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Confidence in Concept scheme 2017

Please note this opportunity is now CLOSED.
View all OPEN opportunities

  • Status: Closed
  • Open date: 15 Aug 2017
  • Closing date: 7 Nov 2017 16:00 GMT
  • Type: Grants, MRC strategic

Confidence in Concept scheme - Flexible institutional awards for preliminary translational work

The Confidence in Concept scheme is a key part of MRC’s translational research strategy and provides annual awards of £250k-£1.2m to institutions, to be used flexibly to support the earliest stages of multiple translational research projects. It is intended to accelerate the transition from discovery research to translational development projects by supporting preliminary work or feasibility studies to establish the viability of an approach.

Aims and remit

Ensuring that fundamental science is translated into new therapies, diagnostics and medical devices is central to our mission. The Confidence in Concept scheme aims to accelerate the transition from discovery science to the early stages of therapeutic/biomarker development by providing locally-administered, responsive and flexible funding to support preliminary translational work.

The award can be used flexibly by the institution to support a number of preliminary-stage translational projects. The projects supported should aim to provide sufficient preliminary data to establish the viability of an approach before seeking more substantive funding (e.g. from the Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme (DPFS).

Applicants are encouraged to explore how awards could be used to develop academic-industry interactions. People exchange (in either direction) is permitted, where focused on the delivery of specific project objectives. Other routes (e.g. co-funding projects, developing early-stage collaborations) are also encouraged. Standard terms and conditions apply (see in particular the “MICA” web page).

The funding is not intended to support:

  • Entire translational projects; applicants seeking funding for entire projects are directed to DPFS.
  • Administration costs
  • Industrial partner costs
  • Staff between posts/funding (i.e. as “bridging” funds), or PhD studentships
  • Continuation of normal research grants
  • Costs relating to protection of intellectual property

Awards and Eligibility

Institutions may apply for an award between £250k and £1.2m.

We anticipate that only a small number of leading institutions that can show funding will deliver transformative benefits will be awarded funding at the upper limit. Most institutions are encouraged to apply for lower value awards. Applications may be broad in scope or focused on a particular therapeutic area or intervention modality.

Where an institution has previously received CiC funding the review process will focus on the outputs and impacts delivered by the previous funding. A separate application form is available for institutions applying for renewal of funding. 

We anticipate that individual projects funded from an institution’s award will be of the order of £50-100k and approximately 6-12 months in length, although this will be dictated by the needs of each project.

Institutional awards will be of 24 months duration. Successful institutions are expected to allocate funds to projects within the first 12 months of the award.

To ensure transparency CiC award holders are expected to publicise Panel membership and governance structures to their academic community.

The normal MRC “response mode” eligibility rules apply; please see the guidance for applicants and the Research Councils UK website. Only one application per institution is permitted. However, where there is scientific justification an institution can apply as part of a focused collaborative application in addition to their individual HEI application. It is expected that applications will be led by one or more senior members of the institution (e.g. Dean of Medical School or equivalent).

Institutions can apply for Confidence in Concept awards in consecutive years. However, these institutions should justify their request in light of the funding already received.

Joint applications from groups of institutions are permitted – consortia may be able to demonstrate potential to add value that individual institutions cannot, and these joint applications may request higher levels of funding than would be considered justified for a single HEI (although within the £1.2m limit). Consortia may be broad in scope or focused on a particular therapeutic area or intervention modality.

How to apply and timings

The Confidence in Concept application forms can be downloaded below. There is a choice of form:

  • The new applicants form for institutions that have not received CiC funding previously.
  • The reapplication form for institutions that have previously received funding which includes a section to report on the performance of past awards. Please be aware that this year the reapplication form has changed and there is additional guidance on completion of this form.

Once completed, forms should be returned to DPFS&DCS@headoffice.mrc.ac.uk no later than 5 pm on the 7 November 2017.

More details on expected governance standards, assessment criteria and reporting requirements are available here.

Panel membership


If you have any queries about this scheme, please contact:


If you would like further guidance on the CiC scheme and completing the application forms the MRC programme managers will be available to answer questions by telephone on 14 and 15 September.  Please contact the DPFS&DCS@headoffice.mrc.ac.uk to schedule calls.

Document downloads

CiC Application form 2017 New Applicants

CiC Application form 2017 Reapplication

Guidance for completing CiC reapplication form

Handbook for Applicants and Grant Holders