Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Funding for early stage development of new healthcare interventions

Apply for funding to the Developmental Pathway Gap Fund (DPGF), to generate critical preliminary data to build confidence in the development strategy for a new medicine, repurposed medicine, medical device, diagnostic test, or other medical intervention development.

The idea for a new product that can improve human health should have already been conceived and supported by other funding. This should be utilised to produce the critical preliminary data needed to support the onward development of the product.

The Gap fund sits beyond the smaller and shorter Impact Accelerator funding and before the substantive and longer Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme.

You must be a researcher employed by an eligible research organisation.

This is an ongoing funding opportunity. Application rounds close every March, July and November.

This is a pre-announcement and the information may change.

The information you are required to provide may change. Please check back when the opportunity opens to see the application requirements.

Who can apply

Before applying for funding, check the following:

Who is eligible to apply

You should be a researcher employed at an eligible research organisation. These include:

  • higher education institutions
  • UK Research and Innovation-approved independent research organisations or NHS bodies
  • government-funded organisations
  • institutes at MRC Harwell, the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences and the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology
  • MRC units and partnership institutes
  • institutes and units funded by other research councils
  • public sector research establishments

To apply as the principal investigator you must:

  •  be able to take responsibility for the leadership of the research project

Equality, diversity and inclusion

We are committed to achieving equality of opportunity for all funding applicants. We encourage applications from a diverse range of researchers.

We support people 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

Find out more about equality, diversity and inclusion at UKRI.

What we're looking for


You can apply for academically led translational projects that aim to undertake a focused package of work that will bridge the gap between inception of a new idea and substantive funding through schemes such as the MRC Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme to:

  • help prevent disease
  • help improve speed and accuracy of diagnosis of disease
  • develop new treatments of disease
  • help to improve outcome monitoring of patients receiving treatment
  • help to improve the management of diseases and conditions

All human diseases and medical interventions are eligible for support, both in the context of UK healthcare and addressing global health issues.

Your project should have already explored a new concept and generated some data in support of the approach. This fund will provide small scale funding to generate critical data needed prior to seeking more substantive funding. A non-exhaustive list of examples of the types of projects that could be supported include:

  • elements of therapeutic discovery, quantification, and validation
  • development of an initial prototype
  • early prototype testing
  • initial biomarker validation
  • vector identification or optimisation
  • hit expansion medicinal chemistry

In exceptional circumstances, you can submit follow-on proposals where you can justify the need for continued support. However, in most cases a positive outcome of the proposed work should be sufficient to allow submission of a longer and larger application.

What we will fund

You can apply for funding for work on novel:

  • new small molecule medicines
  • vaccines for infectious or non-infectious disease
  • biologics (antibodies, peptides, proteins)
  • advanced therapeutics (for example, gene therapy, cell therapy, RNA therapy, nucleic acid therapy and T-cell therapy)
  • complex medicines for example PROTACS, molecular glues and antibody-drug conjugates
  • regenerative medicine approaches
  • repurposing clinical studies or using existing therapies for new indications
  • medical devices
  • digital healthcare, app development or artificial intelligence
  • diagnostics (including biomarker validation)
  • medical imaging technology
  • surgical techniques or tools
  • behavioural and psychological interventions
  • radiotherapy and radiation protocols

What we will not fund

This funding opportunity will not support:

  • fundamental or investigative research that is not linked to a product development plan (supported by the MRC science areas)
  • clinical studies where the main aim is to investigate disease mechanism (supported by the MRC Experimental Medicine Panel)
  • generation of preliminary concept data (supported by the MRC Impact Accelerator Accounts)
  • pre-clinical safety of toxicology studies (supported by the MRC Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme)
  • early-phase clinical trials (supported by the MRC Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme)
  • late-phase clinical trials (supported by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Efficay and Mechanism Evaluation and NIHR Health Technology Assessment programmes)
  • late-phase global health trials (supported by applied global health research board)

Funding available

The funding is limited to between £50,000 and £300,000 (full economic costing).


We will fund projects lasting between six and 24 months. Justification of the timescale and resources needed in the context of the proposed work needs to be provided and duration of request should reflect this.

Team project partner

You may include team 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

Each project partner must provide a statement of support. If your application involves industry partners, they must provide a company letter of support if the team project partner falls within the industry collaboration framework.

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 those with a role of ‘investigator’ 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.

International collaboration

If your application includes international applicants, project partners or collaborators, visit Trusted Research for more information on effective international collaboration.

How to apply

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Funding Service

We are running the funding opportunity on the new UKRI Funding Service. You cannot apply for this funding opportunity on the Joint Electronic Submissions (Je-S) system.

If you have not used the Funding Service before, then the first step is to create an account. The process is straightforward and quick. You will be able to do this as soon as the funding opportunity is open.

Research offices that have not already received an invitation to open an account should email

To find out more about the role of research office professionals in the application process, watch a recording of a recent research office webinar on YouTube.

Submitting your application

Applications should be prepared and submitted by the lead research organisation but should be co-created with input from all investigators, and project partners, and should represent the proposed work of the entire consortia.

To apply:

  1. select the ‘Start application’ button at the start of this page
  2. this will open the ‘Sign in’ page of UKRI’s Funding Service. If you do not already have an account, you’ll be able to create one. This is a two-minute process requiring you to verify your email address and set a password
  3. start answering the questions detailed in this section of ‘How to apply’. You can save your work and come back to it later. You can also work ‘offline’, copying and pasting into the text boxes provided for your answers
  4. once complete, use the service to send your application to your research office for review. They’ll check it and return it to you if it needs editing
  5. once happy, your research office will submit it to UKRI for assessment. Only they can do this


MRC must receive your application by 15 November 2023 at 4:00pm.

You will not be able to apply after this time.

You should ensure you are aware of and follow any internal institutional deadlines that may be in place.

Following the close of the funding opportunity, your submitted application cannot be edited or changed. Applications will not be returned for amendment. If your application does not follow this guidance provided, it may be rejected.

Personal information

MRC as part of UKRI, will need to collect some personal information to manage your funding service account and the registration of your funding applications.

We will handle personal data in line with UK data protection legislation and manage it securely. For more information, including how to exercise your rights, read our privacy notice.


Please provide a concise title for your proposal, which should not exceed 150 characters (including spaces). If your application is in collaboration with an industrial partner, the title should be prefixed with “ICF:” and then your application title.


Describe the research in simple terms, ensuring the summary and application title you have provided are both suitable for publication to a general audience.

Provide a summary of the need you are seeking to address, your proposed solution, the rationale for why your proposed solution is likely to meet the targeted need, and your development plan.

Succinctly describe your proposed work in terms of its:

  • context
  • its aims and objectives
  • its potential applications and benefits

Word count: 550


List the key members of your team and assign them roles, for example:

  • principal investigator
  • co-investigator
  • researcher
  • technician

You should only list one individual as principal investigator.

Background to Application

Question: What is the background to this application and evidence to support the proposed solution?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Ensure that you provide:

  • a brief overview of the background of your application
  • information related to your previously funded applications and funders, if any, that have enabled and informed the work proposed in the application, specifying any previous UKRI application references

Additionally, you should look to:

  • identify if your application is a re-submission, including any invitations from MRC permitting your re-submission and how the proposed work has developed
  • reference any other correspondence with MRC relevant to and regarding your current application

Word count: 500

Opportunity and market

Question: What is the opportunity or challenge, you are seeking to address?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Ensure you describe:

  • the health or clinical need you are seeking to address
  • how your work could lead to the development of a new or improved prototype, product, service or technology
  • how meeting this need could significantly reduce disease burden or alleviate an important bottleneck
  • the competing solutions and their status, including whether similar or complementary research is being taken elsewhere
  • the key competitive advantages of your proposed solution
  • the potential market for your proposed solution

Word count: 1000

Development plan

Question: How has the idea or solution been developed to date and what is the proposed approach for further development?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Ensure you describe:

  • the current status of the innovation or technology and how the proposed work will enable its development
  • the project’s primary objective
  • the project endpoint that would indicate that there is a reasonable chance of attracting onward investment
  • the expertise or any consultancy required to deliver the proposed work

Word count: 500

Methodology and experimental design

Question: How will you ensure your proposed work has a reliable and robust methodology and experimental design?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Ensure that you describe:

  • the use of animals or patients, including justification for why particular animal models or clinical populations have been chosen and any considerations given to diversity
  • any consultation with a statistician or methodology hub to the development of the proposal
  • the access you will have to statistical support during the project
  • the statistical analysis plans, the proposed sample sizes in sufficient detail for the replication of any power calculation
  • the anticipated effects sizes and variability
  • potential sources of bias and describe the strategies that will be adopted to minimise their effects

Please refer to the MRC guidance for applicants, section ‘Reproducibility and statistical design’, for further information.

Use the ‘Research involving the use of animals’ section to provide information on the rationale for using animals, choice of species, welfare and procedure severity.

The National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement, and Reduction of Animals in Research have developed a free online tool to guide researchers through the design of their experiments. It helps to ensure that researchers use the minimum number of animals consistent with their scientific objectives, methods to reduce subjective bias, and appropriate statistical analysis.

Word count: 500

Project plan

Question: Provide a project plan to support your application.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Provide a summary of the project workplan, accompanied by a Gantt chart or similar aide to support your application. This should outline:

  • project specific deliverables, including proposed success criteria
  • the resourcing necessary to deliver the proposed work
  • the overall timeframe of the project

Do not use the project plan to include information which should be detailed in the other sections of your application.

Word count: 250

Data management and sharing

Question: How will you manage and share data collected or acquired through the proposed research?

Provide a data management plan which should clearly detail how you will comply with MRC’s published data management and sharing policies, which includes detailed guidance notes.

Provide your response following the MRC data management plan template, using the headings:

  • description of the data
  • data collection or generation
  • data management, documentation and curation
  • data security and confidentiality of potentially disclosive information
  • data sharing and access
  • responsibilities

Word count: 750

Applicants and team capability to deliver

Question: Why are you the right individual or team to successfully deliver the proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Evidence of how you and your team, have:

  • the relevant experience (appropriate to career stage) to deliver the proposed work
  • the right balance of skills and expertise to cover the proposed work
  • the appropriate leadership and management skills to deliver the work and your approach to develop others

Use the Résumé for Research and Innovation (R4RI) format to showcase the range of relevant skills you and your team (investigators, researchers, partners and other (technical) staff for example, research software engineers, data scientists and so on) have and how this will help to deliver the proposed work. You can include individuals’ specific achievements but only choose past contributions that best evidence their ability to deliver this work.

Complete these questions using the R4RI module headings. Each question should include a response for the whole team, see the UKRI guidance on R4RI. You can enter ‘N/A’ for any you think irrelevant, and you will not be penalised for doing so, but it is recommended that you carefully consider the breadth of your experience. You should complete this as a narrative and you should avoid CV type format.

The R4RI module headings include you and your team’s contributions to:

  • the generation of new ideas, tools, methodologies, or knowledge
  • the development of others and maintenance of effective working relationships
  • contributions to the wider research and innovation community
  • contributions to broader research or innovation users and audiences and towards wider societal benefit
  • additions: you can use this heading to provide information which provides context to the wider application, such as detail of career breaks or disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic
  • the wider research and innovation community
  • broader research or innovation users and audiences and towards wider societal benefit

Also include, where relevant any other information of relevance to the proposal, for example: previous experience of research translation.

Word count: 1000

Resource and cost justification

Question: What will you need to deliver your proposed work and how much will it cost?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Download the full economic costing template (DOCX, 96KB), complete it and then upload it as explained.

Using the text box, demonstrate how the resources you anticipate needing for your proposed work:

  • are comprehensive, appropriate, and justified
  • represent the optimal use of resources to achieve the intended outcomes
  • maximise potential outcomes and impacts

This section should not simply be a list of the resources requested, as this will already be given in the detailed ‘costs’ table. Costings should be justified on the basis of FEC of the project, not just on the costs expected from UKRI. For some items we do not expect you to justify the monetary value, rather the type of resource, such as amount of time or type of staff requested.

Where you do not provide adequate justification for a resource, we may deduct it from any funding awarded.

You should identify:

  • support for activities to either increase impact for public engagement, knowledge exchange or to support responsible innovation
  • support for access to facilities, infrastructure or procurement of equipment
  • support for preserving, long-term storage or sharing of data
  • support from your organisation or partner organisations and how that enhances value for money

Do not duplicate information that you have included in the ‘Your Team and Your Capability to Deliver’ section above. Your answer here should describe how your project offers value for money.

Estates, Indirect and Infrastructure Technician costs do not need to be justified within the Justification of Resources. Quotes for equipment exceeding £10,000 are not necessary for this application.

Successful applicants must be able to show UKRI evidence of adherence to procurement rules (such as quotes) if audited.

If you are including animal costs please provide detailed information, such as numbers that need to be bred or maintained, as part of what you write as your Justification of Resources. Please use robust processes to accurately estimate Directly Allocated animals costs to ensure that appropriate costs are requested to maintain high welfare standards.

If your Organisation is audited and are asked for further information, you will need to provide evidence of how you arrived at these costs. If there are estimated costs entered under the fund headings, the grants will be cash limited and MRC will not provide additional costs at a later time.

Justify the costs claimed within the text box provided.

Word count: 2,000


Question: Does your proposed research require the support and use of an in-house or third-party facility?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If not, enter ‘N/A’ into the text box, mark this section as complete and move on to the next section.

If you will need to use a facility, you should follow your proposed facility’s normal access request procedures. Also, where prior agreement is required, ensure you obtain their agreement that, should you be offered funding, they will support the use of their facility on your project. In the text box below, provide:

  • the name of facility
  • a description of the type of access they are granting you, for example: hours, units or value requested
  • an explanation of how you will use the facility in your research

Do not put the facility contact details in your response.

Word count: 250

Industry Collaboration Framework (ICF)

Question: Does your application include industrial project partners?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

The assessors are looking for information relating to any restrictions or rights to the project results that could be claimed by the project partner.

If you have read the ICF guidance and it does not apply to any of the project partners included within your application (or you do not have any project partners), simply add ‘N/A’ into the text box, mark this section as complete and move to the next section.

The ICF has been developed to support you when your research project involves collaboration between an academic organisation and an eligible industry or company.

ICF also provides MRC with information and assurances that initial discussions and considerations have taken place with all involved in the project, related to the nature, goals and conditions of the collaboration, including intellectual property (IP) rights and dissemination of results generated if the project is funded by MRC.

By ‘industry or company’ we mean an enterprise that puts goods or services on a market and whose commercial activities are greater than 20% of their overall annual capacity.

Please see ICF for further guidance related to the purpose of the ICF process, including:

  • collaboration agreements
  • definitions of basic and applied research
  • internationally based companies
  • subsidy control
  • intellectual property arrangements
  • fully flexible and gated contributions
  • the ICF assessment criteria

This funding opportunity does not require the inclusion of the ICF form or company partner letter of support (as detailed within the ICF guidance) and instead, details should be included within the text box.

All applicants must also include any industry or company partners within the project partners section, providing the information requested within that section (whether the industry or company project requires ICF or not).

Word count: 10,000

Project partners

Provide information related to collaborating project partners and the contributions and support they are providing your project.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

MRC encourages and supports collaborative research projects and team approaches. Collaborators based in different organisations to the investigators named within your application, or from industry, can be formally recognised within your application as a named project partner.

If you do not have any project partners, simply add ‘N/A’ into the text box, mark this section as complete and move to the next section.

If you do have one or more project partners that have agreed to support your project, please provide them with the guidance included within this section and request they provide responses to the eight questions below.

MRC expect the project partner to provide you with information confirming the nature of the collaboration, including the value of their contribution. We also require each partner to provide other relevant information that will clearly identify the relevance and possible benefits of the proposed work to the project and to the project partner. The information provided will be used during the assessment of your application.

When the partner has provided you with the required information, check that the responses adequately provide the information MRC requires and then copy and paste their responses into the text box provided.

When you have pasted the responses for each separate partner within the text box provided, please mark the section as complete and move onto the next application question.

Statement of support from project partners

Please note, while a statement of support is required to be provided by each project partner, a formal letter of support from the project partner is not required.

Where a partner has provided a formal letter of support, the relevant text confirming the responses to each question (1 to 8) should be extracted from the letter and pasted into the text box (using the template format as detailed within the Funding Service application). Under no circumstances should any letter of support (including signature and letter head), be uploaded to the text section or any other section of your application.

  1. Provide the name of the project partner organisation.
  2. Detail the partner website address (or postal address).
  3. Confirm the following, related to the partner contact information:
    • partner contact name (title, first name, family name format)
    • job role or title
    • the person’s department (if applicable)
    • confirm ‘yes’, that any person included within the application as a partner contact, are made aware their person their personal information has been shared with UKRI and their personal information will be processed as set out in UKRI’s privacy notice
  4. Confirm the total cash or detail a £ value for any in-kind contributions being provided by the partner organisation. You are encouraged to provide a detailed description to ensure assessors can evaluate the contribution fully (the list below are examples; please add you own descriptors if a different type of contribution better describes the contribution being provided):
    • cash contribution: £
    • staff time: £
    • access to equipment: £
    • provision of date: £
    • consumables and materials: £
    • expertise: £
    • use of facilities: £
    • recruitment of people as research participants: £
    • providing human tissue: £
  5. Confirm any costs being requested by the project partner, such as minor travel and subsistence costs or if the partner is claiming costs as a subcontractor (please provide a costs breakdown to provide the assessors with detail of any costs requested by the project partner). If the project partner is not claiming any costs, indicate: ‘Question 5: zero costs requested by this project partner’.
  6. Confirm if your project partner has a dual role as a subcontractor.
  7. Please confirm if the project partner you have named in your response to question 1, is from industry (or a company) ‘yes or no’? If you have responded ‘yes’, please ensure you have completed the previous industry collaboration framework section.
  8. Confirm the partner’s commitment to the project, by requesting they provide a statement of support, including information that explains:
    • the full nature and relevance of the collaboration and support being provided by the partner
    • how this will benefit both the project and partner
    • any additional value the collaboration will bring to the project
    • where relevant, projected market size, customer sales and how the organisation will commercialise the technology beyond the project
    • the period of support the collaboration will cover

Please note, it is expected that the partner statement should be as concise as possible and therefore should not duplicate any information provided within any of the responses to the preceding seven questions.

When completed, the statement of support should be included within row eight of the table including the following text (with appropriate edits):

  • confirm the statement of support provided in response to question 8, has been provided by [name of partner organisation] on [date the partner statement was provided by the partner]
  • their support statement is as follows: [paste the copied statement of support provided by the project partner]

Ethics and Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI)

Question: What are the ethical or RRI implications and issues relating to the proposed work? If you do not think that the proposed work raises any ethical or RRI issues, explain why.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Using the text box, demonstrate that you have identified and evaluated the relevant ethical or responsible research and innovation considerations associated with your product, service or technology, including those that are beyond formal regulatory and legal frameworks ,and how you will manage them.

Ensure you:

  • outline whether there any ethical considerations relating to the project or its impacts, including any potential impacts on the environment and potential dual use implications
  • consider societal acceptance of your idea and, where you think this might limit uptake, outline strategies that could mitigate this

If you are collecting or using data you should identify:

  • any legal and ethical considerations of collecting, releasing or storing the data including consent, confidentiality, anonymisation, security and other ethical considerations and, in particular, strategies taken to not preclude further reuse of data
  • formal information standards with which study will be compliant

Word count: 500

Intellectual property rights (IPR)

Question: Provide a brief description of the Intellectual Assets underpinning the proposed work (if any).

What the assessors are looking for in your response

The assessors are looking for you to outline where Intellectual Property (IP) and Freedom to Operate considerations will need to be accounted for (for example: where licenses will need to be obtained).

Note that, at the time of application, or during any subsequent grant, UKRI would not anticipate any business to have exclusive rights to the assets and IP arising from the funded project.

Include any IPR if appropriate. If your IPR is a patent, please include the patent number(s) along with a summary scope of the claims. MRC recognises that most applications to the DPGF will not have a patent or other IPR.

Word count: 500

Your Organisation’s support

Question: Provide details of support from your Research Organisation and other supporting organisations.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Provide a statement of support from your Research Organisation detailing why the proposed work is needed.

The statement of support must also detail any relationships with academic, industrial or other partners relevant to the project. MRC recognises that in some instances this information may be provided by the Research Office, the Technology Transfer Office (or equivalent) or a combination of both.

You must also include the following details:

  • a significant person’s name and their position, from the TTO or Research Office, or both
  • office address or web link

Word count: 500


Question: Are you outsourcing any DPGF activity?

If you are not, enter N/A in the text box, mark this section as complete and move to the next question.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

MRC recognises that in some instances it may be appropriate to outsource elements of the proposed DPGF work. If that is the case in this application, please provide the following information:

  • the scope of the outsourced activity – what is being undertaken and what will be delivered?
  • the relevance of the outsourced activity to the application
  • why the outsourced activity cannot be undertaken in-house
  • why this provider is the most appropriate
  • the cost(s) of the outsourced activity and the tendering process that will be followed
  • information on any conflicts of interest (potential or actual) between the parties. If any conflicts are highlighted then a description of how this will be managed appropriately

Word count: 700

Research involving human tissues or biological samples

Question: Does your proposed research involve the use of human tissues, or biological samples?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If not, enter ‘N/A’ into the text box and move onto the next question.

If you’re answering ‘yes’, provide the name of any required approving body and whether approval is already in place.

You should justify the use of human tissue or biological samples specifying the nature and quantity of the material to be used and its source.

Word count: 300

Research involving human participation

Question: Will the project involve the use of human subjects or their personal information?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If not, enter ‘N/A’ into the text box and move onto the next question.

If you are proposing research that requires the involvement of human subjects, provide the name of any required approving body and whether approval is already in place.

Then, justify the number and the diversity of the participants involved, as well as any procedures.

Provide details of any areas of substantial or moderate severity of impact.

Word count: 700

Research involving the use of animals

Question: Does your proposed research involve the use of vertebrate animals or other organisms covered by the Animals Scientific Procedures Act?

If not, enter ‘N/A’ into the text box, mark this section as complete and do the same for the next question.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If you are proposing research that requires using animals, write ‘Yes’ in the text box.

Please do not duplicate information provided in the ‘Methodology and experimental design’ section.

If you are proposing research that requires using animals, write ‘Yes’ in the text box. Then, download and complete the animal research question template (DOCX, 52KB), which contains all the questions relating to research using vertebrate animals or other Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 regulated organisms. Then, save it as a PDF.

Word count: 300

Conducting research with animal overseas

Question: Will any of the proposed animal research be conducted overseas?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If not, enter ‘N/A’ in the text box, mark as complete and move to the next question.

If you are proposing to conduct overseas research, it must be conducted in accordance with welfare standards consistent with those in the UK, as per Responsibility in the Use of Animals in Bioscience Research guidance, on page 14.

You should also ensure all named applicants in the UK and overseas are aware of this requirement and provide a statement to confirm that:

  • all named applicants are aware of the requirements and have agreed to abide by them
  • this overseas research will be conducted in accordance with welfare standards consistent with the principles of UK legislation
  • the expectation set out in Responsibility in the Use of Animals in Bioscience Research guidancewill be applied and maintained
  • appropriate national and institutional approvals are in place

Overseas studies proposing to use non-human primates, cats, dogs, equines or pigs, will be assessed during National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement, and Reduction of Animals in Research review of research applications. The required information should be provided by completing the template from the question ‘Research Involving the use of animals’.

For studies involving other species, you should select the relevant checklist or checklists from the list below, complete it and save it as a PDF and use the file upload feature to attach. If you need to complete more than one checklist, you should merge them into a single document and then save it as a PDF before uploading it.

Additional questions on the use of rodents overseas (DOCX, 50KB).

Additional questions on the use of rabbits overseas (DOCX, 50KB).

Additional questions on the use of sheep overseas (DOCX, 51KB).

Additional questions on the use of goats overseas (DOCX, 48KB).

Additional questions on the use of pigs overseas (DOCX, 52KB).

Additional questions on the use of cattle overseas (DOCX, 58KB).

Additional questions on the use of Xenopus laevis and Xenopus tropicalis overseas (DOCX, 58KB).

Word count: 300

Genetic and biological risk

Question: Does your proposed research involve any genetic or biological risk?

If not, enter ‘N/A’ into the text box, mark this section as complete and move on to the next section.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

In respect of animals, plants or microbes, are you proposing to:

  • use genetic modification as an experimental tool, like studying gene function in a genetically modified organism
  • release genetically modified organisms
  • ultimately develop commercial and industrial genetically modified outcomes?

If yes, provide the name of any required approving body and state if approval is already in place. If it is not, provide an indicative timeframe for obtaining the required approval. Identify the organism(s) as a plant, animal or microbe and specify the species and which of the three categories the research relates to.

Identify the genetic and biological risks resulting from the proposed research, their implications and any mitigation you plan on taking.

Assessors will want to know you have considered the risks and their implications to justify that any identified risks do not outweigh any benefits of the proposed research.

Word count: 700

Clinical research using NHS resources

Question: Will your research involve participants from the NHS or Health and Social Care duty of care?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Important information: excess treatment costs (ETCs) must be accurately identified as part of your research funding application to ensure that healthcare providers can be reimbursed by the appropriate funder. Researchers must complete a Schedule of Events Cost Attribution Tool (SoECAT) to be eligible for the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) portfolio and the support this provides.

From 1 April 2023 Excel versions of the form will be discontinued. After that you will need to complete your SoECAT online.

If your response is ‘No’, you are not required to complete a SoECAT.

If your response is ‘Yes’, you will need to create an account for NIHR’s Central Portfolio Management System (CPMS) in order to complete a SoECAT and submit for authorisation. See the user guide for instructions. You must complete a SoECAT even if you do not think your clinical research will involve ETCs.

Once authorised, convert the ‘summary’ page from the ‘Funder Export’ as a PDF and upload to the funding service.

You are advised to engage with your lead Clinical Research Network (CRN) and attributing the costs of health and social care Research and Development (AcoRD) specialist at the earliest opportunity

Applications that have responded ‘Yes’ but have not attached the ‘Funder Export’ summary will be rejected.

Further guidance can be found on the NIHR online SoECAT guidance web page and the online SoECAT guidance module.

If you have any queries about the process or have concerns that your SoECAT may not be authorised in time for the submission deadline, please email

Funding service colleagues will forward your request (within two working days), onto the relevant MRC programme manager for a response (within five working days). Enter the ‘Subject’ as ‘SoECAT’ and include the ‘APP + Reference number’ generated when you have created this application. Also include your last name.

NHS costs

You may include NHS research costs (full economic costs (FEC) rate of 80%), within the ‘Resources and costs’ section of your application, when they are associated with NHS studies.

Word count: 200

Personal information

Question: Will your research require personal information about human participants to be used?

If not, enter ‘N/A’ into the text box, mark this section as complete and move on to the next section.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If you are proposing research that requires using personal information, provide details of whether the information will be anonymised and how it will be stored securely.

Word count: 500

Sensitive information relating to you as an applicant

Question: Use this section to provide us with sensitive information you need to tell us that you do not want shared with assessors.

If you do not need to tell us anything, enter ‘N/A’ into the text box, mark this section as complete and move on to the next section.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If you need to tell us something you wish to remain confidential, please enter the words ‘email sent’ in the text box below.

Then contact the Funding Service helpdesk, email Include your application name and number in the subject line, after the pre-populated words ‘sensitive information’.

Typical examples of confidential information include:

  • an applicant is unavailable until a certain date
  • declaration of interest
  • additional information about eligibility to apply that would not be appropriately shared in the track record
  • conflict of interest for MRC to consider in reviewer or panel participant selection.

For information about how UKRI handles personal data please see UKRI’s privacy notice.

Word count: 2

How we will assess your application

Assessment process

Your application will be assessed by the MRC Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme (DPFS) panel of experts.

We will not obtain any external peer review comments as part of the assessment process.

Panel assessment areas

The panel will assess your proposal based on the following areas:

  • clinical or medical need: whether the need is significant and whether the proposal has an advantage over competing solutions
  • rationale: the strength of the scientific rationale and perceived likelihood that the proposed solution will meet the targeted need
  • deliverability:
    • is the project designed to generate the right data to progress to the next stage and more substantive funding whether the future development plan is realistic and whether the solution is likely to address the need identified
    • whether the team has access to the necessary expertise and support to deliver the planned work
  • intellectual property: whether there is an appropriate intellectual property strategy in place to facilitate downstream development, clinical uptake or commercialisation

The panel is keen to support high risk projects, as long as the project plan is designed to enable a clear decision on the suitability of the intervention for onward translation, at the end of this phase of funding. Translational projects are inherently risky and therefore a ’failure rate’ of 50% is expected in relation to projects supported.

Projects with no clear and plausible development plan of their proposed route to market or patient benefit after this award are unlikely to be supportable.

Should your proposal be declined, you cannot resubmit the same or a similar application to the scheme within 12 months of the original application deadline.

Please note that the decisions of the DPFS panel will not be open to appeal, and that MRC reserves the right to amend the application process.

See the developmental pathway funding scheme panel membership.


Outcomes will be communicated with two working days of the panel meeting.

Principles of assessment

We support the San Francisco declaration on research assessment and recognise the relationship between research assessment and research integrity.

Find out about the UKRI principles of assessment and decision making.

We reserve the right to modify the assessment process as needed.

Contact details

Get help with your application

For help on costings and writing your application, contact your research office. Allow enough time for your organisation’s submission process.

Ask about this funding opportunity

We aim to respond to emails within two working days.

Phone: 01793 547490

Our phone lines are open:

  • Monday to Thursday 8:30am to 5:00pm
  • Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm

Additional info


The scheme is designed to provide funding to prime the development of a medical prototype, medical product or behavioural intervention. The Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme has identified a gap within the product development lifecycle, between early projects that have established an idea or concept and the projects where significant amounts of preliminary data are required to support requests for larger scale funding.

To mitigate this and support our continuum for funding in product development, a gap fund was proposed to sit beyond the small scale ’pump priming’ MRC Impact Accelerator (IAA) funding and before the substantive Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme awards. It was acknowledged that this scheme needed to be agile, light on bureaucracy, with a quick turnaround and managed by the experts on the Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme to invest in high risk, high reward projects.

The funding can be used to follow-on from fundamental science funding across the whole of the UK Research and Innovation remit including:

  • MRC boards
  • MRC strategic funding opportunities
  • MRC/AstraZeneca Centre for Lead Discovery
  • MRC/UCB Antibody Discovery Initiative
  • Biotechnology and Biological Research Council boards and panels
  • Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council boards and panels
  • Science and Technology Facilities Council boards and panels
  • Natural Environment Research Council boards and panels
  • other funding

The scheme will be embedded within the MRC Translational funding schemes (MRC Impact Accelerator Accounts MRC Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme and Experimental Medicine).

The scheme should not be used to support projects that are within scope for MRC IAA, except in relation to projects that are conducted solely at a research institution that does not hold an MRC IAA.

Projects will not be milestoned, a light touch post award process with be put in place with progress reports requested after 12 months and at the end of the project.

Requests for change, relating to unforeseen scientific changes will not be considered in relation to these rewards. Requests related to maternity, paternity, adoption, parental or sick leave will be allowable under standard grant conditions.


You may find the following organisations and resources useful when preparing an application.

The MRC Regulatory Support Centre acts as a hub for advice and resources around research using human participants, their tissues, or data.

Applicants considering a drug repurposing project may wish to explore the Repurposing Medicines Toolkit, developed by MRC and LifeArc.

Applicants considering the development of clinical tests, may wish to explore the supplementary applicant guidance prepared by MRC.

The NHS Innovation Service acts as an information gateway to support people developing new innovative products, services or initiatives in healthcare.

The MRC-LifeArc Innovation Hubs for Gene Therapies Network supports academic-led early phase clinical development of gene therapies through manufacturing of good manufacturing practice viral vector, translational and regulatory support, and manufacturing development support ahead of clinical development.

The Nucleic Acid Therapy Accelerator (NATA) provides dedicated research capability, infrastructure and support to enable advances in the development of nucleic acid therapeutics.

Supporting links

MRC’s remit, programmes and priority areas

NIHR’s efficacy and mechanism evaluation programme

NIHR’s health technology assessment programme

Applied global health


  • 18 August 2023
    Opening date changed from 17 May 2023 to 6 October 2023. Closing date changed from 12 July 2023 to 15 November 2023.

This is the website for UKRI: our seven research councils, Research England and Innovate UK. Let us know if you have feedback.