Area of investment and support

Area of investment and support: MRC impact acceleration accounts (previously confidence in concept)

Impact acceleration accounts (IAAs) are strategic awards providing funding to research organisations to use creatively for a wide range of impact activities.

The aim of this programme is to speed up the transition from discovery research to translational development projects. It will do this by funding preliminary work to establish the viability of an approach and to rapidly de-risk projects across the whole translational pathway.

Budget:
MRC has invested over £93 million in this programme since 2012
Duration:
ongoing
Partners involved:
Medical Research Council (MRC)

The scope and what we're doing

Following the harmonisation of UKRI Impact Acceleration Accounts, MRC’s Confidence in Concept has now become MRC Impact Acceleration Accounts (IAA).

IAA is an integral part of MRC’s translational research strategy and provides annual awards to institutions of between £150,000 and £800,000 to flexibly support a portfolio of translational research projects. It is intended to accelerate the transition from discovery research to translational development projects by supporting preliminary work to establish the viability of an approach and to rapidly de-risk projects across the whole translational pathway so that they become competitive for substantial funding for development.

Since 2012, MRC has invested over £93 million in the scheme. It has funded 37 research institutions from across the UK and supported over 1500 projects. These projects have since generated proof-of-concept data, secured follow-on funds for further development, and led to new industry collaborations and spin-out companies.

Aims and remit

Ensuring that fundamental science is translated into new therapies, diagnostics and medical devices is central to our mission. MRC’s IAA aims to accelerate the transition from discovery science to the early stages of therapeutic and biomarker development and rapidly de-risk projects across the translational lifecycle, so that they become competitive for substantial funding bids from competitions or other sources.

The award provides institutions with locally administered, flexible funding to support a diverse portfolio of translational projects and to respond to institutional needs and opportunities. The projects supported should aim to generate sufficient or critical preliminary data to establish the viability of an approach before seeking more substantial funding, for example, from the Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme (DPFS).

Collaborative working and cross-sector skills flow are often key to successful translational development. Institutions are encouraged to explore how awards could be used to develop new academic and industry interactions and enable knowledge exchange, and may use a small proportion (up to 15%) of the award to support such activities. These can include networking and showcase events, developing early stage collaborations, supporting short-term people exchanges and co-funding projects.

Find guidance on MRC industry collaboration agreements (MICA).

The funding is not intended to support:

  • entire translational projects – applicants seeking funding for project grants are directed to DPFS
  • industrial partner costs
  • staff between posts or funding (for example, as bridging funds)
  • PhD studentships
  • continuation of normal research grants
  • costs related to protection of intellectual property
  • staff exchange into a spin-out company of the host institution.

Who to contact

Ask a question about the programme

The DPFS Team

Email: dpfsanddcs@mrc.ukri.org

Dr Agnes Leong

Email: agnes.leong@mrc.ukri.org

Governance, management and panels

IAA panel membership from 1 November 2021:

  • Professor Jonathan Seckl (Chair), University of Edinburgh
  • Dr Veronique Birault, Francis Crick Institute
  • Dr Gillian Burgess, Grunenthal
  • Dr Morag Foreman, Wellcome
  • Dr Phil L’Huillier, Catalym
  • Dr John Stageman, University of Manchester
  • Professor Paul Stewart, University of Leeds
  • Dr Jason Witherington, Johnson & Johnson
  • Dr Joanna Wolak, SV Health Investors

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