Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Pre-announcement: applied global health partnership

Apply for funding to support a partnership to enable research that will address global health challenges and inequities.

We will accept proposals of all sizes, including large projects and small to medium-scale applications.

We are looking to develop a portfolio of high-quality partnerships, which will be diverse, promote multidisciplinarity and strengthen global health research capacity.

We encourage applications from principal investigators based in:

  • low and middle-income countries (LMICs)
  • UK, working in partnership with LMIC investigators

Interested applicants should note the applied global health funding opportunity is now split into separate ‘research’ and ‘partnership’ outline application processes. Applicants are advised to read both the ‘applied global health research’ funding opportunity and this applied global health partnership’ funding opportunity, before deciding which 1 is the best fit for their application.

The Simpler and Better Funding programme is currently working with all councils to roll out opportunities on the new Funding Service during 2023. For further information please see council transition to the new Funding Service and our pathway for change.

Who can apply

Who is eligible to apply

To be eligible to apply for this funding opportunity you must:

You must be based at an eligible research organisation. These include:

  • universities or higher education institutions based in the UK, and includes the following:
    • UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) approved independent research organisations or NHS bodies
    • public sector research establishments
    • MRC institutes
    • MRC units and partnership institutes (including those in Gambia and Uganda)
    • institutes and units funded by other research councils
  • organisations in LMICs with degree-awarding powers recognised by the government in which the organisation is based
  • research-focused institutes based in LMICs either funded by the government of the country in which the organisation is based, or by a not-for-profit organisation
  • research-focused not-for-profit organisations based in LMICs with dedicated research capacity

MRC particularly encourages applications from:

  • overseas researchers based in LMICs
  • researchers who are eligible to apply for MRC funding and work in equitable partnership with LMIC researchers

For a list of LMIC countries, read the Development Assistance Committee list of official development assistance recipient countries.

The board recognises that applied global health research requires the involvement of a diverse range of collaborating organisations in order to affect sustainable change. Applications involving a not-for-profit organisation based in an LMIC will be eligible to be named co-investigators. This can include grass-roots organisations and community groups.

Who is not eligible to apply

Researchers based in countries outside of the UK or an eligible LMIC research organisation are not eligible to be principal investigators.

You are no longer eligible to apply as a principal investigator if you are a researcher based in India. However, you are welcome to apply as a co-investigator, with an eligible research organisation as the lead.

If you wish to involve India in a proposal, please contact

China is no longer eligible to participate in applications to this funding opportunity.

It is expected that researchers from India and any high-income countries make a significant contribution to their own research costs, including covering their own overheads.

Equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI)

We are committed to achieving equality of opportunity for all funding applicants. We encourage applications from a diverse range of researchers.

We support people to work in a way that suits their personal circumstances. This includes:

  • career breaks
  • support for people with caring responsibilities
  • flexible working
  • alternative working patterns

Read MRC’s guidance on flexible working and career breaks. You can also find out more about MRC’s current EDI initiatives and EDI at UKRI.

What we're looking for


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
  • multimorbidity
  • nutrition and food security
  • snakebite
  • 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:

  • infections
  • 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:

  • researchers
  • laboratory technicians
  • data collectors
  • field workers
  • managers
  • practitioners
  • policymakers
  • 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:
    • staff
    • systems
    • equipment
    • seminars
    • workshops
    • 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)

Board opportunities

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

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.

Implementation science

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


We will fund projects lasting up to 5 years, although projects typically last 3 to 4 years.

Funding available

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
  • equipment
  • 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.

How to apply

You must apply using UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) new Funding Service.

We recommend you start your application as soon as possible after the funding opportunity opens on 24 May 2023.

Your host organisation will be able to provide advice and guidance to assist you with the creation and completion of your application. They will also be able to guide you through any internal deadlines they have put in place, allowing them sufficient time to complete a review of your application before completing the final submission through the Funding Service.

If you require assistance with your application, especially if you are based outside of the UK, please contact

Information for research office professionals

If an application is created by a member of an organisation where we do not currently have contact details with their research office, we will contact the author to enable administrator access. This provides:

  • oversight of every Funding Service application opened on behalf of your organisation
  • the ability to review and submit completed applications before the advertised funding opportunity closing date, 25 July 2023 4:00pm UK time

If you anticipate researchers from your organisation wish to apply for this funding opportunity but have not already received an invitation to open an account, email

As an administrator, you will be responsible for the final submission of the application to MRC and ensuring internal deadlines are made clear to applicants from your organisation.

To hear more about the role of administrators, and the current functionality of the new Funding Service and how it will further develop, please watch a recording of the most recent research office webinar on YouTube.

For applicants

What follows is the essence of the sections and questions you will need to complete and answer on the UKRI Funding Service.

You cannot apply for this funding opportunity on the Joint Electronic Submissions (Je-S) system.

Submitting your outline application

Applications should be prepared and submitted to the host research organisation by the lead applicant. Your application but should be co-created with input from all investigators, and project partners, and should represent the proposed work of the entire team. Only the lead applicant can prepare the application in the Funding Service.

You will need to take the following steps to apply:

  1. Select the ‘start application’ button at the start of this page (this will be available from 24 May 2023, until the funding opportunity closes).
  2. This will open the ‘sign in’ page of UKRI’s Funding Service. If you do not already have an account, you will be able to create 1. This is a 2-minute process requiring you to verify your email address and set a password.
  3. Start answering the questions detailed in this section of ‘how to apply’. You can save your work and come back to it later. You can also work ‘offline’, copying and pasting into the text boxes provided for your answers.
  4. Once complete, use the service to send your application to your research office for review. They’ll check it and return it to you if it needs editing.
  5. Once happy, your research office will submit it to UKRI for assessment. Only they can do this.


MRC must receive your application by 25 July 2023 at 4:00pm UK time.

You will not be able to apply after this time.

You should ensure you are aware of and follow any internal institutional deadlines that may be in place.

Personal information

MRC, as part of UKRI, will need to collect some personal information to manage your Funding Service account and the registration of your funding applications.

Further information relating to the application questions and guidance will be updated closer to the advertised funding opportunity opening date.

How we will assess your application

Assessment process

Examination of applications

Following the closure of the applied global health research board (AGHRB) funding opportunity, all submitted applications will be examined by MRC to ensure the proposed project is within science remit of the AGHRB funding opportunity.

When we have completed the application examination process, we will advise those with an application outside of the remit of the AGHRB funding opportunity that their application has been rejected.

Applications within the science remit of the AGHRB funding opportunity will be taken forward to assessment by independent board members and MRC’s global health faculty of experts.

We will assess your application using the following process.

MRC will assess your proposal in 2 stages.

Stage 1

Your outline proposal will be reviewed by independent board members and MRC’s global health faculty of experts.

The criteria for assessment includes:


  • the strategic importance of the subject area for the LMIC involved, and the contribution of the partnership to the current research landscape
  • the impact of the partnership grant on current or future applied research, and the potential of the approach to advance the scientific area
  • the role of the LMIC researchers in setting the research agenda and strategic direction of the partnership


  • the appropriateness of the network activities and the plans for sustaining activities beyond the funding period of the grant
  • the feasibility of the plans, including the robustness of any experimental design and methodology for small scale or proof of principle work


  • the commitment of the host research organisations to supporting the partnership
  • the appropriateness of the team, environment, stakeholder partners and user participation and engagement
  • the equity of the partnership

Capacity strengthening:

  • the appropriateness of the capacity strengthening plans for the partnership


  • identifying any ethical or research governance issues, or both

Funds requested:

  • demonstrating that the funds requested are reasonable and justified by the importance and scientific potential of the partnership, and that the budget is equitable

Read further information about the partnership grant assessment criteria.

Stage 2

If your outline application is successful, you will be invited to submit a full application. Invited full applications are subject to international peer review before consideration by the board.

You will be given the opportunity to respond to reviewer comments. The board will review all applications, including reviewer comments and applicant responses, to make a funding decision.


We aim to complete the assessment process and inform you of the decision within 3 months of receiving your application.

We will provide guidance on how to prepare a full application if you are successful at stage 1, along with feedback from the initial review.

The expert review panel meeting will take place approximately 3 months after the closing date.


We will provide you feedback by email. Feedback will consist of a summary of the comments provided by the board and faculty involved in the assessment of your application.

Principles of assessment

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) supports the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment and recognises the relationship between research assessment and research integrity.

Find out about the UKRI principles of assessment and decision making.

Publication of outcomes

MRC, as part of UKRI, will publish the outcomes of this funding opportunity at applied global health research board funding decisions.

If your application is successful, some personal information will be published on the UKRI Gateway to Research.

To see summaries of successful AGHRB applications, you can search project reference IDs from the funding decision spreadsheet on Gateway to Research.

Contact details

Get help with your application

For help on costings and writing your application, contact your research office. Allow enough time for your organisation’s submission process.

If you are unsure whether your proposal fits the remit of this funding opportunity, we recommend that you send a 1 page summary of your proposal to Funding service colleagues will then forward your summary onto MRC international team for a response.

Ask about this funding opportunity


We aim to respond to emails within 2 working days.


01793 547490

Our phone lines are open:

  • Monday to Thursday 8:30am to 5:00pm
  • Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm

Additional info

Personal information

MRC, as part of UK Research and Innovation, will need to collect some personal information to manage your funding service account and the registration of your funding applications.

We will handle personal data in line with UK data protection legislation and manage it securely. For more information, including how to exercise your rights, read our privacy notice.

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