The Translational Research Team can help you navigate the translational funding landscape and choose the best fund for your project.
The Translational Research Team (TRT) has a broad knowledge of the translational funding landscape and can advise you on the most appropriate funding scheme for your project and support the development of competitive applications for a greater chance of success.
It is essential you contact the TRT well in advance so a bespoke programme of support can be put together in a timely manner. For example, we can facilitate access to appropriate expertise at key stages of the application and offer advice on your long-term translational research strategy as well as support you to structure milestones, produce Gantt charts and assist with writing IP sections. Securing funding enables the project to progress along the translational pathway and de-risk future investment.
For funding opportunities for innovation in businesses and knowledge transfer partnerships (KTP, for collaborations between University, a business and a suitable qualified graduate) please go to the SME Support and the Knowledge Transfer Partnerships pages.
Chevron process diagram displaying common funding opportunities throughout a simplified, four-stage translational process.
Company investment spans the entire process from: Stage 1) Basic and applied research; Stage 2) Translational development; Stage 3) Clinical evaluation and regulatory approval; and Stage 4) Adoption and diffusion. EPSRC, EPSRC IAA, MRC, MRC P2D, MRC CiC, Wellcome and Wellcome TDF generally cover Stage 1 and the steps into Stage 2. Charity funding spans Stages 1 to 3. Innovate UK, MRC DPFS, NIHR i4i, BHF and CRUK Translational Awards generally cover Stage 2 into 3. Angel investors span Stages 2 to 4. Venture capital, Wellcome / MRC Joint Global Health Trials, NIHR EME and NIHR HTA generally covers Stage 3 into 4.These opportunities are described in more detail throughout the remainder of this page.
Internal Funding Schemes
There are a number of internal translational funding opportunities available to UoB researchers. The TRT manage the MRC Impact Acceleration Account (IAA), MRC Confidence in Concept (CiC), MRC Proximity to Discovery (P2D) and Wellcome Translational Development Fund (TDF) schemes to support early-stage proof-of-concept projects, further details of which can be found below. All enquires in the first instance should be directed to the Translational Research Team.
MRC Impact Acceleration Account (previously Confidence in Concept)
Translating fundamental science into new interventions is central to the MRC’s mission to develop new therapies, diagnostics and medical devices. The scheme aims to support innovation and accelerate the transfer of the best ideas from discovery research into new interventions that reach patients and improve the return on investment in fundamental research. It is intended to rapidly de-risk projects across the translational pathway so that they become competitive for substantial funding for further development.
MRC Proximity to Discovery Industry Engagement Fund
The MRC Proximity to Discovery Industry Engagement Fund (P2D) aims to support individual mobility and discovery days to enable early engagement with industry, as well as proof of principle projects with businesses that could accelerate the translational potential of your work. P2D includes streams for travel, workshops and short projects.
Wellcome Translational Development Fund
Projects supported by the Wellcome Translational Development Fund (TDF) seek to address early-stage translational development barriers, enabling projects to take the first step from discovery research towards identification or initial validation of clinical, practical, commercial or non-commercial outcomes.
Apply for Internal Research Funding
External Funding Opportunities
The TRT can help you identify the most appropriate external funding scheme for a project and support your translational research application.
It is essential you contact the team well in advance so a bespoke program of support can be put together aimed at developing a competitive translational grant proposal. Securing funding enables the project to progress along the translational pathway and de-risk future investment.
A few of the main translational research funding schemes available are:
- MRC DPFS - supports translational research from pre-clinical development to early clinical trial Phase IIa across all diseases and interventions. It runs three times a year and there is no limit to the amount requested. Applications involving industry partnerships, adding value to the project, are encouraged but not essential (the MRC will not fund the work of the industry partner).
- NIHR i4i - the Invention for Innovation (i4i) scheme supports projects that have demonstrated proof-of-concept with a clear pathway towards adoption and commercialisation. It is aimed at de-risking early-to-late stage medical devices, in vitro diagnostics and high-impact patient-focused digital health technologies for ultimate NHS use. The i4i funding program has 3 funding schemes: Product Development Awards (PDA, once a year), Challenge Awards (twice a year) and Connect (once a year).
- NIHR EME - funds studies with novel methodological designs that deliver results more efficiently, reduce the study timeline, and maximise the knowledge gained. It primarily supports clinical trials, and other well-designed studies that test the efficacy of interventions with the potential to improve patient care or benefit the public. Only studies with a strong ‘proof-of-concept’ will be considered. Where appropriate it can also fund hypothesis testing mechanistic studies integrated within the main efficacy study.
- BHF Translational Award - supports the development of technologies with transformative potential from the proof-of-concept stage to commercial market readiness. Proposals to this scheme are expected to demonstrate a strong intellectual property position and a development proposition that could attract follow on investment.
- CRUK Biomarker Project Award - funds projects on biomarker assay development, validation and qualification where there is a clear line of sight to clinical implementation.
- CRUK Early Detection and Diagnosis - programme supports across the full pathway of disease from generation of pilot data to large, integrated research programs, which have the potential to transform early cancer detection.
- CRUK Multidisciplinary Project Award - supports innovative collaborations between cancer scientists and across the engineering / physical science disciplines with the aim to accelerate treatments, diagnosis and prevention of cancer.
- Innovate UK -the UK innovation agency supports innovation in businesses. Many of its schemes allow universities to partner with businesses, who will lead the project (from SMEs to large businesses). The lead industrial partner must be a UK-based business. If you are considering the Knowledge Transfer Partnership scheme, contact the University of Birmingham KTP Office for support.
- EPSRC - the main funding body for engineering and physical sciences research in the UK. Some of the themes supported are Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, Healthcare Technologies, Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering.
It is also important to check disease specific and smaller charity websites for opportunities for translational funding linked to your research area. We have provided some examples but this is not an exhaustive list…
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Please contact your Research Development Team as early as possible to support the development of your grant application.