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Experimental medicine

What is experimental medicine?

Experimental medicine is a broad term and refers to:

Investigation undertaken in humans, relating where appropriate to model systems, to identify mechanisms of pathophysiology or disease, or to demonstrate proof-of-concept evidence of the validity and importance of new discoveries or treatments.

Advances in non-invasive techniques such as medical imaging, combined with powerful ‘omics technologies, now allow us to approach the human as the ultimate experimental animal for improving human health. Doing so has the potential to dramatically increase the speed and efficiency by which medical discoveries are translated into healthcare.

MRC and experimental medicine

Experimental medicine is a core element of our overarching translational research strategy; studies of disease mechanism in humans play a critical role in realising the potential of a number of research disciplines/approaches of strategic importance to MRC and to UK biomedical science. What experimental medicine means to the MRC is given further detail in this post on the MRC Insight blog: What do we mean by experimental medicine? 

The below diagram represents the network of reciprocal interactions between experimental medicine and other research approaches:

The network of reciprocal interactions between experimental medicine and other research approaches, including DPFS, research boards and fellowships

Funding opportunities at the MRC

Projects using appropriate experimental medicine approaches can be considered across all of our science areas, including all four research boards. There are opportunities provided by our research boards for investigator-led applications for support across the spectrum of biomedical research. The main funding schemes that are assessed through the board route include research grantsprogramme grants and New Investigator Research Grants.


If you have any questions concerning experimental medicine at MRC, you can contact the MRC Programme Manager for Precision and Experimental Medicine:

Dr Richard Evans, richard.evans@mrc.ukri.org or experimental.medicine@mrc.ukri.org