Research

Research Funding Opportunities

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.


Risk Perceptions and Cancer Prevention: Call for applications

The CRUK/Bupa Foundation Cancer Prevention Initiative aims to tackle cancer by funding cutting edge research into behavioural and lifestyle changes that can prevent people getting cancer. As part of the Initiative, the Bupa Foundation Fund aims to catalyse new multidisciplinary collaborations and develop innovative, radical and pioneering research in cancer prevention via a series of sandpit workshops.

The next Innovation Workshop will take place from 9-11 February 2015 at The Oxford Belfry, Oxfordshire, commissioning new research to understand, identify and engage with people’s risk perceptions to change health behaviours and prevent cancer. This full 3 day event is dedicated to developing new multidisciplinary and revolutionary research ideas, with up to 5 of the best proposals being awarded up to £20,000 each, to support the subsequent pilot and feasibility studies.

Applications are welcome from across a range of academic, industry, and community sectors. Participants will be expected to engage constructively with each other, the event facilitators, the Director and Mentors to develop collaborative research ideas during the sandpit.

Applications close noon on 28 November 2014.

For more information and how to apply please visit CRUK's website. More information about the Cancer Prevention Initiative in general is also available. For further details please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Cancer Prevention Officer, Strategy and Research Funding, or call her on 020 3469 8824.


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

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.

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

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 two deadlines for outline proposals are 4pm on 3 December 2014 and 4pm on 25 March 2015. 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.


HTA commissioned funding opportunity 14/161 - Fibre for uncomplicated symptomatic diverticular disease of the large bowel

The HTA is accepting applications to this commissioned call. The research question is 'What is the clinical- and cost-effectiveness of prescribable fibre supplements to treat uncomplicated symptomatic diverticular disease of the large bowel?' Although low intake of fibre is associated epidemiologically with an increased risk of developing diverticulosis, the recommendations for fibre as a treatment are based on weak evidence that is old, largely observational, and uncontrolled. There is also no good evidence for the amount or type of dietary fibre needed, and clinical experience suggests that bran fibre and green vegetables may worsen symptoms in some patients. This fits with data from randomised controlled trials in irritable bowel syndrome showing that bran increases flatulence. However, high fibre diet is often recommended in advice for patients, and fibre is prescribed in the NHS. To address the uncertainty over the use of fibre in uncomplicated but symptomatic diverticular disease a trial to evaluate prescribable fibre is required. Many patients may have already been prescribed fibre so a trial could examine the benefits and harms of withdrawal of prescribed fibre as well as introducing it.The application deadline is 1pm on 17 December 2014. Further guidance is available.


HTA commissioned funding opportunity 14/166 - Prevention of parastomal hernia formation

Is prophylactic mesh effective for the prevention of a parastomal hernia during primary permanent stoma formation? The HTA is accepting applications for funding in this area. The morbidity associated with stoma formation is a considerable problem for the NHS. Use of a prophylactic mesh during the primary operation may reduce the incidence of parastomal hernia (PSH) formation. However, it is believed that a mesh only delays the presentation of a PSH in the short to medium term rather than prevent it completely, and formation of a PSH may be the result of a number of cumulative factors. Currently, there is no established method of mesh placement, no surgical consensus concerning which material the mesh should be made of and the type of aperture (if any) that should be cut into the mesh. There is also disagreement as to whether to use mesh at all. A prospective cohort study is needed to explore the different approaches to preventing a parastomal hernia forming during primary permanent stoma formation and to identify any interventions that may be appropriate to investigate in a future randomised controlled trial.

The deadline for applications is 1pm on 17 Dec 2014. Further guidance is available to download.


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.