Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Neurosciences and mental health: responsive mode partnership

Apply for funding to support new partnerships between diverse groups of researchers in neurosciences and mental health.

You must be a researcher employed by a research organisation eligible to apply for MRC funding

The grant will allow you to:

  • establish new, high-value collaborative activities or capabilities
  • add value to high-quality scientific programmes that are already supported by grants from MRC and other funders

Funding is available for between one and five years.

This is an ongoing opportunity. Application rounds close every January, May and September.

UK Research and Innovation has reopened funding opportunities that closed on 19 September 2023, due to a technical issue that prevented some applicants from submitting. The new deadline for these applications is 26 September at 4pm.

Who can apply

Before applying for funding, check the following:

UKRI is introducing new role types for opportunities being run on the new Funding Service from 22 May 2023. For full details, see eligibility as an individual.

Who is eligible to apply

To be eligible to apply for this funding opportunity you must:

  • be a researcher employed by an eligible research organisation
  • be aiming to create a novel partnership between a diverse group of researchers
  • plan to establish new, high-value collaborative activities or capabilities that add value to high-quality research programmes already supported by MRC or other funders
  • show that you will direct the project and be actively engaged in the work, or contribute to the academic leadership of the partnership
  • focus your application within the science area of neurosciences and mental health
  • have completed the pre-application stage and been invited to the full application stage

For applicants who do not have a contract of employment for the duration of the proposed project, by submitting an application the research organisation is confirming, if it is successful:

  • contracts will be extended beyond the end date of the project
  • all necessary support for the project and the applicants will be provided, including mentorship and career development for early career researchers

Who is not eligible to apply

You are not eligible to apply for a partnership grant if you want funding for a research project. You should instead consider a research grant or programme grant.

If you are based at an MRC institute you are not eligible to apply for a partnership grant as the project lead. You can apply in any other role such as project co-lead.

International co-leads

You can include international project co-leads if they provide expertise not available in the UK and make a major intellectual contribution to the design or conduct of the project. You must justify in your application why their expertise is required, see Applicant and team capability to deliver.

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

Read MRC’s guidance on flexible working and career breaks. You can also find out more about MRC’s current EDI initiatives and equality, diversity and inclusion at UKRI.

What we're looking for


We are looking to fund new partnerships between diverse groups of researchers in neurosciences and mental health.

We want to support new, high-value collaborative activities or capabilities that add value to high-quality research programmes that are already supported by MRC or other funders.

We fund partnerships working to transform our understanding of human health. Partnership grants are expected to support research areas in the MRC remit, although research itself is not supported through this route.

The neurosciences and mental health board aims to transform our understanding of the physiology and behaviour of the human nervous system throughout the life course in health and in illness, as well as how to treat and prevent disorders of the brain.

The research we support includes the interactions between the nervous system and other parts of the body, the brain, mental health and physical health. We are also interested in how episodes throughout life impact on lifelong mental and neurological health.

We are looking to fund research in areas including, but not limited to:

  • neurodegeneration
  • clinical neurology and neuroinflammation
  • mental health
  • addictions and substance misuse
  • behavioural and learning disorders including autism
  • cognitive and behavioural neuroscience and cognitive systems
  • sensory neuroscience including vision and hearing
  • neurobiology and neurophysiology
  • underpinning support, such as neuroimaging technology, brain banking and neuroinformatics

Collaborative activities can include:

  • networking and partnership activities – establishing multidisciplinary collaborative partnerships or consortia; fostering or enabling a national or international strategy in an area; enabling knowledge sharing or creation across organisations
  • infrastructure support for establishing a unique shared resource or helping to exploit it, for example; staff, systems, equipment, seminars and workshops. This could include networking activities, including outreach work and travel, with a defined output
  • platform activities such as specialist data and software platforms or resources
  • training, career development and capacity building in strategically important areas
  • funds to support small scale, pump-priming projects may be included but specific research questions should not be the focus of the partnership. Any research projects should be interdisciplinary, high risk or gain projects which will demonstrate the novel capability of a new partnership.

Typically, successful partnership applications include a combination of these components. Applications requesting support only for networking activities are not suitable and will be rejected.

Please see our case studies for examples of partnership grants and why they were funded by MRC.

Find out more about the neurosciences and mental health areas of investment

We encourage you to contact us first at to discuss your application, especially if you believe your research may cross MRC or research council interests. If your application fits another research board remit better, we may decide to transfer it there to be assessed.


We will fund partnerships lasting from one to five years.

Contact us at for advice if you would like to apply for a short or long-duration project.

Projects should start one to six months after the funding decision date.

Partnerships are expected to reach maturity by the end of the grant, we will not consider requests for renewals or follow-on activities.

Funding available

There is no limit to the funding you can apply for. Resource requests will vary between partnerships so you are strongly advised to discuss before applying.

Your application must be for an amount that:

  • is appropriate to the project
  • you can justify in order to deliver the objectives of the proposed research

We will fund 80% of the full economic cost and 100% of permitted exceptions.

Find out more about full economic costing.

What we will fund

You can request funding for costs such as:

  • a contribution to the salary of the project lead and a small number of co-leads contributing to academic leadership of the partnership
  • support for technical staff
  • consumables
  • equipment or infrastructure that is key to the aims of the partnership or provides a platform for activities associated with the partnership
  • travel costs
  • data preservation, data sharing and dissemination costs
  • estates and indirect costs

You can also request costs for work to be undertaken at international organisations by international project co-leads. We will fund 100% of the full economic cost.

The total of such costs requested for international applicants from developed countries (those not on the OECD DAC List of ODA Recipients), India and China must not exceed 30% of the total resources requested.

There is no cap on costs requested for international applicants from DAC list countries.

For more information on international costs and what we will and will not fund see costs we fund overseas and the Collaborate with Researchers in Norway guidance.

What we will not fund

We will not fund:

  • resources for research, such as research and innovation associate positions
  • contributions to the salary of co-leads unless critical to academic leadership of the partnership
  • research involving randomised trials of clinical treatments
  • costs for PhD studentships
  • publication costs
  • funding to use as a ‘bridge’ between grants

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 additional information 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 project lead or co-lead 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

UKRI is committed in ensuring that effective international collaboration in research and innovation takes place with integrity and within strong ethical frameworks. Trusted research and innovation (TR&I) is a UKRI work programme designed to help protect all those working in our thriving and collaborative international sector by enabling partnerships to be as open as possible, and as secure as necessary. Our TR&I principles (PDF, 49KB) set out UKRI’s expectations of organisations funded by UKRI in relation to due diligence for international collaboration.

As such, applicants for UKRI funding may be asked to demonstrate how their proposed projects will comply with our approach and expectation towards TR&I, identifying potential risks and the relevant controls you will put in place to help proportionately reduce these risks.

Further guidance and information about TR&I, including additional where applicants can find additional support, can be found on UKRI’s website.

Find out about getting funding for 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.

Submitting your application

Pre application stage

You must contact us at before you apply to check if your application is suitable. They will confirm if you are able to apply. You must do this at least six weeks before the deadline.

You should email the programme manager, attaching a brief description of your application. The document may be up to four pages, including two pages outlining the proposed partnership, one page for the track record of your team and up to one page of references.

The document should include:

  • the title of the potential partnership
  • a list of the project lead and co-leads and their affiliations
  • a list of collaborators (if known at this stage)
  • an estimate of the likely cost to MRC, including staff and equipment

You should explain the aims of the partnership, including:

  • why the partnership is important
  • the nature of the partnership and its activities
  • how these activities align with the partnership grant scope

You should explain your and your team’s track record and show you have the potential to successfully manage and deliver the partnership, based on your research track record, outputs and funding history.

Full application stage

You should only start the full application stage if you have been invited by email to do so after the pre-application stage.

The project lead is responsible for completing the application process on the Funding Service, but we expect all team members and project partners to contribute to the application.

Only the lead research organisation can submit an application to UKRI.

To apply:

  1. Select ‘Start application’ near the beginning of this Funding finder page.
  2. Confirm you are the project lead.
  3. Sign in or create a Funding Service account. To create an account, select your organisation, verify your email address, and set a password. If your organisation is not listed, email
  4. Answer questions directly in the text boxes. You can save your answers and come back to complete them or work offline and return to copy and paste your answers. If we need you to upload a document, follow the upload instructions in the Funding Service. All questions and assessment criteria are listed in the How to apply section on this Funding finder page.
  5. Send the completed application to your research office for checking. They will return it to you if it needs editing.
  6. Your research office will submit the completed and checked application to UKRI.

Watch our research office webinars about the new UKRI Funding Service.


We must receive your application by 26 September 2023 at 4:00pm UK time.

You will not be able to apply after this time. We will not consider late applications.

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 application cannot be changed and applications will not be returned for amendment. If your application does not follow the guidance, it may be rejected.

Personal data

Processing personal data

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 may also need to share the application and any personal information that it contains with any lead agency applicable to your application so that they can participate in the assessment process.

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.

Publication of outcomes

We will publish the outcomes of this funding opportunity on our website.

If your application is successful, some personal information will be published via the UKRI Gateway to Research.

UKRI Funding Service: section guidance


In plain English, provide a summary that can be sent to potential reviewers to determine if your proposal is within their field of expertise.

This summary may be made publicly available on external facing websites, so please ensure it can be understood by a variety of readers, for example:

  • opinion-formers
  • policymakers
  • the general public
  • the wider research community.
Guidance for writing a summary

Succinctly describe your proposed work in terms of:

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

Word count: 550

Core team

List the key members of your team and assign them roles from the following:

  • project lead (PL)
  • project co-lead (UK) (PcL)
  • project co-lead (international) (PcL (I))
  • researcher co-lead
  • grant manager
  • research and innovation associate
  • visiting researcher
  • specialist
  • technician
  • professional enabling staff

Only list one individual as project lead.

Find out more about UKRI’s new grant roles and eligibility.

Section: MRC research area alignment

Question: Select the primary MRC research area your application most closely aligns to.

In the text box, copy the number corresponding to your selected area:

Neuroscience and mental health:

  1. cell biology and signalling
  2. cognition and higher functions
  3. developmental neurobiology
  4. mental health and addiction
  5. neurology and neurodegeneration
  6. neurophysiology of systems
  7. pain, sleep and fatigue
  8. sense disorders
  9. clinical neurology and imaging
  10. cognitive and behavioural neuroscience

Cross-board areas:

  1. data science and integration
  2. motor neurone disease
  3. myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome

Word count: 1

Additional guidance

This is for administrative purposes to help with the initial application processing. We will check your choice and make a final decision on which board will lead the peer review of your application.

Section: Lead agency applications

Question: Is your application using a lead agency agreement?

What assessors and looking for in your response

If not enter N/A in the text box

If your application is using a lead agency agreement (LAA), identify the agreement concerned by answering ‘Yes’ followed by ‘FAPESP’ or ‘FNR’:

  • lead agency agreement with Luxembourg (FNR)
  • lead agency agreement with Sao Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP)

The assessors are looking for you to create and upload the required lead agency documents, to support your application. You must complete all the relevant documentation and attach it to this application as a single PDF.


FAPESP applicants must complete the FAPESP-specific forms.

Documents and guidance are available on the FAPESP website, including:

  • consolidated budget form
  • proposal form
  • letter of eligibility

FNR applicants should complete the FNR-specific forms.

Documents and guidance are available on the FNR website, including:

  • INTER budget sheet
  • INTER budget justification
  • INTER budget plan
  • FNR eligibility letter of support

You must also complete the project partners section, with information about the international research partner, including:

  • international lead applicant contact name and organisation details
  • contribution from the international funder (FAPESP or FNR)

Include the experience, skills and contributions of your international research partners in the response to Applicant and team capability to deliver.

You should ensure that you have read and understood the specific requirements for the LAA you are applying to, especially for costing the applications. Failure to comply with the specific LAA guidance may result in the rejection of your application.

You must submit the joint application to the international funder within seven days after your submission to MRC.

For general FAPESP guidance please see the FAPESP website.

For general FNR guidance please see the FNR website.

Word count 50

Section: Vision and Approach

You should upload the Vision and Approach document as a PDF.

The main document can be up to 12 pages, plus one optional recommended page for a diagrammatic workplan, such as a Gantt chart.

If the recommended optional page is completed the maximum length of the document is 13 pages.

If you do not want to provide optional information, or it is not relevant to your application, then you must limit the length of your document accordingly and not use optional pages for anything other than the specified purpose.

The document must have single line spacing, margins of at least 2cm and be typed using Arial 11pt, or another ‘sans serif’ font with an equivalent size to Arial 11pt.

Applications including vision and approach documents that do not comply with our requirements for length and content will be rejected.

Question: What are you hoping to achieve and how will you deliver your proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

For the Vision, explain how your proposed work:

  • is of excellent quality and importance within or beyond the field(s) or area(s)
  • has the potential to advance current understanding, generates new knowledge, thinking or discovery within or beyond the field or area
  • is timely given current trends, context and needs
  • impacts world-leading research, society, the economy or the environment

Within the Vision section, we also expect you to:

  • identify the potential direct or indirect benefits and who the beneficiaries might be
  • identify potential improvements in human or population health, whether through contributing to relieving disease or disability burden, improving quality of life or providing benefit to the health service or health-related industry
  • explain why establishing a partnership is necessary in this area, how the partnership is novel or adds value to the current research landscape

For the Approach, explain how you have designed your approach so that it:

  • is effective and appropriate to achieve your objectives
  • is feasible, and comprehensively identifies any risks to delivery and how they will be managed
  • if applicable, uses a clear and transparent methodology
  • if applicable, summarises the previous work and describes how this will be built upon and progressed
  • will maximise translation of outputs into outcomes and impacts
  • describes how your, and if applicable your team’s, research environment (in terms of the place, its location, and relevance to the project) will contribute to the success of the work

Within the Approach section, we also expect you to:

  • demonstrate access to the appropriate services, facilities, infrastructure, or equipment to deliver the project
  • provide a one-page project plan including milestones and timelines
  • explain how the partnership will be planned and managed
  • explain how the partnership will enable researchers to work together, network and build capability in a strategic area
  • demonstrate how the partnership will benefit the wider research community
  • if applicable, explain how partnership services, equipment or infrastructure will be accessed by the wider research community
  • outline future plans for sustaining the partnership beyond MRC funding, or for funding research which may develop from the partnership

Word count: 10

Section: Applicant 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 if relevant 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
  • contributed to developing a positive research environment and wider community

The word count for this section is 1,500 words, 1,000 words to be used for R4RI modules and, if necessary, a further 500 words for Additions. Use the Résumé for Research and Innovation (R4RI) format to showcase the range of relevant skills you, and if relevant your team (project lead and project co-leads, researchers, other (technical) staff for example research software engineers, data scientists and so on, and partners), 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 this section using the R4RI module headings listed below. You should use each heading once and include a response for the whole team, see the UKRI guidance on R4RI. You should consider how to balance your answer, and emphasise where appropriate the key skills each team member brings:

  • 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: Provide any further details relevant to your application. This section is optional and can be up to 500 words. You should not use it to describe additional skills, experiences or outputs, but any factors that provide context for the rest of your R4RI (for example, details of career breaks, if you wish to disclose them).

You should complete this as a narrative and you should avoid CV type format.

Word count: 1,500

Section: References

Question: List the references you’ve used to support your application.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

You should include all references in this section of the application, and not in the rest of the application questions.

You should not include any other information in this section.

We advise you not to include hyperlinks, as assessors are not obliged to access the information they lead to or consider it in their assessment of your application.

If linking to web resources, to maintain the information’s integrity, include persistent identifiers (such as digital object identifiers) where possible.

You must not include links to web resources to extend your application.

Word count: 1,000

Section: Project partners: contributions

Question: Provide details of any project partners’ contributions, and letters or emails of support from each named partner.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Download and complete the project partner contributions template (DOCX, 52KB). Include letters or emails of support from each partner in a single PDF.

Each letter or email you provide should:

  • confirm the partner’s commitment to the project
  • clearly explain the value, relevance, and possible benefits of the work to them
  • describe any additional value that they bring to the project

The UKRI Funding Service will provide document upload details when you apply. If you do not have any project partners, you will be able to indicate this in the UKRI Funding Service.

Ensure you have prior agreement from project partners so that if you are offered funding, they will support your project as indicated in the template.

For audit purposes, UKRI requires formal collaboration agreements to be put in place if an award is made.

Do not provide letters of support from host and project co-leads’ research organisations.

If your application includes industry project partners, you will also need to complete the Industry Collaboration Framework (ICF) section.

Find out more about ICF.

Word count: 1,500

Section: Industry Collaboration Framework (ICF)

Question: Does your application include industry project partners?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If industry collaboration does not apply to any of your project partners, or you don’t have any project partners, simply add ‘N/A’ into the text box.

If your research project involves collaboration between an academic organisation and an industry or company, you are likely to need to follow the industry collaboration framework and answer this question, check using the ICF decision tree.

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.

The assessors are looking for information relating to the nature, goals and conditions of the collaboration and any restrictions or rights to the project results that could be claimed by the project partner.

Find out more about ICF, including:

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

In addition to the project partner information completed in the previous section, confirm your answers to the ICF questions in the text box, repeat this process for each ICF project partner:

  1. Name the industry or company project partner considered under ICF.
  2. Indicate whether your application is either basic research or applied research.
  3. Explain why, in the absence of the requested UKRI funding, the collaboration and the planned research could not be undertaken.
  4. State whether your application is under the category of either fully flexible contribution or gated contribution (based on the IP sharing arrangements with the ICF partner).
  5. Outline the pre-existing IP (‘background IP’) that each project partner (including the academic partner) will bring to the collaborative research project and the terms under which project partners may access these assets.
  6. Outline the IP that is expected to be developed during the collaborative research project (‘foreground IP’) and briefly outline how it will be managed, including:
    • which project partners will own this IP
    • what rights project partners will have to use academically-generated foreground IP during and after the research project, for internal research and development or for commercial purposes
    • any rights of the academic partner to commercialise the foreground IP (including foreground IP generated by project partners)
  7. Outline any restrictions to the dissemination of the project results, including the rights of the project partner to:
    • review, approve or delay publications (including the time period associated with such rights)
    • request or require the removal of any information
  8. Declare any conflicts of interest held by the applicants in relation to the project partners and describe how they will be managed.
  9. If applicable, justify collaborating with an overseas industry or company under ICF.

Failure to provide the information requested for industry partners under ICF could result in your application being rejected.

You are recommended to discuss the goals and conditions of any collaboration with an industry or company project partner with your university technology transfer or contracts office before applying.

Word limit: 1,500

Section: Facilities

Question: Does your proposed research require the support and use of a 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. 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, for each requested facility you should provide:

  • the name of facility, copied and pasted from this list
  • the proposed usage or costs, or costs per unit where indicted on that list
  • confirmation you have their agreement where required

Do not put the facility contact details in your response.

Word count: 250

Section: Data management and sharing

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

What the assessors are looking for in your response

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.

The length of your plan will vary depending on the type of study being undertaken:

  • population cohorts; longitudinal studies; genetic, omics and imaging data; biobanks, and other collections that are potentially a rich resource for the wider research community: maximum of 1500 words
  • for all other research, including less complex, the plan may be as short as 500 words

Word count: 1,500

Section: 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, and how you will manage them.

Consider the MRC guidance on ethics and approvals.

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 re-use of data
  • formal information standards with which study will be compliant

Word count: 500

Section: Genetic and Biological Risk

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

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.

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 or organisms 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

Section: 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?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

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

If you are proposing research that requires using animals, write ‘Yes’ in the text box. Then, download and complete this document (DOCX, 74KB), 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: 10

Section: Conducting research with animals 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, on page 14.

You should also ensure all named applicants in the UK and overseas are aware of this requirement and provide a statement below 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’ will 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 NC3Rs review of research proposals. The required information should be provided by completing the template from the question ‘Research Involving the use of animals’.

For studies involving other species listed below, 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 it. 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:

Word count: 10

Section: 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, mark this section as complete and move on to the next section.

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

Section: 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, mark this section as complete and move on to the next section.

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: 700

Section: Resources 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

Use the resources and cost summary table to enter the full costs. Include high-level costs only, not a breakdown of individual items. Use the Justification text box to 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 full economic costs 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 the 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 such as contributions to salaries and the cost of equipment
  • support for international co-leads, demonstrating this is within the 30% costs cap for co-leads from developed countries, India and China
  • NHS research costs, when they are associated with NHS studies
  • animal costs, such as numbers that need to be bred or maintained and to maintain high welfare standards

Justify why the partnership cannot be supported in any other way than the MRC funding requested

Justify why each applicant is necessary for the partnership, including their level of time commitment

Word count: 1,000

Section: Clinical research in the NHS, public health or social care

Question: Will your research take place in an NHS, public health or social care setting?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If not, enter ‘N/A’ into the text box

Researchers applying for clinical research in the NHS, public health or social care need to complete a Schedule of Events Cost Attribution Tool (SoECAT) to be eligible for the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network (CRN) portfolio. This is the route through which support and excess treatment costs are provided in England.

You must answer ‘Yes’ and complete and upload a SoECAT if you are applying for clinical research funding, and:

  • you will carry out your research in the UK
  • it is intended for the NIHR CRN portfolio; this may include studies in a social care or public health setting
  • the research requires approval by Health Research Authority (England) or its equivalents in Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales
  • your research will use NHS resources

You must complete a SoECAT even if you don’t think your clinical research will involve excess treatment costs (ETCs).

See MRC guidance 3.5.1 on who needs to complete a SoECAT

If you are applying for clinical research in the NHS, public health or social care and don’t think you need to complete a SoECAT, answer ‘Yes’ and explain why a SoECAT is not necessary.

We want to know that you have taken the appropriate steps for the full costs of your research to be attributed, calculated and paid.

We want to see the expected total resources required for your project, such as Excess Treatment Costs (ETCs), to consider if these are appropriate.

How to complete a SoECAT

SoECAT guidance can be found on the NIHR website.

These are the steps you need to take:

  1. contact an AcoRD specialist as early as possible in the application process
  2. complete an online SoECAT. Excel versions of the form have been discontinued. If you don’t have an account for NIHR’s Central Portfolio Management System (CPMS) you will need to create and activate one. See the user guide for instructions
  3. request authorisation of your SoECAT
  4. once authorised convert the ‘summary’ page from the ‘Funder Export’ as a PDF and upload it to your application.

Applications that require a SoECAT but have not attached the SoECAT funder export summary may be rejected.

Contact if you have questions about the UKRI aspects of this process or have concerns that your SoECAT may not be authorised in time for the application deadline.

Word count: 250

Section: Related applications

Question: Is this application related to another application to MRC or other funding organisation?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

You must complete the pre-application stage before applying

We are looking for confirmation that you have done this and the name of the MRC programme manager who agreed that an application could be submitted.

Also, explain how this new application is related to any other application.

If the related application was submitted to another funder you should identify the name of the funder and when you applied.

If this is a resubmission, describe how it differs from the previous application and how feedback on the previous application has been considered and acted on.

Word count: 500

How we will assess your application

Assessment process

We will assess your application using the following process.

Peer review

We will invite experts to review your application independently, against the specified criteria for this funding opportunity.

You will not be able to nominate reviewers for your application. Expert reviewers will continue to be selected by MRC expert reviewer selectors.

UKRI are monitoring the requirement for applicant nominated reviewers as we review policies and processes as part of the continued development of the new UKRI Funding Service.


Experts will review the comments and scores for each application. Shortlisted applications will go to a panel who will make a funding recommendation.

If your application is shortlisted, you will have 14 days to respond to reviewers’ comments.

If your application is not shortlisted, we will give you the reviewers’ comments and any feedback from the shortlisting panel.


Following peer review and shortlisting, we will invite experts to collectively review your application against the criteria and rank it alongside other applications, after which the panel will make a funding recommendation.

MRC will make the final funding decision.

Find out more about MRC’s assessment process.


We aim to complete the assessment process within six months of receiving your application.


We will give feedback with the outcome of your application.

Principles of assessment

We support the San Francisco declaration on research assessment (DORA) 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.

Assessment criteria

The criteria against which your application will be assessed directly relates to the core responsive mode application questions:

  • vision of the project
  • approach to the project
  • capability of the applicant or applicants and the project team to deliver the project
  • resources requested to do the project
  • ethical and responsible research and innovation considerations of the project

Further detail on what the assessors are looking for is available in the questions in the how to apply section.

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 2 working days.

Phone: 01793 547490

Our phone lines are open:

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

Sensitive information

If you, or a key team member, need to tell us something you wish to remain confidential, email Include in the subject line: [the funding opportunity title; sensitive information; your UKRI Funding Service application number].

Typical examples of confidential information include:

  • applicant is unavailable until a certain date (for example due to parental leave)
  • declaration of interest
  • additional information about eligibility to apply that would not be appropriately shared in the ‘applicant and team capability’ section
  • conflict of interest for UKRI to consider in reviewer or panel participant selection
  • the application is an invited resubmission

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

Additional info


International agreements

You can apply for this funding opportunity using these lead agency agreements:

You should check the requirements for the agreement you are using and submit the joint application to the international funder within seven days after your submission to the MRC.

You can apply for this funding opportunity using this international agreement: Collaborate with researchers in Norway.

Webinar for potential applicants and research offices

MRC hosted a webinar for applicants and research offices applying to the MRC responsive mode research boards.

This webinar consists of a presentation with information and tips on using the new funding service followed by a question and answer session with MRC staff.

Watch the webinar
Question and answer session: MRC responsive mode research board, transition to the new Funding Service (PDF, 268KB)

Research disruption due to COVID-19

We recognise that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused major interruptions and disruptions across our communities. We are committed to ensuring that individual applicants and their wider team, including partners and networks, are not penalised for any disruption to their career, such as:

  • breaks and delays
  • disruptive working patterns and conditions
  • the loss of ongoing work
  • role changes that may have been caused by the pandemic

Reviewers and panel members will be advised to consider the unequal impacts that COVID-19 related disruption might have had on the capability to deliver and career development of those individuals included in the application. They will be asked to consider the capability of the applicant and their wider team to deliver the research they are proposing.

Where disruptions have occurred, you can highlight this within your application if you wish, but there is no requirement to detail the specific circumstances that caused the disruption.

Supporting documents

Copy of previous neurosciences and mental health partnership round web page (PDF, 292KB)


  • 20 September 2023
    UK Research and Innovation has reopened funding opportunities that closed on 19 September 2023, due to a technical issue that prevented some applicants from submitting. The new deadline for these applications is 26 September at 4pm.

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