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UK-Thailand Joint Initiative on Infectious Diseases and Non-Communicable Diseases

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

  • Status: Closed
  • Open date: 6 Jul 2017
  • Closing date: 19 Sep 2017 16:00 GMT+1
  • Type: Grants, MRC strategic
  • Meeting date: 3 Jan 2018

MRC logo           TRF logo           NSTDA logo          Newton fund logo


The UK Medical Research Council (MRC), the Thailand Research Fund (TRF) and the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) are pleased to invite research proposals to the UK-Thailand Joint Initiative on Infectious Diseases and Non-Communicable Diseases, through the Newton Fund.

This initiative will provide funding for high quality collaborative research projects focused on infectious and non-communicable diseases in Thailand.

Expression of Interest submission date

Researchers planning to submit to this scheme are asked to submit a short expression of interest to international@headoffice.mrc.ac.uk by 31 July 2017. Please see further details below.


Thailand is presently in a period of epidemiological transition, which is reflected in key changes in Thai morbidity and mortality rates. Today, the major and rising causes of death among Thai citizens are non-communicable diseases.

However, although the prevalence of infectious diseases is declining, drug-resistant and (re)emerging infectious diseases are also a growing challenge for disease control and prevention in Thailand.

In recognition of these challenges, in 2015, the MRC, in partnership with TRF and the NSTDA, launched the ‘UK-Thailand: Joint Health Research Call’ under the umbrella of the Newton Fund. Through this initiative, seven UK-Thai collaborative research projects were supported, which focused on cancer and infectious diseases in Thailand. Details of the funded projects can be found on our UK South East Asia awarded research projects page. 

In order to further strengthen collaboration between the two countries, TRF and NSTDA hosted a workshop in May 2017 in Bangkok with a view to exploring additional opportunities for UK-Thai collaboration in infectious and non-communicable diseases. Further details, including the attendees and workshop slides will be available on our website shortly.  

Building on the success of these initiatives, MRC, TRF and NSTDA are now delighted to announce the launch of a second UK-Thailand initiative on infectious and non-communicable diseases. Through this initiative the funders are seeking to support UK-Thai collaborative research projects which seek to address diseases of relevance to Thailand.

Objectives and scope

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

Under this initiative, the MRC will operate two separate calls that will run in parallel with one another:

1) The MRC-NSTDA infectious diseases call; and

2) The MRC-TRF non-communicable diseases (NCDs) call.

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

Under the MRC-NSTDA Infectious Diseases call, research proposals must specifically address one or more of the following diseases/disease areas:

  • Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), especially multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB)
  • Emerging infectious diseases, especially leishmaniasis and influenza
  • Measles
  • Vector-borne diseases

Under the MRC-TRF Non-Communicable Diseases call, the research proposals must specifically address one or more of the following diseases/disease areas:

  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • Osteoporosis
  • Metabolic Syndrome

Research proposals must seek to generate scientific outcomes of relevance to the prevention, treatment, management and/or control of the above listed diseases in Thailand. This may include, but is not limited to, basic discovery research, research into understanding the mechanisms of these diseases, biomarker identification, novel detection and diagnosis through to the development of novel preventatives (vaccines), therapeutics and interventions.


Projects must start in both the UK and Thailand by 1 April 2018. Projects may be up to three years in length and so must have completed by 31st March 2021.

For queries relating to the scope of this call, please contact: international@headoffice.mrc.ac.uk

Funding available

In total up to £3m will be made available by the MRC for this initiative (up to £1.5m per call). The MRC contribution will be made available to the UK collaborators to fund the UK component of the collaborative research projects. MRC will provide funding under standard arrangements and at 80% fEC.

NSTDA and TRF funds will be made available to fund the Thai collaborators.

The total funding available for each call is as follows:

MRC-NSTDA call on infectious diseases:

  • MRC -  up to £1.5m (in support to the successful UK applicants)
  • NSTDA – up to ~£670k (THB 30 million) in support to the successful Thai applicants

MRC-TRF call on non-communicable diseases:

  • MRC -  up to £1.5m (in support to the successful UK applicants)
  • TRF – up to ~£540k (THB 24 million) in support to the successful Thai applicants

It is expected that this funding will support approximately 4 joint projects per call (i.e. approximately 8 projects in total across the two calls), depending on the number and quality of proposals received.

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


This call will fund partnerships between UK and Thailand based researchers working in the area of Infectious Diseases and Non-Communicable Diseases. It is important to note that:

  • This is an open call; applicants do not need to have attended the UK-Thailand workshop in order to apply.
  • The funding agencies will not play a brokering role in this call.
  • The proposal should be developed by a UK PI and a Thai PI

All proposals for this call must meet Newton Fund requirements. In particular, proposals must be compliant with Official Development Assistance (ODA) funding rules. For further information see the Newton Fund ODA page.

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


For the UK participants, standard RCUK eligibility criteria as described on the RCUK website will apply. Research Organisations that are eligible to apply to the MRC, for example MRC Units and Institutes may apply to this call.


NSTDA criteria for Thai applicants on infectious diseases scope: please go to the NSTDA website. 

TRF criteria for Thai applicants on Non-communicable diseases scope: Applicants must hold a permanent or fixed-term contract in a University or research organisation and must not hold an administrative position of dean or equivalent or higher during the funding period.

Further eligibility details for this research call can be found in the scheme specific guidance document

Principal Investigators may only submit one application to this scheme as Principal Investigator, but may be involved in more applications if listed as a Co-Investigator. 

The funders are not seeking to fund partners outside of the UK and Thailand through this initiative. Please contact international@headoffice.mrc.ac.uk if you are planning to involve co-investigators from a third country in your proposal.

Assessment Process 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
  • Scientific Rationale: novelty, importance and timeliness of the research
  • Design and Feasibility of the Project Plan
  • Partnership: including strength and clarity of collaborations and opportunities provided, quality of the project management structure proposed; the added value of the UK-Thailand collaboration
  • Quality and suitability of the research environment and of the facilities
  • Value for money for Thai and UK science
  • Ethical considerations and governance arrangements.

In addition, applicants must describe how the proposed research is ODA compliant [approximately 150 words]. This section will be made publicly available. For further information on ODA, please see the RCUK guidance

Applications will be assessed for ODA-compliance before the peer review process and will not be assessed if the funders do not feel the proposed work is ODA compliant.

Eligible applications will be externally peer reviewed, and 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-NSTDA-TRF 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

31 July 2017

Deadline for Investigators to submit proposal

19 September 2017 (4pm UK time)

Panel Meeting

January 2018

Grants begin

April 2018

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@headoffice.mrc.ac.uk and expression of interest as outlined below by 31 July 2017.




Email address and Mobile phone number

Principal Investigator (UK)




Principal Investigator (Thailand)




List of all Co-Investigators (stating whether UK or Thailand based)













Project Title


Summary of proposed project (maximum 200 words).


Please note this will be used when approaching potential reviewers)



Describe how the proposed UK funded work is ODA compliant (approximately 150 words)




Ethical considerations


Human/Animal Research


Will the proposed research involve the use of humans or vertebrae animals/ other organisms covered by the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act?


If yes, please provide details.


If your research involves animals, please specify the species involved



Full applications must be submitted by UK PI’s on behalf of both UK and Thai PIs to the MRC via the Je-S application system by 4pm BST Tuesday, 19 September 2017.

The Newton Fund

The Newton Fund builds scientific and innovation partnerships with 16 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 Award Holders

NSTDA funding guidelines

TRF funding guideline

For further information, UK applicants should contact: international@headoffice.mrc.ac.uk

For further information, Thai applicants should contact:

monta@nstda.or.th (for Infectious diseases)

saengpetch@trf.or.th (for Non-communicable diseases)