Partnership grant - MRC


How to apply

Pre-application stage

Applicants interested in submitting a partnership grant must contact the appropriate MRC programme manager and provide a brief abstract of the partnership grant to help them consider fit to the scheme. This initial contact with the MRC programme manager should take place a minimum of six weeks before the relevant submission deadline – see further information regarding research board submission deadlines.

Please select the appropriate link to read each research board’s remit and scope. Each page also contains details of the programme managers and their email contact information:

If you are unsure who to contact please contact our Research Funding Policy & Delivery team.


Telephone: 01793 416 440

Following receipt of the abstract, the MRC programme manager will provide advice on how best to shape the partnership grant and request a pre-application case for support to be submitted by email. Please note that the pre-application case for support should not exceed two pages of A4 but may include one additional page for references – to be included as page three of the case for support.

The case for support should include the following information:

  • the title of the potential MRC partnership
  • a list of the PI, CoIs and their affiliations
  • a list of collaborators if known at this stage
  • the aims of the proposal, which should address why the partnership is important, the nature of the partnership and its activities and how these align with the partnership grant expectations
  • a high level indication of the likely cost to the MRC, including staffing and equipment costs.

Applicants should also provide a two-page CV for the PI and CoIs, including a succinct summary of recent funding for those investigators. An additional one page for key publications can be added as page three of the CV document.

Full application stage

Applicants invited to complete a full application via the Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system will be notified in advance of the relevant board deadline. Applications should include a cover letter that confirms the name of the programme manager who agreed the application could be submitted.

Applicants should read section 2 of the MRC guidance for applicants for information on how to complete the proposal form. If the partnership grant will involve a collaboration with one or more industrial partners – contributing either in cash or in kind – then applicants will need to comply with MRC guidance on the Industry Collaboration Framework (ICF).

Case for support

The guidelines below list specific points that should be addressed in the case for support for partnership grants and should be read in conjunction with the general guidance in section 2.2.3 of the MRC guidance for applicants. Each proposal is unique, and it is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that all the reasonable questions that peer reviewers and MRC research boards need to address are answered in the proposal, especially if the plan or resources are unusual or complex.

The case for support for full applications should consist of a maximum of eight pages for three years duration or less and up to 12 pages for more than three years. These page limits include references.

For infrastructures, the case for support should be 12 pages regardless of the project duration. If funding is requested for an infrastructure in one university but which is providing a service to the research community as a whole, then applicants should make this clear within their application.

Importance – applicants must:

  • state the aims of the partnership
  • explain why establishing a partnership is necessary for this areas of research
  • explain how establishing a partnership will add value to the current research landscape, for example creating new capabilities or enhance coordination
  • provide justification as to why the elements of support requested cannot be met through other means
  • explain how a partnership will improve the UK’s international standing in this area.

Partnership plans – applicants must:

  • describe the activities associated with the partnership, including precise timelines and indicating where activities may be concurrent. You may include a Gantt chart to depict this
  • for any requests for infrastructure or equipment, please state how this will be used by the partners to further the aims and objectives of the partnership
  • outline future plans:
    • for sustaining the partnership beyond the proposed duration of MRC funding
    • to obtain further funding (from MRC and elsewhere) to support any follow-on hypothesis-driven research, which may develop as a result of the partnership.

Participants in the partnership and existing funding – applicants must:

  • describe how the partnership grant will enable researchers to work together and how it will build capability in a key strategic area, for example partnerships that bring together researchers who otherwise would not work together. There should be clear discrimination between CoIs and partners or collaborators
  • describe how the partnership between the participants will benefit the wider community and the research field
  • provide justification as to why each of the named investigators is necessary for the partnership, including their level of time commitment
  • provide a very brief report on the progress of recent research for key investigators in the partnership including an acknowledgement of any previous or current MRC funding and progress to date on delivery of this research. The scale of support provided should also be included, for example number of postdocs or technicians, and total amount of consumables and equipment.

Environment – applicants must:

  • describe the environments in which the partnership will take place
  • describe the host research organisation’s (RO) support for the partnership, for example reducing or waiving co-investigator salary, associated estates costs and other in-kind contributions such as towards purchase of equipment
  • if the proposal requests shared equipment, describe where this will be sited and how it will be supported by the host RO and describe the management arrangements for ensuring equity of access.

Management – applicants must:

  • provide an overview of how the partnership will be managed, for example who will bring coherence and management to the partnership and how? Outline any plans for regular meetings, for bringing together disparate communities, a strategy for the set-up of networks, arrangements for access and upkeep of equipment. Please note, while networking or workshop activities can add value to a partnership, applications centred only on these types of activities will not be accepted.

Last updated: 29 July 2022

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