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Applicants guidance update history

A list of recent changes to the guidance for applicants.

v18.1 - May 2018



1.1 Types of research organisations (ROs)

Changed HEFCE to Research England and Department for Employment and Learning Northern Ireland to Northern Ireland Department for the Economy.


Updated references to MRC Units and Institutes.

2.1 The proposal form

Removed section on ‘Project co-funders’ as no longer relevant.

2.2.1 CVs

Added text on inclusion of unnecessary personal data in CVs.

2.2.8 Data management plans

New guidance on intervention studies involving human participants.

3.2.1 Research staff costs

Text on External Scientific Staff moved from Section 3.8.3 Travel and subsistence

New guidance on expectations for requests for conference funding Estates

New text added on which staff are included in the FTE multiplier for calculating estates costs.

3.8 Costing of applications involving MRC units and institutes

Renamed to ‘Costing of applications involving MRC institutes (MRC Harwell, MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences and MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology).


References to MRC Units removed.


Guidance on External Scientific Staff moved to Section 3.2.1 Research staff costs.

3.9 University Units and the Francis Crick Institute

Renamed 3.9 MRC Units and the Francis Crick Institute. References to University Units removed.

5.2.1 Regulations and guidance

Reference to Guidelines for Good Clinical Practice in Clinical Trials (1998) replaced with MRC Guidelines for Management of Global Health Trials (2017).

6 Research involving existing facilities and resources

Section 6.2 High Throughput Sequencing Hubs deleted as no longer relevant.


New guidance on Data, tools and facilities of Genomics England (Section 6.4).

v17.3 – July 2017


Change Reproducibility and statistical design (recommended annex)

Update: ‘Methodology and experimental design’ annex renamed ‘Reproducibility and statistical design’. New guidance on what should be included.

2.2.6 Covering letter

Update: Revised guidance on detailing conflicted experts in the covering letter.

2.2.9 Additional requirements for New Investigator Research Grants

New: Summary of additional requirements for New Investigator Research Grants (statement of support from host RO and declaration that the applicant has originated the research question and written the research proposal) Je-S section on ‘Animal species’ and Case for support – Reproducibility and Statistical design annex

Update: Revised guidance on where to include information on experimental design, statistical analyses etc. Use of animals overseas

New: From 1 September 2017, applications involving the use of animals overseas should include a signed statement from both UK and overseas PIs regarding work being carried out overseas.  If the research involves the use of rodents overseas, rather than in the UK, the ‘Additional questions on the use of rodents overseas’ form must also be completed.

5.2 Human participants in research New: Additional guidance on describing ethical implications where research involves human participants in lower and middle income countries (LMICs).

6.4 High performance computing facilities

Update: Changed from ‘National supercomputing facilities’ to ‘High performance computing facilities’.


v17.2 – May 2017



2.1 The proposal form

Update: New text added stating that where a project is potentially ODA compliant the Impact Summary should address how it meets ODA requirements. Assessment

Update: Text on assessment criteria revised.

3 Resourcing


  • Renamed ‘Resources’
  • New section created that covers all information on research staff costs. Previously staff costs were included under 4 different headings (DI Staff, DA Investigators, Other directly allocated costs, Overseas staff). This new section also includes new text stating that MRC encourages and supports collaborative research projects and team approaches.
  • New table been added outlining the 3 different sections of the JeS proposal form where research team members can be included.
  • Existing table outlining the four fund types has been updated to include examples of where members of the research team could be included.

3.4 Support from other sources

Update: Text moved to Section 2.1 The proposal form

3.5 Research involving cohort resources

Update: Moved to Section 6 Research Involving Existing Facilities and Resources Je-S section on ‘Animal research’

Update: New text added confirming that details of any procedures categorised as moderate or severe should be in accordance with the maximum prospective severity rating in the Home Office licence under which the work will be carried out

4.1.5 Ethical and welfare standards and review

Update: New text added stating that if applicants are contracting out animal research or proposing to undertake any experiments outside the UK they are strongly advised to view the ‘Choosing contractors for animal research: expectations of the major UK public funders’ presentation produced by the NC3Rs.

5 Ethics and approvals/Section 6 Research Involving Existing Facilities and Resources

Update: Sections 5.5 High throughput sequencing hubs, 5.6 Access to facilities provided by other organisations, and 5.7 National supercomputing facilities moved to newly created Section 6 Research Involving Existing Facilities and Resources

v17.1 – January 2017



1.4.2 Duration of employment

Update: moved to Section 1.3 Applicants

1.5 Multiple applications

Update: text updated to clarify MRC position on multiple applications and resubmissions

2.2.2 Publications & 2.2.3 Case for support general guidance

Update: text updated to confirm that preprints may be included in publication lists



v16.4 – June 2016



2.4.3 Case for support content

Update: Research plans section updated to include additional one page annex to case for support for methodological and experimental design justification Guidance summary for methodology and experimental design in applications

New: Guidance on new methodology and experimental design annex Je-S section on ‘Animal species’

Applicants are encouraged to provide the ‘supporting information’ as detailed below in the case for support ‘methodology and experimental design’ annex and not in the Je-S application form. In the narrative text field in Je-S, under ‘Supporting information’, please state the information is found at ‘methodology and experimental design’ annex. More information on the use of this annex can be found at Section 2.4.3.  Please note that you are not required to duplicate information presented elsewhere in the application. Proposal attachment ‘Case for support'

The scientific case underpinning the choice of animal model and the experimental plans should be detailed in the one-page annex to the case for support (entitled ‘methodology and experimental design’ annex) See Section 2.4.3 for more detail. There is no requirement to duplicate information

v16.2 – March 2016



4.1.3 Experimental design, avoidance of bias and statistical considerations

Update: Worked examples of justifications for experimental design and animal numbers in grant applications now available to download. Directly incurred costs – Equipment

Update: From 1 April 2016 the upper equipment threshold will change from £134,011 (£111,676 ex VAT) to £138k (£115k ex VAT). The higher threshold was previously linked to the OJEU threshold value for Schedule 1 Services but this is no longer the case.

v15.2 – December 2015



1.3 People named on the grant

Update: Section now called ‘Applicants’. Wording has been revised to clarify the different roles applicants involved in the research proposal may have. Section 1.3.5 Sub-contractors has been moved to section Directly incurred/other costs.

1.4.3 Responsibilities of applicants

Update: New guidance added on how applicants should make a declaration of interest

2.1.1 Application checking

Update: New reason added to list of reasons for returning applications to research (justification of the use of animals does not meet MRC requirements).

2.12 Peer review

Update: Additional guidance on nominating independent peer reviewers.

v15.1 - October 2015



2.9 Research Council facilities

Update: Ion Beam Centre, University of Surrey, added to list of facilities

2.10 Application checking - common reasons for returning applications to research offices

Update: guidance on reasons for return updated

3 Resourcing

Update: Revised guidance on application costing. Please be aware that some historical data may have been removed

3.2 Guidance on costing of applications involving MRC units and institutes (NOT university units)

Update: Revised guidance on how to cost applications involving MRC units and institutes

3.3 University Units and the Francis Crick Institute

New: Guidance for eligible individuals from MRC University Units and the Francis Crick Institute who wish to apply for MRC grants as either a lead or co-applicant

3.5 Research involving cohort resources

Update: Guidance on research involving cohort resources has been incorporated into the guidance (previously a standalone page)

5.9 Use of induced Pluripotent Stem Cell (iPSC) resources

Update: Guidance the use of induced Pluripotent Stem Cell (iPSC) resources has been incorporated into the guidance (previously a standalone page)