Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Develop guidance for better research methods

Apply for funding to develop new guidance on biomedical and health research methods.

The guidance should aim to:

  • improve the understanding and use of better methods related to the remit of MRC or NIHR
  • be accessible to those without specialist methodology knowledge.

You must have a postgraduate degree and be based at an eligible research organisation.

Funding is for up to 18 months and can cover 100% of directly incurred costs. Indirect and estate costs are not eligible.

This is a recurring opportunity. Applications open once a year, closing in June.

Who can apply

Before applying to MRC for funding, please check the following:

Eligibility for this opportunity

To be eligible to apply for this opportunity you must:

  • be a researcher employed by an eligible research organisation
  • have at least a postgraduate degree, although we expect most applicants to have a PhD or medical degree
  • show that you will direct the project and be actively engaged in the work
  • focus your application to develop new guidance on biomedical and health research methods
  • produce guidance that aims to improve the understanding and use of better methods related to the remit of MRC or NIHR
  • producer guidance that aims to be accessible to those without specialist methodology knowledge

We recognise the diversity of skills necessary for a successful research team, and encourage proposals to recognise the contribution of technical professionals. This includes through the use of researcher co-investigator status, as appropriate.

We encourage applications from collaborative teams, which may include international co-investigators who provide expertise that is not available in the UK. Please contact us to confirm eligibility prior to submission.

We welcome collaboration with industry, which should be managed through the MRC industry collaboration framework.

Equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI)

MRC is committed to achieving equality of opportunity for all funding applicants and encourages applications from a diverse range of researchers from all backgrounds.

We support individuals and research teams 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. Applicants can also find out more about MRC’s current EDI initiatives and read UK Research and Innovation’s draft equality, diversity and inclusion strategy.

What we're looking for

Gaps remain between the development of improved biomedical and health research methodologies, widespread awareness and uptake, and their recognition as best practice.

Where multiple methodologies are available, it can be difficult to understand when, where or how each methodology should be best applied.

This funding opportunity will support the development of guidance in priority areas of methodological uncertainty, with the aim of catalysing uptake of improved research methods.

Following an award, teams must begin the proposed work within six months to ensure that the resulting guidance for better research methods retains its relevance as assessed when awarded.

Who to involve

Your proposed guidance should allow others to navigate the methodological options available and provide frameworks to ensure the optimal research approach or approaches are used.

Any area of unmet methodological need within MRC or NIHR remit will be considered.

To develop your guidance, you should engage and involve relevant groups. These could include:

  • methodologists
  • non-methodologist researchers
  • technical professionals
  • health and allied health professionals
  • industry
  • non-expert stakeholder groups, such as:
    • funding bodies’ policy and decision-makers
    • the public and patients as required by the identified area of need.

The guidance you produce will need to be accessible, appropriate and informative to the groups involved.

Costs covered

The funding provided can be used to cover incurred costs for:

  • background review or scoping activities
  • consensus activities and workshop costs, including travel and subsistence, if applicable
  • writing and open-access publication costs
  • production of other learning resources, if appropriate.

Funding can last up to a maximum of 18 months and can cover 100% of directly incurred costs. Indirect and estate costs are not eligible.

How to apply

Transition from Je-S to TFS

From January 2024, research council opportunities will be launched and managed through the new UK Research and Innovation Funding Service (TFS).

Responsive mode opportunities (such as this) will gradually transition from Joint Electronic Submissions (Je-S) to TFS during 2023.

Please revisit this opportunity page during May 2023, when we will be able to confirm how you are able to apply.

How we will assess your application

Your proposal will be assessed via a two-stage peer review process. A shortlisting panel will consider your application roughly one month before the full panel meeting.

Your application will be assessed on:

  • the unmet need for methodological guidance in the proposed area
  • strategic importance
  • your approach or approaches for developing guidance
  • your project management, risk mitigation and decision-making approaches
  • reassurance that guidance will result in clarity and wider implementation of methods
  • value for money and impact.

Shortlisted applicants will have two weeks to respond to the externally written peer review and any feedback from the shortlisting panel before their decision and the expert panel meeting.

We aim to communicate funding recommendations within one week of the full panel meeting.

Contact details

Get help with developing your proposal

For help and advice on costings and writing your proposal please contact your research office in the first instance, allowing sufficient time for your organisation’s submission process.

Ask about this funding opportunity

Dr Rosalind Roberts, Programme Manager


Include ‘develop guidance for better research’ in the subject line.

Ask about MRC policy and eligibility

Get in touch with our research funding policy and delivery team.


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