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MRC Fellowship - Partnership Awards

For existing MRC fellows

MRC’s Fellowship – Partnership Awards aim to stimulate collaborative, mutually beneficial research and partnership between industry and academia and to enhance MRC fellows’ development as research leaders. The awards offer both financial and advisory support for existing MRC fellows. They are one of several means offered by the MRC to deliver collaborative research and build sustainable industry-academic partnerships.


The Partnership Award funds may be used to build on the fellow’s current research, either during the course of the fellowship or as an extension to the fellowship. Applicants are expected to be at least half-way through their fellowship to be eligible to apply.


MRC also offers advice to all current and potential fellows who are interested in pursuing collaboration with industry during their fellowship. Existing and prospective MRC fellows will be able to obtain advice on different aspects of industry collaboration from an expert panel, which will help them to formulate their ideas and aspirations.


New fellowship applicants are also able to incorporate industry collaboration to their research proposals, applying through MRC’s fellowship schemes.


MRC Fellowship - Partnership Awards: Objectives

MRC Fellowship – Partnership Awards will fund fellows in undertaking successful and productive collaborative industry-academic research as part of an existing fellowship project or programme.


The awards will stimulate partnerships with industry to increase the exchange of knowledge, skills and creativity between the fellow and the company as well as to further enhance a fellow’s career.



The Partnership Awards provides additional, flexible support for existing MRC fellows to build effective partnerships with industry and add value to their research careers.

There are no restrictions on the type of company to collaborate with, nor is there necessarily a need for the fellow to relocate, as long as the collaborative research relationship between the industry and academic partner organisation is successfully forged. It is really important that the relationship provides mutual and balanced benefits for the fellow, the industry partner and their academic base.


The partnership need not be a fully-fledged research project; it could be an exploratory partnership building activity, preparative pilot study, or a study of best practice or methodologies. The proposed activity must be clearly specified and offer significant added value for the fellow, including the acquisition of new knowledge and skills (as opposed to merely the exchange of samples/reagents).


Advice stage

MRC offers advice to all potential applicants who are interested in pursuing collaboration with industry during their fellowship.


This advice stage may be used whether you are interested in obtaining advice on:

  • incorporating industry collaboration as part of a new MRC Fellowship application, or
  • incorporating industry collaboration as part of an existing MRC Fellowship, (when applying for an MRC Fellowship - Partnership Award).


To ensure the advice provided is as useful as possible, prospective and new fellows will be invited to discuss their proposal at a Partnership Award panel meeting at the MRC London Head Office.


The prospective fellow who is interested in taking part in the Advice stage should complete and submit the short ‘Advice form’, aimed at collecting information and questions prior to the panel meetings.


The advice is provided by experts drawn from the MRC funding boards and fellowship panels, including industry representatives and senior MRC Head office staff. Besides providing advice to applicants, this Partnership Panel is also responsible for assessing Partnership Award applications.


MRC strongly recommends potential applicants to take advantage of this opportunity to obtain advice, to maximise their chances of submitting a successful application.


Table 1: Flowchart of MRC’s fellowship opportunities involving partnering with industry. This flowchart is also available in the guidance document - Industry partnership opportunities for MRC fellows.


Funding Available

There is no financial cap on MRC Fellowship – Partnership Awards, however; MRC does not anticipate applications exceeding £200,000. Any application close to or over this amount should be discussed with the MRC, preferably at the Advice stage, prior to submitting an application.


It is the responsibility of both partners to agree terms and conditions for management of the collaboration and payment from the academic partner to the industry partner to reimburse costs where appropriate. Please see the guidance for applicants for further information regarding funding available and eligibility.


Criteria for Assessment

A panel of experts drawn from the MRC funding boards and fellowship panels, including industry representatives and senior MRC Head office staff (the Partnership Panel) will assess Partnership Award proposals on the basis of their:

  • Relevance and strategic fit to the objectives of the scheme and synergy to the fellow’s existing award.
  • The benefits to the individual Fellow, including career development opportunities.
  • The added-value of the partnership for the Fellow.
  • A clear focus on specific and achievable outcomes.
  • A convincing vision of what success of the partnership will look like and how success will be measured.
  • Demonstration of clear commitment from the industry partner supporting the formation of a strong and successful industry–academia partnership.
  • Value for money based on a strong rationale for the proposed use of resources and the benefit to the Fellow.


How to Apply

Before submitting a Partnership Award proposal, you should read the guidance notes Industry partnership opportunities for MRC fellows, all guidance relevant to your chosen fellowship scheme and the terms and conditions governing MRC funded research.


Completed applications must be submitted in PDF format by email, through the form provided below. Emails should be sent to with ‘MRC Fellowship - Partnership Award’ marked in the subject line.


Applications and advice forms are accepted and assessed on a rolling basis throughout the year and will be reviewed every other month by the Partnership Panel.


Applications should be submitted directly to the MRC. Applicants must not communicate directly with the members of the Panel about their proposal, unless that person is a collaborator in the proposal, in which case their involvement must be made clear.


Related Opportunities

MRC Fellowship - Partnership Awards are part of a suite of opportunities developed by the MRC to stimulate collaborative research across academia and industry and deliver the skills and capabilities needed by the healthcare industry in the UK.


Industry CASE studentships

This PhD studentship scheme aims to provide a challenging training experience through collaboration between academic and industry partners.


MRC Industry Collaboration Agreements (MICA)

Providing support for academic-industry biomedical research collaborations.


Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

  • Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) are three-way projects between a KTP Associate (early-career researcher), a company and a academic research organisation
  • KTPs are managed by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) and jointly funded by the MRC and TSB
  • For further details on how to apply for a KTP please visit the Knowledge Transfer Partnerships website



Any enquiries regarding how to submit your Partnership Award application should be directed to


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