Funding opportunities

This page contains information on:

Research and Development Challenge Fund

The King’s Health Partners Research and Development Challenge Fund aims to support researchers from across our partners to explore and develop innovative ideas that may lead to new discoveries, therapies or diagnostics with the potential to transform human health.

The Research and Development Challenge Fund is currently closed for applications.

The Fund is designed to help researchers develop an evidence-base sufficient to enable them to apply for more substantial funding from established bodies such as the Medical Research Council or the Wellcome Trust. The main funder of this round of the Research and Development Challenge Fund is the MRC (Confidence in Concept funding).

The Fund is administered by King’s College London and run by the Director of Research Development and Strategy. Applications for funding are considered at meetings of the Research Assessment Committee which take place two times per year. Applications are first subject to triage and applications to be considered at the panel meeting are sent for external peer review.

Criteria and eligibility for the fund

Proposals for research from any biomedical or clinical discipline will be considered. This includes research proposals focused on public health and primary care.

The objective of this fund is to provide pilot data to enable a more substantial funding application.  Funding is limited to £80k and 12 months. The funding cannot be used to support research intended to lead to a PhD.

Please note:

For the next round of the Research and Development Challenge Fund, the panel will be looking to fund applications which are focused on developing projects which have significant translational potential. i.e. those projects which will lead to further translational funding, rather than basic science funding.

Projects should have one or more of the following attributes:

  • The main purpose of such projects should be to build a body of evidence to enable the innovator to apply to an established funding programme run by a research council or medical research charity.
  • Development of a novel, untried approach to addressing an existing challenge in medicine or related sciences – for example a new therapeutic or diagnostic approach.
  • Hypothesis led new ideas – projects are expected to demonstrate a high degree of novelty and may be high-risk. ‘Safe bets’ and derivative research are outside of the scope of this fund. Projects may be at an early stage of development.
  • Research projects with outputs capable of implementation into clinical practice within 12 months of completion.
  • Projects which address an immediate health need of the local population.

To be eligible to apply for the Fund, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • The principal investigator must be an employee of a partner organisation of King’s Health Partners (King’s College London; King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust; South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust; and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust).
  • Applicants may be the principal investigator on one application per meeting of the Research Assessment Committee. The Committee meets three times a year to consider applications.     
  • Only one award may be held at a time, with projects completed and preferably converted to external funding streams before a new Challenge Fund application is made. Exceptions to this will only be made in extraordinary circumstances.
  • Collaborators can be drawn from institutions that are not members of King’s Health Partners; collaborators from commercial organisations are welcomed.
  • We endorse the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) animal research policy and the AMRC position statement supporting research in universities 

Note that funding extensions will be awarded only under exceptional circumstances.

Highlight notice

For the September round of the Challenge fund, £100k of our funding must be used in support of research addressing the aims of the Global Challenges Research Fund. These projects must meet ODA (Overseas Development Assistance) requirements. Applications with this focus should apply using the normal application form but must include a cover letter detailing how the project fits ODA requirements. Read details on ODA compliance. 

Applications under this ‘highlight’ notice can bid for up to £100k (rather than the usual £80k). We continue to also welcome applications in all other health areas with significant translational potential outside of this highlight notice.

How to apply

Applicants should complete the R&D Challenge Fund application form (click the link to save a copy of this form) and provide short (two page) CVs for the PI and co-applicants. This should be submitted as a single PDF file to khpresearchoffice@kcl.ac.uk

Approval from Head of Division or Department or NHS Divisional Director (for Trust-led applications) is required.

Costings should be calculated according to the project staffing template. Financial approval and formal costings will be sought only for successful applications.

Please contact khpresearchoffice@kcl.ac.uk if you have further questions.

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Research and Development Challenge Fund ‘Fast Track’ (Penelope and Eugene Rosenberg Awards)

The fund is also able to support smaller grants, through a new rapid assessment process. This ‘Fast track’ R&D Challenge Fund Scheme provides smaller scale awards of between £5K-£10K per project with rapid turn-around time (c. 2-3 weeks for assessment) to allow projects who have immediate needs outside of core R&D Challenge Fund deadlines to access funding. The same criteria will be used as that used by the main fund but without extensive external review. A sub-set of the R&D challenge panel will review the application and we will fund those are judged to be excellent, with good potential and of immediate need above until the fund is exhausted. We have £50,000 per year to allocate through this mechanism.

If you would like to apply through this ‘fast-track’ route, please complete the same application form as above and email it to khpresearchoffice@kcl.ac.uk clearly stating if you wish this to be assessed through the fast track route. You can submit this at any time.

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External funding

King’s Health Partners works with, and receives grant from, many funding bodies in the UK and internationally. The King’s College London website hosts information and guidance for researchers about the process for applying for funds. 

UK government departments

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) commissions and funds a wide range of health, social care and public health research, translating discoveries into practical products, treatments, devices and procedures.  Funding is provided through a range of research programmes that are co-ordinated and managed by the NIHR Central Commissioning Facility (CCF) and the NIHR Evaluation, Trials and Studies Coordinating Centre (NETSCC).  Training and career development awards, ranging from doctoral level through to opportunities for established investigators and research leaders, are co-ordinated through the NIHR Trainees Coordinating Centre (NIHR TCC)

More detailed information on the NIHR funding streams can be found at NIHR funding streams at a glance.

The NIHR also co-funds health research and research facilities with partners such as charities, industry, trust funds and public funding bodies in areas of strategic priority and where the scope of the partner’s research complements the NIHR funding streams. 

The Department of Health spends about £30 million per annum through research budgets held by Departmental policy branches and through research undertaken by arm's length bodies including Public Health England

Research Councils

The primary role of Research Councils UK (RCUK) is to fund research. Each year a total of around £3 billion is invested in research conducted at UK universities, Research Council Institutes, and in securing access to international facilities for UK researchers.  A diverse range of funding opportunities are offered that cover the full spectrum of academic disciplines from medical and biological sciences to astronomy, physics, chemistry and engineering, social sciences, economics, environmental sciences and the arts and humanities.  Each of the Research Councils funds research within a broad set of subject disciplines, and in collaboration with other Councils and partners. Detailed information about the areas of research each Council supports can be found on their individual websites. 

Alongside the NIHR, the Medical Research Council (MRC) is the second main route through which the Government funds health-related research in the UK.  The MRC focuses on fundamental research that makes a difference to human health, including broad initiatives such as speeding up the development of basic discoveries into new drugs and treatments.  A range of grants, calls, highlight notices, studentships and fellowships are available. 

Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC)
Medical Research Council (MRC)
Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)

Grant-making trusts and foundations

There are about 8,800 grant-making trusts and foundations in the UK, providing around £2.1 billion in grants to charities each year.  The Association of Medical Research Charities directory contains leading medical and health research charities in the UK and a useful resource for finding a suitable charity funding.

The Wellcome Trust, Cancer Research UK (CRUK) and the British Heart Foundation (BHF) all host a range of funding schemes supporting individuals, teams, resources, seed ideas, places and major initiatives.

Find further funding opportunities, including a wider range of charities through ResearchProfessional.

The NIHR funding opportunities booklet provides information about their research funding and career development opportunities available for researchers based in the NHS, universities, industry and other organisations concerned with health, public health and social care.

The Medical Research Council (MRC) have produced the video below on generating ideas for your research, selecting the right funder and application process tips.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGhOTTlXKyQ 

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