We’re looking for research projects that will develop practical solutions to global health challenges and inequities. The aim is to fund a portfolio of high-quality global research which will be diverse, promote multidisciplinarity and strengthen global health research capacity.
- late-stage intervention development and testing, which can include global health trials
- implementation and scale-up research
- health systems, health policy and health economics research
We also welcome cross-sector research combining expertise to meet a global health challenge. For example, a single proposal may include aspects of urban planning, health policy and non-communicable disease research. The research question might involve different disciplines and approaches from outside the health sector, but the primary objective must be health focused.
The resources you request should be appropriate to the objectives of your proposal. We will accept proposals of all sizes, including large applications of approximately £2 million and small to medium-scale applications. We will take into account value for money when assessing proposals.
You can apply for funding to address any health topic of relevance in the context where the research will be conducted.
Examples of areas in which applied research may be conducted 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
- treatment, including surgery
- pain management and palliative care.
The following grant schemes are available through the applied global health research board:
You must also read the supplementary guidance for outline submissions to the applied global health research board (PDF, 632KB). This document provides details of our assessment criteria and how this funding opportunity differs from other MRC awards.
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) and plans should be proportionate to the scale of the project, with larger proposals expected to be more ambitious.
Find out more about the review process in the supplementary guidance for outline submissions to the applied global health research board (PDF, 632KB).
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 policy makers and research management)
- building capacity to working collaboratively, across disciplines and across practice-research boundaries (for example, with policy-makers, 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 LMIC research networks.
Find further resources, tools and guides provided by UKCDR.
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.
Areas we will not fund
We will not fund discovery research or research that includes an applied component that fits within a current board or panel remit. This includes early translation.
These opportunities represent areas of specific strategic focus that help to inform discussions at funding meetings, but you can submit research proposals that focus on any applied global health topic.
Maternal and neonatal health
MRC’s work in this area is informed by the MRC-National Institute for Health Research overview of global maternal and neonatal health research priorities (PDF, 1.9MB).
Read more about the maternal and neonatal health area of investment.
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 eight years of age.
Early childhood development is the outcome of nurturing care. This is a range of education, health, nutrition and social protection inputs and environments. Proposals in this area will be jointly funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (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, the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and the National Institute for Health Research, in partnership with the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).
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.
Read more about the implementation science area of investment.