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What Next? MRC Opportunities Mark Pitman Theme Leader, Methodology, MRC MRC/NIHR Methodology Fellows Workshop – 9 th February 2011.

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Presentation on theme: "What Next? MRC Opportunities Mark Pitman Theme Leader, Methodology, MRC MRC/NIHR Methodology Fellows Workshop – 9 th February 2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 What Next? MRC Opportunities Mark Pitman Theme Leader, Methodology, MRC MRC/NIHR Methodology Fellows Workshop – 9 th February 2011

2 Content About the MRC Funding opportunities Tips on making a successful application

3 Its work, on behalf of the UK taxpayer, ranges from molecular level science to public health medicine and understanding of the human body in health and disease. Our aims are to: Encourage and support research to improve human health. Produce skilled researchers. Advance and disseminate knowledge and technology to improve the quality of life and economic competitiveness of the UK. Promote dialogue with the public about medical research. The Medical Research Councils mission is to improve human health via research

4 MRC funding – where/what MRC funding for research ~50% of funding is in response mode (to HEIs and other ROs) 22 Centres, research grants, training awards and fellowships ~50% of funding is directly to MRC research establishments 3 institutes, 28 units Over £60m pa on training and career development People Supports 3000 staff on research grants Employs over 4000 staff in UK and overseas 350 research fellows and 1400 students

5 MRC Funding Methodology – 43 Grants 28 investigator led - £9.9m 15 Needs-Led - £4.1m Fellowships Methodology - 7 Biostatistics - 8 Economics of Health - 8 Population Health - 15

6 MRC Clinical Trial Methodology Hubs ConDuCT HTMR Edinburgh HTMR Midlands HTMR Cambridge HTMR (MRC BSU) London HTMR (MRC CTU) Oxford HTMR (MRC CTSU) Northwest HTMR All-Ireland HTMR

7 1. Improve the national methodological platform in trials research: –drive forward methodological research and innovation –training 2. Stimulate collaboration and communication: –between Hubs –external methodologists –Clinical trialists 3. Add value: –collaborative research projects –workshops and conferences –methodology advisory service for trials (MAST) Aims:

8 … we offer a wide range of awards About the MRC Funding opportunities Tips on making a successful application

9 Our website should be your first port of call …

10 Types of post doctoral fellowship Non-Clinical, Clinical and several Capacity Development fellowships Research Yrs Post PhD Career Development Award Senior Non-Clinical Population Health Scientist Bioinformatics, Biostats, EoH 3yr 4yr 2yr Methodology Research 4yr Clinical RTF Clinician Scientist Senior Clinical Clinical Training PhD

11 Which award to apply for depends on the nature of the project and your career stage PhD studentResearch Assistant Post on Grant New Investigator Research Grants Research Grants (CoI & PI) Post-Doc 1 Post-Doc 2(+) Lecturer Readership Professorship Studentships via Doctoral Training Account Intermediate Awards Career Development Senior Fellowships Non Clinical Appointment Fellowship Opportunities Grant Opportunities Programme Grants (CoI & PI)

12 Even once youve decided to apply for a grant, look at the website because some may suit your project better than others

13 Types of grants Standard response mode Grants –Research grants –New investigator research grants –Programme grants Awards to promote collaboration –Between HEIs (Partnership grants) –With industry (MRC Industry Collaboration Awards) Short awards for personal development –Discipline hopping –People exchange

14 Strategic initiatives, programmes & calls Grants and fellowships may be available through: Strategic Programmes –Developmental pathway funding scheme (preclinical) –Developmental clinical studies (early clinical) –Translational stem cell research programme –Methodology research programme Open Calls for proposals, including –Experimental medicine for mental health –National Prevention Research Initiative (joint funding) Anticipated Calls –Regenerative medicine (joint funding) – EOIs in March

15 There is a quick link on our website to both grants and calls

16 Highlight notice

17 This is also where you find the link to our electronic application & assessment system

18 So, what do you need to look out for when preparing your application? About the MRC Funding opportunities Tips on making a successful application

19 Not clear what impact the research will have (so what…?) Worthy solid (but dull) More of the same, duplicative, unambitious No clear hypothesis or important question Unfocused. Overambitious – too much, no clear plan Methodology insufficiently detailed, limitations not appreciated Lack of preliminary data / appropriate experience Modest publication record (for experienced researchers) Inadequate knowledge and expertise Lack of collaborators, supervision & mentorship Common reasons why proposals fail

20 Being successful Understand the funder –Science: remit and opportunities –Administrative: Forms; CV; page length & number; finance & signatures… Be bold –Ambitious, original… and NOT boring Plan well & be realistic –You will be over-optimistic ! A complex study will roll out slower than you think. –Agreements and authorisations will take time. –Not everything will work. Clarify dependencies, risks and plan contingencies

21 Being successful Discuss and learn –Draw on experienced colleagues, mentors, research Board members, funding officials & patient groups –Learn from failure and feedback (<25% of proposals may be funded) Present clearly: person, project, place –Be specific: what you aim to achieve, why and how –You will need to inform and persuade a diverse audience –Explain and justify research question / hypothesis design / strategy delivery (methods, collaborations, management); ethics resources

22 Remember… Your application will only be as strong as its weakest link Deliverability Resources Design Need & Potential for Impact Ethics

23 Overview: Applying for Your Grant 1.Plan your options vis-à-vis published Fellowship competitions & dates Advertised 1 or 2x pa 2.Identify remit/scope, eligibility, criteria, process & dates. 3.Develop proposal well ahead: take advice 4.Applications forms = web- based 5.Submission through web, CD or internet. Sign off = critical 6.Admin check by funder. 3-5 expert referees assigned. Referees write report & score Shortlisting by referees scores –25% declined Board Meeting –Two designated Panel members present the proposal –Discussion –Scoring –Ranking Outcome within days

24 Depending on the nature of your query you can contact us in a number of ways General Enquiries Post Award Administration (award letters, payments & queries) Scientific queries via Programme Managers Details on MRC web-site (www.mrc.ac.uk)www.mrc.ac.uk e.g.


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