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Clinical Academic Research Partnerships Round 3: Pre-Call Announcement

In 2019 the Medical Research Council (MRC) in partnership with the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) ran two pilot rounds of the Clinical Academic Research Partnerships (CARP) scheme. This scheme offered a new mechanism for clinical staff at consultant level with a PhD or MD who were not currently research active to participate in collaborative high-quality research partnerships with established leading biomedical researchers.

The response to this scheme was overwhelmingly positive and a commitment has been made to launch Round 3 of CARP in August 2020.

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on both  the clinical and research communities we are making this pre-call announcement to enable those wishing to apply to the scheme greater time to develop partnerships and their application.

The submission deadline for applications will be 29 October 2020.

To find out more about the scheme please see the CARP pilot webpage or contact us by email: CARP@mrc.ukri.org

Who can apply?

The scheme is open to clinical staff at consultant level or equivalent with a PhD, or MD (or equivalent postgraduate qualification) who are not undertaking any substantive research activity but, wish to develop their research interests through collaborative high-quality research partnerships with established leading biomedical and health researchers.

Applicants should be a member of NHS staff, staff contracted to the NHS or working within the public health or care sector. This includes, but is not exclusive to doctors, dentists, nurses, midwives, allied health professions, healthcare scientists, pharmacists, clinical psychologists, registered public health practitioners and others, in either primary care, secondary care, community care or public health.

Within their current posts, applicants should not be currently undertaking any substantive research activity. It is expected that most applicants will have less than one PA of research time in their current job plan. Proposals from applicants with more than one research PA are welcome, but they should ensure the added-value of the award is articulated, for example to support them in working in new environments or with new research partners.

Applicants who have not had a significant break in research activity will need to articulate the added-value of the award, for example how this scheme will put them on a research trajectory they were not currently on and why this scheme is a more suitable option compared to other schemes they are eligible for.

Research partners must have a proven track record of securing peer-reviewed research programmes from high-quality funders such as UKRI, NIHR, or significant third sector research funders for the duration of the planned partnership. They must also be based at an organisation eligible to hold research council funding. Further information on eligible organisations can be found on the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) website.

Applications declined as part of the pilot scheme may be resubmitted. However, the new application must be substantially different from the previous, unsuccessful submission and you will need to include a covering letter with your new proposal, indicating how the application has been changed. Please refer to MRC Guidance regarding resubmissions.

What we’re looking for

Projects are welcome across all areas of the partnering funders’ remits and interests and are open to clinicians in any specialty or profession. Applications may range from basic discovery science to translational and applied health research, and may address research questions from disease-specific mechanistic hypotheses through to research in priority areas such as primary care, population health, public health, mental health, molecular pathology and other areas outlined in MRC’s strategic plan. Applications addressing global health issues resulting in primary benefit to those living in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC), or those proposing interdisciplinary approaches are also welcomed. The proposed project should be tailored to the interests of and expertise of the applicant and research partner and designed to provide a mutually beneficial collaboration for both parties.

Proposals will be assessed on:

  • the track record of the research partner, including their funding and productivity to date, and ability to offer a strong environment to host the applicant;
  • evidence of the research capabilities of the applicant, as demonstrated by the productivity and skills gained during their PhD or MD, and any other past research experience if applicable;
  • alignment of the project to research strengths and interests of the applicant and research partner;
  • demonstration of the project providing a mutually beneficial collaboration, enhancing the applicant’s research experience and contribution they can make to the research partner’s existing team;
  • strength of the institutional support provided, including the facilities and experience the research partner can provide, and strength of support from the employing NHS organisation.

We recommend applicants consider the Chair’s summaries from Round 1 and Round 2 of the pilot.

Funding available

Awards are flexible to enable applicants to tailor the support requested to their individual collaborative plans.

Awards will be a minimum of one year and maximum of three years in duration. Each award will support between 20-50% of the applicant’s basic salary to support protected research time, and costs for consumables to undertake the project. No additional support for salaries may be requested.

How to apply

  • call opens in Je-S: 07 August 2020
  • submission deadline: 29 October 2020

All proposals must be completed and submitted through the Je-S system.