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UK-Peru: Relationship between Food, Nutrition and Health

Please note this opportunity is now CLOSED.
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The MRC, BBSRC, AHRC, ESRC and Peru’s Consejo Nacional de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación Tecnológica (CONCYTEC) are pleased to invite research proposals to the UK-Peru: Relationship between Food, Nutrition and Health call through the Newton Fund.

This initiative will provide funding for high quality three-year collaborative research projects focusing on the relationship between food, nutrition and health in Peru.

In total, up to approximately £5 million will be made available for this initiative: up to £3 million of UKRI funding; and up to 9,000,000 Sol (approximately £2 million) from CONCYTEC.

Expression of interest submission

Researchers planning to submit to this scheme are asked to submit a short expression of interest (EoI) to international@mrc.ukri.org by 16 August 2018. Please note, this step does not form part of the review process; applicants should not await a response from the MRC following EoI submission, but simply continue with the development of the full proposal to be submitted by the deadline of 20 September 2018.

Background

The relationship between food, nutrition and health is dynamic and complex. Global changes in lifestyle and dietary habits are placing an unsustainable burden on individuals, families, healthcare systems, and societies.

Elucidating the interactions between food, its nutritional content and human physiological systems represents a multidisciplinary challenge with key public health, economic and cultural impacts. Inadequate nutrition affects long-term health and is associated with increased risk of many chronic conditions.

In recognition of these challenges, and in order to strengthen collaboration between UK and Peruvian researchers, the funders convened a workshop, which took place in Lima in May 2018. The workshop was attended by UK and Peruvian researchers with a view to better understanding the key Peruvian challenges in this area, and to explore UK-Peruvian opportunities for collaboration.

The launch of this call follows the success of this workshop.

The outcomes of the breakout sessions and the workshop slides are available on our website.

Objectives and scope

‘Dietary risks’ are the single biggest risk factor driving death and disability in Peru. In this context, Peru faces significant maternal, neonatal and nutritional challenges, as well as an increasing burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including major Peruvian public health challenges such as anaemia, obesity and chronic malnutrition.

Tackling Peruvian nutrition challenges must be founded on both an in-depth understanding of the links between diet, nutrition and health, and an understanding of the geographical, socio-political, cultural, policy and economic context of Peru, particularly the diversity of its people, landscapes, and multiplicity of diets, as well as other factors that determine nutritional patterns. Such understanding must rely on a holistic approach to nutrition research, requiring strong interactions between disciplines such as biological, nutritional, health and medical sciences, food production and supply systems, and the social sciences, as well as a greater understanding of relevant historical and cultural factors.

Proposals must fall within or across the remits of the participating funders. Proposals must seek to address Peru’s food and nutrition challenges, and have outputs of relevance to improving human health and/or tackling disease in Peru. The funders are strongly encouraging interdisciplinary proposals through this call.

The aim of this initiative is to deliver research funding for internationally competitive and innovative collaborative projects between researchers from Peru and the UK to enable the pursuit of shared research interests.

This initiative has been launched under the Newton-Paulet Fund and as such all projects must be collaborative in nature and focused specifically on addressing research of relevance to Peru and the Peruvian population.

The purpose of this call is to support research projects; however, the funders also encourage research projects that incorporate elements of capacity building where appropriate.

For queries relating to the scope of this call, please contact: convocatorias@fondecyt.gob.pe and/or international@mrc.ukri.org

Eligibility

This call will fund partnerships between UK and Peru based researchers working in the areas of food, nutrition and health. It is important to note that:

  • this is an open call; applicants do not need to have attended the UK-Peru workshop in order to apply
  • the funding agencies will not play a further brokering role in this call
  • the proposal should be jointly developed by a Peruvian director and a UK principal investigator (PI).

For support under this call, applicants must be eligible to apply for funding from their respective country’s funding agency:

MRC

For the UK participants, standard UKRI eligibility criteria as described on the UKRI website will apply. Research organisations that are eligible to apply to the MRC, for example MRC units and institutes may apply to this call.

CONCYTEC

CONCYTEC will be making awards under this scheme through the CONCYTEC mechanism (“Círculos de Investigación en Ciencia y Tecnología”). Applications on the Peruvian side must therefore:

  • include three to four separate research institutions
    • one of the three to four institutions must be a ‘public institution’
    • one of the institutions must be from a ‘region’; that is, from outside of the state of Lima.

Peruvian applicants should liaise with CONCYTEC to ensure they are eligible to fulfil the roles of director or co-investigator on this application. For further information on this mechanism, Peruvian applicants should contact: convocatorias@fondecyt.gob.pe

Peruvian investigators, in addition to the guidelines, must read FONDECYT's documents. Further eligibility details can be found in the scheme specific guidance document.

The Peruvian director must register on FONDECYT's system by 3 October.

A Peruvian researcher may submit only one research grant proposal as director through this initiative. However, may be involved in up to three projects in a principal/co-investigator role.

For clarity, on the Peruvian side, the lead researcher from each institute is referred to as a PI. One of those PIs will be the overall lead for the research project on the Peruvian side; this person is referred to as a director.

The funders are not seeking to fund partners outside of the UK and Peru through this initiative. Please contact international@mrc.ukri.org if you are planning to involve a partner from a third country in your proposal.

Funding available

In total, up to approximately £5 million will be made available for this initiative: up to £3 million of MRC funding; and up to 9,000,000 Sol (approximately £2 million) from CONCYTEC.

The funding agencies intend to use these available funds to support a minimum of five projects, subject to quality.

The size of the grants will vary according to the needs of each research project. UK and Peruvian applicants do not need to request equal amounts from both sides. The difference in values should reflect the difference in costs covered and local prices. The agencies also expect the costs on each side to accurately reflect the research effort to be carried out.

The MRC will not cover UK PhD studentships (doctoral programmes) or requests for capital items. CONCYTEC will not cover doctoral programmes.

For further information, please read the scheme specific Guidance for Applicants.

MRC will provide funding for the UK-based applicants under standard arrangements and at 80% full economic costing. CONCYTEC will provide funding for the Peruvian applicants according to the FONDECYT funding guidelines. The CONCYTEC contribution will be made available to fund the Peruvian component of the research projects.

For information, FONDECYT is the Peruvian organisation in charge of managing the administrative aspects of CONCYTEC programmes.

Assessment and decision-making process

To be funded, proposals must be internationally competitive and at a standard equivalent to that normally expected to be supported by each funding organisation.

Key assessment criteria for the submissions will be:

  • significance and impact of the research
  • rationale: novelty, importance, interdisciplinarity and timeliness of the joint research proposal 
  • design and feasibility of the project plan
  • partnership: including strength and clarity of collaborations and opportunities provided, quality of the project management structure proposed, and the added value of the UK-Peru collaboration (translational research, technology transfer, and capacity building)
  • quality and suitability of the research environment and of the facilities value for money for Peru and UK science
  • ethical considerations and governance arrangements
  • in addition, applicants must describe how the proposed UK-funded work is ODA compliant [approximately 150 words]. This section will be made publicly available. For further information on ODA, please visit Newton Fund: What is ODA.

All applications will be externally peer reviewed, and all applicants will be offered the opportunity to provide a written response to these reviews. Following this process, applications will be assessed by a joint MRC-Peruvian review panel in January 2018.

Funding decisions will be made through a joint process.

Key dates

Closing date for investigators to indicate their intention to submit a proposal

16 August 2018

Deadline for investigators to submit proposal

20 September 2018

Peruvian teams register with FONDECYT for eligibility check

3 October 2018

Panel meeting

January 2019

Grants begin

April 2019

 

Due to funding restrictions of the Newton Fund, grants must start by 19 April 2019. The funding agencies will not afford any leeway on this. Projects funded through this initiative must be three years in length. Please refer to the MRC Guidance for Applicants for information on what the starting procedure entails; please inform the relevant support staff in your organisation of this requirement to ensure the project starts on time.

How to apply

In order to identify peer reviewers and convene assessment panels in advance, it is important that researchers indicate their intention to submit by completing an expression of interest form. Please email international@mrc.ukri.org an expression of interest by Thursday 16 August 2018.

Full applications must be written in English and submitted by UK PI’s on behalf of both UK and Peruvian directors to MRC via the Je-S application system by 16:00 BST Thursday 20 September 2018.

There is no requirement to submit a full application to CONCYTEC as well, however, Peruvian applicants must separately submit a registration form to FONDECYT.

The Newton Fund

The Newton Fund builds scientific and innovation partnerships with 18 partner countries to support their economic development and social welfare, and to develop their research and innovation capacity for long-term sustainable growth. It has a total UK government investment of £735 million up until 2021, with matched resources from the partner countries. The Newton Fund is managed by the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and delivered through 15 UK delivery partners, which include the research councils, the UK National Academies, the British Council, Innovate UK and the Met Office.

For further information, visit the Newton Fund homepage and follow via Twitter: @NewtonFund

Contacts and guidance

Please read the scheme specific Guidance for Applicants, MRC Guidance for Applicants and CONCYTEC funding Guidelines or “Bases”.

For further information, UK applicants should contact:

international@headoffice.mrc.ac.uk

For further information, Peruvian applicants should contact: convocatorias@fondecyt.gob.pe