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Longitudinal Population Studies Strategic Advisory Panel

The Longitudinal Population Studies Strategic Advisory Panel (LPS-SAP; previously the Cohort Strategic Review Group) assists the MRC in delivering its strategic objective of maximising the impact of population health studies.

The purpose of LPS-SAP is to assess longitudinal population study (LPS) outline applications submitted to MRC (for both new cohorts and renewals of existing studies) in the context of strategic need, the added value of the study and the appropriateness of the design, taking account of existing and forthcoming national and international LPS and MRC’s overarching strategy for population health research.

Overseen by the Population Health Sciences Group (PHSG), LPS-SAP assesses outline proposals for LPS funding across the breadth of MRC’s remit. LPS-SAP is not a funding body; the Panel provides strategic advice and feedback on outline applications to the relevant Research Board. The Research Board has responsibility for deciding whether an application should go forward as a full proposal, taking account of both strategic and scientific considerations. The terms of reference for LPS-SAP can be viewed.

LPS-SAP normally meets tri-annually, with the meetings aligned to those of the Research Boards.

Applying for funding for a population cohort

MRC will provide funding for LPS core infrastructure support, for both new LPS and renewals of existing studies (new data collection or continued access to and use of existing data). Please note that associated research may only be included with the LPS core application if it is for pilot or proof of concept studies.

All applications for funding for new or existing LPS are required to submit an outline application for joint review by LPS-SAP and the Research Board and a decision on whether a full proposal should be invited will be made, with feedback. Applicants must speak to the relevant Programme Manager at least 6 weeks before the outline submission deadline to confirm the eligibility of their application. If insufficient time is allowed, the application will need to go to the subsequent deadline.

If applicants wish to apply for associated research that will use existing LPS, applications should be submitted directly to the relevant MRC Research Board or Funding Call as usual; outline applications are not required. For research proposals linked to a new LPS, applicants should delay their application until a funding decision has been made regarding core LPS support.

If the study draws its participants from a group with a specific disease or condition (i.e. it is a clinical cohort), an outline application is not required, and applicants should submit their research proposal directly to the relevant Research Board or Funding Call.

LPS applications will need to demonstrate the strategic need and scientific importance of the study in the context of existing national and international LPS. In addition, applications for renewal of existing studies will need to demonstrate the scientific impact of the study over the previous funding period. In formulating their case for support applicants should refer to the MRC Strategic Review of the Largest UK Population Cohort Studies (PDF, 2.07MB) and the MRC Cohort Directory.

Outlines should be prepared following the MRC LPS Outline Application Template (PDF, 169KB) and should be no more than 6 pages of A4 in length. Outline applications should be submitted via email to populationcohorts@mrc.ukri.org by 4pm on the day of the submission deadline.

Please note that the application template was revised in March 2021. Please ensure that you use the new template for all further applications as this contains important changes.

Outline submission deadline is 16:00 on the following dates:

  • 7 April 2021
  • 4 August 2021
  • December 2021 (date tbc)

Applicants will be notified whether a full application has been invited shortly after the relevant Research Board meeting (see here for details of deadlines and Research Board meeting dates) and this may be submitted to any of the three subsequent Board deadlines. Applicants are requested to inform the relevant MRC Research Board Programme Manager of the deadline they intend to submit their full application to.

Applicants are asked to note that:

  • The invitation to submit a full proposal expires after three subsequent Board deadlines, whereupon a new outline submission will be required.
  • Applicants will not be able to resubmit rejected applications for three subsequent Board deadlines.


Please email populationcohorts@mrc.ukri.org if you have any queries.