Public involvement, comprising active collaborative partnerships between researchers and members of the public, patients, carers and communities, is an increasingly important part of biomedical and health research. Many of the approaches used for public involvement have been developed based on practices in clinical research. The MRC public involvement landscape review highlighted the need to understand the best approaches to enable involvement in non-clinical health and biomedical research, whether this is the validation of existing methods or the development of new approaches.
The aim of this strategic opportunity is to address gaps in public involvement in non-clinical health and biomedical research through the development of supporting evidence, tools or guidance.
Research areas in scope could include public involvement in fundamental discovery research, from lab-based research such as cell biology or biochemistry, to data science research such as statistical modelling or machine learning, and methodological research such as epidemiology, health economics or clinical trials methodology. This list is not exhaustive.
Outputs should be designed and disseminated to improve practice across stakeholders, such as researchers, funding bodies, public contributors as appropriate.
Funding is available for methodology research to build good practice for public involvement in non-clinical health and biomedical research. The research should deliver generalisable learning, which is directly relevant to multiple disciplines, within the aspect of public involvement addressed in the proposal. See areas within scope below. This can include development of tools, guidance, reviews or other evidence synthesis to advance understanding of optimal approaches. Multidisciplinary and or collaborative approaches are welcomed. Applicant teams must include public contributors and may include public involvement professionals.
All proposals should consider the approaches and resources required for outreach and to support meaningful improvement in the research methods of others. Applications are expected to build on existing good practice across disciplines and in public involvement including, but not limited to, relevant standards and checklists, such as UK Standards for Public Involvement, GRIPP2, PIRIT, PiiAF and so on, as appropriate.
Proposals are expected to develop understanding of optimal approaches for public involvement in non-clinical health and biomedical research. Areas within scope for the funding opportunity include:
- involvement processes for non-clinical health or biomedical research including:
- engagement of public representation (at community or individual level) and facilitating inclusion of historically under-represented populations
- training and support for researchers and public contributors
- design and management approaches for involvement activities (including approaches to avoid tokenism)
- inclusion throughout the research lifecycle
- evaluation of involvement processes
- evaluation of the impact of public involvement for non-clinical health or biomedical research including:
- measures of success and meaningful outcomes, including limitations and when these diverge or compete across different stakeholders
- understanding the components that lead to successful public involvement, including the importance and management of context in outcomes (such as how effectiveness of public involvement varies by context)
The following areas are out of scope:
- research areas with well-established literature on public involvement, for example qualitative research, or applications that do not clearly articulate the gap in public involvement for the selected area
- public involvement programmes for a specific research institute(s), or that are not linked to methodological learning
This is a strategic opportunity within the Better Methods, Better Research (BMBR) programme and is limited to a single funding round. When the opportunity opens on 17 April 2024 information will be provided in ‘How to apply’.
Please contact us at email@example.com ahead of developing a full application to ensure your proposal is within remit. Include a one to two-page project summary that covers background, key objectives and research plan including dissemination activities.
Find out more about MRC’s remit, programmes and priorities.
The duration of this award is up to 36 months.
Typically, funded projects have a duration from 18 to 36 months.
Projects should start one to six months after the funding decision date.
The budget for this BMBR round is £2.5 million to support BMBR applications and this strategic opportunity.
The FEC of your project can be up to £625,000. MRC and National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) will fund 80% of the full economic cost up to £500,000.
We can consider larger requests, but where you expect costs to exceed £625,000, please make early contact with us at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com to request MRC approval.
What we will fund
You can request funding for costs such as:
- a contribution to the salary of the project lead and project co-leads
- team approaches and support for other posts such as research and technical staff
- research consumables
- data preservation and data sharing
- knowledge mobilisation and dissemination resources
- NHS research costs where appropriate
- estates and indirect costs
You can also request costs for work to be undertaken at international organisations by international project co-leads. We will fund 100% of the full economic cost.
The total of such costs requested for international applicants from developed countries, that is those not on the OECD DAC List of ODA Recipients, India and China must not exceed 30% of the total resources requested.
There is no cap on costs requested for international applicants from Development Assistance Committee (DAC) list countries.
For more information on international costs and what we will and will not fund see costs we fund overseas and the Collaborate with Researchers in Norway guidance.
What we will not fund
We will not fund:
- new clinical trials or interventions where methodology research is not the primary focus
- costs for PhD studentships
- publication costs
- funding to use as a ‘bridge’ between grants
Team project partner
You may include project partners that will support your research project through cash or in-kind contributions, such as:
- staff time
- access to equipment
- sites or facilities
- the provision of data
- software or materials
Each project partner must provide a statement of support. If your application involves industry partners, they must provide additional information if the team project partner falls within the industry collaboration framework.
Find out more about subcontractors and dual roles.
Who cannot be included as a team project partner
The individual named as the contact for the project partner organisation cannot also be a named applicant, such as those with a role of project lead or co-lead and any other named member of staff.
Supporting skills and talent
We encourage you to follow the principles of the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers and the Technician Commitment.
Find out about getting funding for international collaboration.
UK 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.
If your application includes international applicants, project partners or collaborators, visit UKRI’s trusted research and innovation for more information on effective international collaboration.
As such, when applying for UKRI funding you may be asked to demonstrate how your 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.
Find out more about further guidance and information about TR&I, including where you can find additional support.
Find out about getting funding for international collaboration.