Experimental Medicine Funding Call

Experimental Medicine Funding Call

  • Time remaining: 1m 2w 2d 6h 34m
  • Status: Open
  • Open date: 29 Jul 2020
  • Closing date: 16 Sep 2020 16:00 GMT+1
  • Type: Grants, Researcher-led
  • Categories:


You should address gaps in our understanding of the causes, progression and treatment of human disease through experimental intervention, or challenge, in humans.

  • Researchers at eligible organisations can submit proposals for academically-led projects.
  • Awards are made every year and there are deadlines every six months.
  • There will be an annual budget of £10million and we will support a range of award sizes

We generally fund 80% of the full economic costs of your research, and your research organisation must agree to find the balance.

Who can apply

You should be based at an eligible research organisation, which include:

  • higher education institutions
  • UKRI-approved independent research organisations or NHS bodies
  • government-funded organisations
  • MRC institutes
  • MRC units and partnership institutes
  • institutes and units funded by other research councils

Our general guidance for applicants contains more details on institutional and individual eligibility.

Investigators in receipt of Fellowships (MRC, NIHR, Charity, Learned Societies) and NIHR lectureships are eligible (if their fellowship T&Cs allow).

What we’re looking for

You can apply for academically-led experimental medicine projects, conducted in humans, based round a clearly articulated gap in understanding of human pathophysiology, with a clear path to clinical impact. These grants will produce new mechanistic insights, identifying opportunities to modify disease pathways and enabling novel therapeutic or diagnostic approaches for future development. 

All disease areas and interventions are welcomed by the Panel.

The application must involve an experimental intervention/challenge in humans, perturbing the system to explore disease mechanism. The challenge may be, but is not limited to, pharmacological, immunological, physiological, psychological, infectious etc.

The following types of proposals are eligible for support:

  • The use of novel readouts or technologies especially related to early evaluation of clinical efficacy.
  • The use of drugs, other interventions or measures with established safety profiles in new settings/conditions: e.g. repurposing drugs as tool compounds to probe disease mechanism.
  • Deep characterisation/phenotyping of subjects using samples from clinical studies may be included where there is a clear link to a current treatment strategy but should not be the sole focus of the proposal.
    • Acceptable approaches include the identification and verification of responder patient populations (precision medicine strategies).

Proposals which are predominantly descriptive will not be shortlisted; an experimental approach, and a clear plan for establishing causal relationships and mechanisms, is expected.

The following activities are ineligible for support:

  • Characterisation/ phenotyping work aiming to elucidate disease aetiology (supported by the Research Boards)
  • Experimental intervention/challenge in animals, using clinical assets to explore disease mechanisms and pathways (supported by the Research Boards)
  • Development and evaluation of novel therapeutics, diagnostics or devices (supported by DPFS)
  • High-throughput screening approaches to target validation
  • Pre-clinical model development and validation (supported by the Research Boards)
  • Clinical efficacy trials (supported by the EME funding scheme)

There is no limit to the amount of funding you can apply for or the length of your project. You should instead justify the timescale and resources needed in the context of the proposed work.


Applications including partnerships with charities or industry are encouraged where these add value to the project – for example, in terms of access to expertise, technologies, reagents or funding. Please note that industrial collaboration is not a prerequisite for application.

Applications involving collaboration with industry should adhere to the MRC Industry Collaboration Agreement guidance. The lead applicant must be the academic partner, and the project must be academically-led. Please note that we do not fund the work of your industrial partners.

How to apply

You must first submit an outline proposal via the Je-S website. The opportunity is open for seven weeks leading up to the deadline, and there are deadlines for outline proposals in September and December 2020.

When applying select:

  • Council: MRC
  • Document type: outline proposal
  • Scheme: Experimental Medicine
  • Call/type/mode: Exp Med: Sept 2020

You must use our outline proposal form for your Je-S application. Please read our guidance for outline stage applicants before applying.

If successful at the outline stage, you will be invited to submit a full application. We will send guidance on completing a full application.

We aim to complete the process from outline submission to full decision in approximately 30 weeks.


Published on: 31 July 2020