Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: UK-Canada regenerative medicine exchange programme

Apply for funding to take part in a UK-Canada exchange project relating to regenerative medicine.

The UK principal investigator must meet the eligibility criteria for MRC funding.

Eligible exchange researchers include:

  • graduate students
  • postdoctoral fellows
  • research assistants or research associates
  • newly independent investigators.

Applications must be jointly submitted by UK and Canada principal investigators.

Exchanges are expected to last six to 12 weeks and must begin by 15 February 2023.

We will fund direct costs at 100% of the full economic cost of the exchange.

Who can apply

The UK principal investigator must meet the eligibility criteria for MRC funding.

The Canadian principal investigator must meet the eligibility criteria for Tri-Agency funding.

Each application must be submitted jointly with support from one named principal investigator in the UK and one named principal investigator in Canada.

Eligible exchange researchers

Exchange researchers may include:

  • graduate students
  • postdoctoral fellows
  • research assistants or research associates
  • newly independent investigators (within five years of their first independent academic research appointment).

Newly independent investigators can apply as both the exchange researcher and the named principal investigator.

What we're looking for

Funding is available to support the travel of researchers from the UK to Canada, or from Canada to the UK.

The purpose of the UK-Canada Exchange Programme Awards is primarily to:

  • provide new skills to researchers, including:
    • MSc or PhD students
    • postdoctoral fellows
    • research associates
    • technicians
    • newly independent investigators
  • build new links between UK and Canada-based scientists.

The awards will add value to research taking place in both countries by facilitating closer collaboration.

Exchanges should be relevant to regenerative medicine, defined as the branch of medicine that develops methods to regrow, repair or replace damaged or diseased cells, organs or tissues.

Regenerative medicine includes:

  • the generation and use of therapeutic stem cells
  • tissue engineering
  • the production of artificial organs.

Research applications focused on cancer must be regenerative in nature, or use stem cells for addressing the proposed problem, or both. Interdisciplinary projects with relevance to regenerative medicine are welcomed.

The project that is the focus of the exchange must have been previously peer-reviewed and funded by a granting organisation or agency either:

  • in Canada, for example:
    • the Canadian Institutes of Health and Research (CIHR)
    • National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)
    • Stem Cell Network (SCN)
  • in the UK, including, but not limited to:
    • UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)
    • Wellcome
    • medical research charities.

Each proposal must have the support of one Canadian principal investigator and one UK principal investigator. Their labs can act as host or visitor, or both.

With this opportunity, SCN and MRC will support the travel of up to six Canadian and six UK researchers each year at $15,000 CAD or £9,500 GBP per researcher.

Your proposal can be for either:

  • two researchers to travel between one another’s labs (bidirectional)
  • one researcher to travel to the other researcher’s lab (unidirectional).

Bidirectional exchanges are encouraged and preferred.

Exchanges are expected to be six to 12 weeks in length and must begin by 15 February 2023.

The host and exchange researcher are responsible for ensuring they obtain permission from the host institution (including all relevant training, for example health and safety) for:

  • the exchange researcher to access institutional facilities associated with the host laboratory
  • following all institutional rules and guidelines for the duration of the exchange.

Arrangements should be made for facilities access in advance of the exchange, wherever possible.

What we will fund

Funding is available to support the following collaborative activities:

  • travel for researchers in either direction, including transportation and meal costs while travelling
  • accommodation costs for the duration of the exchange
  • visits or access to facilities
  • conference attendance, subject to approval by SCN or MRC
  • other collaborative activities may be supported on a case-by-case basis.

Funding will be delivered to participating Canadian institutions from SCN and to participating UK institutions from MRC. We will fund direct costs at 100% of the full economic cost of the exchange.

What we will not fund

Exchange awards are not a vehicle for supporting research projects and cannot be used to fund:

  • salary costs
  • items of equipment
  • other research costs, including consumables
  • ordinary living costs, for example meals.

Exchange personnel will be responsible for finding and securing their own suitable accommodations for the duration of the exchange. SCN or MRC will support eligible accommodation costs.

How to apply

To apply, you must complete the application package consisting of:

  • completed MRC SCN exchange programme application form (DOCX, 126KB)
  • CVs of both lead investigators (one from the UK, one from Canada)
  • CVs of exchange researchers
  • proof of a previously peer-reviewed and funded grant by a granting organisation or agency (including project abstracts) either:
    • in Canada, for example:
      • the Canadian Institutes of Health and Research (CIHR)
      • National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)
      • Stem Cell Network (SCN)
    • in the UK, including but not limited to:
      • UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)
      • Wellcome.

Completed application packages must be emailed to both:

Completed application packages must be received by 15 September 2022. Late submissions will not be accepted.

How we will assess your application

The project that is the focus of the exchange must have been previously peer-reviewed and funded by a granting organisation or agency in Canada or in the UK as stated in the ‘how to apply’ section.

Applications will be evaluated jointly by Stem Cell Network’s (SCN’s) Training and Education Committee and MRC’s Head Office on the:

  • value added to regenerative medicine and stem cell research in the UK and in Canada
  • benefits and future joint research likely to accrue from the collaboration
  • potential sustainability of the collaboration
  • novelty and impact of the training opportunity and expertise of both partners.

We aim to communicate funding recommendations with successful applicants by 6 October 2022.

Contact details

Get help with developing your proposal

For help and advice on costings and writing your proposal, please contact your research office in the first instance.

Ask about this funding opportunity

Natasha Jardine, UKRMP Science Manager, MRC

Email: natasha.jardine@mrc.ukri.org

Ellie Arnold, Training Coordinator, Stem Cell Network, Canada

Email: earnold@stemcellnetwork.ca

Additional info

Background

Promoting stem cell research, regenerative medicine and advanced therapies is a priority for MRC and the UK government. MRC is committed to supporting research in this area, to improve human health.

MRC has a leading national role in training future research leaders across a range of biomedical, clinical and health disciplines, and we are a signatory to the concordat to support the career development of researchers.

The development and movement of talented people and their ideas is critical to the success of the UK research and innovation system, and MRC supports international partnerships to tackle important and challenging research goals.

About the Stem Cell Network (SCN)

This exchange programme is jointly funded by SCN, Canada.

SCN is a national non-profit organisation that supports more than 200 translational research projects from 196 world-class research groups and more than 4,100 trainees across Canada.

SCN supports translational research in stem cells and regenerative medicine and engages industry which has resulted in 24 clinical trials and 21 regenerative medicine biotech companies being established.

In addition, SCN supports the development of policy within the area and training for the next generation delivering workshops and conferences for early career researchers and delivers outreach activities across Canada.

As part of MRC and SCN’s on-going partnership, and starting in 2022, MRC and SCN will each invest up to $180,000 CAD (£114,000 GBP) over two years. This will support new and developing collaborations between the UK’s and Canada’s researchers in regenerative medicine, encouraging the sharing of techniques and skills through a reciprocal exchange programme.

The funders may consider holding similar funding opportunities in subsequent years.

Supporting documents

MRC SCN exchange programme application form (DOCX, 126KB)

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