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Tackling AMR Theme 1: Understanding resistant bacteria in context of the host

  • Status: Closed
  • Open date: 16 Jun 2014
  • Closing date: 02 Sep 2014 16:00 GMT+1
  • Type: Calls

Focus of the call

The focus of the call is to drive forward innovative high quality multi-disciplinary collaborative research to address the broad challenges presented in AMR initiative - theme 1 in order to:

  • Understand the resistant bacterium at molecular, cell and population levels
  • Understand the context of host/pathogen interactions in humans and animals
  • Identify and validate novel targets for new antibacterials
  • Understand transmission of resistance in humans and animals

We welcome proposals which encompass academia, biopharma, diagnostic companies, veterinary and the health service.

Strategic objectives

The objectives of the call are to:

  • Provide a better understanding of resistance mechanisms
  • Identify new targets for potential therapies based on a fuller understanding of the chemical biology of bacteria Provide the basis for new diagnostics and  surveillance
  • Establish new ways of predicting and influencing the evolution of resistance
  • Set foundations for world-class translational bacteriology

Available funds and types of awards

Funds will be available through two modes of support:

AMR Collaborative grants

Collaborative grants will support high quality innovative research conducted by multi-disciplinary teams of researchers to address the specific priority areas highlighted in the call. We expect that most collaborations will be highly interdisciplinary with expertise that could include basic bacteriology, chemists, synthetic biologists, material scientists, mathematicians, informatics and computational modelling.  They may often need to involve research groups from more than one University, including researchers with a strong track record and expertise that can add value to the proposed research. Collaboratives can address single pathogenic species or multiple species.

A budget of £8m (80% fec) will be made available to support 2-3 multidisciplinary collaborative awards over a 4-5 year period. It would therefore be anticipated that the maximum level for any proposal would be in the range of £3m. As part of the award, programmes will be given a small contingency (approximately £50k) to be used for networking across the awarded programmes.

Innovation grants

In addition to the Collaborative grants, applications for smaller, novel, high risk proposals are welcomed. These awards will support more focused but particularly innovative studies with a high degree of risk. The focus of these grants is on research that is potentially transformative, stimulating creative thinking across disciplines. Up to £250k (80% fec) per project will be available over 12-24 months period.

Eligibility

Standard RCUK eligibility criteria will apply with respect to individual applicants and the call is open to any UK-based researchers who can demonstrate that they will direct the proposed research and be actively engaged in carrying it through. Please see the guidance for applicants for further details.

An eligible individual may submit a maximum of one Collaborative grant and one Innovation grant as a PI. An individual may be a collaborator on any number of proposals in addition to the above.

All investigators and their institutions will need to be registered on the J-eS system. If not registered, you will need to contact the Je-S helpdesk (+44(0) 1793 444164) for assistance. The registration of your institution may take some time therefore you are advised to begin this process well in advance of submitting your proposal. 

Eligible institutions include UK higher education institutions, Research Council institutes, and eligible Independent Research Organisations (IROs). All IROs listed on the RCUK web page  are eligible to apply.

International Researchers are eligible to apply as co-applicants, providing their inclusion in the project is justified. Costs associated with international co-applicants and any locally employed staff are eligible for 100% fec (exceptions). Please see the guidance for applicants for further guidance. To note, all funds are awarded to the lead Research Organisation, which is then responsible for the distribution of funds to any collaborating research organisation.

How to apply

MRC is administering and managing the call on behalf of the AMR funding partners. Awards funded under the AMR initiative will follow standard MRC terms and conditions.

You must submit your application using the UK Research Councils’ Joint electronic Submission (Je-S) System. Guidance on setting up a Je-S account and on filling out the Je-S forms is also available.

Please note that clicking ‘submit document’ on your proposal form in Je-S initially submits the proposal to your host organisation’s administration, not to MRC. Please ensure you allow sufficient time for your organisation’s submission process between submitting your proposal to them and the call closing date, to ensure that your application reaches us by this date. Applications received after the deadline will not be considered.

AMR Collaborative grants

The submission process will be in two stages; an outline stage followed by a full application stage.

Outline phase

When creating your proposal in Je-S you will need to enter the following options to ensure that your proposal is considered under the correct funding scheme:

Select Council: MRC

Select Document Type: Outline Proposal

Select Scheme: Standard Outline

Select Call/Type/Mode: AMR Theme 1 Outline Sep 2014

You must submit your application to MRC via Je-S by 16:00 on 2 September 2014, having answered all mandatory sections and attaching the following items:

  • Case for support (maximum of 5 sides of A4, including references)
  • Justification of resources (maximum 2 sides of A4)
  • Gantt chart
  • 2 page CVs
  • Supporting documents and letters of collaboration

Please complete all sections of the Je-S application. General guidance can be found in the guidance for applicants, which will guide you through the standard processes for preparing a proposal, page limit for standard attachments, costing your proposals and any ethical and regulatory requirements that may apply to the research. Please refer to the following additional guidance which documents how to prepare your case for support for the outline phase.

Applicants should also refer to the guidance for applicants for general information about the MRC application process.

Full proposal phase

You will receive access to the full proposal application process and guidance if you are selected to proceed to the full proposal stage following review of your outline. You will be notified in late October 2014. The time between invitation to full application stage and deadline for submission of full applications will be approximately 6 weeks.

Applicants invited forward to the full stage will need to submit a full application via Je-S by 16:00 on 5 December 2014. As with the outline application stage, full stage applicants will be required to complete a tailored case for support form. Guidance on how to complete this form and make the full submission will be provided in due course.

Innovation grants

Innovation grants will be submitted as full proposals with no outline stage.

When you create your proposal in Je-S you will need to enter the following options to ensure that your proposal is considered under the correct funding scheme:

Select Council: MRC

Select Document Type: Standard proposal

Select Scheme: Research Grant

Select Call/Type/Mode: AMR Theme 1 Projects Sep 2014

You will have two opportunities in the year to apply for funding for the Innovation grants. You must submit your application to MRC via Je-S by 16:00 on either 2 September 2014 or 12 January 2015 having answered all mandatory sections, and attaching your case for support and supporting documents.

Please complete all sections of the Je-S application. General guidance can be found in the guidance for applicants, which will guide you through the standard processes for preparing a proposal, page limit for standard attachments, costing your proposals and any ethical and regulatory requirements that may apply to the research. Please refer to the following additional guidance which documents how to prepare your case for support.

Applicants should also refer to the guidance for applicants for general information about the MRC application process.

Evaluation criteria

Applications will be evaluated against the following criteria:

  • Fit to the call. The application must address the focus and objectives defined by the call and demonstrate a level of innovation and originality.
  • Academic merit of the proposal – quality and novelty of the proposed research.
  • Relevance – importance of the research question to the field. Will the research potentially make a significant impact to advancing knowledge in the area above and beyond what is currently being funded? 
  • Robustness and appropriateness of the study designs and methods.
  • Feasibility and value for money.
  • Management of proposed activities.
  • Multi-disciplinary and collaborative approach – Does the study truly involve a range of research disciplines? Does the team have the necessary range of expertise and experience to carry out the proposed study?
  • Suitability of the research environment. Are all the necessary requirements to carry out the study in place or available?
  • Ethical and governance considerations. Have issues been adequately identified and addressed?

Innovation grants will be assessed and scored using the standard 1-10 scoring system used by Board and Panels (for further information see Reviewers handbook (PDF, 1.09MB)).

Assessment process

AMR Collaborative grants

Outline phase

Outline collaborative grant applications will be reviewed by an expert panel in mid-October 2014 and they will be assessed against the evaluation criteria above. The Panel’s recommendations will be confirmed by the AMR Steering Committee. The outline application assessment will not draw on external referee comments and hence no response to such comments by principal investigators will be required.

The outcome of the outline application assessment process is that applicants will either be invited to develop a full submission or will be declined and feedback provided.

Please note that the decisions of the Panel and Steering Group will not be open to appeal and that the MRC reserves the right to amend the application process.

Full proposal phase

Full applications will be reviewed by the expert panel and the AMR Steering Committee in March 2015. A full list of membership will be published on the website shortly.

Full applications will be sent out for international peer review and principal investigators will be given the opportunity to comment on these ahead of the Expert Panel meeting. An interview stage with the personal investigators may be required in March 2015.

Please note that the decisions of the Panel and Steering Group will not be open to appeal and that the MRC reserves the right to amend the application process.

Innovation grants

High risk proposals will be reviewed by an expert panel in mid-October 2014. Proposals will be assessed and scored using the standard 1-10 scoring system used by Board and Panels (for further information see Reviewers handbook) and a funding recommendation made to the AMR Steering Committee. The application assessment will not draw on external referee comments and hence no response to such comments by principal investigators will be required.

Please note that the decisions of the Panel and Steering Group will not be open to appeal and that the MRC reserves the right to amend the application process.

Key dates

The key dates are listed below:

AMR Theme 1 Collaborative grants
Task Date
Launch call 16 June 2014
Outline application deadline 2 September 2014
Expert Panel & Steering Group to assess outlines Mid-October 2014
Full application deadline 4 December 2014
Potential interviews March 2015
Expert Panel & Steering Group to make funding decision on full applications March 2015
AMR Theme 1 Innovation grants
Task Date
Launch call 16 June 2014
Application deadline 1 2 September 2014
Expert Panel & Steering Group to make funding decision 1 Mid-October 2014
Application deadline 2 13 January 2015
Expert Panel & Steering Group to make funding decision 2 March 2015

All enquiries should be directed in the first instance to the Medical Research Council:

Contact: Ghada Zoubiane

Email: AMR@headoffice.mrc.ac.uk

BBSRC also have a contact for this call if applicants would like to raise specific queries which they feel would be better addressed by BBSRC.

Contact: Sian Rowland

Email: AMR@bbsrc.ac.uk