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Experimental Medicine Challenge Grants launched

18 May 2015

The MRC has launched round three of the Experimental Medicine Challenge Grants funding scheme to stimulate ambitious programmes of disease research conducted in human participants. This forms part of our strategy to produce major new insights into human disease, and identify potential new therapeutic and diagnostic targets and approaches.

Sir John Savill, Chief Executive of the MRC, said:

“Experimental medicine is a core element of MRC’s strategy to enable fundamental insight into disease process. Using the tools of 21st century science, we can now conduct progressive and challenging studies in humans to enable ground breaking new insights into how diseases really work.”

The UK has a strong infrastructural platform for experimental medicine research and we are uniquely placed to capitalise on this to meet the challenge of studying diseases in the human body in the most novel and progressive ways. We have created the Experimental Medicine Challenge Grants to fund ambitious studies of disease mechanisms directly in humans and to enable more researchers to bridge the gap between basic research and the development of new treatments for patients.

We support experimental medicine through a number of complementary routes. The Challenge Grants will specifically address the biggest gaps in understanding of human disease mechanisms through experiment-driven studies designed to definitively address mechanistic questions. These may also provide opportunities for findings to translate back into better basic research models of human disease. Read about case studies of challenge-led research funded in previous rounds. Examples include investigating the role of background inflammation in immune suppression in the elderly, or understanding the role of disturbance in cortical glutamate and GABA function in the origin and consequences of schizophrenia.

The Challenge Grants uniquely support scientists to take on the most challenging questions through a supportive and iterative system.  Mechanisms for applicant support include a webinar and iteration with applicants at the outline stage.

This grant round will support a range of proposals, from significant awards for ambitious research building on a substantial platform of data, to strong proposals for innovative smaller studies and higher risk exploratory work. Collaborations between institutions, between disciplines, with the NHS or with industry can facilitate progressive experimental medicine, and will be strongly encouraged.  

Outline applications are invited until the 25 June. Investigators from UK academic institutions, NHS Trusts and MRC units are eligible to apply.

For further details about how to apply see the Experimental Medicine Challenge Grants funding call page.

More information about experimental medicine at the MRC:


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