MRC Big Ideas

MRC’s mechanisms for horizon scanning and ideas generation are currently being reviewed. New submissions to MRC’s Big Ideas programme are not being accepted.

The Medical Research Council (MRC) has launched a pilot programme to encourage the submission of ambitious and exciting ideas that have the potential to transform the health research landscape and help us to achieve the strategy outlined in our delivery plan 2019. We’re looking to engage with the research and innovation community to identify ideas that will attract the enthusiasm of researchers, the public, industry and government, either by the nature of the science itself or the potential health and socio-economic changes these could offer in the future. Submissions will contribute to the development of a pipeline of ideas and cases that can be used to attract public investment should opportunities arise.

Big Ideas are expected to be novel and adventurous and offer investment opportunities for new ways of working, infrastructure, or research that cannot be supported through our existing funding routes. They will be distinctive, compelling and have the potential to create transformational change. The ideas should appeal to the research and innovation communities that would be expected to play a central role in realising their potential. They can be fundamental or applied, UK-based or international partnerships and multidisciplinary ideas are particularly encouraged.

MRC’s Big Ideas programme is not a funding opportunity as there is no dedicated funding aligned to this activity

We are not looking for research grants that can be supported now but hope to capture visionary, community-led ideas to inform the development of our future research strategy.

How do I submit a Big Idea?

By completing the Big Ideas submission form and submitting it to Forms can be submitted at any time.

Submissions meeting the criteria for the Big Ideas pilot will be considered by MRC’s internal Science Strategy Group (SSG) in the first instance. Ideas are expected to be considered in batches on a regular basis (approximately every three to four months). Informal feedback will be provided on any ideas considered by the SSG.

Who can submit a Big Idea?

We are inviting ideas from the research and innovation community and wider stakeholders including industry or charitable bodies. We would recommend that you discuss your idea with a group of interested parties and stakeholders before submission.

How will the Big Ideas be used?

Ideas identified as having transformative potential will be considered as a part of MRC’s strategy development activities and may contribute to the development of cases to attract further investment.

Please note, that once an idea has been submitted you are giving MRC permission to develop the idea as it sees appropriate. If prioritised, this is likely to include further development with the submitter and may include inviting other people to be involved or lead the development of the idea.

Last updated: 7 December 2023

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