This funding opportunity is phase one of a flagship investment to better prepare for future epidemics as part of the UKRI Tackling infections strategic theme.
Interdisciplinary epidemic preparedness flagship
The initiative is an interdisciplinary opportunity to better understand, predict and prevent (re-)emergence of infectious human, animal, and plant diseases of epidemic potential. It aims to improve epidemic preparedness by supporting interdisciplinary research that will improve our understanding of these infectious disease threats, through building and expanding interdisciplinary research capacity. This initiative will have two phases:
- phase one seed funding to develop interdisciplinary research teams and research questions that will bring new perspectives and approaches to epidemic preparedness research, drawing on a range of disciplines from across the remits of the research councils. We anticipate teams will subsequently seek phase two funding (or other funding opportunities)
- phase two programmatic awards will address research questions. We anticipate providing opportunities for award holders to network and share insights and best practice to help build an interdisciplinary research community better prepared to address future threats
Receipt of seed funding through phase one is not a requirement to apply for phase two programmatic funding.
Phase one seed funding
We will provide seed funding to build interdisciplinary research teams to develop research ideas in epidemic preparedness for infectious human, animal and plant diseases.
Interdisciplinary teams will include researchers that cross the remits of the UKRI research councils, to bring fresh perspectives to our understanding of (re-)emerging human, animal or plant infectious diseases with epidemic potential. Working together with end users and stakeholders is encouraged. It is intended that the research ideas developed will enable better prediction as to the nature of future threats and how to control them and unlock new research opportunities, approaches and methods that would otherwise not emerge from established disciplinary thinking.
We anticipate that the research teams may evolve over the duration of the seed funding, towards a final team that will seek phase two (or other) funding, and should include:
- academics from a range of disciplines across research council remits
- project co-leads or project partners such as:
- members of the business community
- policymakers in the public, private and third sectors
- representatives from civil society
- people with lived experience
Pathogens (for example, bacterial, viral, parasitic, fungal) within all reservoirs are within the scope of this funding opportunity, providing they have epidemic potential, including but not exclusive to:
- animals (farmed, companion and wild)
- plants (crops and wild)
- natural environments
- animal-human-environment interface
The seed funding through phase one is anticipated to support the following kinds of activity and the resources needed to undertake them, for example:
- evidence gathering and synthesis, strategic reviews and research needs or impact assessments
- identifying novel data sets and resources for future research in the area
- planning and hosting of workshops and meetings
- building appropriate research strategies, plans and proposals, embedding a One Health approach if appropriate
- bringing together working partnerships, collaborations and management mechanisms, including co-development or co-creation with affected or at risk communities
- developing leadership teams and management or operational structures
- negotiations with host institutions and partner funders (if appropriate)
- developing communications, stakeholder engagement and knowledge exchange strategies
- small, short-term feasibility studies to demonstrate viability of approach where this is necessary and adds value
Substantive research will not be supported through phase one. Research proposals developed during phase one can be submitted to phase two of this programme (or other funding opportunities), which will coincide with conclusion of phase one.
Phases one and two of this flagship investment are aimed at projects focusing on pathogens that are considered a significant threat now or in the future to human, animal and or plant health. You will be expected to justify the epidemic potential of the pathogen(s) included in your proposal. The intention is to support a portfolio of research across a range of pathogens and hosts. Applications are particularly encouraged that expect to yield insights applicable to more than one pathogen.
Themes could include, but are not limited to:
- understanding the impacts of and interplay between biological, physiological, cultural, environmental, political, legal and socioeconomic factors affecting infectious disease (re-)emergence, transmission and epidemiology
- understanding factors contributing to spill over and risk pathways
- developing and evaluating multifaceted evidence-based non-pharmacological (including animal and plants) disease control interventions (for example public health interventions, biosecurity strategies) to prevent infection and interrupt transmission
- developing multiparameter models for comparing the impact of prevention strategies and assessing their cost-effectiveness including gaining deeper understanding of factors affecting disease outbreak
- lessons learned from previous outbreaks to inform prediction and prevention activities
For more information on the background of this funding opportunity, go to the Additional information section.
The duration of this award is fixed at nine months. Awards will have a fixed start date.
The FEC of your project can be up to £125,000.
UKRI will fund 80% of the FEC.
We expect to fund up to 15 proposals.
What we will fund
- interdisciplinary proposals that have been co-developed
- international collaborations where suitable collaborators in the UK do not exist or where this adds significant value
What we will not fund
- siloed projects that lack interdisciplinary integration, perspectives or approaches
- projects that do not embed the research and innovation community in the process
- product development costs
- development or clinical evaluation of new medical interventions including diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines
- projects related to antimicrobial resistance
- surveillance, or human-to-human transmission (post disease emergence), except as a component of a wider holistic programme
- fees or stipends for postgraduate studentships
If your application includes international applicants, project partners or collaborators, visit UKRI’s trusted research and innovation for more information on effective international collaboration.
Find out about getting funding for international collaboration.