Research

Research Funding Opportunities

BSPGHAN/Core Grant 2015

Core (www.corecharity.org.uk) and The British Society of Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (BSPGHAN www.bspghan.org.uk) promote collaborative research studies across the spectrum of adult and paediatric gastrointestinal, hepatological and nutritional disorders.

Core and BSPGHAN are co-funding a scheme to provide financial support for the collection of pilot or proof-of-concept data that will enable a high-quality competitive application to be made subsequently to a research council or other large funder. Applications are therefore invited from collaborators planning multicentre research studies on any topic within paediatric gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition.

Research call details: Core and BSPGHAN propose to fund 2 projects with awards up to £40,000/project over a maximum of 18 months. Indirect costs will not be supported. Provided the study meets the NIHR’s definition of 'research study', the selected project(s) will also be eligible for adoption by the UK Clinical Research Network and therefore will be eligible for NHS support costs. Funding will be available only in the UK.

Eligibility criteria:

  1. The research should cover an aspect of paediatric gastroenterology, hepatology and/or nutrition
  2. The project must involve collaboration across at least two paediatric units (undertaking gastroenterology or hepatology or nutrition at a secondary or tertiary level)

How to apply: Download an application form and guidance notes for completing the form at www.corecharity.org.uk/research/looking-for-funding. Please submit your application by email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and post one wet-signed copy to Core, 3 St Andrews Place, London NW1 4LB. Applications will be considered incomplete until the wet-signed copy has been received. Deadline: Wednesday 11 February 5pm.


HSDR commissioned funding opportunity 14/194 - Measuring nursing input, workload, activity and care

This call focuses on methods to develop and test more reliable measures of inputs, activity and quality of nursing care in relation to the NHS context. Recent public and policy concern about poor patient care, including the Francis inquiry into Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust, has highlighted the importance of good nursing care. Debate has centred on staffing levels, prompting a call for national guidelines on acceptable nurse to patient ratios. However, recent NICE guidelines in July 2014 found no evidence to support definitive recommendations for safe nurse staffing levels. Despite consistent indications of an association between nurse staffing levels and high-level outcomes such as patient death, causality is hard to show. Most evidence comes from outside the UK and there is poor agreement on how staffing inputs are measured. Many studies also aggregate nursing inputs across an organisation, not taking into account variation between wards or teams in staffing levels and local context.

Further details of the call can be found in the Commissioning Brief, supporting paper 1 and paper 2 and the Guidance notes. The application deadline is 18 December 2014, by 1pm.

HTA commissioned funding opportunity 14/230 - L-ornithine-l-aspartate (LOLA) and/or Rifaximin for acute hepatic encephalopathy in patients with cirrhosis

The HTA will be funding research aiming to answer the question "What is the clinical and cost-effectiveness of L-ornithine-l-aspartate (LOLA) and/or rifaximin in treating acute exacerbations of hepatic encephalopathy in patients with cirrhosis?" Liver disease is a serious health problem in the UK and its prevalence is increasing. Hepatic encephalopathy (HE) is a major symptom of liver failure and is associated with raised levels of ammonia derived primarily from gut bacteria. Most people with severe cirrhosis have a degree of chronic encephalopathy with intermittent acute episodes of overt encephalopathy.

In the UK lactulose is the most used treatment to reduce gut bacterial load; the antibiotic rifaximin has been shown to be effective in smaller trials with few adverse effects but is relatively expensive and may not be cost-effective. A larger trial is needed to confirm this. LOLA acts in a different way, as a substrate for key enzyme systems which metabolise ammonia, and has been shown to be effective in HE compared to placebo in studies mostly with biochemical end-points.

Further studies are needed to evaluate the safety, efficacy, and cost-effectiveness of LOLA compared directly against and in addition to other treatments and with end points based on patient outcomes. Details of the call are available from the HTA website along with guidance notes. The deadline for applications is 12 May 2015, by 1pm.


EME researcher-led funding stream

The researcher-led workstream welcomes outline proposals and evidence synthesis full proposals on topics or research questions identified by researchers that are within the programme's remit. The deadline for applying is 1pm, 3 March 2015. For more details and how to apply, please visit the EME researcher-led webpage.


Core research prize 2015

Core is offering a £1,000 prize for an essay (of approximately 1,000 words) describing the applicant’s clinical or scientific research in any area of gastroenterology/hepatology. The research must have been recently completed by the applicant and undertaken during the applicant’s PhD or MD degree. A list of the applicant’s relevant published work (including abstracts) should be appended.

The work should be the subject of at least one abstract submitted for possible presentation at the 2015 DDF Scientific Meeting (abstract submission deadline 27 February 2015). Applicants should include copies of submitted abstracts with their application.

Application forms will soon be available here. The application deadline is 5pm on Monday 16th March 2015; applications received after this time will not be considered. Applications should be sent to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


UEG LINK Award: Funding for cross-border scientific initiatives in Europe

The PRO-MC collaboration is one of this year’s projects funded by a UEG LINK Award and aims at establishing a prospective data registry and harmonising follow-up and treatment of Microscopic Colitis in Europe. In 2015 the LINK Award Programme particularly calls for collaborations that target implementation of guidelines or facilitate access to guidelines. Projects may apply for funding up to € 100,000. UEG National Societies are encouraged to partner up and hand in their applications by March 20, 2015. Further information on the programme and on how to apply is available on the UEG website.


HTA commissioned funding opportunity 14/210 - Prognostic markers in early Crohn's Disease

The HTA seeks proposals aimed at answering the question "Can patients be identified who may need early intensive treatment in Crohn’s disease?". Some patients with Crohn’s disease follow a relatively limited course with rapid response to relatively simple treatment and few subsequent acute flare-ups. Others progress rapidly to severe disease needing escalation of medical treatment or surgery: as many as one third of patients require surgery within a year of beginning oral steroids. Rapid disease control may allow sufferers to return to work and other normal activities more rapidly and may reduce the need for surgery.

NICE does not currently recommend early use of anti-TNF drugs although there is some evidence of better early outcomes with their use. Rapid escalation of medical treatment is allowed for within current NICE guidelines. Identification of patients who might benefit from early intensive treatment is needed before the cost effectiveness of treatment strategies can be determined.

The deadline for applications is 1pm on 15 January 2015.

See the commissioning brief and guidance notes for further details.


The Dr Falk Pharma UK / Core Awards

The Dr Falk/Core awards recognise those who bring new knowledge and insight to the field of gastroenterology and hepatology. For those committed to furthering research or patient care, the awards are an opportunity to achieve national recognition as well as the financial support for career progression.

Prizes include:

  • A £1,000 prize for the best essay on gastroenterology research personally undertaken by medical students who were on a BSc or MRes course during 2013/14
  • Four £1,500 bursaries for medical students taking full time science degrees (BSc/MRes/MBPhD) in 2014/15 in an area relevant to gastroenterology
  • Two £2,500 bursaries to support research for F1/F2 doctors who are currently undertaking research in an area relevant to gastroenterology
  • A £1,000 award for primary and secondary care nurses for initiatives that have advanced patient care.

The application deadline is 5pm on Monday 16th March 2015. Applications received after this time will not be considered. Application forms can be downloaded from Core's website.


EME commissioned funding opportunity 14/204 - Novel endoscopic optical imaging interventions and technologies

Proposals are sought for research into the clinical efficacy of novel endoscopic optical imaging interventions and technologies used for the diagnosis, clinical management or monitoring of patients. Proposals should have the potential to contribute work of significant benefit to the clinical management of patients or inform the design of large randomised controlled trials.

Proposals may investigate novel or repurposed interventions and technologies. Studies of incremental or minor improvements to existing technologies or discovery of new biomarkers are not within the remit of the EME programme. Applications must concentrate on determining the efficacy of interventions, and may also include the evaluation of mechanisms.

Proposals are expected to set out programmes of work which contain distinct stages. It is expected that the early stages of the study will, if successful, lead onto a full evaluative clinical study or trial, which is in the remit of the EME Programme. This study must also be included and clearly specified within the application. Clinical trials embedded within the programme of work must be large enough to detect a meaningful effect.

Applications to this call may also include initial stages such as:

  • The limited steps needed to progress the development of an intervention to a stage suitable for use in an accredited clinical service
  • Prospective clinical work or retrospective research utilising existing clinical samples or data to inform the main study
  • Pilot or feasibility studies.

As a rough guide it is expected that these early stages will be complete within the first 18 months of the project and must not contribute more than 25% to the total cost or duration of the project. Applicants will need to make a strong case for the future importance of the technology through providing a measurable positive impact on health, innovation or future wealth creation and for the ultimate benefit of individual patients’ or the wider NHS. See the commissioning brief and guidance notes for further details.

The deadline for applications is 1pm on 10 February 2015.


EME commissioned funding opportunity 14/201 - Inflammatory bowel disease - updated 2 December 2014

Proposals are sought for studies into the diagnosis or treatment of inflammatory bowel disease. These studies should have the potential to generate new knowledge which could be used in the future clinical care of patients. Applicants are encouraged to include a mechanistic element to help better understand the mechanisms of the disease process or the proposed intervention.

Proposals may investigate novel or repurposed interventions and technologies. Studies of incremental or minor improvements to existing technologies or discovery of new biomarkers are not within the remit of the EME Programme.

Projects must have a strong collaborative approach; the EME Programme is particularly keen to encourage collaboration with small and medium enterprises.

Proposals to this call may contain a series of linked stages (usually 2 to 3), with progression to the main clinical evaluation dependent on the outcome of the previous stage(s). Researchers who wish to submit such a programme of work must make the progression criteria clear. Early stages may include:

  • The limited steps needed to progress the development of an intervention to a stage suitable for use in an accredited clinical service
  • Prospective clinical work or retrospective research utilising existing clinical samples or data to inform the main study
  • Pilot or feasibility studies.

The main stage must be a clinical evaluation that is within the remit of the EME Programme. It is expected that this stage will require more than 75% of the total project cost and commence within 18 months of the project start date. Any clinical trial included must be large enough to detect a meaningful effect. Applicants will need to make a strong case for the future importance of the intervention through providing a measurable positive impact on health, innovation or future wealth creation and for the ultimate benefit of individual patients’ or the wider NHS. The commissioning brief and guidance notes are available for download from the EME website. Register for an application-related webinar taking place on 8 January 2015.

The deadline for applications is 1pm on 10 February 2015.


Proposed research areas for 2014/15 EME commissioned calls - updated 25 Nov 2014

Research in the following broad areas is likely to be commissioned during the next year, although the titles and timings may be subject to change. The individual commissioning briefs, which will be published when the calls open, will define the details of the calls.

Metabolic liver disease (including NAFLD): anticipated opening date February 2015

Pancreatitis: anticipated opening date February 2015

Very low energy diets: anticipated opening date February 2015

Early markers of treatment response: anticipated opening date June 2015

Irritable bowel syndrome: anticipated opening date June 2015


Proposed research areas for 2014/15 HTA commissioned calls - updated 25 Nov 2014

The HTA Programme is considering the following topic areas for future commissioned research. Please note that not all of these topics will ultimately be advertised, but if they are it is likely to be within the next 6 to 12 months. Please also note that topic areas and timings are subject to change. The individual commissioning briefs, which will be published when the call opens, will define the details of the call.

Quantitative hepatitis B surface antigen assays to determine treatment duration in hepatitis B e-antigen negative disease

Anaesthetic regimens for day-procedure laparoscopic cholecystectomy

Fibrin glue for pilonidal disease

Biochemical markers of obstetric cholestasis

What is the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of oral nutritional support for older malnourished medical and surgical patients after discharge from hospital

To comment on any of these ideas, please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


MRC Biochemical Catalyst: Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme (updated 1 December 2014)

The DPFS scheme is a key part of the MRC's Translational Research Strategy and supports the translation of fundamental discoveries toward benefits to human health. It funds the pre-clinical development and early clinical testing of novel therapeutics, devices and diagnostics, including “repurposing” of existing therapies. DPFS is an ongoing scheme, with outline deadlines every 4 months. The next call opens on 11 February 2015 (deadline for outline proposal: 4pm on 25 March 2015, panel meets 20-21 May 2015); the following call opens on 16 June 2015 (deadline for outline proposal: 4pm on 28 July 2015, panel meets 22-23 September 2015). Please note that full submissions to DPFS are by invitation only; submission to the full call is contingent upon prior submission and shortlisting of an outline proposal. Further details are available from the MRC website.


HTA researcher-led funding opportunities - updated 25 Nov 2014

The researcher-led workstream welcomes proposals on topics or research questions identified by researchers within the programme’s remit. The deadline for the next round is 1pm on 7 January 2015. Details can be found on the HTA website. Please note that the guidance notes have been updated since the researcher-led call launch in September. Make sure you use the latest version as there have been changes to the advice on technical use of the form and costings for studies.


Pump prime funding for initial feasibility studies

NIHR Enteric HTC aims to identify and address unmet clinical need in the diagnosis and management of disorders of the gastrointestinal tract and bowel function. The HTC seeks new ideas for medical device innovations and offers the opportunity to apply to NIHR Enteric HTC for pump prime funding for initial feasibility studies on potential new medical technologies within the field of digestive diseases and GI surgery.


MRC Public Health Intervention Development Scheme (PHIND)

The Public Health Intervention Development scheme (PHIND) is a new MRC funding scheme designed specifically to provide support for early phase development of public health interventions. This rapid response funding scheme is aimed at improving the initial evidence on which the development and evaluation of public health interventions are based. Studies should address an important UK or global public health issue and offer an innovative approach to intervention development or applying an existing intervention in a new setting.

The scheme's remit ranges from primary research developing and designing the intervention to feasibility studies, encompassing:

  • developing theory
  • modelling process and outcomes
  • assessing feasibility

Systematic reviews, meta analyses and pilot studies are outside the remit of the PHIND scheme. Applicants can apply for up to £150K for a maximum of 18 months and the scheme will operate three times a year. For further information, please see the MRC website.


National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Funding opportunities booklet

This booklet provides information about the NIHR’s 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.


A brief overview of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)

This leaflet provides an overview of the structure and work of the National Institute for Health Research.

The NIHR has published various documents in which you might be interested. They are available here.