Types of grant

PhD scholarships - 23 September 2020 deadline

Deadline: 4.00 pm on Wednesday 23 September 2020
Contact: Suzanne Rix and Julie Marsden at research@versusarthritis.org

Our prestigious PhD scholarships aim to encourage the best basic scientists and non-medical healthcare professionals (including nurses and allied health professionals) to embark on a research career in any discipline relevant to arthritis and related musculoskeletal diseases.

Applications should be made by the proposed PhD supervisor at an eligible institution. Applicants can either include a named student or recruit a suitable student after the award has been made.

Full details of the scheme and guidance documents are available here.

MRC/ESRC/BBSRC-Versus Arthritis Advanced Pain Discovery Platform – Multidisciplinary Consortia for Data Generation – Expressions of interest now open

Versus Arthritis in partnership with the Medical Research Council (MRC), Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) are pleased to announce the launch of a £14m call for large and ambitious multidisciplinary consortia.

This will build the foundation of a national-scale programme supporting discovery and translational science that will bring together leadership, tools, and resources to help unravel the complexity of pain, driving new treatment development. This investment is part of a major new £24m initiative to establish an Advanced Pain Discovery Platform that is jointly supported by the UKRI Strategic Priorities Fund and Versus Arthritis and will lead to step changes in the understanding and treatment of chronic pain across a wide range of conditions.

The call will make £14m available through 4-year awards to fund high impact, multidisciplinary consortia that will bring together researchers across the breadth of biomedical, social, and data sciences. The consortia are expected to establish enduring national-scale leadership, infrastructure and capability that extends beyond the initial 4-year award. They will serve to underpin a future broader portfolio of pain research supported by UKRI, Versus Arthritis and others, and should collaborate with each other to ensure added value from the Advanced Pain Discovery Platform. It is expected that the consortia will embrace complementary access to patients, healthy volunteers and underpinning technology. Areas of focus could include; multi-omic biology, image data generation, cognitive and psychosocial factor identification, exploiting existing biological samples and data and new sample/data collections. We expect that this programme of work will support 3-5 consortia.

Call information

The call will provide funding for collaborative multidisciplinary consortia that will focus on:

  • Pursuing innovative and ambitious “big ideas” in chronic pain research, which will enable a step change in the field.
  • Improving our understanding of the mechanisms of pain, building on our knowledge of normal pain processes to better understand chronic pain, taking into account biological, cognitive and psychosocial factors.
  • Collating, generating and interrogating human data and samples, to allow for the identification and validation of new interventions, and to allow improved access to well-phenotyped human populations.

Each application should demonstrate how it will:

  • Actively strengthen intersections between important disciplines that do not routinely engage with each other.
  • Build capacity in the field and develop skills.
  • Embed knowledge mobilisation.
  • Involve patient insight in the development of the outlined work as well as collaborate with them in the delivery of the proposed research.

It is expected that successful consortia will focus on chronic pain, however applications may be focussed on specific pain-related disorders or may consider common mechanisms underlying multiple pain conditions.

This initial call includes, but is not limited to, key staff posts and infrastructure costs, data collection and access, sample storage and sample analysis, with an emphasis on data and samples for patients and healthy volunteers. As these consortia will be co-funded between Versus Arthritis and UKRI, awards will be made at 67% fEC.

As part of this Advanced Pain Discovery Platform initiative, a second phase of complementary calls will be launched in the near future for hypothesis-led research projects (with the foci of these being either generated from within, or aligned to the successful consortia), a data management platform, and bioinformatics projects.

Process

The funding call will be in two stages:

1. Expression of Interest

To participate in this call for consortia, you must submit an Expression of Interest to MRC-UKRI via a bespoke online submission system by 31st of August 2020. You can find the online submission system on the MRC-UKRI call page which can be accessed here. On the MRC-UKRI call page you can also find additional guidance on the call and how to complete the Expression of Interest form. The purpose of the Expression of Interest phase is to enable selection of the highest quality applications, and those that are likely to develop into competitive full proposals. Decisions on Expressions of Interest will be made in October 2020. The potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the preparation of Expressions of Interest is recognised by the funders, and it is anticipated that details of workstreams and consortium partners might evolve between selection and submissions of full application.

2. Full application

Shortlisted Expression of Interest applications will be invited to submit a full application by January 2021. Guidance on how to make the full submission will be provided to successful Expression of Interest applicants. Applicants will be invited to be interviewed by a bespoke panel of experts as part of the funding decision.

For full information on this call please visit the UKRI funding page.

If you have any queries on the call please email spfpain@mrc.ukri.org or the Versus Arthritis contact: Clare Farmer at research@versusarthritis.org.

Senior Research Fellowships – 9 September 2020 deadline

Deadline: 16:00 on Wednesday 9 September 2020
Contact: Shereen Sabbah and Paul Thornhill at research@versusarthritis.org

Senior research fellowships are our most prestigious fellowship grants. They're awarded to outstanding medical, veterinary, nurse and allied health professional or science graduates committed to a career in any discipline relevant to arthritis and related musculoskeletal diseases, who don't hold an established academic post. Awards will be for up to five years and have a maximum limit of £750,000 for costs which can be applied for, the host research organisation will be required to provide a minimum of 50% of the applicant’s salary for the duration of the award. Full details of the scheme and guidance documents are available here.

Career Development Fellowships – 9 September 2020 deadline

Deadline: 16:00 on Wednesday 9 September 2020
Contact: Shereen Sabbah and Paul Thornhill at research@versusarthritis.org

Career development fellowships are our intermediate postdoctoral awards which aim to attract and retain talented postdoctoral basic scientists, vets, nurses and allied health professionals, and provide them with the opportunity to develop an independent research career and progress towards higher-level appointments. These fellowships offer five years of funding and applications should be jointly submitted by the candidate with a sponsor. Full details of the scheme and guidance documents are available here.

MRC/Versus Arthritis Clinician Scientist Fellowship (in partnership) - 2 September 2020 deadline

These fellowships allow talented medically and other clinically qualified professionals, who have gained a higher research degree to lead their own research, establish a research team and make the transition to independent investigator. The clinician scientist fellowship (CSF) provides either four year or five years' support, covering personal salary costs, together with support for research staff, consumable expenses, travel costs and capital equipment appropriate for the research project. All applicants must have obtained a PhD (or equivalent), or expect to have done so, by the time they take up the award. Full details of the scheme and guidance documents are available on our fellowships page.

Starter grants for clinical lecturers – 8 September 2020 deadline

Maximum duration: one to two years
Deadline: 15:00 on Tuesday 8 September 2020
Contact: Academy of Medical Sciences grants team at clinicallecturers@acmedsci.ac.uk

This scheme is a partnership between the Academy of Medical Sciences and Versus Arthritis. Other partners in this scheme include the Wellcome Trust, the British Heart Foundation, the Medical Research Council and Diabetes UK.

What do starter grants for clinical lecturers provide?

The starter grants for clinical lecturers scheme provides modest starter funds of up to £30,000 over one to two years to enable research active clinical lecturers to pursue their research work, gather preliminary data and so further strengthen their applications for longer term fellowships and funding.

Who can apply for a starter grant for clinical lecturer?

The grants are intended as start-up funding and as such are not intended for applicants who have already obtained substantial funding through, for example, Clinician Scientist Fellowships, New Investigator Awards or large project grants.

All eligible applicants must:

  • Have a PhD or MD 
  • hold a medical, dental or veterinary undergraduate degree and be registered with the General Medical Council, General Dental Council or Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons 
  • hold a clinical contract.

What can you apply for?

The maximum grant available is £30,000. This can be spread over one to two years to contribute towards directly incurred research costs such as consumables and equipment.

Grants cannot be used to pay for your personal salary costs or to employ research assistants, PhD students or postdoctoral staff.

How to apply

These grants are administered by the Academy of Medical Sciences, more information and details on how to apply can be found at acmedsci.ac.uk.

During the review process, prior career breaks will be taken into account when evaluating a candidate’s research output and progress.

Successful applicants cannot reapply. Unsuccessful applicants are limited to one resubmission.

Submission deadline is 15:00 on Tuesday the 8 September 2020.

The Panel will convene in June with the results and feedback to follow.

Medical Technologies PoC Funding Call - CLOSED

Maximum duration: up to 2 years
Maximum costs: £100,000
Deadline: 30 June 2020
Contact: Mandy Wilkes at research@versusarthritis.org or Graeme Howling at G.Howling@leeds.ac.uk

What does Medical Technologies Proof of Concept fund provide?

Funding is intended to develop or evaluate innovative technologies that help support individuals suffering with musculoskeletal conditions; in particular projects that develop the following:

  • Medical devices
  • Orthotics
  • Implantable therapeutic delivery
  • Imaging

Who can apply for funding?

Any academic, clinician and allied health care professional at a UK institution.

Collaborations with industry are strongly encouraged.

What can you apply for?

Maximum support that can be requested is £100,000

Salaries

Requested salary costs should be based on a recognised pay model or the host institution’s local salary scale, including London weighting if appropriate. We must be advised of the pay model used and, where a local pay model is to be applied, a copy of the appropriate scale must be sent with the application. Annual increments must be included which should be based on the host institution’s own salary scale, including London weighting if appropriate.

Other

Those interested in learning more about the call are encouraged to read the Medical Technologies Proof of Concept Award call document (PDF, 213 KB).

How to apply

Expression of Interest applications should be submitted by 5.00 pm 30 June 2020 via Grant Tracker.

Foundation Fellowships

Contact: Suzanne Rix and Julie Marsden at research@versusarthritis.org

Foundation fellowships aim to retain the best postdoctoral researchers in areas of research relevant to arthritis and musculoskeletal diseases and provide an opportunity for fellows to develop independent research ideas at an early stage in their career. Foundation fellowships are open to basic science and other non-medical (including nurses, allied health professionals and veterinary surgeons) PhD students in the final year of PhD training, or within one year of completing their PhD at the time of application. These fellowships can’t be taken up until the PhD has been awarded. Full details of the scheme and guidance documents are available here.

Nurse and allied health professional internship scheme - Opening December 2020

Opening: Approximately December 2020
Contact: Mary Fry (m.l.fry@soton.ac.uk)

What do the internships provide?

This internship scheme is open to recent graduates or final year students in Nursing or an Allied Health Profession (UK HCPC registerable) who have an interest in clinical research into the personal impact of arthritis and musculoskeletal diseases.

The internships are for eight weeks full-time from Monday 6 July – Friday 28 August 2020. They provide opportunities to work alongside some of the UK’s leading nurse and allied health researchers.

Full details of the scheme are available here.

Clinical Research Fellowships

Contact: Suzanne Rix and Julie Marsden at research@versusarthritis.org

Clinical research fellowships are our entry level scheme for talented medical and non-medical healthcare professionals. They're awarded to encourage clinically qualified professionals into an academic research career in any discipline relevant to arthritis and related musculoskeletal conditions. They aim to provide training in clinical and/or laboratory research techniques leading to a higher degree (usually a PhD).Medical graduates are expected to apply usually during speciality training (including surgeons/surgical trainees), whilst non-medical healthcare professionals need to have at least one year's experience of clinical practice. Full details of the scheme and guidance documents are available here.

The Versus Arthritis Outstanding Fellows Prize – CLOSED

Deadline: 16:00 on 1 July 2020

Contact: Shereen Sabbah and Paul Thornhill at research@versusarthritis.org

As an addition to our existing awards and career support activities, we are launching The Versus Arthritis Outstanding Fellows Prize. The Versus Arthritis Outstanding Fellows Prize will be awarded in two categories in 2020 – the Versus Arthritis Outstanding Fellows Prize (early career category) and the Versus Arthritis Outstanding Fellows Prize (late career category). Each prize will recognise academic achievements, research outputs and contribution to new knowledge with the potential for significant impact on the quality of life of people with arthritis. The recipient of each prize will receive a personal cash prize, a research support award payable to their institute and a commemorative trophy. Full details of the prize, eligibility, and application guidance documents are available here.

Fight for Sight / Versus Arthritis PhD Studentship - CLOSED

Deadline for abstract applications: 17:00 on 11 June 2020

Contact: For any queries relating to your proposal please contact Fight for Sight at grants@fightforsight.org.uk.

Abstract applications are now invited for a PhD Studentship co funded by Fight for Sight to address arthritis and visual impairment. This includes, but is not limited to Bechet’s Syndrome, Giant cell arteritis, and Sjögren's syndrome. Any research relevant to inflammation and uveitis are also welcomed. The proposed project must aim to stop or reduce sight loss. The studentship provides a grant of Grant of up to £100,000 for three years including stipends, PhD fees and consumables. Applications must be made by the potential PhD Supervisor(s). These grants are administered by Fight for Sight, more information and details on how to apply can be found at https://www.fightforsight.org.uk/apply-for-funding/funding-opportunities/phd-studentships/.

NIHR Programme Grants for Applied Research (Chronic Pain theme) – CLOSED

Outline applications opens: 3 October 2019
Outline application deadline: 27 November 2019
Partner funder: National Institute of Health Research (NIHR)
Contact: Keith Pugh at research@versusarthritis.org

What are the NIHR Programme Grants for Applied Research?

Understanding, treating and managing pain is among the greatest challenges facing healthcare today and is a high priority for people with arthritis. Musculoskeletal pain impacts heavily on the workforce with huge socio-economic implications. Up to 28 million people in the UK are affected by chronic pain, 75% of which is musculoskeletal in origin. Our pain research roadmap (PDF, 1.62 MB), launched in 2018, prioritises 14 challenges to be overcome to understand, treat and prevent pain.

We’re continuing to partner with the NIHR Programme Grants for Applied Research on their cross-programme themed-call in the management of chronic pain to address Pain Roadmap priorities in disease management and applied health research. Co-funding is available for appropriate studies in the Programme Grants for Applied Research chronic pain themed call round being opened in 2019 and 2020.

This funding scheme will support programmes made up of an interrelated group of projects focused on a coherent theme which requires multidisciplinary approaches, including clinical, health economics, statistics, qualitative and behavioural sciences, to ensure that the research objectives can be met.

Proposals are sought that seek to address research questions in the following roadmap priority areas:

  • Interventions
  • Workplace
  • Services
  • Under-represented groups
  • Prevention

What can you apply for?

The amount of funding awarded and the length of the funding period will depend on the nature of the proposed work, in particular whether or not the proposal includes a substantial powered trial.

How to apply

For more information or to apply, please visit https://www.nihr.ac.uk/documents/nihr-themed-call-on-the-management-of-chronic-pain-nihr-programme-grants-for-applied-research-in-partnership-with-versus-arthritis/20388

Joint Cancer Research UK Immunology Project Awards – CLOSED

Maximum duration: up to 36 months
Maximum costs: up to £300,000
Deadline: 9 May 2019
Partner funder: Cancer Research UK (CRUK)
Contact: research@versusarthritis.org

What are the Immunology Project Awards?

We're working with CRUK to maximise progress in our shared priorities spanning both cancer and musculoskeletal conditions. Joint CRUK – Versus Arthritis Immunology Project Awards will foster collaborations between researchers from both fields, and encourage researchers to share expertise, and address questions relevant to both disease areas.

Applicants must explain how their research proposal will bring patient benefit for both diseases.

Examples of proposals relevant to both cancer and arthritis that we welcome as part of this funding call are:

  • Immune metabolism.
  • Mechanisms behind adverse autoimmune events in cancer immunotherapy, such as the exacerbation of inflammatory arthritis.
  • Mechanism of action studies that explore opportunities to re-position existing drug strategies that support the treatment of cancer or arthritis.
  • Investigations that support the diagnosis, stratification or treatment decisions specific to the management of cancer or arthritis.

Who can apply?

At the time of funding, applicants must be in a post that is fully funded by the relevant national Higher Education Funding Council, the National Health Service or equivalent. This post must be guaranteed for the duration of the award.

The award cannot be used to fund part of an applicant's salary. 

Further information on eligibility criteria, can be found in section 2.2 of the application guidelines, which can be accessed at www.cancerresearchuk.org.

What can you apply for?

You can apply for up to £300,000. Funding lasts three years, and can be used to fund postdoctoral researchers and technical staff with associated running costs.

Further information on cost information, can be found in section section 3.4 of the application guidelines, which as mentioned above, can be found at www.cancerresearchuk.org.

How to apply

Applications will be administered and assessed alongside the CRUK’s Cancer Immunology Project Awards through the Science Committee. Successful applications will be jointly funded by both charities.

The deadline for applications is 9 May 2019.

Oliver Bird Fund for research into musculoskeletal conditions - CLOSED

Outline application deadline: 28 January 2019
Partner funder: Nuffield Foundation
Contact: oliverbird@nuffieldfoundation.org

Musculoskeletal conditions, such as arthritis affects around 17.8 million adults and 12,000 children in the UK, accounting for almost one in three GP visits and costing the NHS £4.6 billion each year.

Over the next 10 years the Nuffield Foundation through the Oliver Bird Fund will dedicate up to £12.5m for research into musculoskeletal conditions, with up to £6.25m to be awarded over the first five years.

By funding interrelated policy, practice and research activities, the Nuffield Foundation aims to improve the lives of people living with musculoskeletal conditions. It is calling for proposals with an interdisciplinary focus that can improve understanding of the patient experience and of health and social well-being outcomes. Funding will be awarded across three programmes, one of which is anticipated to be co funded with Versus Arthritis.

They are seeking to fund:

  • Research to exploit existing national-level longitudinal and administrative data on the bio/social/economic determinants and outcomes of musculoskeletal conditions through secondary analysis of existing data.
  • Research to integrate and exploit local health, social care and other data sources in the UK at a local-level through funding one or more local data integration pilot sites. This programme is anticipated to be co-funded by Versus Arthritis.
  • Interdisciplinary research into musculoskeletal conditions that will generate new knowledge on health and social well-being for those living with musculoskeletal conditions.

Application process

Applicants must be based in a UK institution and submit an outline proposal by 28 January 2019 (with intent to submit forms ideally submitted by 10 January 2019).

Full criteria and details of how to apply are available at http://www.nuffieldfoundation.org/OBF.

Any questions relating to applications to the Nuffield Foundation’s Oliver Bird Fund should be sent to oliverbird@nuffieldfoundation.org.

Immunology Innovation Award – CLOSED

Maximum duration: 1 year
Maximum costs: £45,000
Workshop application deadline: 12:00 midday 11 February 2019
Workshop dates: 3–5 April 2019
Partner funder: Cancer Research UK (CRUK)
Contact: Liz Waterman at research@versusarthritis.org

What are the Immunology Innovation Awards?

The Immunology Innovation Award is jointly funded by Versus Arthritis and Cancer Research UK and aims to catalyse new multidisciplinary collaborations across disease areas.

Applicants for Immunology Innovation Awards must attend a sandpit workshop – an intensive and interactive three-day residential event where they will have the opportunity to:

  • network and form new collaborations spanning diverse research areas and organisations
  • work in broad, multidisciplinary teams to generate new and innovative research ideas
  • pitch projects for seed funding to test the feasibility of their ideas.

The overarching theme for the workshop is modulating tissue immunity in cancer and arthritis. The workshop aims to look holistically at the way the immune system functions in the body under challenges caused by arthritis or cancer. Within the overarching theme of modulating tissue immunity, three potential areas have been specifically identified:

  1. immuno-metabolism
  2. immune checkpoint modulation
  3. immune - tissue cell interactions.

Who can apply?

Applications to attend the sandpit workshop are welcome from both academic and industry sectors. The range of participants selected is intentionally diverse, and it is intended that a wide range of disciplines will be represented. If you would like to transform the future of cancer and arthritis treatment in the UK, we invite you to apply – irrespective of your expertise or background.

We are more interested in new ideas, underpinned by radical and innovative thinking. Owing to the interactive and intensive nature of the workshop, applicants must have the personal attributes of creativity, openness, and the ability to work effectively as part of a team.

PhD students and applicants based overseas are not eligible to apply.

How to apply

More detailed guidance about this call and the sandpit workshop process can be found in the Immunology Innovation Award call document (PDF, 366 KB).

Applications must be submitted by sending a completed Immunology Innovation Award application form (Word doc, 3.78 MB) and an up-to-date CV to research@versusarthritis.org by 12:00 midday on 11 February 2019.

Applicants must be available to attend for the full three days of the sandpit (3–5 April 2019).

Priorities in clinical research

Maximum duration: 60 months
Maximum costs: £750,000
Outline application deadline: 16:00 6 February 2019
Full application deadline: 16:00 19 June 2019
Contact: Keith Pugh & Pete Morley at research@versusarthritis.org


What are we seeking in the Priorities in Clinical Research call?

Clinical research delivers healthcare science that develops and evaluates the safety, efficacy and effectiveness of medications, devices, diagnostic products and treatment regimens intended for human use. These may be used for prevention, treatment, diagnosis or for relieving symptoms of a disease.

In this call we are seeking applications for clinical research funding focused at priority areas defined in the strategies put forward by our previous Clinical Studies Groups, those of RheumaMap, the priorities set by the NIHR’s James Lind Priority Setting Partnerships, where they are relevant to Versus Arthritis: Hip and Knee Replacement for osteoarthritis, Early Hip and Knee Osteoarthritis, Surgery for Common Shoulder Problems, Common Conditions Affecting the Hand and Wrist and also the relevant research priority areas highlighted in the results of the recent ‘Identifying Research Priorities for Elective Orthopaedic Surgery Research’ survey (PDF 102KB) conducted in partnership between the British Orthopaedic Association, NIHR and Versus Arthritis.

Applications will be assessed by our Treatment subcommittee. Awards of up to £750,000 and up to 60 months duration are available. We expect successful applications to be ambitious in aiming to make a step change towards defying arthritis and push for better answers for all affected.  It is expected that every study will be delivered in conjunction with a UKCRC-registered CTU or affiliated personnel.

Who can apply for Priorities in Clinical Research research awards?

We encourage applications from both new and established researchers. At least one of the applicants must have a tenured position within a UK university, hospital or recognised academic research institute. We welcome applications from early career investigators and trialists however fellowship applications or applications to fund a fellowship as part of a clinical trial will not be accepted within this call.

For more information on the research, please view our Priorities in clinical research call for applications (PDF 164KB).

Applications will be open for submission from 28th November 2018.

How to apply

More detailed guidance about this call can be found in the Priorities in clinical research call for applications (PDF 164KB). Costs for salaries, expenses, animals (where relevant) and small items of essential equipment can be requested. For further details on what you can apply for see our Guidance for outline applications (PDF 270 KB).

Only the treatment subcommittee will be receiving applications to this Priorities in Clinical Research call. Applicants should consider the remit of the Treatment subcommittee before starting their application. Proposals with a primary hypothesis focused on approaches to developing and testing new treatments for managing musculoskeletal pain; such studies could be more relevant to the concurrent call, pain challenge.

Please contact the Research office for advice if necessary research@versusarthritis.org

There is a two-stage application process for all applications. Applications should be submitted via Grant Tracker.

Applications will be open for submission from 28th November 2018. 

Outline applications should provide an overview of the project and funding requested. The deadline for the receipt of outline applications is 16:00 on Wednesday 6 February 2019.

Applicants successful at the outline stage will be invited to submit a full application.

Translational awards

Translational awards provide support for research which bridges the gap between basic science and clinical research, with the aim of speeding up translation of research findings for the benefit of patients.

These awards provide support for initiatives that may not be available through our other funding streams. They're responsive to strategic funding opportunities and also support calls for applications that are aligned with the charity’s strategy.

Applications for translational awards may involve partnership with other funders, as well as industrial collaborators.