Before you apply we welcome notification about applications in preparation, you can send a brief summary of the research challenge and applying organisation to firstname.lastname@example.org This is not a requirement.
You must apply to the outline application stage using the Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system. MRC will advise successful outline applicants how to apply to the full application stage.
You can find advice on completing your Je-S outline application within the Je-S handbook. Should you encounter any Je-S issues, please contact the Je-S Helpdesk in the first instance.
For opportunity specific guidance regarding the information MRC require within your application, please see further below.
We recommend you start your application early.
Your host organisation will also be able to provide advice and guidance. We recommend plans to apply to the MRC CoRE opportunity are discussed with your research office and research organisation senior management.
Submitting your application
Before starting an application, you will need to log in or create an account in Je-S.
- Select ‘documents’, then ‘new document’.
- Select ‘call search’.
- To find the opportunity, search for: Centre of Research Excellence R1 outline Feb 2023.
This will populate:
- council: MRC
- document type: Outline proposal
- scheme: Standard outline
- call/type/mode: Centre of Research Excellence R1 outline Feb 2023
Once you have completed your application, make sure you ‘submit document’ to your research office for checking and approval.
You can save completed details in Je-S at any time and return to continue your application later.
MRC must receive your outline application by 4pm on 21 February 2023.
You will not be able to apply after this time. Please leave enough time for your proposal to pass through your organisation’s Je-S submission route before this date.
You should ensure you are aware of and follow any internal institutional deadlines that may be in place.
What to include within your outline application
You must follow the below guidance before accessing Je-S.
Project details section
Search the database to add the lead research organisation and department, where the funded award will be held.
The title should be as informative as possible, capturing the essence of the research challenge. It should not exceed 150 characters. Avoid using specialist characters and symbols.
Start date and duration
The MRC CoRE start date can be from 1 April 2024 to 1 September 2024.
Applicants are advised to enter the duration of the project as 168 months (14 years).
This reflects the maximum duration of a MRC CoRE, note that you will be asked to indicate resources for the first funding period of 7 years.
All applicants eligible to be included as part of the proposed leadership team, should be added to the Je-S application as an investigator.
If the application is for an MRC CoRE to be delivered in partnership by 2 or more eligible organisations, then the principal investigator must be from the organisation which will lead the partnership. All host organisations must be represented by an eligible co-investigator.
Each member of the leadership team will need an active Je-S account at the required level, to allow their inclusion as an investigator. The individual who will act as the grant holder with responsibilities to MRC at the start of the MRC CoRE award should be included within the application as principal investigator, this is for administrative purposes. Other leadership team members should be the application co-investigators (including international researchers if applicable).
The leadership team members’ application roles should not imply relative status or influence the leadership model which is for the applicants to propose.
These roles do not limit who might be recruited to successful MRC CoRE teams. We will request more details of the research teams in the full application.
If you are a researcher based in the UK, an overseas MRC unit or an international researcher who has not created a Je-S account, navigate to the Je-S home page and select ‘create an account’.
Search the Je-S database to add the principal investigator and select ‘save’.
Search the Je-S database to add all other members of the leadership team as co-investigator and select ‘save’. Repeat process to add all new co-investigators (including any international researchers assisting with the leadership of the MRC CoRE).
The objectives of the proposed MRC CoRE should be listed in order of priority. Objectives can be adjusted between outline and full application stages.
The outline resource summary should be the estimated funding request for the first 7 years.
Only indicative summary costs are requested at outline stage, there will be flexibility to adjust the costs requested at full application stage as needed within the total funding envelope available.
If you are proposing doctoral training, please indicate the estimated cost of studentships within the ‘exceptions’ box.
If project partners will be involved, indicate an estimate of the contributions. Otherwise indicate 0, in each cost box provided.
Describe the research challenge in simple terms.
Details should be given of project partners. An organisation should only be named as a project partner if it is providing specific contributions (either direct or indirect).
If your application involves one or more industrial partners, you should review the information published within the MRC Industry collaboration framework (ICF) to decide if you should submit your application under the ICF.
Select the option to indicate research grant and save. Please note this indication is only for internal requirements, this does not indicate MRC consider this application a research grant.
All attachments must use a minimum font size of 11 point (Arial or equivalent only) and margins of at least 2cm.
Applications that do not include all the required attachments in the required format or add attachments not requested by MRC will be rejected.
In addition to the Je-S application, your outline application must also include the following mandatory attachments:
- case for support, which must not exceed 6 pages
- leadership team resume for research and innovation (R4RI), which must not exceed 3 pages, a single attachment covering the entire team. Applicants should use the ‘CV’ Je-S attachment type
- research organisation support statement, which for single organisation applications must not exceed 2 pages. For applications from multiple organisations a joint statement is required and an additional page is allowed for each additional organisation, so for 2 organisations up to 3 pages, 3 organisations 4 pages. You should upload this statement to Je-S using the ‘host organisation statement’
Case for support
The case for support is a single attachment up to 6 pages, the information provided will be used to assess research challenge and research environment.
The case for support should convince us of the importance and boldness of the research challenge and your plan over 14 years to do things differently to tackle it. You should articulate a compelling vision around specific questions or knowledge gaps and how these will be addressed.
You should ensure your challenge-led mission is positioned in the context of investments across UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). And you should also describe why long-term MRC CoRE funding is needed to achieve the strategic objectives set for the challenge chosen.
In the case for support, you should answer the following questions.
- Why is the research challenge critical and transformational?
- Why hasn’t the challenge been addressed before and why is an MRC CoRE the best way of tackling it?
- How will you approach leading and delivering the MRC CoRE?
- What will you achieve if you are successful and what impact could this have?
The answers to these questions should include outlines of your proposed approaches and strategies for:
- research culture
- training and careers
- environmental sustainability
Explain how you will achieve and continually strengthen a positive research culture, your innovative training strategy and how these align, and add value, to the research challenge. It is essential that you provide explicit information on your plans for the research environment, rather than play back our expectations.
If you plan to request support for doctoral training, you should justify this and indicate student numbers when answering question 3.
Leadership team R4RI
The leadership team R4RI will be used in the assessment of research delivery.
As part of the outline application the leadership team must submit a team R4RI of up to 3 pages. Read general guidance on R4RI. You should submit a single R4RI, not individual R4RIs for each team member. In this opportunity the team R4RI is used instead of individual traditional CVs, which are not allowed.
Please download and complete the R4RI template and attach to your application.
Download the R4RI template.
The team R4RI has been designed to capture the leadership team’s collective capability to deliver, recognising the size and complexity of MRC CoREs.
If project partners will contribute to leadership, or individuals who would not have formal leadership roles in the MRC CoRE will make a significant intellectual contribution to the research challenge, they can be included in the team R4RI.
One applicant may lead the writing of the team R4RI and coordinate input from the other team members. A table is included at the beginning of the template to allow you to refer to team members by their initials throughout the document.
We want you to articulate the team’s experiences, contributions and complementary skills in 4 areas, which may have been obtained individually or collectively:
- module 1: contributions to the generation of new ideas, tools, methodologies or knowledge
- module 2: the development of others and maintenance of effective working relationships
- module 3: contributions to the wider research and innovation community
- module 4: contributions to broader research or innovation-users and audiences and towards wider societal benefit
The information provided across the 4 modules should demonstrate the capability of the team to lead the research challenge outlined in the case for support. The scope and structure of information provided within each module is flexible, up to the 3-page limit.
Teams should describe only a selection of their past contributions that best evidence their ability to deliver the proposed MRC CoRE. Individual’s specific achievements can be fore-fronted where appropriate, especially if this is a new team, but together the contributions described across the modules should demonstrate the appropriateness of the leadership team as a collective whole.
As part of UKRI’s commitment to support the recommendations and principles set out by the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), please do not include metrics, such as journal impact factors.
The team R4RI is intended to be a retrospective document, outlining the team’s past experience and achievements (individually or collectively) that demonstrate the capability to deliver the MRC CoRE. Forward plans for leadership of the MRC CoRE should be included in the outline case for support.
If you are invited to provide a full application this is likely to include an expanded team R4RI, which may be updated, especially if new team members are added.
Module 1: contributions to the generation of new ideas, tools, methodologies and knowledge
Outline how the team has contributed to the generation of new ideas, tools, methodologies or knowledge. The most relevant examples are likely to arise from recent research related to the proposed MRC CoRE.
Examples might include:
- notable contributions, findings and skills acquired from past research
- successes in developing and delivering large scale research challenges
- key outputs such as data sets, software, novel methodologies, research and policy publications
Module 2: the development of others and maintenance of effective working relationships
Outline how the team has contributed to the effective working of research teams and the development of others. Examples provided should evidence the team’s collective capability to lead and manage the proposed MRC CoRE.
Examples might include:
- effective leadership and management of large-scale projects or teams
- provision of inclusive team development opportunities including training, rewards, recruitment strategies and mitigation of skill gaps
- strategic leadership in shaping the direction of a project, team or organisation
- management of complex multi-investigator or multisite projects
Module 3: contributions to the wider research and innovation community
Outline how the team has contributed to the wider research and innovation community.
Examples might include:
- contributions to open research, active sharing of knowledge and skills, community resources
- contributions to collaborations and networks, and other engagement across disciplines, institutions, or countries
- notable examples of influence or responsibility within the research community
- activities which have contributed to the improvement of research integrity or cultures, including equality, diversity and inclusion practices
- examples that show visionary strategic leadership in influencing a research agenda
Module 4: contributions to broader research or innovation-users and audiences, and towards wider social and economic benefit
Outline how the team has contributed to broader research or innovation-users and audiences and towards wider social and economic benefit.
Examples might include:
- contributions to policy development or public understanding
- successful exploitation of intellectual assets
- other impacts across research, policy, practice and business
- actions to ensure research reaches and influences relevant audiences
If you wish it to be considered in the assessment, information relating to periods that may have impacted team members such as career breaks, secondments, part time work or career disruptions (such as those caused by the COVID-19 pandemic or otherwise) can be included. This is in addition to the 3-page limit.
The additional information you provide will be seen by the panel and reviewers, even if it references a sensitive issue. We encourage you to focus on how the issue has affected your career, rather than expanding on the issue itself.
Research organisation support statement
The support statement will be used in the assessment of research delivery and should be provided by an individual with oversight of the organisations research strategy, vice-chancellor research or equivalent.
If the application is for an MRC CoRE to be delivered in partnership, then all participating organisations must be co-signatories to the statement. When applying as a partnership you must explain how you plan to manage the partnership successfully.
In the statement, please outline your support for the MRC CoRE and how you will meet the MRC expectations for an MRC CoRE, such as:
- how the MRC CoRE aligns with host organisation strategies
- the support and facilities you will offer the MRC CoRE
- how you will operate the MRC CoRE and help it address its challenge
- how the MRC CoRE will be governed within your organisation or the partnership
Applications for a jointly funded BHF-MRC CoRE in advanced cardiovascular therapeutics will require the same level of research organisation support as MRC CoREs.
Your outline application may also include the following optional attachments, you should use the ‘other’ attachment type.
- image of proposed MRC CoRE structure or visual representation of challenge, which must not exceed 1 page
- justification for any mid-range or large equipment, which must not exceed 1 page. Only if you seek approval to request mid-range or large equipment critical to establish platforms or facilities at the MRC CoRE, outline the items and their estimated cost
Attachments not required
The following attachments are not required:
- project partner letters of support (they will be required at the full application stage)
- individual CVs and lists of publications
- a justification for resources attachments
- any other attachment document should not be used by applicants, unless specifically directed
Full invited application stage
Full MRC CoRE application requirements and guidance will be communicated to applicants successful at the outline stage.