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Project Grant Applications Guidelines

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The principal investigator (PI) for a project grant is normally employed in a permanent position in a UK university or institution. We welcome applications from early career researchers with an independent position who are less than 5 years in post. Fixed term employees on a long term contract may be eligible to be a PI, providing the term of employment extends at least six months beyond the duration of the proposed research project and the host research institution is prepared to give all the necessary support to the individual and the project. We would not pay the salary of a PI.

Research workers who require personal support from a project grant, and who have made a substantial intellectual contribution to the grant proposal, may be named as co-applicants with an established member of staff as the principal applicant.

Grants are provided for up to three years duration in support of one precisely formulated line of research. An outline of the proposed research is required before a full application can be invited. Successful applicants from the outline stage will be sent a link to our application form. Awards will be made following peer review.

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

Our maximum project grant award for the joint round with LifeArc is £250,000 across our wider remit the upper limit for a project grant is normally £200,000. We are happy to consider grant requests at a lower level of funding.

Support covers salary costs, consumables and items of dedicated equipment essential for carrying out the work. We would expect the university or research institute to provide standard laboratory equipment and standard office computers. The application should not include any indirect costs such as administrative or other overheads imposed by the university or other institutions and we would not normally pay salary costs for those already employed on salaried positions.

A research team can only apply for one grant per grant round.

Full applications are assessed by open competition and external referees, the number of referees depending on the cost and complexity of the application. The applications and referee reports are then assessed by the members of our Scientific Advisory Panel.

Project grants recommended by the Scientific Advisory Panel are submitted to Council for final approval.

Please note that there will be a limit to the number of full application forms that we can send out. Where the work is considered peripheral to our aims or in cases where demand on our funds is high, we will inform you of our decision not to request a full application.

Success rate for project grant applications

We received 83 outline applications for project grants in 2019. Following assessment by our Scientific Advisory Panel, 46 were invited to apply. We received 42 full applications. Following external peer review, assessment by our Scientific Advisory Panel and final approval by our Council. The success rate for project grant full applications made in 2019 was 26%

Outline Proposal

Please ensure that you have thoroughly read the remit and exclusions for Action and the specific joint call remit and guidelines before submitting your application.

If the outline proposal is acceptable, you will be invited to complete a full application form online, and you will be advised of the timetable.

The purpose of the outline application is to check that the application falls within the remit of the call and for the appropriate members of our advisory panel to score the applications on remit/potential clinical impact and science and say whether they feel the proposal should go forward to a full application. An outline stage helps to improve the success rate for those applications that are invited to make a full application.

The outline form for the Action LifeArc round contains additional questions on translational research.

Please note that the outline application stage for the Action LifeArc round is now closed.

Action LifeArc outline application form

Project Grant outline form examples

Please note that the outline application stage for project grants across our wider remit is currently closed. 

Project Grant Scheme - Outline Proposal form (example)