants.

Call Opens: 11th June 2019

Deadline: 28th August 2019 (4pm)

Funding: CAN: $450,000, UK: £333,333

Duration: Up to 3 years

The focus of the collaborative projects will be upon ‘mechanisms and translational solutions’. Projects should focus on one or more of the following key diabetes knowledge gaps:

  • Genetic variability.
  • Molecular mechanisms, including immune-mediated beta cell injury.
  • Human implementation pilot studies to reverse type 2 diabetes through physical activity and nutrition. Welcoming applications that include researchers with expertise in social sciences, in addition to biomedical researchers. Social scientists can bring an understanding of, for example, individual behaviour, economic evaluations, inequalities, the wider political economy, and wider environmental influences.
  • This is meant to focus on research applicable to UK and Canadian settings, not to global health.

For more information on this pre-call announcement please visit the MRC website.

If you would like to apply for this call then please get in touch with your Research Development Team!

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Antimicrobial Resistance: The UK Action Plan

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) have so far invested £44m into 78 interdisciplinary research projects into Antimicrobial Research (AMR) and with a new 20 year vision and 5 year action plan things are only set to increase.

With bacteria’s resistance to antibiotics increasingly spreading from one country to the next, antimicrobial resistance is now recognised as one of the most serious threats to human health this century. If things continue unchecked a 2014 AMR review paper estimates that by 2050 the cost of AMR could be up to $100 trillion and account for an additional 10 million extra deaths each year.

In response to this the UK’s Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, has announced a 20 year vision and 5 year action plan (2019 – 2024) with the intent to contain, control and mitigate antimicrobial resistance.

UKRI have committed £41m to support projects in partnership with members of the Joint Programme Initiative in AMR. To successfully deliver this research agenda the partnership will:

  • Support co-ordinated AMR related research areas.
  • Continue to influence global research strategies on AMR, ensuring alignment of UK-funded research, and emphasising the need for research to be useful for front-line teams.
  • Develop interdisciplinary networks and inform and develop interventions across all sectors.
  • Continue to develop the scientific capacity needed to support and deliver ongoing high-quality research in infectious disease, prevention and microbiology-related disciplines.

Both Matt Hancock and Theresa May have echoed the importance of this research and that it is pivotal it be conducted in a multidisciplinary and internal manor.

This is a summary of an article on which appeared on the MRC website. For the full article please click here.