The principal investigator must be based at the lead organisation, which should be UK-based and one of the following:
- higher education institution
- UKRI-approved independent research organisation or NHS body
- government-funded organisation (other than an MRC unit or institute)
- MRC institute
- MRC unit or partnership institute
- institute or unit funded by other research councils
- public sector research establishment (PSRE).
Review the list of eligible and potentially eligible PSREs.
Principal and co-investigators
Principal investigators may only submit one application to this initiative as a principal investigator, but may be involved in more applications, if listed as a co-investigator. Where two or more investigators will have equal intellectual input and leadership roles, they may be named as co-principal investigators.
A principal investigator (PI) or co-investigator (CoI) must have a contract of employment with the research organisation for the duration of the grant prior to application.
Read the MRC guidance for applicants.
We recognise the diversity of expertise and skills necessary for a successful research team. We encourage proposals to recognise the contribution of different disciplines and technical professionals, using researcher co-investigator status as appropriate.
Read the MRC guidance on researcher co-investigators.
We welcome collaborations across:
- third sector.
Collaborations with commercial parties will be required to submit an executed collaboration agreement at the full application stage only.
Your team may include international co-investigators where additional impact can be justified. This must be discussed and agreed with the Programme Manager (Dr Yan Yip, firstname.lastname@example.org) in advance of submitting your expression of interest form.
Industry involvement and available funding
MRC is keen for industry to be actively involved in consortia and, whilst we expect that large companies would support their own costs in participating in the consortia, we are willing to consider requests for funding from small or medium companies involved in the consortia.
These requests will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and will need to be accompanied by an explanation at the full application stage as to:
- why the involvement of the company is essential to the success of the consortia
- how the funding to the company will be used to support the objectives of the consortia
- why the company is not able to support the costs themselves.
MRC will undertake diligence checks on companies requesting funding to ensure that public money is appropriately awarded. MRC reserves the right to adapt the funding model available to companies to comply with future UK subsidy control rules. If this is necessary, MRC will communicate with applicants during the application process.
Equality, diversity and inclusion
The MRC is committed to achieving equality of opportunity for all and aims to create an inclusive environment that encourages excellence in scientific research through good equalities practice. Diversity is one of the core MRC values, and we are working to ensure that the ways in which we fund embrace a diversity of:
- geographical locations
There has been a longstanding lack of diversity in the data science and AI sectors, particularly with regard to gender and ethnicity. As well, only 2% of applicants for MRC grants (principal investigators and co-investigators) have disclosed disabilities. We strongly encourage applications from under-represented groups, including:
- female and ethnic minority researchers
- researchers with disabilities or long-term conditions.
It is important that researchers and their research teams are able to work flexibly and in a way that meets their personal circumstances. MRC endeavours to support such arrangements subject to the funding opportunity’s:
- proposed project plans
- expected duration of funding.
MRC guidance on career breaks and flexible working (PDF, 41KB).