In 2023, applicants to the Medical Research Council (MRC) and other councils will start making applications via the Funding Service rather than via the Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system. This is in line with the Simpler and Better Funding (SBF) programme.
UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) principles of assessment and decision making will continue to underpin our peer review policies and processes during and after the transition to the Funding Service.
The transition to the Funding Service will not affect MRC budgets for research awards in 2023, and the commitments made in MRC’s strategic delivery plan will remain the same.
Harmonisation across councils
To find out about new application questions and assessment criteria for the Funding Service, see how applicants use the UKRI Funding Service.
As MRC opportunities are launched on the Funding Service, we will use these as the basis for MRC’s approach.
You will recognise many similarities to the current MRC application and assessment, as well as some changes to be aware of. For example:
- traditional CVs and publications lists will be replaced by the Résumé for Research and Innovation (R4RI) format in MRC opportunities on the Funding Service
- names for staff roles will change
- where possible, information will be submitted digitally instead of as attachments
- it won’t be possible to amend your application once it has been submitted
- you can not request a late submission of your application after the opportunity has closed
Some MRC opportunities will have additional opportunity-specific application questions, guidance and assessment criteria. Full details and guidance for every MRC opportunity will be published on the funding finder.
Responsive mode funding opportunities
Some councils have an ‘always open’ responsive mode, whereas MRC has specific closing dates.
There may be some challenges in onboarding schemes during the transition to the Funding Service. However, we are working closely with the Funding Service team and with other councils that operate closing dates in responsive mode to minimise these.
We are expecting to offer the usual number of responsive mode opportunities in 2023.
Applications to MRC research board closing dates in January 2023 and May 2023 were through Je-S.
All future MRC research board applications will be through the Funding Service. The first closing date will be on 19 September 2023.
MRC responsive mode opens on the Funding Service on 22 June 2023, to allow you to start preparing applications.
There will be an applicant webinar on 6 July 2023 about MRC responsive mode on the Funding Service.
We anticipate that all MRC funding opportunities opening from June 2023 onwards will use the UKRI Funding Service.
Details about plans for our other funding types and MRC opportunities on the funding service will be advertised in advance on this web page and on the funding finder.
MRC funding opportunities on the Funding Service
The following MRC opportunities are on the Funding Service now, or will be opening on the service soon:
- public health intervention development (PHIND)
- mental health platform hubs
- better methods, better research
- develop guidance for better research methods
- MRC Centres of Research Excellence (invited full application stage)
- developmental pathway gap fund
- MRC responsive mode research boards (opens 22 June 2023)
- experimental medicine (opens July 2023)
- MRC fellowships (opens July 2023)
These Funding Service opportunities will use the new application questions and assessment criteria. Applicants to these opportunities may wish to familiarise themselves with the new approach and allow more time to prepare their first application using the Funding Service.
You are advised to contact your research office as soon as possible to discuss any internal deadlines and support structure your research organisation has in place to assist you to guide you through the Funding Service application process.
Because applying through the Funding Service is new, it is most important that you ensure your host research organisation is advised of your intention to apply to MRC, as they may also be unfamiliar with applying through the new service.
Ask a question about the SBF programme
If you would like to ask a question about the UKRI SBF programme, please contact:
Telephone: 01793 547490
Last updated: 16 June 2023