You can submit to any 1 of the available deadlines in the year.
We do not expect you to submit more than 2 applications at the same time. We encourage you to focus on application quality, not the number you can submit. Read our guidance for applicants about multiple applications.
You must contact the relevant programme manager at least 6 weeks before you apply for a partnership grant. You must provide a brief abstract of your application to help them decide if it is eligible.
After we have received your abstract, the programme manager will give you advice on how best to develop your application. They will also ask you to email a pre-application summary. This should be no more than 2 pages of A4, but may include an extra page of references if needed.
The summary should include:
- the title of the potential MRC partnership
- a list of the principal investigator, co-investigators and their affiliations
- a list of collaborators (if known at this stage)
- the aims of your application. This should explain:
- why the partnership is important
- the nature of the partnership and its activities
- how these activities align with the partnership grant expectations
- an estimate of the likely cost to MRC, including staffing and equipment costs
You should also provide a 2-page CV for the principal investigator and co-investigators, including a summary of recent funding for those investigators. You can add a list of publications as page 3 of the CV document.
Those who are successful at the pre-application stage will be asked to complete a full application.
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.
Full applications must be submitted using our online Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system. We will invite you to do this in advance of the closing date if you have been successful at the pre-application stage.
You should read the general guidance on how to complete an MRC application (section 2).
Applying through Je-S
You must apply through the Je-S system.
We recommend you start your application early. You can save completed details in Je-S at any time and return to continue your application later.
When applying, select ‘new document’ then:
- council: MRC
- document type: standard proposal
- scheme: research grant
- call/type/mode: Research boards May 2023 submissions
After completing the application, you must select ‘submit document’. This will send your application to your host organisation’s administration.
Your host organisation’s administration is required to complete the submission process. You should allow sufficient time for this between submitting your proposal to them and the funding opportunity closing date.
You should give your administrative department sufficient notice that you intend to apply.
Your organisation must submit your application before 4:00pm UK time on the deadline date.
Indicate that the proposal is a partnership grant
Select the ‘grant type’ option from the proposal document menu, within the Je-S proposal form. Within the section, select the radio button adjacent to the ‘partnership grant’ option and select the ‘save’ button.
Industrial partner information
If you want to include 1 or more industry partners as a project partner, you must also complete the project partner section in Je-S.
MRC industry collaboration framework
If your application involves the collaboration of 1 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.
After reading the ICF information, if you decide that your application will include industry collaboration, you will need to include the following within your application for each collaborating industry partner:
The completed ICF form should be uploaded to the Je-S attachments section using the ‘MICA form’ document type. Please type ‘Industry Collaboration Framework form’ in the description box.
The company letter of support must use the available template and be uploaded to the relevant project partner entry you are required to add to your Je-S application.
Other documents to submit
In addition to the Je-S application, at the full proposal stage you must also submit:
- a cover letter confirming the name of the programme manager who agreed you could apply (the cover letter should not exceed 2 pages of A4)
- a curriculum vitae (CV) for each named researcher, including investigators and named researchers. Each CV should not exceed 2 sides of A4
- publications (should not exceed 1 side of A4 per named person)
- a case for support, which length should not exceed:
- 8 pages (for a project with a duration of 36 months or less)
- 12 pages (for a project with a duration of 37 months or more)
- a justification of resources (should not exceed 2 sides of A4)
- a data management plan (DMP). Page length can vary, see section 2.2.7 of our attachments guidance. You must use the available DMP template form
You should read the above list, in conjunction with the MRC case for support general guidance (section 2.2.3).
Your application should include a cover letter confirming the name of the programme manager who agreed you could apply. The cover letter should not exceed 2 pages of A4.
Case for support
The list covers specific points that you should address when writing your case for support. You must make sure that your application answers all these questions.
You should read the list, in conjunction with the MRC case for support general guidance (section 2.2.3).
You must include the following in your case for support.
State the aims of the partnership. Explain:
- why establishing a partnership is necessary for this area of research
- how establishing a partnership will add value to current research, for example creating new capabilities or enhancing coordination
- why you cannot access support for the partnership through other means
- how a partnership will improve the UK’s international standing in this area
Describe the activities associated with the partnership, including timelines and indicating where activities may be concurrent. You may include a Gantt chart to depict this.
For any infrastructure or equipment requests, state how you will use this to further the aims and objectives of the partnership.
If you are requesting funding for an infrastructure project in 1 university but providing a service to the wider research community, you should make this clear in your application.
You should outline future plans for:
- sustaining the partnership beyond the proposed duration of MRC funding
- accessing further funding (from MRC and elsewhere) to support any follow-on hypothesis-driven research, which may develop as a result of the partnership
Participants in the partnership and existing funding
You should describe:
- how the partnership grant will enable researchers to work together and how it will build capability in a strategic area, for example partnerships that bring together researchers who otherwise would not work together. There should be clear discrimination between the work of co-investigators and partners or collaborators
- how the partnership between the participants will benefit the wider research community
You should also:
- justify why each of the named investigators is necessary for the partnership, including their level of time commitment
- provide a brief report on the progress of recent research for investigators in the partnership including an acknowledgement of any previous or current MRC funding and progress to date on delivery of this research.
- justify the scale of support provided, for example, the number of post doctorates or technicians, and total amount of consumables and equipment
- the environment in which the partnership will take place
- the support the partnership will receive from the host research organisation, for example, reducing or waiving co-investigator salary, associated estates costs and other in-kind contributions such as towards the cost of equipment
If your proposal requests shared equipment, describe where this will be and how the host research organisation will support this equipment. Describe the management arrangements for ensuring equity of access.
Provide an overview of how you will manage the partnership. For example, who will bring coherence and management to the partnership and how? Outline any plans for:
- regular meetings
- bringing together disparate communities
- a strategy for the set-up of networks
- arrangements for access and upkeep of equipment
While networking or workshop activities can add value to a partnership, we will not accept applications centred only on these types of activities.
Research disruption caused by COVID-19 pandemic
You have the option to include a 1-page annex to the case for support, allowing you to provide additional information explaining any disruptions you have encountered to previous or current research, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic (where relevant to your pending application).
For further information relating to the annex, please see the MRC guidance for applicants (section 22.214.171.124).