The partnership grant aims to provide support for collaborative activities that add value to existing research or helps galvanise researchers in a particular field, or complementary fields, to address important issues that cannot be addressed through other funding arrangements.
- What is a Partnership grant?
- Who can apply?
- Financial support
- The assessment procedure
- Contacts and guidance
The partnership grant scheme provides core funds for one to five years for managed consortia and partnerships and for supporting more diverse groupings of researchers, who may lack the scale, longevity, or organisation expected of an MRC centre. For more information please see the associated guidance annex.
Funding can be provided for the following activities:
- Strengthening of research activity across the field;
- Boosting capability;
- Encouraging collaboration, training and career development;
- Establishing critical mass;
- Knowledge sharing between Institutions, by establishing multi-disciplinary collaborative partnerships;
- Developing consortia;
- Developing strategy.
These activities may be applicable to environments such as:
- Multi-institutional/multi-disciplinary groupings;
- Strategic partnerships between organisations;
- Large scale partnerships.
Typically they require a management structure with an identified leader or co-ordinator who will manage the funding on behalf of the MRC to ensure that progress is made against the aims.
Any UK based researcher who can demonstrate that they will direct the proposed partnership activities and manage the funding on behalf of the MRC to ensure that progress is made against the aims. This scheme is not open to MRC institutes and units. However, MRC Institutes and Units can apply as co-applicants on any grant. The lead PI must be eligible to apply for the scheme & their institution/HEI must be able to apply in response mode.
All eligible lead research organisations must also be registered with the MRC to apply for funding.
Support can be requested for between one and five years.
Funding is available for:
- The Partnership Grant should add value to high-quality scientific programmes that are already supported by grants from the MRC and other funders. The funding for new research projects which may arise from the Partnership should also be covered through MRC Programme and Research Grants and training awards, coupled with other schemes and non-MRC funding
- Exceptionally, small scale, pilot, proof of principle, multidisciplinary, high risk projects which will strengthen the Partnerships’ strategy may be considered but should not be the focus of the application
- establishing shared infrastructure for example staff, systems, equipment, seminars, workshops which should include a co-ordinated set of activities to promote, outreach work and travel;
- training and capacity building (excluding fellowships but including PhD studentships).
MRC does not expect studentships to form a major component of Partnership Grant applications. Studentships may be included where distinctive added value to the students’ training experience can be demonstrated, such as through a unique environment created by the proposed Partnership. Applicants must demonstrate why any proposed studentships could not be leveraged from existing studentship support, for example MRC Doctoral Training Grant funding. Applicants should also consider how the proposed studentships will add value to, and contribute towards the success of the Partnership.
The MRC will usually fund on the basis of 80 per cent of the full economic cost of your research to your institution. Your proposal must show 100 per cent of the full economic costing throughout.
Any applications containing MRC Institutes and Units must be costed on the basis of 100% FEC. Applicants must discuss and agree the costs of the proposed research with their Institute/Unit Senior Finance Manager.
How to apply?
- Check which of the MRC’s four Research Boards awards grants in your scientific area and check its application deadline dates. Applicants must contact the Programme Manager of the relevant MRC scientific board to discuss the partnership grant. This is mandatory.
- Read the MRC applicants handbook, this will guide you through the application process. Please also ensure you read the terms and conditions concerning MRC grants.
Outline proposals are mandatory.
- All new invited Full applications must be preceded by an Outline application (which the Board must have approved). Unsolicited Full applications will not be considered, and therefore will be rejected.
- To ensure that your application reaches us in time, please give your administrative department at least two weeks’ notice of your application and the MRC research board deadline date.
Your outline proposal must be submitted through the MRC Je-S system by 4pm on the relevant Partnership Outline deadline date.
Your full proposal must be submitted through the MRC Je-S system by 4pm on the relevant Research Board's deadline date.
The MRC reserves the right to alter or amend application submission deadline dates in 2011, due to changes in back office systems. Should the need arise to change published deadlines, MRC will notify affected Applicants.
At outline stage, the MRC will assess your proposal based only on its suitability as a partnership grant, and will not consider the detail of its scientific content. The case for whether a full application should be invited will therefore be judged according to the need to pursue the proposed activities using a partnership approach, the strategic fit it provides to MRC strategy, and the financial aspects of the grant. The scientific case for support at this stage should be limited to a brief overview of aims and value of the partnership activity (including appropriateness of the approach and timeliness), its strategic importance to the field(s), and why it cannot be supported through current funding arrangements.
Outlines are assessed by independent scientific experts, usually the relevant Board Chair, designated Board members and the Board Programme Manager. The MRC office will inform you if, following consideration of your outline, the MRC wishes to invite you to submit a full proposal.
If you are invited to submit a full proposal your proposal will be peer-reviewed by independent scientific experts in the UK and overseas. This peer review of full proposals is the first part of a two-stage process, which helps the MRC Research Boards to decide which proposals to consider at their funding meetings.
You will receive anonymous copies of the reviewers’ assessments of your full proposal. If your proposal is shortlisted, you will have the opportunity to comment on them before your proposal is considered by the relevant Research Board. You will also receive feedback on the Board’s final decision.
The Research Boards use similar criteria to those of the referees and also identify any ethical issues or risks to human participants that need further attention.
Please note that applicants must not lobby MRC staff, referees, or members of peer review panels and boards, nor submit additional information in support of an application after the original submission date. To do so may result in the application being withdrawn by the MRC. Further information about the MRC’s about the assessment procedure can be found in the Applicant Handbook.
To discuss your eligibility for a Partnership grant, or if you have other non-scientific queries
If you have a query about scientific aspects of your proposal, contact the relevant MRC programme manager on the research board’s contacts page.