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MRC-AMED Infectious Disease Research Collaboration

Please note this opportunity is now CLOSED.
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The Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED) and the UK MRC are pleased to launch a call for proposals for UK-Japan collaborative research into infectious diseases. This jointly funded initiative is aimed at fostering collaborative links between researchers in the UK and Japan. We invite joint application (by parallel submission) from researchers based in the UK and Japan. The deadline for applications is 4 September 2019. Successful awards will be announced in December 2019.

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AMED is committed to fostering collaboration between the UK and Japan. MRC has a strategic commitment to encourage international partnerships to tackle important and challenging research goals. In response to the promising potential for work between our two countries and based on the Memorandum of Cooperation signed by AMED and MRC in February 2017, this call is dedicated to strengthening collaborations between researchers in the UK and Japan with a focus on infectious disease.


The overarching aim of the UK-Japan collaborative initiative in infectious diseases is to provide bi-lateral support to biomedical and health researchers in the UK and Japan that will allow them to forge lasting collaborations. This initiative aims to strengthen existing links or foster new links that add value to research taking place in both countries. This is expected to be achieved by facilitating exchange and catalysing innovative synergy amongst collaborators and is particularly aimed at those who are in the early stages of their careers. Therefore it is expected that applications will be made by eligible early career researchers or by established researchers who explicitly wish to encourage the career development of their postdoctoral researchers. It is hoped that the partnerships established through these awards will lead to the development of long-term collaborative research programmes that will be competitive for international funding.

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The objective is to provide bilateral support for up to eight, catalytic, innovative collaborative partnerships between researchers from Japan and UK. These will enable important synergy between researchers with shared or complementary interests. 

Specific objectives that underpin the UK-Japan research collaborative initiative in infectious disease are to promote:

  • partnerships between UK and Japan investigators in fields of biomedical, health and clinical research
  • the exchange of scientists, particularly early career scientists,
  • knowledge or methodology exchange, 
  • complementary access to facilities / resources / equipment
  • stronger opportunity for collaborative research and catalyse further synergy.

It is expected therefore that jointly planned collaborative UK-Japan partnership project applications will be submitted. Applications from early career researchers or from established researchers who wish to encourage their postdoctoral scientists career development are particularly invited.

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This call aims to support early career researchers develop fruitful international collaborations in the field of infectious diseases. Within this broad field we would particularly like to encourage applications which tackle the more challenging issues of infectious diseases including 1) priority viral outbreak pathogens; 2) research providing mechanistic insight into latency/persistence/resistance in infectious diseases; and 3) research exploring the host infection interface, particularly at key barrier sites eg blood-brain barrier.

Research areas of interest include:

  • the pathogenesis of lethal viruses, such as the Ebola virus, Lassa virus, or tick-borne viruses
  • mechanistic insight on latent and persistent infections
  • exploration of host infection interface eg central nervous system infections by blood-brain barrier failure, transplacental infections or mucosal-gut barrier
  • drug resistant pathogens
  • development of new treatment measures, therapeutic agents, vaccines or therapeutic strategies concerning any of the above.

The use of novel strategies, computational/informatics using ‘big data’ and multidisciplinary approaches or advanced techniques within a project are encouraged but should be well articulated.

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AMED and MRC will jointly provide bi-lateral support for up to three years to intensify productive collaboration in infectious disease research between UK and Japan’s leading researchers.

It is anticipated that eight awards will be jointly supported and the total funding available to support these eight projects over three years will be approximately £1.2 million = 180 million JPY (£600,000 from the MRC and 90 million JPY from AMED). 

Each jointly planned UK-Japan project will receive a maximum award of £75,000 from MRC, plus 11.25 million JPY from AMED in total for the three year period (that is £25,000 MRC plus 3.75 million JPY AMED per annum, over the three year period.)

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View the details of the application guidance