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Translation and clinical trials

The MRC remains committed to supporting clinical trials at a variety of stages and will continue to fund a translational pipeline with the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

The pipeline and sources of funding are summarised below:

Experimental medicine studies – studies in man that are leading to a greater understanding of disease pathophysiology in humans are supported by the Research Boards. Specifically the “Challenge Grants” initiative supports studies that will produce major new mechanistic insights into human disease, with potential application to new therapeutic approaches and opportunities for “reverse translation” to more basic research.

Preliminary translational work - The BMC Confidence in Concept scheme provides awards of £250k-£1.2m to institutions to pass on to investigators to provide flexible support for the earliest stages of multiple translational research projects. It is intended to accelerate the transition from discovery research to translational development projects by supporting preliminary work or feasibility studies to establish the viability of an approach.

Early phase proof of concept trials are supported through the BMC Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme (DPFS). The scheme supports the pre-clinical development and early clinical testing of novel therapeutics, devices and diagnostics, including “repurposing” of existing therapies 

Efficacy and mechanism evaluation are supported through the Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation Programme, funded by MRC and NIHR, and administered by the NIHR Evaluation, Trials and Studies Coordinating Centre (NETSCC), on behalf of NIHR.

This programme includes clinical trials and evaluative studies which: evaluate clinical efficacy of interventions where proof of concept in humans has already been achieved; add significantly to our understanding of biological or behavioural mechanisms and processes; explore new scientific or clinical principles; include the development or testing of new methodologies.

Effectiveness Trials - Studies designed to produce research information about the effectiveness, costs, and broader impact of health technologies for those who use, manage and provide care in the NHS are supported by the Health Technology Assessment (HTA) programme, funded by NIHR and managed by NETCC.

Global Health trials  

In response mode, we continue to accept proposals for large scale trials in global health research which are relevant to our published strategic aims. In addition, we participate in a joint global health trials scheme with the UK Department for International Development and the Wellcome Trust. This scheme funds late phase trials of health interventions in low income settings, with a focus on trials which incorporate research that will lead to effective implementation of results.