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Joint translational funding from Action Medical Research and LifeArc

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The next round for joint translational funding from Action Medical Research and LifeArc is now open for outline applications

Action Medical Research and LifeArc want to improve the lives of children suffering from rare disease and are working together to co-fund translational, rare disease research projects. Co-funding aims to accelerate promising, cutting-edge medical research that could have a significant impact on the treatment of infants, children and young people (CYP) with any of the >7000 heterogeneous conditions collectively called ‘rare disease’.


The joint fund will be used to support biomedical research projects from across the UK that have moved beyond a basic understanding of rare disease mechanism into the development of an intervention (therapeutic, diagnostic, or device).

Applications should:

  • address a significant, unmet need for children and young people (CYP) with rare disease
  • have a strong scientific rationale
  • be target-driven, with a credible delivery plan and milestones
  • have a clear route to patients.

The following activities are eligible for support:

  • Developing candidate therapeutic entities (e.g. drug discovery).
  • Pre-clinical testing of novel therapeutic entities in vitro or in vivo.
  • Pre-clinical validation for repurposed therapeutics.
  • Early-phase clinical trials (phases 1/2) of novel therapeutics or existing therapeutics repurposed for a new indication.
  • Developing and testing diagnostics in a pre-clinical or early-phase clinical research setting.
  • Developing and testing novel medical devices.

A high proportion of paediatric rare diseases are monogenic and poorly served by more traditional treatment options. Many of these conditions may benefit from newer gene therapy approaches. Eligible applications could therefore include projects focused on the development of targeted gene therapy.  All modalities of intervention are eligible for support from the scheme, including small molecules, peptides, antibodies, cell and gene therapy, vaccines, diagnostic or prognostic approaches (such as biomarker identification and/or validation, improved imaging or screening techniques), medical devices, and psychological interventions.

Projects are expected to have a clear route for delivery of patient benefit and an appropriate strategy for management of intellectual property to facilitate further development or commercialisation.

Applicant eligibility

Projects must be led by research-active professionals based at UK universities, hospitals or research institutes. We encourage applications from early career, independent investigators (e.g. University Lecturer within 5-years of first appointment). Collaborations are encouraged where relevant to the project. Where appropriate, there must be plans to put in place suitable collaboration agreements with collaborators.

Lead applicants may only submit one application per round.

Funding available

There is a total of £1 million available under this call. The fund aims to support a small number of high-quality projects of up to three years duration, providing a maximum of £250,000 per project.

Application and review process

This is a two-stage process:

  1. Applicants are required to submit an outline application form to Action Medical Research. Applications for co-funded projects will need to meet the guidelines on the Action Medical Research website. The specific outline application form for this call should be used as it contains additional questions for translational research. Applicants may submit one application per round. A submitted outline application judged to be within remit will be reviewed by the Action Medical Research Scientific Advisory Panel for this joint call.
  2. Successful applicants from the outline stage will be invited to complete full application forms supplied by the grants team. Applicants will be directed to guidelines for submitting a full application, which they will need to meet. Submitted applications will undergo external peer review and further review by the Scientific Advisory Panel for this Action LifeArc call. Full applications will be in open competition with other applications in the grant round.

Deadlines and outcomes

The deadline for submission of outline applications is 14 June 2023. Applicants can expect to hear the outcome of their outline application in October 2023 and the deadline for full applications is expected to be in November 2023. Final funding decisions are expected to be announced in summer 2024 and successful projects funded by the scheme would be expected to start later in 2024.


Questions regarding the grant round should be directed to Action Medical Research by contacting


Action Medical Research is a leading UK-wide charity saving and changing children’s lives through medical research. For 70 years we’ve helped pioneer ways to prevent disease and develop treatments benefiting millions of people. Our research has helped to beat polio in the UK, develop ultrasound in pregnancy, fight meningitis and prevent stillbirths.

LifeArc is a self-funded medical research charity. Our mission is to advance translation of early science into health care treatments or diagnostics that can be taken through to full development and made available to patients. We have been doing this for more than 25 years and our work has resulted in a diagnostic for antibiotic resistance and four licensed medicines. 

LifeArc is proud to be renewing joint funding with Action Medical Research, which is the latest in a series of strategic collaborations that leverage LifeArc’ s expertise in translational science – advancing strong discoveries from the lab to a point where rare disease patients can benefit. This includes a recent £8M commitment made by LifeArc to support the delivery of new gene therapy treatment through a unique partnership with the MRC. Through this partnership, LifeArc is partly funding a network of cutting-edge facilities – also known as Hubs - to enable the progress of novel, academic gene therapy research into early-stage clinical trials and bring a new generation of medicines to healthcare. It is hoped that promising gene therapy approaches, such as those supported by LifeArc’s joint fund with Action Medical Research, may benefit from interaction with the Hubs as they progress towards clinical trials.

Please read before applying

Project Grant Applications Guidelines and Outline Form

Applications should be of the highest quality as the scheme is very competitive