Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: UKRI-Southeast Asia collaboration on infectious diseases

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Apply for funding to collaborate with partners in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, and Singapore on infectious diseases with antimicrobial resistance and epidemics potential.

We will support collaborative research between the UK and at least one partner country in Southeast Asia. Multilateral research teams including more than two partners are encouraged.

Research teams must include at least one UK and one Southeast Asia research organisation in a DAC-list country to apply for this opportunity.

You can apply for up to £1,000,000 from UKRI. Funding rules for Southeast Asia funding partners are set out in the country annex document (PDF, 565KB).

Who can apply

Before applying for funding, check the eligibility of your organisation if you are applying for funding from UKRI.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has introduced new role types for funding opportunities being run on the new UKRI Funding Service.

For full details, visit Eligibility as an individual.

If you are applying for funding from one of the Southeast Asia funders participating in this funding opportunity then please refer to the country annex document (PDF, 565KB) for detailed eligibility information.

Who is eligible to apply

To be eligible to apply for this opportunity you must:

  • be a research team made up of at least one researcher based at an eligible UK institution and at least one researcher based at an eligible research institution in a Southeast Asia DAC-list country
  • include additional researchers based in eligible UK institutions only if there is at least one eligible research institution in a Southeast Asia DAC-list country involved in the project
  • include additional researchers based in Southeast Asia institutions only if there is at least one eligible research institution in a Southeast Asia DAC-list country involved in the project

Who is not eligible to apply

You are not eligible to apply if your:

  • research team is made up of only researchers based in UK institutions
  • research team does not involve at least one researcher based at an eligible research institution in a Southeast Asia DAC-list country

Equality, diversity and inclusion

UKRI is 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

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is partnering with leading funders in Southeast Asia to support research focused on infectious diseases with epidemic or antimicrobial resistance (AMR) potential. The funding partners are:

  • ARDA Thailand (Agricultural Research Development Agency)
  • DRTPM DIKTI Indonesia (Direktorat Jenderal Pendidikan Tinggi Kementerian Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan Republik Indonesia)
  • HSRI Thailand (Health Systems Research Institute)
  • MOHE Malaysia (Ministry of Higher Education)
  • NAFOSTED Vietnam (National Foundation for Science and Technology Development)
  • PREPARE Singapore (Programme for Research in Epidemic Preparedness and REsponse) on behalf of NRF Singapore (National Research Foundation)
  • DOST-PCHRD Philippines (Philippines Council for Health Research and Development, Department of Science and Technology)

UKRI funding for this partnership will be provided through the International Science Partnership Fund Official Development Assistance budget.

Aim

This funding opportunity is to support partnerships between UK researchers and researchers in Southeast Asia working in collaboration on diseases with epidemic and AMR potential. We aim to:

  • fund collaborative projects involving the UK and one or more partner countries to address the challenges of AMR and pathogens with epidemic potential of relevance to Southeast Asia
  • enhance existing and develop new sustainable partnerships between the UK and Southeast Asia research partners
  • strengthen research capacity in the Southeast Asia region through supporting long-term research relationships

UKRI and the Southeast Asia funders participating in this funding opportunity will support collaborative research projects between UK researchers and partners based in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, and Singapore. In addition, we welcome collaborations involving Southeast Asia Least Developed Countries (Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia).

You may apply for funding to conduct a bilateral project involving the UK and one Southeast Asian country, or a multilateral project involving the UK and multiple Southeast Asian countries. Multilateral projects involving the UK and two or more Southeast Asian partner countries are encouraged.

The research topic must be of primary relevance and benefit to either one or more low and middle-income country LMIC (as defined by the DAC list of ODA recipients) or the Southeast Asia region.

Scope

To effectively tackle global infectious disease threats and challenges, including AMR and epidemic preparedness, a One Health approach is required to achieve sustainable change. Such approaches use integrated, interdisciplinary methodologies, recognising the interconnection between humans, animals (including wildlife, livestock, aquatic organism and companion animals), and environmental (including natural and built environment and climate change) factors, with the goal of improving outcomes for human health. This funding opportunity will consider applications focused on pathogens of relevance to the Southeast Asia region and with potential impact on human health, which may include viral, bacterial, fungal or parasitic threats, as appropriate to the two strategic themes.

This funding opportunity is aligned with the UKRI tackling infections strategic theme, for which infectious disease epidemics and AMR are priorities.

In this context, we will support research projects that fit within two strategic themes as follows.

Antimicrobial resistance

Pathogens inevitably evolve resistance to threats in their environments, resulting in widespread and increasing resistance to antimicrobial drugs. The health, social and economic implications of such resistance are potentially catastrophic, returning humanity to a pre-antibiotic age of major mortality and morbidity risk from common infections. The importance of preventing and treating resistance now has global recognition, spanning bacteria, viruses, parasites, fungi and disease vectors.

Because resistance can evolve in one host and then transmit to another, a systemic One Health approach is critical to take on this threat. Priority research needs are well established to investigate the drivers of, and discover the barriers to, the emergence and spread of resistance. Alongside this discovery research, into the transmission and epidemiology of AMR, we need improved methods for predicting, tracking and tackling resistance. This includes the development of new diagnostics, therapeutics (including new antimicrobials, combination therapies, and novel therapeutics), and effective intervention regimes, spanning environmental, cultural and social approaches.

Epidemic preparedness: emerging and zoonotic infections

Recent outbreaks of COVID-19, Mpox, Ebola, Zika, bird and swine flu highlight the challenges infectious diseases continue to pose to human health. Epidemics are defined by complex interactions between microbes, people, animals and ecosystems and the threats posed by zoonotic pathogens and emerging infections are being amplified and accelerated by factors such as anthropogenic environmental change. The global nature of infectious disease threats is also apparent, driven by increased global mobility and population density, and research partnerships across national boundaries represent a major opportunity for the scientific community.

Important research questions relevant to emerging or re-emerging and zoonotic infections include exploring routes to emergence, transmission characteristics, biological and clinical characterisation, as well as target discovery and development of medical countermeasures (diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines), and social, ecological and cultural interventions. Such collaborations, transcending traditional disciplinary boundaries in a One Health setting, offer a critical international defence against future pathogen threats.

Duration

The duration of this award is a maximum of 36 months.

Projects must start by 1 April 2025.

Funding available

The full economic cost (FEC) of your project requested from UKRI can be up to £1,000,000.

UKRI will fund 80% of the FEC for costs requested for UK based researchers and 100% of the FEC for costs requested for researchers based outside of the UK. This funding can be used for:

  • UK research costs
  • capacity building activities across the partnership
  • consortium management costs across the partnership
  • funding for Southeast Asian Least Developed Country researchers
  • funding for Southeast Asian DAC-list country costs if required over and above the funding offered by the Southeast Asian funder (funding requests must not be duplicated and it is expected that funding will first be requested from the national funder)

Please note that any Southeast Asian DAC-list country costs requested from UKRI must be fully justified and in line expected local costs.

Detailed information on the funding available from the Southeast Asia funding partners is set out in the country annex document (PDF, 565KB).

What we will fund

We will support a diverse portfolio of activity and examples of areas in which research may be conducted include but are not limited to:

  • discovery research into the mechanisms underlying AMR or the emergence of pathogens of epidemic potential
  • drug discovery and novel therapeutics
  • development of innovative approaches to surveillance (novel technologies for surveillance)
  • applied research including intervention development and testing (including vaccines, diagnostics), economic and policy research
  • multifaceted evidence-based interventions, including environmental, social, cultural and economic strategies
  • health systems research
  • digital health and artificial intelligence (AI) approaches
  • novel analytical or modelling methods

Applications should demonstrate the added value provided through the international collaboration proposed, which may include access to:

  • knowledge (from bench to bedside)
  • expertise (scientific or socio-cultural)
  • resources
  • cohorts
  • populations

What we will not fund

We will not fund:

  • applications focused on delivery of surveillance and detection programmes, except as a minor, facilitating component to enable a wider holistic programme of research
  • proposals solely aiming to treat plant or animal infections without link to human health
  • applied or ‘gain of function’ research to enhance the virulence of a pathogen or render a non-pathogen virulent, increase transmissibility of a pathogen or alter the host range of a pathogen

For detailed information of the requirements of the Southeast Asia funding partners participating in this funding opportunity please refer to the country annex document (PDF, 565KB).

Strengthening research capacity as part of your application

We are committed to strengthening research capacity within low and middle-income countries (LMICs) and the UK. All applicants are required to develop plans to strengthen research capacity within their application, which will be assessed by expert reviewers and inform funding decisions.

We encourage you to start discussing capacity strengthening priorities as early as possible, in consultation with key stakeholders, both within and outside of your project team. For example:

  • researchers
  • laboratory technicians
  • data collectors
  • field workers
  • managers
  • practitioners
  • policymakers
  • research management offices
  • local government units

We take a broad view of where capacity strengthening activities could be targeted, however plans must be directly linked to the proposed project and will contribute to attainment of project objectives and deliverables. Activities could target the individual, institutional or contextual level (or span multiple levels), and plans should be proportionate to the scale of the project, with larger projects expected to be more ambitious.

Examples of capacity building include, but are not limited to:

  • building leadership skills amongst early career researchers
  • opportunities for mutual learning across the project team, such as through staff exchanges (for example, the wider health context, engagement with policymakers and research management)
  • building capacity to work collaboratively, across disciplines and across practice-research boundaries (for example, with policymakers, managers, and practitioners in the system)
  • providing mentoring to improve the capacity of less-experienced researchers to generate new knowledge and achieve policy impact
  • team members attending training courses to develop specific expertise or obtain relevant qualifications (excluding master’s and PhDs)
  • opportunities for staff and associated health managers to author or co-author journal and conference papers and participate in national and international conferences
  • building organisational capacity (for example, in management, finance or communications)
  • the formation of LMICs research networks

The UK Collaborative on Development Research

Find out more about further resources, tools and guides on strengthening research capacity.

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
  • recruitment of people as research participants
  • providing samples, such as human tissue, for the project

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

Any individual included in your application with a core team role cannot also be a project partner.

Any organisation that employs a member of the application core team cannot be a project partner organisation, this includes other departments within the same organisation.

If you are collaborating with someone in your organisation consider including them in the core team as project co-lead, or specialist, they cannot be a project partner.

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.

Trusted research and innovation 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 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.

See further guidance and information about TR&I, including additional where you can find additional support.

Find out about getting funding for international collaboration.

Collaboration Agreement

As the research projects will be carried out by multiple research organisations and project partners, the basis of collaboration between the organisations and project partners, including ownership of intellectual property (IP) generated during the project and rights to exploitation, and costs of IP management, is expected to be set out in a formal Collaboration Agreement between the research organisations involved. Please note costs of IP management is not an eligible (direct) cost to Medical Research Council (MRC), UKRI or your Southeast Asia funder.

It is the responsibility of the research organisations to put such an agreement in place following the communication of funding decisions and before the research begins. The terms of collaboration shall not conflict with MRC, UKRI and your Southeast Asia funder’s terms and conditions.

The collaboration agreement should also include the allocation of resources throughout the project.

Arrangements for collaboration and, or exploitation must not prevent the future progression of academic research and the dissemination of research results in accordance with academic custom and practise and the requirements of the funding bodies. A temporary delay in publication is acceptable in order to allow commercial and collaborative arrangements to be established.

The collaboration agreement does not need to be submitted to the funders however it must be made available if requested.

How to apply

Expression of Interest (optional)

Researchers planning to submit to this funding opportunity are encouraged to submit a short expression of interest (EOI) by 4:00pm UK time (Greenwich Mean Time) on 14 April 2024. It is the responsibility of the UK project lead to submit the EOI on behalf of the UK and Southeast Asia research collaboration.

Please note, this step is voluntary and does not form part of the review process, If you do not submit an EOI you can still apply to the funding opportunity. Medical Research Council (MRC) and partner Southeast Asia funders will not undertake eligibility checks at this point. You should not await a response from the funders following the EOI submission, but simply continue with the development of the full proposal to be submitted by the deadline. MRC and partner Southeast Asia funders will use the EOI to help prepare for the review process.

You are not expected to submit an EOI to partner Southeast Asia funders as well, however, all details submitted to MRC will be shared with partner Southeast Asia funders.

Application stage

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

The project lead, who will be based in the UK, 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.

The project lead must be based within the UK. Only one individual can be named as project lead. Only one individual should be listed as as project lead. All international applicants, including those based in Southeast Asia, should be listed as project co-lead international.

If the lead research organisation is an NHS organisation, check it is available in the Funding Service. You are encouraged to check this early as there may be additional steps for the organisation to be set up before you can apply.

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

UK and Southeast Asia based applicants must apply with jointly developed applications to both the Medical Research Council (MRC) and all relevant Southeast Asia funding agencies by 30 May 2024 for the funding component requested within each country. The application must be based around a common research plan and vision and be jointly prepared by both UK and Southeast Asia applicants.

For information on how to submit your application to each of the Southeast Asia funders participating in this funding opportunity please refer to the country annex document (PDF, 565KB).

To apply

Select ‘Start application’ near the beginning of this Funding finder page.

  1. Confirm you are the project lead.
  2. 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 support@funding-service.ukri.org
    Please allow at least 10 working days for your organisation to be added to the Funding Service.
  3. 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.
  4. Allow enough time to check your application in ‘read-only’ view before sending to your research office.
  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.

Where indicated, you can also demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant:

  • use images sparingly and only to convey important information that cannot easily be put into words
  • insert each new image onto a new line
  • provide a descriptive legend for each image immediately underneath it (this counts towards your word limit)
  • files must be smaller than 5MB and in JPEG, JPG, JPE, JFI, JIF, JFIF, PNG, GIF, BMP or WEBP format

Your application may be rejected if images are provided without a descriptive legend in the text box, or are used to replace text that could be input into the text box.

Watch our research office webinars about the new Funding Service.

For more guidance on the Funding Service, see:

References

Applications should be self-contained, and hyperlinks should only be used to provide links directly to reference information. To ensure the information’s integrity is maintained, where possible, persistent identifiers such as digital object identifiers should be used. Assessors are not required to access links to carry out assessment or recommend a funding decision. You should use your discretion when including references and prioritise those most pertinent to the application.

References should be included in the appropriate question section of the application and be easily identifiable by the assessors for example, Smith, Research Paper, 2019.

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

Deadline

MRC must receive your application by 30 May 2024 at 4:00pm UK time.

Please refer to the country annex document (PDF, 565KB) for the deadline requirements for each of the Southeast Asia funders participating in this funding opportunity.

You will not be able to apply after this time.

Make sure you are aware of and follow any internal institutional deadlines.

Following the submission of your application to 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

As part of UKRI, we will need to collect some personal information to manage your Funding Service account and the registration of your funding applications.

You should note that the information you submit to MRC as part of your application may be shared with overseas partners to facilitate the processing of 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.

As this is a co-funded activity, some of your data will be transferred to our partner agencies who are based outside of the UK. This means that they operate in a different jurisdiction where data protection regulations may differ from those in the UK. Please note that because of this, your individual data subject rights may not be enforceable in the same way they would be in the UK, but in all circumstances your data will be transferred in accordance with the requirements of the UK’s implementation of the general data protection regulation (GDPR). If you require more information please contact international@mrc.ukri.org

Publication of outcomes

MRC, as part of UKRI, will publish the outcomes of this funding opportunity at board and panel outcomes.

If your application is successful, we will publish some personal information on the UKRI Gateway to Research.

Summary

Word limit: 550

In plain English, provide a summary we can use to identify the most suitable experts to assess your application.

We may make this summary publicly available on external-facing websites, therefore do not include any confidential or sensitive information. Make it suitable for a variety of readers, for example:

  • opinion-formers
  • policymakers
  • the public
  • the wider research community

Guidance for writing a summary

Clearly describe your proposed work in terms of:

  • context
  • the challenge the project addresses
  • aims and objectives
  • potential applications and benefits

Core team

List the key members of both your UK and Southeast Asia team members and assign them roles from the following:

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

Only list one individual as a project lead, who will be based at an eligible UK institution. International applicants from Southeast Asia should be listed as project co-lead (international).

Find out more about UKRI’s core team roles in funding applications.

Application questions

Vision

Word limit: 1,100

What are you hoping to achieve with your proposed work? Please ensure you outline the work being undertaken by both

What the assessors are looking for in your response

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, or generate new knowledge, thinking or discovery within or beyond the field or area
  • is timely given current trends, context, and needs
  • benefits from the opportunity to collaborate across UK and Southeast Asia and the strategic partnerships you have developed
  • impacts world-leading research, society, the economy, or the in Southeast Asian DAC-list countries
  • is driven by the needs of populations in the Southeast Asian DAC-list countries where the research is taking place

Within the Vision section we also expect you to:

  • consider issues such as burden of disease and priority for the relevant local, regional, and national health services
  • provide evidence that the answer to your research question is needed and wanted by relevant users, policymakers or both
  • identify the evidence-gap that the research will fill
  • where appropriate describe the changes that might be implemented as a result of the project, and by whom

You may demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. Further details are provided in the Funding Service.

References may be included within this section.

Approach

Word limit: 6,000

How are you going to deliver your proposed work? Please ensure you outline the work being undertaken by both the UK and Southeast Asia based researchers.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Explain how you have designed your approach so that it:

  • is innovative, effective and appropriate to achieve your objectives
  • is feasible, and comprehensively identifies any risks to delivery and how they will be managed
  • 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 your team’s research environment and the combination of research environments (in terms of the place, relevance to the project and division of roles between the UK and Southeast Asia based research teams) will contribute to the success of the work
  • ensures an equitable role for the low and middle-income country (LMIC) researchers in setting the research agenda, delivering the work and ensures joint ownership of the proposed work
  • includes appropriate engagement plans with users, key stakeholders and target populations, and the appropriate communication and knowledge exchange plans
  • follows a clearly written and transparent methodology that will:
    • provide details of the methodological approaches, study design and techniques that will be used by all research teams in UK and Southeast Asia. Enough detail must be given to show why the research is likely to be competitive in its field. Particular care should be taken to explain any innovation in the methodology or where you intend to develop new methods
    • briefly describe any pilot or preliminary data you have available to help the reviewers assess the feasibility of the proposed project
    • if applicable, clearly explain the intervention you will be testing, what it consists of and why
    • if applicable, demonstrate that you have carried out a datasets review, and explicitly state why currently available datasets are either appropriate or inadequate for the proposed research

Within the Approach section we also expect you to:

  • demonstrate access to the appropriate services, facilities, infrastructure, or equipment in all relevant countries to deliver the project
  • provide a project plan including milestones and timelines, in the form of an embedded Gantt chart or similar
  • explain and justify how you will approach diversity and inclusion in the study population and follow the MRC embedding diversity in research design policy (if applicable)
  • show how you will use both sexes in research involving animals and tissues and cells (if applicable). If you are not proposing to do this, justify why
  • where appropriate outline how co-production with relevant stakeholders, such as end-users, healthcare workers, policymakers and implementers, is embedded throughout the design and delivery of the project
  • where appropriate identify the research participants and the setting(s) in which the research will take place. Where a particular setting is proposed which excludes the most vulnerable, for example the school setting, considerations should be made to include vulnerable groups or justify the choice not to
  • where appropriate fully justify the target population identified in the application, with clear consideration of the potential for differences according to socioeconomic status, ethnicity, gender, age group or other characteristics

You are encouraged to use 500 words to provide information about reproducibility and how you will ensure reliability and robustness of your work, such as further details of statistical analyses, methodology and experimental design. If this information is not applicable, then you should not use this space to expand on other areas of your approach and your response to this section should be below the word limit.

The reproducibility Information should be clearly identified using the heading Reproducibility and statistical design. We expect you to seek professional statistical or other relevant advice in preparing your response, which may include:

  • experimental approach to address objectives
  • sample and effect sizes
  • planned statistical analyses
  • models chosen (for example animal model, cell line)

Refer to the MRC guidance for applicants, for further information, examples and online tool.

If your proposed work involves animals in either the UK or in Southeast Asia you must provide information on animal sample sizes and statistical analyses in the approach section, you should not duplicate it in the ‘Research involving the use of animals’ section. 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.

You may demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. Further details are provided in the Funding Service.

References may be included within this section.

Research capacity strengthening

Word limit: 500

What are your capacity strengthening plans for the research project?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Explain how you have embedded appropriate capacity building activities within the proposed work. Explain how your capacity strengthening activities:

  • are appropriate to the LMIC research needs and the objectives of the project
  • will benefit the LMIC researchers and communities involved

Within this section we expect you to:

  • detail research capacity building needs, opportunities and planned activities
  • explain who will participate in delivering these activities and who will benefit from them

Applicant and team capability to deliver

Word limit: 4,400

Why are you the right team to successfully deliver the proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Evidence of how your UK-Southeast Asia 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
  • opportunities for Southeast Asian LMIC leadership and management
  • contributed to developing a positive research environment and wider community

You may demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. Further details are provided in the Funding Service.

The maximum word count for this section is 4,400 words. Please use a maximum of 500 words per country, including the UK, for the R4RI modules up to a maximum of 3,900 words (including references). If necessary, a further 500 words total may be used for Additions.

Use the Résumé for Research and Innovation (R4RI) format to showcase the range of relevant skills you and your team (project and project co-leads, researchers, technicians, specialists, partners and so on) across Southeast Asia and the UK have and how this will help 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. Use each heading once and include a response for the whole team (UK-based and Southeast Asia-based), see the UKRI guidance on R4RI. You may wish to break this down by country, or work package, please present the information in the most appropriate way for the work you are describing. 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 you can use it to describe any factors that provide context for the rest of your R4RI (for example, details of career breaks if you wish to disclose them).

Complete this as a narrative. Do not format it like a CV.

References may be included within this section.

UKRI has introduced new role types for funding opportunities being run on the new Funding Service.

For full details, see Eligibility as an individual.

Southeast Asia project leads

Word limit: 500

Confirm who the lead Southeast Asia applicants will be. A project lead must be named for each country involved in the project for funding purposes.

Provide the following details of the project leads on this application:

  • country
  • funder applying to
  • name of project lead
  • institute
  • job title
  • email address

Important note: ensure all Southeast Asia based project leads identified in this section of your application are added as a team member to the Core team section of your application. They should be assigned the role of ‘project co-lead (international)’.

You should ensure any Southeast Asia based project co-leads are also added as a team member within the ‘Core team’ section of your application, they should also be assigned the role of ‘project co-lead (international)’.

Project partners

Add details about any project partners’ contributions. If there are no project partners, you can indicate this on the Funding Service.

A project partner is a collaborating organisation who will have an integral role in the proposed research. This may include direct (cash) or indirect (in-kind) contributions such as expertise, staff time or use of facilities.

Important note: If your application includes industry project partners, you will also need to complete the Industry Collaboration Framework (ICF) section. Find out more about ICF.

You must ensure that any third-party individual or organisation you include within the Funding Service as a project partner, also provides you with a supporting email or letter of support (see next section ‘Project partners: letters (or emails) of support’).

The individual named as the project partner contact, cannot be included in your application as a member of the core team, in any core team role.

The project partner organisation cannot be an applicant organisation, where any member of the core team is based. For example, you cannot include a different department based within the applicant organisation as a project partner.

If an individual or organisation outside the core team is responsible for recruitment of people as research participants or providing human tissue for this project, list them as a project partner.

Add the following project partner details:

  • the organisation name (searchable via a drop-down list or enter the organisation’s details manually, as applicable)
  • the project partner contact name and email address
  • the type of contribution (direct or in-direct) and its monetary value

If there are specific circumstances where project partners do require funding for minor costs such as travel and subsistence (these project partner costs should be claimed and justified within the Resources and costs section of your application).

If a detail is entered incorrectly and you have saved the entry, remove the specific project partner record and re-add it with the correct information.

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

Project partners: letters (or emails) of support

Word limit: 10

Upload a single PDF containing the letters or emails of support from each partner you named in the Project partners section. These should be uploaded in English or Welsh only.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Enter the words ‘attachment supplied’ in the text box, or if you do not have any project partners enter ‘N/A’.

What supporting statements we are looking for

Important note: MRC is only looking for you to provide letters or emails of support from the following:

  • a third-party individual
  • a third-party organisation

Third party means the individual and organisation must not be involved in the application core team. You must ensure that any project partners providing a supporting document, are also added to the ‘Project partners’ section within the 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 ‘Project partners’ section.

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

What supporting statements we are not looking for

We are not looking for you to provide any letters or emails of support from individuals or organisations included in your application core team (this includes other departments within the same organisation). Any individual or organisation included in your application with a core team role cannot also be a project partner.

Do not include any other statements or any other type of information we have not requested, including letter or emails of support from colleagues simply expressing supportive opinions. We only expect letters or emails of support from your third-party project partners uploaded to this section.

If you include any information not requested by MRC your application will be rejected.

Supporting document guidance for third party project partners

Each project partner supporting letter or email you provide, should:

  • be no more than two A4 pages
  • 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
  • include the name of the project partner organisation and contact information (this should match the partner contact and organisation name details you must add to the separate ‘Project partners’ application section)

Project partners letters and emails of support are not required to be on headed paper or include handwritten signatures (electronic signatures are acceptable from the nominated partner contact).

Project partner responsibility for the recruitment of people

If the project partner is responsible for the recruitment of people as research participants or providing human tissue, their email or letter of support should include:

  • agreement that the project partner will recruit the participants or provide tissue
  • confirmation that what is being supplied is suitable for the proposed work
  • confirmation that the quantity of tissue being supplied is suitable, but not excessive for achieving meaningful results (if applicable)
Multiple project partners

If you have multiple project partners, you should:

  • ensure each separate email or letter of support, does not exceed two pages of A4
  • consolidate all the supporting documents provided by each project partner into a single PDF file before uploading
  • ensure the PDF does not exceed the maximum file size of 8MB

For the file name, use the unique Funding Service number the system gives you when you create an application, followed by the words ‘Project partner’.

Industry Collaboration Framework (ICF)

Word count: 1,500

Does your application (both UK and Southeast Asia elements) 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 do not 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 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.

Trusted research and innovation (TR&I)

Word limit: 100

Does the proposed work involve a sensitive research or technology area?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Demonstrate how your proposed work relates to Trusted Research and Innovation, including:

  • list the countries your project lead, project co-leads, project partners and visiting researchers, or other collaborators are based in
  • explain whether this project is relevant to one or more of the 17 areas of the UK National Security and Investment (NSI) Act
  • if one or more of the 17 areas of the UK National Security and Investment (NSI) Act are involved list the areas

If your proposed work does not involve international collaboration, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.

We may ask you to provide additional information about how your proposed project will comply with our approach and expectation towards TR&I, identifying potential risks and the relevant controls you will put in place to help manage these risks.

UK facilities

Word limit: 250

Does your proposed research require the support and use of a facility?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

You should only include details of the required use of UK facilities.

If you will need to use a facility, follow your proposed facility’s normal access request procedures. Ensure you have prior agreement so that if you are offered funding, they will support the use of their facility on your project.

For each requested facility you will need to provide the:

  • name of facility, copied and pasted from the facility information list (DOCX, 35KB)
  • proposed usage or costs, or costs per unit where indicated on the facility information list
  • confirmation you have their agreement where required

Only include facilities from the list above. Do not include details of other facilities you plan to use, such as local facilities you plan to use, you should only include the name of a facility you plan to use, when it has been included within the facility information list.

Do not put the facility contact details in your response.

If you will not need to use a facility, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.

Data management and sharing

Word count: 1,500

How will you manage and share data collected or acquired through the proposed research, including when sharing data internationally?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Provide a data management plan which should clearly detail how you will comply with the data requirement of the relevant Southeast Asia funding agencies as well as MRC’s published data management and sharing policies, which includes detailed guidance notes.

Provide your response in the text box following the headings in the MRC data management plan template. You are not required to upload the document to your application.

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 1,500 words
  • all other research, less complex, the plan may be as short as 500 words

Ethics and responsible research and innovation (RRI)

Word limit: 500

What are the ethical or RRI implications and issues relating to the proposed work (including all the UK and Southeast Asia components)? 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

Demonstrate that you have identified and evaluated:

  • the relevant ethical or responsible research and innovation considerations including the potential for dual use of project outputs
  • how you will manage these considerations in line with UKRI and Southeast Asia funder’s ethical and trusted research and innovation principles and policies

Consider the MRC guidance on ethics and approvals.

Please note you must include all research taking place in the UK and in Southeast Asia.

Information provided here will be reviewed by UKRI and Southeast Asia funding partners and further information may be requested if the application is recommended for funding.

You may demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. Further details are provided in the Funding Service.

Genetic and biological risk

Word limit: 700

Does your proposed research involve any genetic or biological risk?

Please note you must include all research taking place in both the UK and in Southeast Asia.

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 in all relevant countries 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.

If this does not apply to your proposed work, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.

Research involving the use of animals

Word limit: 10

Does your proposed research (within the UK, Southeast Asia or both) 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 you are proposing research that requires using animals, download and complete the Animals Scientific Procedures Act template (DOCX, 74KB), which contains all the questions relating to research using vertebrate animals or other Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 regulated organisms.

Save it as a PDF. The Funding Service will provide document upload details when you apply. If this does not apply to your proposed work, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.

Conducting research with animals overseas

Word limit: 700

Will any of the proposed animal research be conducted overseas (outside of the UK)?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If you are proposing to conduct overseas research, it must be conducted in accordance with welfare standards consistent with those in the UK, as in Responsibility in the use of animals in bioscience research, page 14.

If your application proposes animal research to be conducted overseas, you must provide a statement in the text box. Depending on the species involved, you may also need to upload a completed template for each species listed.

Statement

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 will be applied and maintained
  • appropriate national and institutional approvals are in place
Templates

Overseas studies proposing to use non-human primates, cats, dogs, equines or pigs will be assessed during NC3Rs review of research applications. Provide the required information by completing the template from the question Research involving the use of animals.

For studies involving other species, select, download, and complete the relevant Word checklist or checklists from this list:

Save as a PDF. If you use more than one checklist, save it as a single PDF.

If you are proposing to conduct overseas animals research, you must also include an additional letter of support within the Letters of support section of the TFS application. Please see the Letters of support section for more information.

Research involving human participation

Word limit: 700

Will the project involve the use of human subjects or their personal information in the UK or Southeast Asia?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

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.

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.

If this does not apply to your proposed work, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.

Please note you must include all research taking place in both the UK and in Southeast Asia.

Research involving human tissues or biological samples

Word limit: 700

Does your proposed research involve the use of human tissues, or biological samples in either the UK or Southeast Asia?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If you are proposing work that involves human tissues or biological samples, provide the name of any required approving body (in all relevant countries) and whether approval is already in place.

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

If this does not apply to your proposed work, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.

Confirm in which country or countries the research involving human tissues or biological samples will occur.

If your application includes research involving human tissues or biological samples, you must also include an additional letter of support within the Letters of support section of this application. Please also refer to this section for more details of what to include in your letter of support.

Letters of support

Word limit: 10

The assessors are looking for you to create and upload the required letters of support within this section. Please combine all letters of support relevant to your application into one PDF and upload it to the Funding Service.

If you have multiple letters of support, you should:

  • ensure each separate email or letter of support, does not exceed two pages of A4
  • consolidate all the supporting documents provided into a single PDF file before uploading
  • ensure the PDF does not exceed the maximum file size of 8MB

For the file name, use the unique Funding Service number the system gives you when you create an application, followed by the words ‘Letters of support’.

Overseas research organisation letter of support

Please upload a signed and dated letter of support from each Southeast Asia based research organisation demonstrating support for the proposed research projects. If you will need to use an overseas facility, please ensure the letter confirms you have prior agreement in place if you are offered funding. Each letter should be signed by the international departmental head or equivalent.

Conducting research with animals overseas: letter of support

Project leads proposing the use of animals (in either country) should:

  • provide a signed and dated letter with the heading ‘Use of animals letter’ (uploaded as a letter of support) which must be signed by both the UK project lead and Southeast Asia project lead stating that:
    • all animal research (undertaken in either country) will adhere to all relevant national and local regulatory systems in the UK and Southeast Asia
    • they will follow the guidelines laid out in the responsibility in the use of animals in bioscience research document, and ensure that work is carried out to UK and your ‘Southeast Asia funders’ standards. If primates are used they should also confirm that they will follow the NC3Rs Guidelines: Primate accommodation, care and use
    • before initiation of the proposed research work, appropriate approvals from institutional or central animal ethics committees or both will be obtained for experimental protocols to be adopted in their projects. Successful applications may be expected to provide copies of these permissions before funding is released
    • details on which animal research will take place in which country (UK, Southeast Asia or elsewhere) and through which funder the resources are being sought. You should include confirmation that animal welfare standards at these institutions meet the requirements outlined above
  • if applicable, you should also submit the MRC ‘Use of Animals Overseas’ form(s). Please see section 4.4.6 of the standard MRC guidance for applicants and the Use of animals overseas section of the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement & Reduction of Animals in Research. This attachment should be uploaded as a letter of support
Research involving human tissues or biological samples letter of support

Investigators proposing to conduct research involving human tissues or biological samples should upload a letter of support related to your use of human tissue research within the UK or in Southeast Asia.

Your support letter must:

  • confirm that all applicants will comply with relevant UK and Southeast Asia policies related to the use of human tissue within research, before the start date of the award
  • confirm where the human tissue research will take place
  • who will recruit the human participants
  • state that what is being supplied is suitable for the research being undertaken that the quantity of tissue (where relevant) being supplied is suitable, but not excessive for achieving meaningful results
  • be signed by both UK and Southeast Asia based project leads
  • not contain any other information apart from the information relevant to the use of human tissue within the planned research
  • not provide letters of support from the host and co-project lead research organisations

If you include additional information we have not asked for, your application will be rejected.

The letter you provide should:

  • be no more than two pages of A4
  • confirm only the information requested in relation to your projects use of human tissue

Resources and cost justification

Word limit: 1,500

This section will focus on the costs requested from the MRC. Costs to be requested from a Southeast Asia funder will be detailed in a separate question.

What will you need to deliver the proposed work which will be funded by MRC and how much will it cost? Please include any Southeast Asia LMIC costs that will be covered by MRC.

Assessors are not looking for detailed costs or a line-by-line breakdown of project resources. Overall, they want you to demonstrate how the resources you need 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
  • are equitably shared

You should also include a clear indication of the costs covered by MRC, and a justification of the application’s more costly resources, in particular:

  • project staff
  • significant travel for field work or collaboration (but not regular travel between collaborating organisations or to conferences)
  • any equipment that will cost more than £10,000
  • any consumables beyond typical requirements, or that are required in exceptional quantities
  • all facilities and infrastructure costs
  • all resources that have been costed as ‘Exceptions’
  • support for public and patient involvement and engagement
  • support for preserving, long-term storage, or sharing of data
  • 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
  • MRC unit transition applicants: briefly summarise the resources you will receive for this work from unit funding which are not being requested as part of this application. Use the current unit costing approach to explain these and state the total cost of your proposed work, including unit resources and costs requested from this application

International resources and cost justification

Word limit: 6,000

Provide an overview of the costs requested from each international funding partner. The word limit for this section is 6,000. Use a maximum of 1,500 words for each funder you are applying to.

You must also attach a copy of the budget template for each funder you are applying to. If you are applying to more than one funder, please combine the budget templates and attach them as a single PDF.

The Funding Service will provide document upload details when you apply.

Overall resources requested

You should include a breakdown of the costs requested for this funding opportunity by each Southeast Asian funding partner in the table format provided in the Funding Service question.

You should include the GBP and international currency value of the total research costs requested in both the local international currency and what this amount equates to in UK pounds, from each Southeast Asia funder, such as:

  • PREPARE Singapore
  • HSRI Thailand
  • ARDA Thailand
  • PCHRD Philippines
  • MOHE Malaysia
  • DRTPM DIKTI Indonesia
  • NAFOSTED Vietnam
Resources justification

Under a separate subheader for each Southeast Asia funder you are applying to please provide the following information:

Briefly justify the overseas costs for each funder you are requesting funding from related to this application, in particular:

  • explain why the resources requested are appropriate for the research proposed
  • detail how the resources will be used, taking into account the nature and complexity of your application
What the assessors are looking for in your response

You should also ensure your justification clarifies:

  • how the breakdown of expenses and the expenditure plan is appropriate to meet the project objectives
  • that you have sufficient research resources to carry out the research activities
  • that there is sufficient budget allocated for international collaboration opportunities
  • that the project includes appropriate planning for international researcher exchange activities

Assessors are not looking for detailed costs or a line-by-line breakdown of all project resources. Overall, they want you 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

For further guidance on what to include within the International resources cost justification, please see the country specific annex for each funder.

Clinical research using NHS resources

Word count: 250

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

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 do not think your clinical research will involve excess treatment costs (ETCs).

See MRC guidance on who needs to complete a SoECAT.

If you are applying for clinical research in the NHS, public health or social care and do not 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 Attributing the costs of health and social care Research and Development (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 do not 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 extract the ‘study information’ and the ‘summary’ page from the ‘Funder Export’, combine them as a single PDF and upload it to your application.

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

Contact international@mrc.ukri.org 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.

Related applications

Word count: 500

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

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If your application is not related to another, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.

If yes, state your previous reference number and explain how this new application is related to the 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.

MRC unit transition applications

Word limit: 1,000

What is the relationship between this application and your MRC unit funding?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If you are not based in an MRC unit answer ‘N/A’.

Explain the relationship between this grant application and your current unit funding and how this grant will help you transition to new funding arrangements, including:

  • activities that will be delivered during the remaining unit-funded period and during this grant
  • important changes or new directions proposed from your unit-funded research (if applicable)
  • feedback from the last unit review that is important for the assessment of these plans (if applicable)
  • the transition approach to staff costs across the unit-funded and grant-funded parts of the proposed work

Official Development Assistance (ODA): compliance eligibility

Word limit: 500

How does your proposed work meet ODA compliance eligibility?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

To demonstrate how your proposed work meets ODA compliance criteria, please explain:

  • which country or countries on the DAC list will directly benefit from this proposal
  • how your proposal is directly and primarily relevant to the development challenges of these countries
  • how you expect the outcomes of your proposed activities will promote the economic development and welfare of a country or countries on the DAC list
  • how the proposed activity is appropriate to address the development need
  • the approaches you will use to deliver development impact within the lifetime of the project and in the longer term, considering the potential outcomes, the key beneficiary and stakeholder groups and how they will be engaged to enable development impact to be achieved

This funding opportunity is part of the UK’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitment. This is government aid that promotes and specifically targets the economic development and welfare of developing countries as its primary objective.

You should ensure that your proposal focuses on the challenges specific to the partner country or countries and not broader global issues, meaning those that are transboundary beyond low and middle-income countries (LMICs). It is accepted that ODA-funded research may have benefits to the UK or other high-income countries, however, these should be secondary to be development objectives of the project.

You should consider whether these countries are likely to continue to be eligible for the duration of the research, noting that ODA funding cannot be used to support research that does not promote a DAC list country. Please note there may be eligibility restrictions specific to the funding opportunity you are applying to. You and other applicants should refer to the Funding Finder to confirm eligibility before applying. When assessing whether an activity is eligible for ODA funding under this funding opportunity, MRC will consider whether projects satisfy OECD criteria on eligibility.

Applications will be assessed through a competitive peer review process with ODA eligibility being a criterion for approval, such as projects must be fully ODA compliant to be considered for funding. Initial ODA compliance checks will be carried out by UKRI. Proposals that do not meet the eligibility criteria may be rejected without reference to peer review. Peer reviewers will also be provided with this guidance and asked to comment on ODA compliance and likelihood of significant development impact.

ODA gender equality statement

Word limit: 400

How does your proposed work demonstrate sufficient consideration of gender equality?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Provide a gender equality statement that explains:

  • how measures have been put in place to ensure equal and meaningful opportunities for people of different genders to be involved throughout the project, including the development of the project, the participants of the research and innovation and the beneficiaries of the research and innovation
  • the expected impact of the project (benefits and losses) on people of different genders, both throughout the project and beyond
  • the impact on the relations between people of different genders and people of the same gender. For example, changing roles and responsibilities in households, society, economy, politics, power, and so on
  • how any risks and unintended negative consequences on gender equality will be avoided or mitigated against, and monitored
  • if there are any relevant outcomes and outputs being measured, with data disaggregated by age and gender (where disclosed)

All ODA funding must adhere to the International Development (Gender Equality) Act 2014. To meet this, all applications to UKRI ODA calls must provide a gender equality statement. Read further guidance for applicants on writing gender equality statements and how to consider gender within your research proposal.

For funding opportunities under the International Science Partnerships Fund (ISPF), all ODA funding must adhere to the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) Gender Equality Policy. See more information on this policy and the related guidance for considering gender equality in your research.

MRC and expert reviewers will assess whether your proposal has demonstrated sufficient consideration of gender equality.

How we will assess your application

Assessment process

We will assess your application jointly with all the funders participating in this funding opportunity using the following process.

Peer review

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

MRC will work in partnership with all the funders participating in this funding opportunity to select expert reviewers. We will look to ensure that all applications are reviewed by experts based in each of the countries where the research is taking place.

You will not be able to nominate reviewers for applications on the new UKRI Funding Service. Research councils will continue to select expert reviewers.

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

Shortlisting

The funders participating in this funding opportunity will decide whether or not a shortlisting stage is needed depending on the number of applications received.

If shortlisting is needed, then 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.

Panel

Following peer review, we will invite a panel of international experts to use the evidence provided by reviewers and your applicant response to assess the quality of your application and rank it alongside other applications after which the panel will make a funding recommendation.

The membership of the panel will be jointly agreed by all funders participating in the funding opportunity.

MRC and the Southeast Asia funding partners will jointly make the final funding decision.

Each individual funder participating in this funding opportunity will be responsible for issuing grants to its own researchers.

Timescale

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

Successful proposals will be expected to start by 1 April 2025.

Feedback

If your application was discussed by a panel, we will give feedback with the outcome of your application.

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.

Sharing data with co-funders

We will need to share the application (including any personal information that it contains) with the funding partners participating in this funding opportunity so that they can participate in the assessment process.

For more information on how each funding partner uses personal information please refer to the country annex documents (PDF, 565KB) which will provide website and contact information.

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.

As this is a co-funded opportunity, some of your data will be transferred to our partner agencies who are based outside of the UK. This means that they operate in a different jurisdiction where data protection regulations may differ from those in the UK. Please note that because of this, your individual data subject rights may not be enforceable in the same way they would be in the UK, but in all circumstances your data will be transferred in accordance with the requirements of the UK GDPR. if you require more information, please contact international@mrc.ukri.org

Assessment areas

The assessment areas we will use are:

  • vision of the project
  • approach to the project
  • research capacity strengthening plans of the project
  • capability of the applicants, and the project team, to deliver the project
  • ethical and responsible research and innovation considerations of the project
  • UK and International resources requested for the project
  • gender equality
  • ODA Compliance

Find details of assessment questions and criteria under the ‘Application questions’ heading in the ‘How to apply’ section.

Contact details

Get help with your application

If you have a question and the answers aren’t provided on this page.

Important note: The Helpdesk is committed to helping users of the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Funding Service as effectively and as quickly as possible. In order to manage cases at peak volume times, the Helpdesk will triage and prioritise those queries with an imminent opportunity deadline or a technical issue. Enquiries raised where information is available on the Funding Finder opportunity page and should be understood early in the application process (for example, regarding eligibility or content/remit of an opportunity) will not constitute a priority case and will be addressed as soon as possible.

Contact details

For help and advice on costings and writing your proposal please contact your research office in the first instance, allowing sufficient time for your organisation’s submission process.

For questions related to this specific funding opportunity please contact: international@mrc.ukri.org

This opportunity is being run in partnership with several funders across Southeast Asia, please refer to the country annex document (PDF, 565KB) for contact information for each participating funder.

For general questions related to MRC funding including our funding opportunities and policy email: rfpd@mrc.ukri.org

Any queries regarding the system or the submission of applications through the Funding Service should be directed to the helpdesk.

Email: support@funding-service.ukri.org
Phone: 01793 547490

Our phone lines are open:

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

To help us process queries quicker, we request that users highlight the council and opportunity name in the subject title of their email query, include the application reference number, and refrain from contacting more than one mailbox at a time.

Find out more information on submitting an application.

Sensitive information

If you or a core team member need to tell us something you wish to remain confidential, email us at: international@mrc.ukri.org

Include in the subject line: [the funding opportunity title; sensitive information; your Funding Service application number].

Typical examples of confidential information include:

  • individual 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, read UKRI’s privacy notice.

Additional info

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

UKRI SEA Country Annex document (PDF, 565KB)

Indonesia: DRTPM DIKTI International Costs proforma (DOCX, 99KB)

Malaysia: MOHE: Funding template (DOCX, 90.4KB)

Philippines: DOST-PCHRD: Cost proforma (XLSX, 101KB)

Singapore: PREPARE-ADVANCE-ID: Budget template (XLS, 54.5KB)

Vietnam: NAFOSTED: 2024 Grant Project Proposal (DOCX, 24.7KB)

Vietnam: NAFOSTED: 2024 Budget Estimate (XLS, 50.5KB)

Updates

  • 27 March 2024
    Updated country annex document added.

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