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Our science and contacts (NMHB)

The Neurosciences and Mental Health Board (NMHB) supports research that will transform our understanding of the physiology and behaviour of the human nervous system throughout the life course in health and in illness, as well as how to treat and prevent disorders of the brain.

The research we support includes the interactions between the nervous system and other parts of the body, i.e. brain/mental health and physical health. We are also interested in how episodes throughout life (such as childhood experiences, changing health behaviours, infections etc) impact on lifelong mental and neurological health.

The work that we fund encompasses the continuum from basic to translational and includes multidisciplinary/interdisciplinary studies. This science is underpinned by research that uses human, animal and cell models, clinical and population studies, interventions as well as tool and technique development. Broadly, our portfolio falls within the following areas: neurodegeneration; clinical neurology; neuroinflammation; mental health; addictions and substance misuse; behavioural and learning disorders, including autism; cognitive and behavioural neuroscience; cognitive systems; sensory neuroscience, including vision and hearing; neurobiology; and neurophysiology. This work is supported by underpinning capabilities such as neuroimaging technology, brain banking and neuroinformatics.

The Board seeks to support a diverse portfolio of research of relevance to the UK and globally, in particular in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs). In addition, through our portfolio of funding the Board seeks to address both long-standing research questions and support the investigation of emergent higher risk opportunities.

The Board welcomes submissions on:

  • fundamental discovery research relating to the development, function and disorders of the human nervous system. Including use of in silico systems, relevant animal models and experimental studies in humans
  • population-level research, using epidemiological, genetic, electrophysiological, neuroimaging, ‘omic approaches, and computational modelling, to elucidate disease risks, aetiologies and progression of disorders of the nervous system
  • research to inform novel strategies for preventing and treating disorders of the nervous system

For applications addressing LMIC priorities, please refer to the Official Development Assistance/research principles section of our International and global health: Remit and science we support page.

For applications for fellowships please refer to our Fellowships page. For studies undertaking the development, validation or evaluation of new products/interventions please see our Translational research and Global health funding partnerships pages.

All applications for funding of new or existing longitudinal population studies are required to submit an outline application for joint review by the Longitudinal Population Studies Strategic Advisory Panel (LPS-SAP; previously the Cohort Strategic Review Group) and the Research Board. Should a full application be invited, this may be submitted to any of the three subsequent Board deadlines. This review will take account of both strategic and scientific considerations.

Please note that applications for longitudinal population studies must be for core infrastructure only; applications may include associated research only if it is for proof of principle work. Applicants must speak to the relevant Programme Manager at least 6 weeks before the outline submission deadline to confirm the eligibility of their application. The outline template, timeline for review and next outline submission deadline can be found on the LPS-SAP page. Applications for funding for clinical (i.e. patient-specific or disease-focused) cohorts are exempt from this process.

Board Opportunities

The Board has selected some priority areas that will guide its key investments and initiatives as well as its grant giving behaviour. These form the Board’s current opportunity areas and we encourage researchers to submit applications that focus on:

  • mental health studies: focusing on children and adolescents; exploring co-morbidities of physical and mental health (i.e. brain and body); mental health informatics and data science; and/or stratifying underlying mechanisms and symptoms of disorders
  • neurodegeneration: The Board welcomes applications in areas where it is important to deepen our understanding of neurodegenerative diseases including the impact of comorbidities, such as sleep disturbances, hearing loss, chronic inflammatory states, immunological disorders, cardiovascular and/or metabolic diseases. We also support work on neurodegenerative conditions that result in progressive degeneration or death of nerve cells, including multiple sclerosis, disorders of the auditory, visual, motor and autonomic nervous systems
  • through highlighting the opportunity area of ‘insight into the living human brain ’ the Board is seeking to encourage studies that address the function of, and interplay between, human brain cells over time. This includes neurons, glia and the neurovasculature. This area aligns, in part, with the Molecular and Cellular Medicine Board’s opportunity 'understanding dynamic biological systems'. We are particularly interested in receiving applications that utilise living human brain tissue or directly measure the activity of human neural circuits

The Board expects to retain its opportunities for at least three years, although they will be assessed each year and individually may be refreshed in line with developments.

In addition to the Board opportunities, NMHB will prioritise for consideration submissions that meet the criteria of MRC-wide opportunities and cross-Board areas of research priorities, which apply to all Boards.

  • New Investigator Research Grants - supporting researchers towards becoming independent investigators.
  • Experimental medicine - understanding disease mechanisms and therapeutic targets using human participants.
  • Advanced therapeutics - including cell/gene therapy, regenerative medicine, innovative medicines.

Cross-Board research areas:
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (CSF/ME) research

Science contacts

If you have a query about scientific aspects of your research proposal, please contact the programme manager shown below against your scientific area:

Programme Manager for Cognition and Developmental Disorders

Dr Charlotte Inchley - Charlotte.Inchley@mrc.ukri.org
Including: cognitive systems, behavioural neuroscience, developmental neurobiology, cognitive development & neurodevelopmental disorder, autism

Units/Centres/International initiatives:

  • MRC Cognition & Brain Sciences Unit, Cambridge
  • MRC Centre for Neurodevelopmental Disorders, KCL
  • Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology, Edinburgh (Life Long Health & Wellbeing centre)

Programme Manager for Neuronal Function

Dr Simon Fisher - Simon.Fisher@mrc.ukri.org

Including: Basic neurobiology and neurophysiology (with potential relevance to disease), synaptic plasticity, brain and tissue banking, computational neuroscience and neuro-informatics.


  • MRC Brain Network Dynamics Unit, Oxford
  • MRC UK Brain Banks Network

Programme Manager for Neurodegeneration

Dr Clara Fons – Clara.Fons@mrc.ukri.org
Including: neurodegeneration, hearing disorders.

Units/Centres/International initiatives:

  • EU Joint Programme Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND), including JPsustaiND
  • Network of Centres of Excellence in Neurodegeneration (CoEN)
  • UK Dementia Research Institute

Programme Manager for Pain and Addiction

Dr Siv Vingill - siv.vingill@mrc.ukri.org

Including: Pain, addiction, vision, fatigue, anaesthesia

Units/Centres/International initiatives:

  • LMB Neurobiology, Cambridge

Programme Manager for Neurological Disorders

Dr Steph Migchelsen – Steph.migchelsen@mrc.ukri.org

Including: Stroke, epilepsy, neuroimmunology as pertaining to neurological disorders, neuromuscular disorders, brain and spinal cord injury and repair. 

International Initiatives:

  • ERANET - Neuron

Head of Programme –  Mental Health

Dr Karen Brakspear – karen.brakspear@mrc.ukri.org

Including: Mental Health, (including clinical, developmental, genetic and neuropharmacological aspects), Clinical psychology, neuro-inflammation as pertaining to mental health

Programme Manager for Adolescent Mental Health

Dr Victoria Swann - Victoria.swann@mrc.ukri.org

Including: clinical, developmental, genetic and neuropharmacological aspects, neuro-inflammation as pertaining to mental health


  • MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics, Cardiff
  • Francis Crick Institute, London - Neurosciences

Science Manager – Neurodegeneration

Charlotte Allen - Charlotte.Allen@mrc.ukri.org

  • Dementias Platform UK
  • Network of Centres of Excellence in Neurodegeneration (CoEN)
  • JPND calls
  • Strategic calls in Mental health

Other contacts

Head of Neurosciences & mental health

Dr Jo Latimer – Joanna.Latimer@mrc.ukri.org

Programme Manager for methodology and clinical research

The MRC supports methodology research through the MRC-NIHR Methodology Research Programme.  Please contact Dr Samuel Rowley for further information –  Samuel.Rowley@mrc.ukri.org

General policy and eligibility enquiries

For specific NMHB enquiries please contact: NMHB@mrc.ukri.org

For general queries about MRC policy and eligibility please contact Research Funding Policy and Delivery team: RFPD@mrc.ukri.org

Je-S submission

For queries about submitting your application using the online, electronic submissions system, Je-S, please contact the Je-S Helpdesk, JeSHelp@je-s.ukri.org or 01793 444164

Peer review

If you have a query about the peer review of a research proposal, either as an applicant, reviewer or Board/Panel member, please contact PeerReview@mrc.ukri.org