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Funding

MRC Impact Acceleration Accounts (previously Confidence in Concept)

Following UKRI Impact Acceleration Accounts Harmonisation, MRC Confidence in Concept has now become MRC Impact Acceleration Accounts. For the funding opportunity, please see: Improve and accelerate the impact of your organisation’s research.

Introduction

MRC Impact Acceleration Accounts (IAA), previously known as Confidence in Concept scheme, is an integral part of MRC’s translational research strategy and provides annual awards in the range of £150,000 - £800,000 to institutions to flexibly support a portfolio of translational research projects. It is intended to accelerate the transition from discovery research to translational development projects by supporting preliminary work to establish the viability of an approach and to rapidly de-risk projects across the whole translational pathway so that they become competitive for substantial funding for development.

Since 2012, MRC has invested over £93 million in the scheme. It has funded 37 research institutions from across the UK and supported over 1500 projects. These projects have since generated proof-of-concept data, secured follow-on funds for further development, and led to new industry collaborations and spin-out companies.

Aims and remit

Ensuring that fundamental science is translated into new therapies, diagnostics and medical devices is central to our mission. MRC IAA aims to accelerate the transition from discovery science to the early stages of therapeutic and biomarker development and de-risk rapidly projects across the translational lifecycle such that they become competitive for substantial funding bids from competitions or other sources.

The award provides institutions with locally administered, flexible funding to support a diverse portfolio of translational projects and to respond to institutional needs and opportunities. The projects supported should aim to generate sufficient or critical preliminary data to establish the viability of an approach before seeking more substantial funding, e.g. from the Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme (DPFS)

Collaborative working and cross-sector skills flow are often key to successful translational development. Institutions are encouraged to explore how awards could be used to develop new academic-industry interactions and enable knowledge exchange, and may use a small proportion, up to 15%, of the award to support such activities. These can include networking and showcase events, developing early stage collaborations, supporting short-term people exchanges and co-funding projects. Please see the MRC Industry Collaboration Agreement (MICA) on guidance on supporting collaborative research projects.

The funding is not intended to support:

  • Entire translational projects – applicants seeking funding for project grants are directed to DPFS
  • Industrial partner costs
  • Staff between posts/funding (i.e. as “bridging” funds), or PhD studentships
  • Continuation of normal research grants
  • Costs related to protection of intellectual property
  • Staff exchange into a spin-out company of the host institution

Awards and eligibility

MRC IAAs are awarded via an open competition. Eligible research institutions which can demonstrate a significant research base in the biomedical sciences and MRC remit areas and readiness for translation are encouraged to apply.

Institutions may apply for an award in the range of £400,000 to £2.4 million over 36 months. The request should commensurate with the institution’s pipeline and track record in supporting translational research. We anticipate that only a small number of leading institutions that can show MRC IAA funding will deliver transformative benefits will be awarded funding at the upper limit. Institutions are encouraged to apply a proportionate approach when considering the size of the funding request. Applications may be broad in scope or focused on a specific therapeutic area or intervention modality.

Where there is scientific justification, an institution can apply as part of a focused collaborative application in addition to their individual institutional application. Consortium or joint applications from groups of institutions are welcomed. Consortia must be able to demonstrate added values that individual institutions cannot. The request should be proportionate to the consortium’s pipeline and track record in translational research, and must still be within the range of £400,000 to £2.4 million over three years. Consortia may be broad in scope or focused on a specific therapeutic area or intervention modality.

The awards will be of 36 months in duration. Successful institutions are expected to allocate funds to projects such that all the activities would be completed by the end of the award. We anticipate that individual projects funded from an institution’s award will be of the order of £50-100k and approximately 6-12 months in duration, although this will be dictated by the needs of each project.

Institution may use up to 15% of the total MRC IAA award to support new academic-industry engagement, knowledge exchange activities and short-term people exchanges less than 6 months in duration. Up to 5% of the award may also be used towards staff costs associated with the administration of the award. Please refer to the call page for further information on permitted activities and costs.

How to apply

The next call has now opened at UKRI level, please see: Improve and accelerate the impact of your organisation’s research.

Contact

If you have any queries about the MRC IAA or would like to discuss your proposal, please contact: