We’re looking to fund research projects that will lead to tangible change in health policy and practice in the near future through practical, impact focused research. 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 from phase 2b (efficacy) onwards
- 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.
We will accept applications of all sizes from £150,000, including large applications of approximately £2 million and small to medium-scale applications. We will take into account value for money when assessing applications. The resources you request should be appropriate for the objectives of your application
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
- mobile health (mHealth)
- treatment, including surgery
- pain management and palliative care
MRC FCDO concordat supports global health research projects funded through the Applied Global Health Research Board (AGHRB) in specific strategic areas of mutual interest, for example:
- infections, including epidemic and pandemic preparedness and response
- maternal and newborn health
- implementation science
- adolescent health
- early child development
- sexual and reproductive health and rights
- climate and health
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
UK Collaborative on Development Research (UKCDR) provide further resources, tools and guides on strengthening research capacity.
Although new investigator research grants are not available through the AGHRB, 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 MRC remit, programme or priority. This includes early translation and feasibility studies in the remit of the Developmental pathway funding scheme (DPFS)and the Public Health Intervention Development (PHIND) Applicants wishing to do feasibility studies should carefully consider whether the proposal fits the remit of these other panels first before submitting to AGHRB
- observational or prevalence studies
- studies where the focus is on surveillance, unless the proposal is applied research into novel methods for surveillance research
- stand-alone capacity strengthening proposals without clear links to high-quality applied research programmes
- 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 research applications 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 eight 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 the 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.
The adolescent health area of investment aims to fund innovative applied research to improve adolescent health in LMICs.
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.
If you are unsure whether your proposal fits the remit described above, please send a one page summary of your proposal to email@example.com
We will fund projects lasting up to five years, although projects typically last three to four years.
We will accept proposals of all sizes up to approximately £2 million full economic cost (FEC). MRC typically fund 80% of your project’s FEC (excluding eligible international costs, which are funded as exceptions (100%)).
What we will fund
You can request funding for costs such as:
- a contribution to the salary of the project lead and project co-leads (UK)
- 100% salary costs for project leads and project co-leads (international), based within an LMIC
- 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 high income countries (those not on the OECD DAC list of ODA recipients), or India must not exceed 30% of the FEC grant value. There is no cap on eligible funds attributed to international project co-leads from Development Assistance Committee (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 research 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) applicants 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 ‘project lead’ 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.