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MRC Funding Opportunities

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Title: MRC Funding Opportunities


1
  • MRC Funding Opportunities
  • Birkbeck, University of London
  • 7 December 2005
  • Anne-Marie Philp
  • (Research Management Group)
  • Dr Shabih Syed
  • (Research Career Awards)

2
Todays Presentation
  • MRC Background
  • Funding Opportunities - Studentships
    Fellowships
  • Funding Opportunities - Grants
  • Deadlines, Peer Review Tips for writing a good
    Fellowship application
  • Deadlines, Peer Review Tips for writing a good
    Grant application
  • Award Rates
  • Contacts
  • Questions

3
  • MRC Background

4
MRC Background
  • MRC was established in 1913 and is 1 of 8
    Research Councils who come under the umbrella of
    RCUK
  • We are a UK-wide public body, funded mainly by
    the UK Government, accountable to Parliament and
    reporting to the Office of Science Technology
    (OST), which is part of the Department of Trade
    Industry (DTI)
  • We are independent in deciding which research to
    support
  • Expenditure in 2004/2005 almost 450m
  • Funds split roughly 5050 between MRC Institutes
    Units and grants in Universities
  • Over 4,000 people (UK and overseas) in our
    Institutes/Units

5
MRC Mission
  • To encourage and support high quality research
    with the aim of maintaining and improving human
    health
  • To produce skilled researchers, and to advance
    and disseminate knowledge and technology to
    improve the quality of life and economic
    competitiveness in the UK
  • To promote dialogue with the public about medical
    research.

6
Strategy delivery overview
Advice to CEO Council on ways of promoting
consumer involvement and ensuring MRC is
responsive to consumer interests and concerns
about research
Peer review strategy portfolio development
most funding decisions
SPOGs Boards
AGPI
Corporate Strategy Policy Financial planning
strategy (Board Strategic Budgets) Corporate
Performance
Strategic advice for CEO Council including
horizon scanning delivery
Strategy Overview Groups CROG, PHROG, BROG,
International
Council
Evaluation policy/ instruments Outputs
Outcomes Forms of support
Advice to Council via CEO on in year budget
management use of Strategic Budget delivery
against Delivery Plan and annual budget
allocations
Evaluation Subcommittee
Budgeting Delivery Subcommittee
7
MRC partnerships
Treasury/OSTother Government departments
Patients/carers
Public/media
MRC NHS, UK Health Departments (UKCRC)
International
Research Councils
MRCT/ Industry
Research communities (intra- and extra- mural)
Wellcome Trust and other medical charities
Universities
8
Government Spending Review 2004 (SR2004)
  • Research Councils receive their allocation of
    funds every 2 years.
  • MRCs allocation increases from 479M in 2005/06
    to 546M in 2007/08 25M extra in 06/07 and a
    further 43M in 07/08.
  • Over half the new money is funds for MRCs share
    of FECs on grants, and for increasing
    attractiveness of research careers.
  • MRC has 25M new money for science, earmarked by
    OST for clinical research and training.

9
Research Boards and Panels
COUNCIL
Strategy Overview Groups
MCMB
HSPHRB
PSCSB
IIB
NMHB
Competition Panels
SPOG
SPOG
SPOG
SPOG
SPOG
College of Experts (CoE)
10
Training Career Development Board and Panels
COUNCIL
Strategy Overview Groups
TCDB
Studentship Referee panels
Non-Clinical Panel
Clinical Panel
HSR/HOP Panel
Bio-informatics Panel
RTR panel
RTR panel
RTR panel
College of Experts (CoE)
11
  • Funding Opportunities
  • Studentships Fellowships

12

Grant Opportunities
Non Clinical Appointment
Fellowship Opportunities
PhD student
Studentships via Doctoral Training Account
Research Assistant Post on Grant
Post-Doc 1
Intermediate Awards Career Development
Post-Doc 2()
New Investigator Awards
Lecturer
Senior Fellowships
Readership
Research Grants
Professorship
13

NHS Clinical Career Pathway
Clinical Academic Career Path
MRC Provision(Grants and Universities)
MRC Provision (Clinical Fellowships)
Clinical Research Training Fellowship
MD or PhD
Lecturer
NIA
Clinician Scientist Fellowship
Senior lecturer
Research Grants / Collaboration grants
Senior Clinical Fellowships
Professor
14
MRC PostgraduateProgrammes
  • Doctoral Training Accounts
  • 3 or4 year PhD
  • Stand alone Masters including MRes
  • Masters linked to PhD (4 years) including MRes
    PhD
  • Research collaborative studentships
  • Advanced course studentships
  • 3 year quotas via a competition
  • Capacity building studentships (PhD and Masters)
  • Annual competition
  • Industrial collaborative studentships (PhD and
    Masters)
  • Annual competition

15
Doctoral Training Accounts
  • A system of grants to Universities for
    postgraduate training
  • Large degree of flexibility on how the funds
    used eg local decisions on recruitment, stipend
    3 vs 4 yr PhDs
  • Grants determined by algorithm proportional to
    grant income (not in the case of units)
  • MRC adopted the system in 2004

16
Doctoral Training Accounts
  • MRC expectation is that HEIs will allocate a
    significant amount of the grant to MRC funded
    groups
  • MRC studentship will comprise at least 50
    funding from stipend component the remainder can
    be funded flexibly from other sources
  • MRC will still require annual data from HEIs and
    units via EPSRC JeS portal based system (ASPIRE)
  • HESA to collect next destination data on behalf
    of RCs

17
Advanced Course Studentships
  • Advanced Course Studentships targeted at areas of
    public health and health related research not
    currently served by existing undergraduate
    courses
  • strengthen the academic base of the field or
    discipline concerned.
  • Invitation to apply for quota allocations for 3
    years
  • 40 awards available p.a.
  • 31 October deadline with decisions to be
    communicated in February 2006
  • opportunity to undertake early research training,
    relevant for subsequent research at PhD level or
    employment in a research related capacity in
    academia or industry

18
Advanced Course Studentships
  • Applications are currently invited from Heads of
    Departments responsible for Masters Courses in
    the following priority areas
  • Quantitative Biology - including computational
    neuroscience
  • Bioinformatics - including neuroinformatics
  • Health Services Research
  • Health of the Public
  • Medical Statistics
  • Health Economics
  • Epidemiology

19
Capacity Building Studentships
  • Closing date for applications for awards to be
    taken up in October 2006 was 12 August 2005
  • The peer review period will run from September to
    December 2005.  
  • Applicants will be notified of the outcome of
    their application in December 2005.
  • 250-300 studentship applications for 50-55 awards
    p.a.
  • An upper limit of 5 applications per institution
  • All capacity studentships attract an extra 2000
    on top of the minimum stipend (Roberts additional
    funding for shortage areas)

20
Capacity Building Studentships
  • Applications invited in the following priority
    areas
  • Infections (esp. vaccinology, clinical
    microbiology, experimental medicine or
    translational research at the clinical interface)
  • Health Economics
  • Modelling in Public Health
  • Stem Cell
  • Informatics (Priority will be given to
    applications in systems biology and mathematical
    modelling)
  • Dementias
  • Whole Animal Physiology
  • Respiratory Medicine (Priority will be given to
    applications in chronic obstructive pulmonary
    disease and asthma)

21
Industrial Collaborative Studentships
  • The lead applicant is the industrial partner who
    normally takes the initiative in establishing a
    link with the academic partner
  • scheme seeks to enhance links between industry
    and academia in the provision of high quality
    research training.
  • Research training should be provided in medical
    or related biological subjects jointly supervised
    by an industrial partner
  • 10 Industrial Collaborative studentships p.a. are
    available.  

22
Numbers of new PhD students funded per year in
biomedical research by major funders
23
Proportion of total students registered in
biomedical and life sciences funded by MRC
24

Features of MRC Fellowship Awards
  • There are no age limits for any MRC Awards
  • Applications are considered from individuals
    returning to science following a career break
  • Awards can be held on a part time basis to
    combine research and domestic responsibilities
  • Support can be extended to reflect periods of
    maternity/sick leave
  • Application and assessment procedures are
    designed to minimise discrimination, personal
    details such as gender, age or ethnic origin are
    not circulated to reviewers or interview panel
    members

25
Pre- to Post-Doctoral Awards
  • Clinical research training fellowships
  • Special training fellowship in health services
    and health of the public research
  • Special training fellowship in bioinformatics,
    neuroinformatics and computational biology
  • Joint collaborative career development award in
    stem cell research
  • Research training towards a PhD for clinical
    scientists or post
  • doctoral research training for non-clinical
    scientists

26
Intermediate Awards
  • CLINICIAN SCIENTIST FELLOWSHIP
  • Open to medical dental graduates up to Special
    Registrar grade, nurses, midwives and other
    health profession researchers
  • CAREER DEVELOPMENT AWARD
  • Open to non-clinical post-doctoral researchers
  • DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH CLINICIAN SCIENTIST AWARD
  • Open to medical dental graduates up to Special
    Registrar grade, nurses, midwives and other
    health profession researchers
  • Post-doctoral/further post-doctoral experience/
    consolidation
  • of skills. Transition from postdoctoral
    researcher to
  • independent investigator

27
Senior Awards
  • SENIOR CLINICAL FELLOWSHIP
  • Open to medical dental graduates up to
    Consultant grade, nurses, midwives and other
    health profession researchers
  • SENIOR NON-CLINICAL FELLOWSHIP
  • Open to non-clinical post-doctoral researchers,
    nurses and other health profession researchers
  • Awards for independent scientist/team leaders
  • National/international recognition

28
New Investigator Awards
  • Key new scheme
  • provide support for clinical and non-clinical
    researchers in their first steps towards
    establishing themselves as independent principal
    investigators
  • Applicants should be at the start of their first
    academic appointment, or in a senior post
    doctoral position
  • funds for three years including Salary of the
    principal investigator where they do not hold a
    tenured position Support for an additional
    research, technical or other post Consumables
    Equipment Travel costs.
  • 2004 Pilot Competition (awarded in Autumn 2004)
  • Made 21 awards (from 141 applications) within a
    budget of 5m
  • 2005 Competition (awarded in December 2005)
  • Merged with CEG scheme
  • extended eligibility combined budgets (to 11m
    for 2005)
  • High volume of applications (270) and aiming to
    make 30 awards

29
New Investigator Awards (NIA)
  • Applicants are expected to be at the beginning
    of their independent research careers. They will
  • have a PhD, D Phil or an MD.
  • have a minimum of three years post qualification
    research experience (account will be taken of
    career breaks).
  • be within three years of the start of their first
    established academic appointment (or within five
    years for clinicians and this may be at Senior
    Lecturer level)
  • be in a senior post doctoral position taking
    their first steps towards establishing themselves
    as an independent principal investigator.

30
  • Funding Opportunities
  • Grants

31
Objectives of grant schemes
  • Smaller number of grant schemes with flexible
    scale and duration - driven by research needs
    not by funding and duration limits
  • Better support for early career researchers
  • Enhanced clinical research and training
  • Additional funding for formal collaborations/share
    d infrastructure between grant-holders

32
Current Grant Schemes
  • Research Grants
  • Collaboration grants
  • Trial Grants
  • Centre Grants
  • New Investigator Awards
  • Others Discipline Hopping, Interdisciplinary
    Bridging Awards LINK

33
Research grants
  • Support flexible, for any period up to five
    years, the duration will depend on the needs of
    the research being supported high quality
    investigator initiated research in UK higher
    education institutions, NHS Trusts or academic
    analogues
  • Duration 0-5 years (normally 3-5 years)
  • Intended to support the full range of research
    needs short long term, focussed projects or
    broad based programmes of work, method
    development, development of continuation of
    research facilities, collaboration between gt1
    group and/or gt1 HEI
  • 2 years or less ONLY FOR proof of principle/pilot
    work
  • Funding no pre-set limits subject to peer
    review of VFM
  • Note flexibility offered is not currently being
    used (still finding mainly 3 5 year grants
    being submitted)

34
Collaboration grants
  • Available to holders of Research Grants, Career
    Establishment Grants/New Investigator Awards or
    Senior Fellows who wish to promote and enhance
    collaboration between themselves and other
    researchers working in complimentary research
  • Duration 2-5 years
  • Funding 50k - 1m (if involving large capital
    items)
  • No outlines
  • Collaboration/ partnership to add value to
    individual projects and improve the productivity
    of the research
  • Funding available for shared equipment, staff,
    networking, workshops
  • Can submit application in conjunction with MRC
    parent research grant or apply mid parent grant
    as opportunities to collaborate crystallise
  • Collaboration grant to be co-terminous with the
    parent MRC grant

35
Trial grants
  • Provide support for trials to provide high
    quality evidence on the efficacy and
    effectiveness of interventions in medicine and
    the health services.
  • Process
  • Outlines for all Trials are considered by the
    Clinical Trials Cross Board Subgroup
  • Full proposals are considered by Health Services
    and Public Health Research Board.
  • Fast Track Process (for experienced applicants)
  • Full application direct to the Clinical Trials
    Cross Board Subgroup
  • If short listed considered by next Board meeting.

36
  • Peer review

37
Core Assessment Criteria
  • importance how important are the questions, or
    gaps in knowledge, that are being addressed?
  • scientific potential what are the prospects for
    good scientific progress?
  • resources are the funds requested essential for
    the work, and do the importance and scientific
    potential justify funding on the scale requested?

38
  • Deadlines, Peer Review Tips for writing a good
    Fellowship application

39
When should you submit your Research Career Award
applications ?
  • Doctoral Training Accounts (Studentships)
  • Univeristy Departments in receipt of MRC awards
    will be notified of their allocation in December
    for awards to be taken up in the following
    October.
  • Capacity Building and Industrial Collaborative
    Studentships
  • The 2005 competition for take-up of awards in
    October 2006 has now closed. Applicants will be
    notified in December 2005 of the outcome of their
    application.
  • Advanced Course Masters Studentships
  • The 2005 competition deadline was 31 October and
    applicants
  • will be notified in February 2006.
  • Fellowships
  • Annual Competition
  • except clinical Research Training Fellowship (two
    rounds per year)

40
Assessment of MRC Fellowships The
Process Referees Shortlisting Panel Interview
41
Assessment of Eligibility
  • Typeface (Verdana 10)
  • Page length limits
  • Signatures of HEI Finance Officers
  • Financial Information
  • Demonstration of relevant connection for junior
    fellowships

42
Fellowship Review Process
  • Intermediate and Senior Fellowships
  • Involves CoE plus Specialist Reviewers (UK and
    International).
  • Short-listed candidates interviewed.

43
Fellowship Review Process
  • Junior Fellowship Schemes
  • Research Training Referee (RTR) panels for 3
    junior schemes
  • Special Training Fellowships in Health Services
    Health of the Public
  • Clinical Research Training Fellowships
  • Special training Fellowships in Bioinformatics/
    Neuroinformatics/ Computational Biology
  • Short-listing meeting (as a triage mechanism) and
  • Short-listed candidates interviewed.

44
  • Main Assessment Criteria
  • Standing and potential of individual
  • Excellence of the centre
  • Suitability/merit of the project
  • Ethical issues
  • Detailed questions depend on type of award

45
RESOURCES
  • Main Assessment Criteria
  • Quality of science
  • Scientific justification of resources
  • Resources
  • Consumables
  • Equipment
  • Animals
  • Staff
  • Salaries
  • Need to request competitive salaries in view of
    prestige award

46
  • Deadlines, Peer Review Tips for writing a good
    Grant application

47
When should you submit your grant applications?
  • Research Boards consider majority of grant
    applications
  • i.e. Research, Collaboration and Trials
  • Meet three times a year (May/June, Oct/Nov and
    Feb/Mar)
  • Next round of deadlines (May/Jun06 Boards) - 9
    Jan 06 to 6 Feb 06.
  • Clinical Trial Grants need an outline first
  • Next Trial Outline deadline is 16 Dec 06 to be
    considered at 26 Apr 06 meeting
  • There are annual calls for
  • Centre Grants (next call for translational
    Centres to be advertised shortly)
  • New Investigator Awards (2005 competition closed
    awards in Dec05)
  • Institutional Discipline Bridging (2 Dec 05)
    Discipline Hopping Awards (25 Nov 05)
  • Deadlines advertised MRC website, MRC Network
    publications

48
When should you submit your grant applications?
  • Current Calls for Proposals
  • Methodology and Implementation
  • (ITAs 27 January 06 Full proposals 1 March 06)
  • New Highlight Notices
  • Emerging Infections with Epidemic Pandemic
    Potential
  • Details advertised
  • MRC website MRC Network publications

49
Grants Review process
  • Reviewers Assessment
  • applications are refereed by sensible numbers of
    reviewers
  • Use members of the College of Experts (UK) plus
    Specialist Reviewers (UK and International)
  • applications scored (1-10)
  • the number of applications currently being
    submitted means that MRC has to triage out at
    an early stage all those proposals which are
    unlikely to be funded. This is to allow the
    Boards to focus on those proposals most likely to
    be funded
  • triage decisions are made by the Chair and Deputy
    Chair of the Board, based almost entirely on the
    views of the referees and Board members
  • referees comments are fed back to all applicants
    (anonymously)

50
Grants Review process
  • Research Board/Panel Assessment
  • (short-listed applications only)
  • applicants can comment on feedback from reviewers
    and these comments will be forwarded to Board
  • all short-listed applications are assessed by the
    Research Boards/Panels
  • feedback will be given on all applications
    reviewed by the Board (via a Board Assessment
    Template)

51
College of Experts (CoE)
  • Recently established
  • over 800 members (to rise to 1000 by end of year)
  • each member affiliated to one Research Board
  • membership for up to 4 years
  • sign up to review at least 6 applications per
    session
  • take part in referee panels or competition
    funding panels
  • respond to requests for advice on review of
    schemes/processes/strategy
  • annual regional meetings (including induction)
  • copy of contract to VC in recognition of
    reviewing work for the MRC

52
  • Tips on how to
  • write a good
  • grant
  • application

53
Shift in focus for MRC grants
  • More emphasis on track record for established
    investigators
  • More emphasis on individual potential for early
    career investigators
  • Require less detail about long-term experimental
    plans (look more at rationale for the research)
  • Look at recent quality of work productivity
  • Continue to encourage high-risk/high pay-off
    research

54
Tips on how to write a good application
  • Case for support
  • Set out work under each of the headings specified
    in the guidance notes for each scheme
  • Address each of the schemes specific points in
    the guidance notes
  • Take account of what the reviewers will be
    looking for
  • Adhere to page lengths and allowable PDF
    attachments (otherwise application will be
    returned)

55
Scheme specific criteria
  • Research Grant Scheme
  • How innovative are the research plans?
  • Are they realistic given the aims and resources?
  • Research Grant Pilots (or proof of principle)
  • How will the work be developed?
  • How feasible are subsequent proposals?

56
Scheme specific criteria
  • Collaboration Grant Scheme
  • Would funding by this scheme provide added value?
  • How original is it or are there similar
    collaboration elsewhere (UK or International)?
  • Is the management strategy proposed coherent?

57
Tips on how to write a good application
  • From consultation with MRC Advisory Board
    reviewers, they were keen to see good
    information on the following key points
  • Clarity, Succinctness, Accessibility
  • Background, Context, Publications
  • Outcomes, Alternatives, Timelines
  • Methodology
  • Preliminary Data
  • Cost
  • Track Record, Collaborations, Environment

58
Tips on writing a good application
  • Resources
  • Fully justify
  • Do not underfund
  • cheaper does not mean more likely to be funded
  • MRC is looking for quality not quantity

59
  • Award Rates

60
Award Rates
  • Grant Award Rates
  • Session/Fin Year Award Rate Est. Whole
    Life Value
  • 2002/03 185/777 (24) 85.4m
  • 2003/04    232/603 (38) 85.7m
  • 2004/05 324/1610 (20) 159.7m
  • Fellowship Award Rates
  • Session/Fin Year Award Rate
  • 2002/03 77/498 (16)
  • 2003/04    70/473 (15)
  • 2004/05 96/588 (16)
  • Financial Year

61
(No Transcript)
62
Demand Management
  • Due to significant increase in numbers of grant
    applications to the MRC
  • Need to ensure do not put too heavy a burden on
    reviewers and Board members
  • Will use Triage reduce numbers going to Research
    Boards
  • Publicise funds available vs. demand so PIs can
    make informed decision when to apply

63
  • Contacts

64
Research Career Awards
  • frances.rawle_at_headoffice.mrc.ac.uk
  • (Head of Research Career Awards)
  • shabih.syed_at_headoffice.mrc.ac.uk
  • (Programme Manager of Research Career Awards)
  • fellows_at_headoffice.mrc.ac.uk
  • http//www.mrc.ac.uk/index/funding/funding-persona
    l_awards/funding-fellowships.htm
  • students_at_headoffice.mrc.ac.uk
  • http//www.mrc.ac.uk/index/funding/funding-persona
    l_awards/funding-studentship.htm

65
Grants
  • Scientific queries
  • Programme Managers
  • http//www.mrc.ac.uk/index/about/about-contact/
    about-head_office/about-research_management_group.
    htm
  • Clinical Trials Manager
  • chris.watkins_at_headoffice.mrc.ac.uk
  • General Enquiries on Grant Schemes
  • Rbg_at_headoffice.mrc.ac.uk

66
Awards Management Team
  • Newly established Team are responsible for the
    post-award administration of all existing and
    future grants and fellowships from the point of
    award to final reconciliation
  • Are the initial point of contact for all awards
    management issues e.g. spending periods
    extensions, extensions, supplements,
    maternity/paternity/sick leave etc.
  • Split into two areas
  • payments
  • awards letters post award administration
  • New Procedure - all queries need to be directed
    through the Research Organisation before
    submitting to the MRC.

67
Awards Management Team
  • Payments
  • Grants payments
  • Shirley Ellis 020 7670 5307
  • Tim Ovenden 020 7670 5026
  • Fellowship Studentship payments
  • Bhana Nathwani 020 7670 5025
  • Award letters and Post award administration
  • Jacky Molyneaux 020 7670 5456
  • Luke Beswick 020 7670 5108
  • Ehud Gershuni 020 7670 5462
  • Ari Gnanamuttu 020 7670 5374
  • Ann Holt 020 7670 5447
  • Mail box for all queries amt_at_headoffice.mrc.ac.uk

68
  • Questions
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