Research

Research Funding Opportunities

EME funding opportunity 15/23 - Mechanisms of action of health interventions

Proposals are sought for translational research into the underlying mechanisms of action of clinical and public health interventions. Studies must utilise patients or samples from current or completed NIHR-funded or NIHR-managed studies in any setting. Proposals will be accepted across a wide range of interventions, including behavioural, pharmaceutical, psychological, surgical and public health interventions. The research should be relevant to the intervention and outcomes proposed by the original study and add significantly to the scientific understanding of the mechanisms of action of the intervention.

The proposed research may involve the analysis or reanalysis of previously stored specimens or data, or the collection of new specimens or new data for additional analysis, provided it is obtained from study participants. Discovery of new biomarkers is not within the remit of the EME Programme.

Applicants will need to make a strong case for how a better understanding of the mechanisms of action will potentially contribute to the future use or development of the technology, future wealth creation and for the ultimate benefit of individual patients’ or the wider NHS

Further details of the commissioning brief are available to download, along with the guidance notes. The deadline for applications is 1pm on 16 June 2015. Potential applicants can register for a webinar taking place on 30 April from 1-1:45pm.


EME funding opportunity 15/19 - Metabolic liver disease (including NAFLD)

Proposals are sought for studies into the diagnosis and treatment of liver disease resulting from metabolic causes, including non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in adults and children. Studies that focus on the early detection of liver disease and those that include mechanistic studies embedded in the main efficacy study are particularly encouraged. Proposals should describe translational research into the clinical efficacy of interventions that have the potential to generate new knowledge, which could be used in the future clinical care of patients.

Applications must concentrate on determining the clinical efficacy of interventions, but the inclusion of embedded hypothesis-driven mechanistic studies within the main clinical evaluation is strongly encouraged. Applications 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. Further details of the commissioning brief are available to download, along with the guidance notes. The deadline for applications is 1pm on 16 June 2015. Potential applicants can register for a webinar taking place on 13 April from 12-12:45pm.


EME funding opportunity 15/20 - Pancreatitis

This is a call for proposals to improve the diagnosis and/or treatment of patients with acute or chronic pancreatitis or their sequelae. Applications must concentrate on determining the clinical efficacy of interventions, but the inclusion of embedded hypothesis-driven mechanistic studies within the main clinical evaluation is strongly encouraged. Applications 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. Further details of the commissioning brief are available to download, along with the guidance notes. The deadline for applications is 1pm on 16 June 2015. Potential applicants can register for a webinar taking place on 14 April from 13:30-14:15.


EME funding opportunity 15/22 - Very low energy diets for the treatment of obesity and associated conditions

Proposals are sought for efficacy studies into very low energy diets ((VLED1) or diets that are close approximations) for obesity and associated conditions, e.g. Type 2 diabetes. Applications should focus on establishing the efficacy of the dietary intervention as well as its safety and demonstrating the durability of its effects. Diets may be of a sustained or intermittent nature but applications that merely seek to compare weight loss using different diets will not be favoured. The inclusion of a hypothesis-driven mechanistic element is strongly encouraged and all applications will need to justify their proposal in the context of other ongoing trials in the area and make a strong case for how the intervention could be standardised for routine use in the NHS utilising a realistic level of resources. Applications 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. Further details of the commissioning brief are available to download, along with the guidance notes. The deadline for applications is 1pm on 16 June 2015. Potential applicants can register for a webinar taking place on 29 April from 11:30 – 12:15.


MRC Biochemical Catalyst: Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme - reminder

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.


RfPB Competition 27

Research for Patient Benefit Competition 27 will launch on 25 February 2015, with a deadline of 20 May 2015 (1pm deadline). Further details are available on the Competitions page. RfPB is a national, response-mode programme inspired by patients and practice to generate high quality research for the benefit of users of the NHS in England. Its main purpose is to realise, through evidence, the huge potential for improving, expanding and strengthening the way that healthcare is delivered for patients, the public and the NHS.


Proposed research areas for 2014/15 EME commissioned calls - updated 18 Feb 2015

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.

Early markers of treatment response: anticipated opening date June 2015

Irritable bowel syndrome: anticipated opening date June 2015

Use of cell therapies: anticipated opening date October 2015


HTA funding opportunity 14/224 - Opioids in chronic nonmalignant pain

The HTA aims to answer the question "What is the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of discontinuing opioid treatment and instituting alternative drug or non-drug therapies, for patients with chronic non-malignant pain?". The NHS aims to improve outcomes for the millions of people in the United Kingdom who suffer from moderate to severe chronic pain for more than 6 months. It also aims to reduce spending and the number of deaths attributable to prescribed opioids. This is a two-stage application process. Full details of the call and guidance notes are available from the HTA website.

Outline proposals on this topic should be completed using the on-line application form no later than 1pm on 12 May 2015. Applications will be considered by the HTA Commissioning Board at its meeting in July 2015. For shortlisted outline applications, investigators will be given a minimum of eight weeks to submit a full proposal. The full proposal will be considered at the Commissioning Board in November 2015.


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.


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.


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.


Proposed research areas for 2015 HTA commissioned calls - updated 9 January 2015

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.

Biomarker-guided antibiotic duration

In patients with major bleeding, is a liberal treatment strategy with early fibrinogen concentrate, or fibrinogen containing plasma products, more effective than a more restrictive strategy

Treatment for people in remission from mild to moderate ulcerative colitis (UC)

The clinical and cost effectiveness of intravenous zoledronic acid in patients with osteoporosis due to alcoholic liver disease

Management of gastroschisis

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 - this is no longer being considered

What is the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of oral nutritional support for older malnourished medical and surgical patients after discharge from hospital - this is no longer being considered

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


HTA researcher-led funding opportunities - updated 09 January 2015

The researcher-led workstream welcomes proposals on topics or research questions identified by researchers within the programme’s remit. The deadline for the next two rounds are 1pm on Wednesday 6 May 2015 and 1pm on Thursday 3 September 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 2014. 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.