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UK-Vietnam Partnerships for Infectious Disease Research

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

  • Status: Closed
  • Open date: 12 Sep 2017
  • Closing date: 12 Dec 2017 16:00 GMT
  • Type: Grants, MRC strategic

The UK Medical Research Council (MRC), and Vietnamese Ministry of Science and Technology are pleased to invite research proposals to the UK-Vietnam Partnership on Infectious Disease Research, through the Newton Fund.

This initiative will provide funding for high-quality collaborative research projects focused on Infectious Diseases.

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 7 November 2017. The Expression of Interests received will assist the funders in preparing for peer review. This step will not involve an assessment of the proposal; applicants should not, therefore, expect to receive feedback from the funders. Once you have submitted the Expression of Interest, please proceed with the development of your application and do not await further contact from the funders. Please see further details below and Expression of Interest template document

Objectives and scientific scope

This is the second UK Medical Research Council (MRC) -Vietnamese Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) Infectious Diseases Partnership initiative and provides substantive support for joint Vietnamese-UK working in the area of infectious disease research. The call will deliver three-years of research funding for internationally competitive and innovative collaborative projects between scientists from Vietnam and the UK that will allow the pursuit of shared research interests.

The funders wish to support biomedical research in infectious diseases of importance to the Vietnamese population, which will lead to health benefits in Vietnam, particularly for the poorest and most vulnerable in society. This call for collaborative proposals will require applicants based in Vietnam and the UK to work together in partnership on research projects.

Areas of particular research interest within the infectious disease space include, but are not limited to:

  • HIV and other Sexually Transmitted Infections
  • Tuberculosis
  • Malaria
  • Respiratory Infections
  • Neglected Tropical Infections
  • Antimicrobial Resistance (excluding epidemiological and surveillance activities)

The funders welcome proposals across the spectrum of biomedical research activities, including, but not limited to:

  • Basic research on pathogen; genomics; aetiology of disease
  • Understanding mechanisms of diseases
  • Development of vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics, and other health interventions (public health, behavioural, nutritional)
  • Population health sciences, clinical studies and epidemiological research which will provide data needed to conduct future interventions development work.

It is important that the proposed research fits within the MRC and MOST standard remits.

Please note: funding for this partnership scheme will not cover clinical trials and the joint funders will not accept clinical trials applications for this scheme.


Projects must start in the UK and Vietnam by 1 April 2019. Projects may be up to 3 years in length. All projects must be completed by 31  March 2022. Please see below review process timeline.

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

Funding available

The MRC will make up to £2million available for this scheme to fund the UK collaborators. MOST will make approximately £750,000 available to fund the Vietnamese collaborators applying to this scheme. The funding agencies intend to provide support for approximately five joint projects subject to quality.

The size of the grants will vary according to the needs of each research project. UK and Vietnamese 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. It is expected, however, that the research effort on both sides should be comparable.

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

Online networking database

MRC and MOST have created an Online Networking Database to compile a list of UK and Vietnamese Researchers who are interested in finding possible collaborators for this call.

A copy of the Online Networking Database will be available from 6 October and will be updated every Friday until 27 October.

To ensure your details are shared with the research community in the UK and Vietnam, please complete the networking document template. Details will be compiled every Thursday and an updated spreadsheet will be populated and available on this webpage every Friday.

The document should be completed in English and submitted to international@headoffice.mrc.ac.uk

Please view the UK-Vietnam Networking spreadsheet. If you require the spreadsheet in a different format, please email international@headoffice.mrc.ac.uk.


This call funds partnership working between UK and Vietnamese based researchers. For support under this call, applicants must be eligible to apply for funding from their respective country’s funding agency:

For UK Applicants, standard RCUK/MRC eligibility criteria as described in the applicant’s handbook and RCUK website will apply. MRC Units and Institutes are also eligible to apply to this call. Please see the guidance for applicants for further information. 

Vietnamese Applicants should carefully refer to MOST’s circular no.12/2014/TT-BKHCN on the management of joint research projects with foreign partners dated on 30 May 2014 and further details on the eligibility of the Lead Research Organisations and the Principal Investigators provided in MOST’s circular 08/2017/TT-BKHCN dated 26 June 2017 for the eligibility rules for this call. Please note that as per MOST’s circular no.08/2017/TT-BKHCN mentioned above, a Vietnamese Principal Investigator will be considered as ineligible if, at the deadline of this call’s full stage on the Vietnamese side, she/he is also a PI of another effective national scientific research project.

At the closure of the call, all received project proposals will be checked for eligibility. Only projects which are deemed eligible by both funders will be considered for evaluation.

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.

Proposals will only be considered when complete applications have been provided to both the MRC and MOST.

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

Assessment criteria


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-Vietnamese collaboration
  • Quality and suitability of the research environment and of the facilities
  • Value for money for Vietnamese and UK science
  • Ethical considerations and governance arrangements.

The Newton Fund requires that the funding be awarded to research projects that are of specific relevance to the Vietnamese population. All applications under this call must be compliant with the RCUK Newton Fund Guidelines. 

Review process

The MRC and MOST have agreed a review process which meets the requirements of both funders. Please note, it will take at least a year from the point of application submission to when successful projects can begin.

Projects will be assessed through both MRC and MOST assessment processes and only those projects agreed as fundable by both partner organisations will be considered for joint funding.

MRC assessment process:

Following receipt of joint applications on 12 December 2017, eligible applications will be externally peer reviewed. MRC will facilitate a shortlisting meeting in March 2018 and proposals successful and deemed fundable at this stage will be given the opportunity to provide a written response to the reviews and panel comments received.

MOST assessment process:

On the Vietnamese side, there will be a 3 stage process. Following receipt of joint applications on 12 December 2017, MOST will carry out stage 1 outline evaluations by March 2018. Proposals which have been successful at this stage through both the MRC and MOST processes will then be invited to submit to the MOST stage 2 full assessment process in May 2018. Final fundable projects will be assessed in terms of the budget request in stage 3.

Further details of the Vietnamese assessment process can be found in the MOST 3 stage assessment document.

Joint funding decisions:

Final agreement of the grants to be awarded will be made following the completion of both MRC and MOST assessment processes.


UK Applicants

Vietnamese Applicants

07 November 2017

Submit Expression of Interest to: international@headoffice.mrc.ac.uk


12 December 2017

Submit jointly prepared application via Je-S

Submit jointly prepared application to MOST


Peer review


March 2018

Shortlisting Panel Meeting

Outline Panel Meetings

April 2018

UK-Vietnam agree shortlisted projects

June 2018

UK shortlisted PI to submit summary of any changes to application and response to reviewers comments; including the UK and Vietnamese panel feedback

Vietnamese shortlisted applicants submit revised full stage application – taking into account panels’ feedback

Sept 2018

UK-Vietnam agree final outcome of shortlisted proposals

Sept 2018   Budget appraisal meetings

Sept-Oct 2018

Applicants informed of outcome

Early 2019

April - Project start

Jan-April - Project start

Key dates

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

7 November 2017

Deadline for Investigators to submit proposal

12 December 2017

Shortlisting Panel Meeting

March 2018

Decision meeting

September 2018

Grants begin

April 2019

How to apply

Expression of Interest

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.

The Expression of Interests received will assist the funders in preparing for peer review. This step will not involve an assessment of the proposal; therefore, applicants should not expect to receive feedback from the funders. Once you have submitted the Expression of Interest, please proceed with producing your application and do not wait for confirmation from the funders.

Please email international@headoffice.mrc.ac.uk an expression of interest as outlined below by 7 November 2017.

Application submission

Researchers will be responsible for developing their own collaborations. Once a research proposal is developed, UK and Vietnamese applicants must apply separately for funding via the MRC and MOST application processes. Details of how this process will work are outlined above.

Applications must be submitted to the MRC by the UK PI and MOST by the Vietnamese PI, by 12 December 2017

Please note, applications should reflect a joint project between the UK and Vietnamese PI’s and should, therefore, be scientifically identical. 

Instructions for UK PI’s for applications to MRC

The UK PI must submit their full application to the MRC via the Je-S application system by 16:00 GMT Tuesday, 12 December 2017. Along with the full application, you must include an additional attachment - ‘Justification of resources’ this will provide the MRC and MOST with a breakdown of total funds requested. Please see Justification of Resources template.

Instructions for Vietnamese PI’s for applications to MOST

Applications must be submitted by the Vietnamese research team to MOST by 16:00 IDC Tuesday, 12 December 2017. The application must include the following documents:

  • An authorised letter to the Ministry of Science and Technology signed by a Leader (at Minister level) of the Ministry or Provincial People’s Committee in charge.
  • Outline proposals for the joint research projects with foreign partners as per ‘Outline Proposal for Vietnamese Applicants’ of MOST’s circular no.12/2014/TT-BKHCN dated 30 May 2014 in both Vietnamese and English. Please see ‘Outline proposal for Vietnamese applicants ’ template for more information.

Proposals should be submitted in hard copies directly to:

            Department of International Cooperation

            Ministry of Science and Technology:

            113 Tran Duy Hung, Cau Giay, Hanoi

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 Award Holders and MOST 3 stage assessment.

For further information, UK applicants should contact:


For further information, Vietnamese applicants should contact:

Mr. Do Xuan Anh
Department of International Cooperation
113 Tran Duy Hung, Cau Giay, Hanoi
Tel: (+84-24) 39435376
Fax: (+84-24) 39439987
E-Mail: dxanh@most.gov.vn