MRC Impact Prize


Open Science Impact

The Open Science Impact prize rewards an individual, team or network of researchers who have developed and implemented open science practices and principles to make research methods, findings and outputs more accessible, transparent and reproducible.

We’re looking for an individual or team responsible for developing pioneering approaches and implementing them to innovate, advocate and utilise open science practices to overcome and address the barriers faced by researchers who engage in open science.

Nominations will be accepted from representatives of:

The winning individual or team will:

  • receive a financial award of up to £20,000 which must be put towards further developing or showcasing the open science activity more widely. The prize will only be payable to a host organisation, not directly to individuals
  • be presented with a trophy and financial award, and have their open science activities showcased at a dedicated Medical Research Council (MRC) awards ceremony
  • have future opportunities to present their open science initiative via other UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) or MRC-led events and forums

Find out about past finalists.

Who you can nominate

Only representatives of HEIs, IROs and other organisations that have previously received or that are currently eligible to receive UKRI funding are eligible to submit a nomination.

Please note that nominations from MRC centres and units must be submitted via their host research organisation.

We’re looking for nominations for an individual, team of individuals, or network, across a broad range of career stages, who have made an outstanding contribution to advancing open science practices and principles into research.

To be eligible for the award, the work for which the individual or team has been nominated has to have been supported by MRC or the Medical Research Foundation. This could be through:

  • grant funding
  • a PhD studentship or fellowship
  • the research being based within an MRC centre, unit or institute

The funding must have provided a significant contributing factor to the advancement of the open science activity.

There is a one year resubmission policy. The individual or team can only be put forward for the Open Science Impact prize once every two years.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

We are committed to equality, diversity and inclusion. We especially encourage nominations for people who are currently under-represented in some sectors of the research and innovation community and in our previous prize nominees. This includes:

  • women
  • those with a disability
  • members of minority ethnic groups

Organisations are permitted to submit a maximum of two nominations per year. If two are submitted, at least one nomination must be:

  • for a diverse team which includes individuals who identify as being from at least one of the mentioned groups
  • for an individual who identifies as being from at least one of the mentioned groups

What we are looking to reward

The open science activity for which the individual, team or network is nominated must go beyond publishing papers in open access journals or pre-prints. It should demonstrate transformative and innovative ideas which are advancing open research practices in the UK or internationally.

The activities can be at the early stages of development, for example, local initiatives within a single team or department, or more advanced in development and implemented more widely, for example nationally or internationally.

Examples of activities could include, but are not limited to:

  • development of open data sharing platforms and standards
  • embedding open science practices in research workflows
  • establishing or contributing to consortia and networks
  • promoting and sharing best practices
  • development of training or protocols
  • development of open-source software or code that improves community uptake and the use of research data
  • open science advocacy initiatives, for example via outreach and engagement
  • citizen science initiatives
  • development of institutional disciplinary guidance and policies

The activities for which the individual, team or network are nominated must have contributed towards breaking barriers to the adoption of open science practices or embedding and advocating for open science in research. This is with the aim to:

  • enable reproducibility and transparency of research methods and findings
  • improve research culture

How to make a nomination

To make a nomination you will need to complete the information in the nomination portal and attach:

  • a completed MRC Impact Prize Open Science Impact nomination form
  • a completed nominee details form which must be individually completed by each nominee listed in the nomination
  • up to two letters of support

Nomination form

The nomination form must detail:

  • the activity to advance open science, including its:
    • demonstrated impact on improving data accessibility
    • transparency and reproducibility
    • research culture change
  • the approach the nominees took to develop, implement and share the activity, with the aim to improve open practices in the research community
  • the contributory impacts of the individual or individuals nominated for the prize, including how they had the appropriate set of skills, knowledge and attributes in enabling the impact to come to fruition – for team nominations, please explain the contributory roles of each individual as well as how the team’s conduct, cooperation, diversity and range of skills enabled the open science activity to be realised
  • the nature of funding from MRC or the Medical Research Foundation, and how this contributed to the achievements for which they are nominated
  • a description of how the financial award would be utilised (including indicative costs) to enable the further development of the open science activity or showcase the initiative to others, for example by attending and presenting at conferences

The nomination form must include an endorsement from a member of the institution’s senior management team, at a minimum level of:

  • the Dean or Head of School for HEIs
  • the Director or Head of Research for IROs, or equivalent

The form must include an explanation of the local process that led to the selection of the nominee or nominees from a diverse pool of researchers, taking into account equality, diversity and inclusion and mitigation of bias during the selection process.

Letters of support

These should be no more than one side of A4 each and should be in size 11 Arial font.

You should provide a maximum of two letters of support on headed paper. These can be from a senior member of the lead nominee’s institution or other individuals who can provide a supporting statement for the achievements of the nominee or nominees.

The letters should detail the relationship with the nominee or nominees and clearly explain the reasons why they should receive an MRC Impact Prize.

For team applications, please refer to the whole team in the letters of support.

How we will assess nominations

A dedicated MRC Prize Committee oversees the MRC Impact Prize.

The committee is chaired by the MRC Executive Chair and is comprised of 24 members from across:

  • MRC boards, panels and overview groups
  • MRC strategy board
  • MRC council
  • industry and external representation

The committee will review and score nominations against the following areas:

  • the extent and significance of the impact in making research more open, reproducible and transparent
  • how well the nominee or nominees approached developing, implementing and sharing the activity
  • how well the individual or team demonstrated the appropriate skills, knowledge and attributes to drive the impact to fruition

The committee will select the highly commended and winning entries. The prize will be awarded at an MRC awards ceremony.


For more information email the MRC Impact Prize team.


Last updated: 28 February 2024

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