Current funding opportunities


Travel and subsistence funding to support LMIC engagement during the COVID-19 outbreak
National Institute for Health Research

31 December 2020
No limit
No limit

The awards will provide travel and subsistence funding to appropriately qualified public health professionals, clinicians and academics who wish to offer science and technical advice to support the immediate response to COVID-19 in low and middle-income countries. The awards are open to applicants who have a substantive position at a UK higher education institution or research organisation. Applicants are required to ensure appropriate duty of care, insurance, safeguarding and all other liabilities are in place and that they have the support of their institution for any travel, as well as appropriate institutional support in the destination country.

Applications are open until further notice, on a rolling basis. Applications should ideally be submitted at least 2 weeks before the planned travel.


Funding for ideas addressing COVID-19

Apply online at any time
No limit (UKRI will fund 80% of the full economic cost)
18 months

Proposals are invited for short-term projects addressing and mitigating the health, social, economic, cultural and environmental impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak. UKRI will support excellent proposals up to 12-18 months duration which meet at least one of the following:

  • New research or innovation with a clear impact pathway that has the potential (within the period of the grant) to deliver a significant contribution to the understanding of, and response to, the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts.
  • Supports the manufacture and/or wide scale adoption of an intervention with significant potential
  • Gathers critical data and resources quickly for future research use

If a grant is awarded, UKRI will provide funding at 80% of the fEC.


Government support for research related to COVID-19
National Institute for Health Research

Apply online at any time
No limit
No limit

COVID-19 Urgent Public Health Research is being prioritised to gather the necessary clinical and epidemiological evidence that will inform national policy and enable new diagnostic tests, treatments and vaccines to be developed and tested for COVID-19.

Government support is available to prioritise, coordinate and deliver these studies, regardless of sponsorship and funding source. This support includes expedited identification of sites to ensure appropriate geographical distribution of Urgent Public Health Research to maximise recruitment and minimise over-commitment of resource.


Support to mitigate impact of COVID-19 pandemic
Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe (PRACE)

Apply online at any time
No limit
No limit

PRACE is welcoming project proposals requesting computing resources to contribute to the mitigation of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This applies, without being exhaustive, to the following topics:

  • Biomolecular research to understand the mechanisms of the virus infection
  • Bioinformatics research to understand mutations, evolution, etc.
  • Bio-simulations to develop therapeutics and/or vaccines
  • Epidemiologic analysis to understand and forecast the spread of the disease
  • Other analyses to understand and mitigate the impact of the pandemic

This call for proposals will follow a fast track review process to provide swift feedback to the applicants.

NIHR Health Technology Assessment: Reducing Overtreatment (20/33)
National Institute for Health Research

23 September 2020, 13:00
No limit
No limit

The NIHR are interested in proposals for the evaluation of strategies and interventions to identify and de-intensify overtreatment. Applicants should clearly define and justify their choice of patient group, study design and outcome measures, and explain how the research will fit into the remit of the HTA programme. Primary research, including randomised and hypothesis-testing observational studies, and evidence syntheses will be considered. We are looking for studies where there is equipoise around the advantages and risks of continued treatment, with the potential to change clinical practice.

Examples of topics of interest include, but are NOT limited to:

  • Studies concerning the optimisation of treatment schedules, as in shorter courses of treatment or reducing the dosage of long-term therapies.
  • Trials of long-term treatments where the evidence of benefits and harms are lacking.
  • Evaluating the safety and effectiveness of withdrawing treatments associated with increased risks at particular timepoints, for example leading up to surgery or during pregnancy.
  • Evaluating interventions or tests to identify individual patients unlikely to benefit from continued treatment, or who may otherwise benefit from de-escalation of treatment.
  • Reducing treatment burden associated with polypharmacy.
  • Applications to this call are expected to evidence strong patient and public involvement (PPI) from an early stage, particularly around the acceptability of the proposed treatment strategies.

Research Prizes
The Lister Institute of Preventative Medicine

25 September 2020
5 years

The Lister Institute’s competitive research prizes give scientists the opportunity to develop their potential through flexible funding over a five-year period. Prizes are awarded to the most promising early career researchers undertaking high quality innovative research in any area of biomedical science that will lead to advances in preventive medicine.

The Lister Institute’s research prizes are award up to £250,000 which should be spent within a five-year period.

The money must be used in support of the applicants’ research but can be used for equipment, travel, consumables or the salaries of post-doctoral workers, technicians or PhD students etc. Personal salary provision or augmentation is not allowed, but the funds can be used for a replacement lecturers’ salary.

NIHR Artificial Intelligence for Multiple Long-Term Conditions
National Institute for Health Research

29 September 2020, 13:00
£120,000 – £5m (see below)
8 months – 36 months (see below)

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) invites proposals to undertake programmes of research to spearhead the use of artificial intelligence (AI) methods to develop insights for the identification and subsequent prevention of multiple long-term conditions (multimorbidity) or MLTC-M.

Research funded through this initiative will use AI and data science methods, combined with expertise in clinical practice, applied health and care research and social science, to systematically identify or explore clusters of disease. In addition to the identification and mapping of new clusters of disease, the call seeks research to better understand the trajectories of patients with MLTC-M over time and throughout the life course, including the influence of wider determinants such as environmental, behavioural and psychosocial factors.

This competition aims to bring together multi-disciplinary Research Collaborations to build on our existing understanding of disease clusters in people with MLTC-M using ground-breaking AI techniques; and to grow capability for multi-disciplinary working in this crucial research area.

In order to facilitate new collaborations and build capability, this call has a two-stream approach.

  • Research Collaboration – existing groups can apply for full Research Collaboration funding, building on their strong base of multi-disciplinary researchers and bringing on board new disciplines to meet the remit of the call, as required. Awards of £2.5-5m will be available for up to 36 months for a full Research Collaboration in wave 1.
  • Development Award – applicants who are interested in applying but need more time and resources to develop a competitive proposal, may apply for a preparatory Development Award of up to £120k for 8 months before applying for a full Research Collaboration of £2.5-4m over up to 30 months at wave 2. Development Award holders will submit their full Research Collaboration application to the Wave 2 call.

Biomedical Catalyst
Innovate UK

07 October 2020, 11:00
£250,000 – £4m
12 months – 36 months

Innovate UK invites applicants to apply for funding in its latest round of Biomedical Catalyst funding. The programme aims to deliver growth to the UK and health life sciences sector, deliver innovative life sciences products and services more quickly and effectively into healthcare and provide support to commercially led R&D.

This competition is technology agnostic and open to the full spectrum of projects inclusive of technology, including:

  • Digital Health
  • Drug Discovery
  • Medical Devices
  • Diagnostics
  • Advanced therapies etc

This competition is only for early and late stage projects and Innovate UK can provide 70% of total costs for SMEs.

BPSU Sir Peter Tizard Research Bursary
Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH)

16 October 2020
Up to £16k towards the cost of a surveillance study and training
Not specified but surveillance studies can only received funding for 13 months

Each year the RCPCH invites paediatricians planning a surveillance study through the British Paediatric Surveillance Unit (BPSU) to apply for this bursary. The successful applicant receives a free slot on the BPSU Orange Card and a stipend towards their training needs.

Purpose of the bursary:

  • To encourage paediatricians who are not research active to undertake a study of a rare disease or condition which affects children and which addresses a question of clinical or public health importance.
  • To enable paediatricians to further develop their research knowledge and skills through the training opportunity afforded by such a study.
  • To add to the body of knowledge of rare childhood diseases and conditions.
  • To promote the role of the BPSU in the surveillance of rare diseases affecting children.
  • To support the RCPCH’s objective of building and strengthening research and research capacity in paediatrics.

NHS Innovation Accelerator
NHS Innovation Accelerator

16 October 2020, 23:59
Not specified

The NHS Innovation Accelerator (NIA) supports individuals representing high impact, evidence-based innovations, sourced nationally and internationally, which address one or more of this year’s themes:

  • NHS response to COVID-19
  • Mental health
  • Supporting the NHS workforce

You can be the inventor of your innovation, the lead for it within your organisation or simply the representative of an innovation you find compelling, and as such, wish to scale it across the NHS.

Applicants, nationally and internationally, can be clinicians; academics; from a public-sector, charitable or not-for-profit organisation; from a small or medium-sized enterprise (SME); from a large corporate.

Horizon 2020: SME Instrument (Phase 1)
Knowledge Transfer Network

04 November 2020, 17:00
6 months

The SME Instrument supports high-risk, high-potential small and medium-sized enterprises to develop and bring to market new products, services and business models that could drive economic growth.

The SME Instrument is for innovators with ground-breaking concepts that could shape new markets or disrupt existing ones in Europe and worldwide.

NIHR Public Health Research Programme Researcher Led (20/83)
National Institute for Health Research

07 November 2020, 13:00
No limit
No limit

The PHR Programme funds research that evaluates public health interventions, providing new knowledge on the benefits, costs, acceptability and wider impacts of non-NHS interventions intended to improve the health of the public and reduce inequalities in health.

The PHR Programme can offer you:

  • Funding for research with no maximum limit on the duration and costs of proposals, but all costs should be clearly justified and demonstrate value for money
  • Research topics advertised after expert identification and prioritisation
  • Monitoring and support during the project
  • Full publication in the NIHR Journals Library

NIHR Research for Patient Benefit (competition 43)
National Institute for Health Research

11 November 2020, 13:00
£350,000 (dependent on project scale, risk, and expected benefit to patients)
3 years (dependent on project scale, risk, and expected benefit to patients)

Applications are invited for research proposals that are concerned with the day-to-day practice of health service staff, and which have the potential to have an impact on the health or wellbeing of patients and users of the NHS. As a response mode researcher-led programme, Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) does not specify topics for research, but encourages proposals for projects which address a wide range of health service issues and challenges.

The programme aims to fund high quality quantitative and qualitative research with a clear trajectory to patient benefit. It particularly encourages applications that have a strong element of interaction with patients and the public, and which have been conceived in association with a relevant group of service users.

Smart Grants
Innovate UK

25 November 2020
£25,000 – £2 million
6 months – 36 months

Smart is Innovate UK’s ‘Open grant funding’ programme.

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, is investing up to £25 million in the best game-changing and commercially viable innovative or disruptive ideas. All proposals must be business focused.

Applications can come from any area of technology and be applied to any part of the economy, such as, but not exclusively:

  • the arts, design and media
  • creative industries
  • science or engineering

Projects with durations between 6 and 18 months must have total eligible project costs between £25,000 and £500,000. Projects between 19 months and 36 months must have total eligible project costs between £25,000 and £2 million.

NIHR Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation (EME) Programme: Interventions in Paediatric Care (20/58)
National Institute for Health Research

01 December 2020, 13:00
No limit but funding should be clearly justified
No limit

Applications are sought for research to evaluate the efficacy of interventions in paediatric care, across both mental and physical health. All forms of health technology with the potential to improve the prevention, diagnosis, treatment or management of disease are included under this call.

Studies must aim to primarily recruit or ultimately benefit the health outcomes of paediatric patients, defined for most services in the NHS as being aged 0-16 years, although applicants may justify broader recruitment, for example across certain flexible paediatric services such as surgery.

Areas of interest include (but are not limited to):

  • Evaluating novel or repurposed treatments for conditions which typically present, commence or are particularly amenable to treatment in childhood.
  • Diagnostic accuracy studies for tests in childhood disease, including companion diagnostics and tests to support a precision medicine approach. Of particular interest are tests for early diagnosis.
  • Evaluating the efficacy of existing interventions not currently used in a paediatric population, where there is clear scientific justification for an efficacy study (e.g. different pathophysiology of the condition, mechanism of action or other barrier to extrapolating from adult trials).
  • Evaluating novel adjunctive technologies for which there is a particular need in paediatric care.

Confidence in Concept (Round 8)
Medical Research Council

03 December 2020, 16:00
£50,000 – £75,000 (up to 100K where exceptional costs are anticipated and can be justified)
12 months (to be completed by 31st March 2022)

The University of Sheffield, Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield Hallam University and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have recently secured an eighth round of funding from the MRC to run an institutional call under the Confidence in Concept scheme, a key part of the MRC’s Translational Research Strategy and a component of the high profile MRC & Innovate UK Biomedical Catalyst.

The Confidence in Concept Scheme is designed to “accelerate the transition from discovery research to translational development projects by supporting preliminary work or feasibility studies to establish the viability of an approach” within the MRC’s healthcare remit.

We are now inviting applications for awards to be used to support the transition between fundamental and translational research, to provide project teams with funding to enable them to develop a concept to a point where it is competitive enough to be used in a bid for more substantive follow on t Projects involving industrial collaborators are eligible for the scheme and standard MRC guidelines and intellectual property arrangements for industrial collaboration will apply translational funding.

N.B. Due to the volume of applications anticipated, the appropriate business / commercial / innovation / research manager your institution must be contacted by 1 October 2020 with the title and a brief statement on the proposed concept to be taken forward. This is to ensure that applications fit the remit of the scheme, are registered and there is sufficient time to compile the application ahead of the submission date.

NIHR Public Health Research Programme Rapid Funding Scheme
National Institute for Health Research

31 December 2020
6 months

The Rapid Funding Scheme (RFS) offers researchers the opportunity to apply for funds to conduct rapid baseline data collection, as well as other feasibility work, prior to intervention implementation, for unique, time-limited opportunities such as a natural experiment or similar evaluations of a new public health intervention.

This scheme is not intended to fund studies which provide definitive answers to questions to inform service provision – it is to prepare for such studies.

The RFS has been set up to provide the public health research community with an accelerated route to funding for small-scale, short and time sensitive proposals that demonstrate a need for a rapid commissioning process to be followed. Funding will be offered, subject to appropriate scientific scrutiny, on the understanding that a full application to support completion of the evaluation will be forthcoming at an appropriate time point.

Innovator Awards
Wellcome Trust

Apply online at any time, shortlisting occurs every 3 months
Up to £500k (or £750k for multidisciplinary collaborations)
Up to 24 months (or 36 months for multidisciplinary collaborations)

Innovator Awards are open to researchers who are developing healthcare innovations that could have a major and measurable impact on human health. You can work in any scientific discipline, including a discipline outside life sciences. You can work on any type of technology. Examples of technologies include: therapeutics (small molecules or biologics); vaccines; devices; diagnostics; digital technologies; and regenerative medicine. The work that you propose must be essential for developing your healthcare innovation.

Nesta Impact Investments

Open call
£1 million
No limit

Nesta want to see the power of innovation and technology used to address big social issues. Their mission is to invest in high impact innovations run by outstanding entrepreneurs. They invest primarily to create real and lasting social impact in the UK, as well as generating a financial return for our investors. They invest between £150k and £1m in social ventures developing innovations that tackle the major challenges faced by older people, children, and communities in the UK.

Healthcare Technologies: Call for Investigator Led Research Projects

Open call
Flexible depending on quality and demand
No limit

This call is aimed at researchers working in Engineering, Physical Sciences, ICT, and Mathematical Sciences that are now seeking to apply their research expertise to a defined healthcare challenge. Applications to this call must be clearly aligned to the Healthcare Technologies theme Grand Challenges: Developing Future Therapies; Frontiers of Physical Intervention; Optimising Treatment; and Transforming Community Health and Care.

Economic and Social Research Council: Research Grants
Economic and Social Research Council

No fixed closing date
Up to £1 million
Up to 5 years

The ESRC Research Grants (open call) invites proposals from eligible individuals and research teams for standard research projects, large-scale surveys and other infrastructure projects and for methodological developments. The call offers researchers considerable flexibility to focus on any subject area or topic providing that it falls within ESRC’s remit. Proposals can draw from the wider sciences, but the social sciences must represent more than 50 per cent of the research focus and effort.

Ambitious and novel research proposals addressing new concepts and techniques and those with the potential for significant scientific or societal and economic impact are particularly encouraged. They are keen to encourage fresh ideas from new researchers and appropriate proposals are welcomed from those with limited research experience.

Funding decisions are based on a number of criteria including quality, timeliness, potential impact and value for money.

LifeArc Philanthropic Fund

Open call
A share of £5 million 
No limit

LifeArc invites applications for its philanthropic fund. This supports medical research projects focused on translation of rare diseases research. The aim is to accelerate scientific breakthroughs to deliver new medicines for patients with these conditions and projects must focus on developing an intervention, therapeutic, device or diagnostic, that will address a significant, unaddressed need for rare disease patients and on research which has a credible translational and development path to reaching those patients.

Grants will either be awarded directly to academics or will be partnered with similar funds being awarded by our rare disease charity partners.

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