The applied global health research board funds research to address global health challenges and inequities. Our remit includes applied research of direct practical benefit to LMIC populations.
We’re looking to fund strategically important, original partnerships providing a distinct and important contribution to the research landscape. The partnerships should be driven by the research needs of the LMICs involved.
Partnerships should be linked to high-quality research programmes and should demonstrate how the partnership will facilitate future applied research. The aim is to fund a portfolio of high-quality global partnerships, which will impact current and future applied research, be diverse, promote multidisciplinarity and strengthen global health research capacity.
We welcome cross-sector partnerships combining expertise to meet a global health challenge. You can include a broad range of partners, and non-academic partners are permitted.
You can read our case studies detailing examples of successful partnership grants and why we funded them.
We will fund partnerships between diverse groups of researchers. These partnerships must:
- establish new, high-value collaborative activities or capabilities
- add value to high-quality scientific programmes that are already supported by grants from MRC and other funders
The resources you request should be appropriate for the objectives of your application. We will accept applications of all sizes, including large applications of approximately £1 million and small to medium-scale applications. We will take into account value for money when assessing applications.
You can apply for funding for a partnership to address any health topic of relevance in the context where the research will be conducted.
Examples of topics partnerships may focus on include, but are not limited to, the following:
- maternal and neonatal health
- early childhood development
- adolescent health
- healthy ageing
- sexual and reproductive health
- infectious diseases, including neglected tropical diseases and COVID-19
- non-communicable diseases, including mental health disorders
- nutrition and food security
- intentional and unintentional injury
- urban health, including indoor and outdoor air pollution, road traffic accidents and healthy housing
- planetary health
- informal settlements, conflict zones and displaced populations
- primary, secondary and tertiary prevention
- detection and diagnostics
- mobile health
- treatment, including surgery
- pain management and palliative care
The MRC FCDO concordat supports global health partnerships funded through the Applied Global Health Research Board in specific strategic areas of mutual interest, for example:
- maternal and newborn health
- implementation science
- adolescent health
- early child development
Strengthening research capacity as part of your application
We are committed to strengthening research capacity within LMICs and the UK. All applicants are required to develop plans to strengthen research capacity within their proposal, which will be assessed as part of the peer review process and inform funding decisions.
We encourage you to start discussing capacity strengthening priorities as early as possible, in consultation with key stakeholders, both within and outside of your project team. For example:
- laboratory technicians
- data collectors
- field workers
- research management offices
We take a broad view of where capacity strengthening activities could be targeted, however plans must be directly linked to the proposed project. Activities could target the individual, institutional or contextual level (or span multiple levels), and plans should be proportionate to the scale of the project, with larger proposals expected to be more ambitious.
Examples of capacity building include, but are not limited to:
- building leadership skills amongst early career researchers
- opportunities for mutual learning across the project team, such as through staff exchanges (for example, the context where it is being conducted in the subject of the research, engagement with policymakers and research management)
- building capacity to working collaboratively, across disciplines and across practice-research boundaries (for example, with policymakers, managers and practitioners in the system)
- providing mentoring to improve the capacity of less-experienced researchers to generate new knowledge and achieve policy impact
- team members attending training courses to develop specific expertise or obtain relevant qualifications (excluding masters and PhDs)
- opportunities for staff and associated health managers to author or co-author journal and conference papers and participate in national and international conferences
- building organisational capacity (for example, in management, finance or communications)
- formation of LMICs research networks
Collaborative on Development Research provide further resources, tools and guides on strengthening research capacity.
Although new investigator research grants are not available through the applied global health research board, we are committed to supporting early career researchers in applied global health. The board will consider each applicant’s career stage and proposed mentorship arrangements during funding discussions.
Types of collaboration
Collaborative activities can include:
- networking and partnership activities to:
- establish multidisciplinary collaborative partnerships or consortia
- foster and enabling strategy in this area
- enable knowledge sharing or creation across institutions
- infrastructure support for establishing a unique shared resource or helping to exploit it, for example:
- activities such as specialist data and software platforms or resources
We may support small scale, pump-priming projects, but your focus should not be on specific research questions. These should be interdisciplinary, high-risk and high-gain projects that would exemplify your partnership’s novel capability.
Successful partnership grants usually include a combination of these components. We will reject applications for funding only networking activities.
We expect partnership grants to reach maturity by the end of the initial award. You should find alternative ways of funding any follow-on activities.
Areas we will not fund
We will not fund:
- stand-alone hypothesis-driven research projects
- stand-alone capacity strengthening proposals without clear links to high-quality applied research programmes
- discovery research or research that includes an applied component that fits within a current MRC remit, programme or priority. This includes early translation
- partnerships that are focused on observational research
- partnerships where the focus is on surveillance, unless the partnership is based around applied research into novel methods for surveillance
- early phase clinical trials (phase 1 and 2a)
These opportunities represent areas of specific strategic focus that help to inform discussions at funding meetings, but you can submit partnership proposals that focus on any applied global health topic.
Maternal and neonatal health
The MRC maternal and neonatal health area of investment aims to provide funding for innovative applied research to address the global burden of maternal and neonatal mortality and morbidity.
Early childhood development
The board supports research in early childhood development, which encompasses the physical, socio emotional, cognitive and motor development of children from birth to 8 years of age.
Early childhood development is the outcome of the nurturing care for early childhood development report. This is a range of education, health, nutrition and social protection inputs and environments. Proposals in this area will be jointly funded by FCDO as part of a coordinated effort to increase and scale up the evidence base for early childhood development interventions.
Read more about the early childhood development area of investment.
Adolescent health has been a recent focus of investment for MRC, FCDO and the National Institute for Health Research, in partnership with the Economic and Social Research Council.
Read more about the adolescent health area of investment.
Maximising impact from research remains a priority for MRC. To ensure that we meet this priority, we are funding research to address the implementation gap and progress interventions towards real-world impact.
This complements existing applied global health schemes addressing late-phase trials and health systems research by providing a regular funding opportunity for research, using robust implementation science approaches.
We expect this research to ensure that evidence-based health interventions are implemented in an accessible and fair way for the most vulnerable populations.
If you are unsure whether your proposal fits the remit described, please send a 1 page summary of your proposal to firstname.lastname@example.org
We will fund projects lasting up to 5 years, although projects typically last 3 to 4 years.
We will accept proposals of all sizes up to approximately £1 million.
What we will fund
You can request funding for costs such as:
- a contribution to the salary of the principal investigator and co-investigators
- support for other posts such as research and technical
- research consumables
- travel costs
- data preservation, data sharing and dissemination costs
- estates and indirect costs
Please note: costs attributed to international co-investigators from high income countries (those not on the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development Assistance Committee (DAC) list of official development assistance recipients), or India must not exceed 30% of the full economic cost grant value. There is no cap on eligible funds going to international co-investigators from DAC list countries.
What we will not fund
We will not fund:
- masters and PhD studentships
- UK publication costs (publication costs where all the authors are from LMICs can be included)
- funding to use as a ‘bridge’ between grants
Team project partners
You may include project partners that will support your partnership project through cash or in-kind contributions, such as:
- staff time
- access to equipment
- sites or facilities
- the provision of data
- software or materials
Where there is engagement from individuals based in government agencies, international intergovernmental organisations (for example, the World Health Organization), or other stakeholder organisations (for example, industry collaborators) you should include them as a named project partner.
Each project partner must provide a statement of support.
If your application involves industry partners, you should also read the industry collaboration framework section.
Find out more about subcontractors and dual roles.
Who cannot be included as a team project partner
The individual named as the contact for the project partner organisation cannot also be a named applicant, such as all those with a role of ‘investigator ‘and any other named member of staff.
Supporting skills and talent
We encourage you to follow the principles of the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers and the Technician Commitment.