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Funding

Strategic investments and partnerships (MCMB)

The MRC delivers research excellence through a series of flexible investment mechanisms, including though joint investments with other funders, meeting the diverse research needs across the UK, and increasingly overseas. We are keen to support collaborative, multidisciplinary research that brings the best expertise and technologies to tackle the major challenges in biomedicine. The usual support mechanism is through individual grants awarded to UK Higher Education Institutions.

Major strategic investments

Where more concerted action is needed, the MRC invests through institutes, units and centres, incorporating strong leadership, mission-focused research, training/capacity-building, and applying innovative technology and methodology to tackle major, long-term research challenges. These investments include strategic partnerships with the host University(s) and a number include joint support with other funders.

Major investments relevant to molecular and cellular medicine are listed below:

Institutes

  • MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology
  • MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences
  • The Francis Crick Institute

Units

  • MRC Cancer Unit 
  • MRC Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology at UCL 
  • MRC Human Genetics Unit and MRC Institute of Genetics & Molecular Medicine at the University of Edinburgh 
  • MRC Mammalian Genetic Unit
  • Mary Lyon Centre
  • MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit 
  • CRUK/MRC Oxford Institute for Radiation Oncology 
  • MRC Molecular Haematology Unit and the MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine at the University of Oxford 
  • MRC Prion Unit at UCL
  • MRC Protein Phosphorylation and Ubiquitylation Unit at the University of Dundee 
  • MRC Toxicology Unit

Centres

  • MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine, University of Edinburgh 
  • MRC Centre for Drug Safety Science, University of Liverpool
  • MRC-PHE Centre for Environment and Health 
  • Wellcome - Medical Research Council Cambridge Stem Cell Institute

National facilities and resources

As well as supporting medically relevant research across the full spectrum of basic molecular and cellular sciences, the Molecular & Cellular Medicine Board has a special role in identifying and delivering – often with co-funding - generic infrastructures. These include:


  • Diamond Light Source - 
    UK national synchrotron facility which generates beams of light, from infra-red to X-rays, which are used in a wide range of applications, from structural biology through fundamental physics and chemistry to cultural heritage.
  • electron Bio-Imaging Centre (eBIC) – eBIC is a national facility for electron microscopy as part of the I14 beamline end station at Diamond Light Source. eBIC provides access to state-of-the-art experimental equipment and expertise in cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM), cryo-electron tomography (cryo-ET) and enables single particle analysis of biological macromolecules.

  • European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI) – part of EMBL (European Molecular Biology Laboratory), EBI is a centre for research and services in bioinformatics, managing databases of biological data including nucleic acid, protein sequences and macromolecular structures.
  • Genomics England – the main pillar of the Government’s strategy to sequence 100,000 human genomes, providing an internationally unique national resource for researchers to explore the relationship between genotype and phenotype in health and disease.

  • Instruct-ERIC – a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) whose goal is to promote integrated structural biology research and support access to cutting edge technologies across Europe.

  • Mary Lyon Centre – national facility for mouse functional genomics, providing world-class expertise, tools and space to generate mouse models of human disease. The Mary Lyon Centre also delivers mouse models for the academic research community via the International Mouse Phenotyping Consortium (IMPC) and Genome-Editing Mice for Medicine (GEMM) initiative.
  • MRC Biomedical NMR Centre – national facility based at the Francis Crick Institute for UK researchers to access spectrometers for liquid-state NMR studies of biological macromolecules.

  • Research Complex at Harwell – provides research laboratory facilities for both life and physical science researchers conducting work at Diamond, the ISIS neutron facility, the Central Laser Facility and other shared facilities at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory site, enabling researchers to work across disciplines and encouraging synergy between areas of UK research excellence.

  • UK Biobank – a prospective cohort initiative of 500,000 people in the UK between the ages of 40-69 to investigate the effects of lifestyle, environment and genetics on health.

  • UK Stem Cell Bank – responsible for storing, characterising and supplying ethically-approved, quality-controlled stem cell lines for medical research and treatment.