Skills & careers

3. The application

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The application has a number of components; the Je-S electronic proposal form, mandatory attachments, and optional attachments as listed below.

The Je-S electronic proposal form and the documents listed below are mandatory:

  • CV
  • List of Publications
  • Case for Support
  • Justification of Resources
  • Pathways to Impact
  • Data Management Plan
  • Head of Department Statement.

The following types of attachment should be included if relevant:

  • Letters of Support
  • Covering Letter
  • MICA Form
  • Heads of Terms.
     

Guidance is provided on each of these attachment types in section 3.2. All attachments should be completed in a sans-serif typeface (Arial or equivalent, not Arial Narrow) and font size of 11pt,. Applications will not be accepted where smaller typefaces or narrow versions of the typeface have been used.

Further information on the common reasons for applications being returned to research offices can be found in Section 2.4 of the Guidance for Applicants.

3.1 The Je-S proposal form

3.1.1 Project details

Details of the lead research organisation, the project title, start date and duration should be entered on this page. Applicants may also enter their own reference number for ease of grants management.

Only one research organisation may be entered in this section. If the proposal involves a second academic/industrial/overseas centre, details should be entered in the Collaborations Explanation section of the form and in the research environment overview in the case for support (see sections 3.1.3 and 3.2.3). Further details may also be included in the mentors section of the form, or in the Project Partners section if they will be making a financial or in-kind contribution to the project. (see sections 3.1.17 and 3.1.13).

The project title should be no more than 150 characters and reflect the aim of the project.

The start date should be realistic and would normally be between one and six months after the date of the decision making meeting. The dates of all forthcoming panel meetings are available on the MRC’s deadlines page.

3.1.2 Fellow details

The fellow’s salary is awarded as a directly incurred cost as all MRC fellowship schemes provide support for 100% of the fellow’s contracted working time. Fellows are able to dedicate six hours a week to other activities (or undertake two clinical sessions a week in the case of clinical fellows) as part of a full time award. The salary requested should be in line with the level the research organisation would provide were the fellow appointed within their own pay structure. Salaries for pre-doctoral fellowship applicants will be paid up to, but not including NHS consultant level and should be appropriate for a training fellowship.

The total salary requested should be calculated to include provision for anticipated salary increments and promotions, such that the salary at the end of the award is in line with the research organisation’s career structure for a researcher with equivalent experience. Salary increments should exclude indexation as this is calculated post-award. Once the grant is awarded no additional requests can be made for supplementary salary costs.

The Qualifications and Experience section must be completed and should include any relevant qualifications, the type and duration of any fellowships previously or currently held, and any research degrees (e.g. MPhil/MD/PhD) obtained or for which the applicant is already registered. Clinical Research Training Fellowship applicants must indicate if they are already registered for a research degree, including the type of degree, registration date and percentage of time dedicated if registered part-time in order to demonstrate they meet the criteria detailed in section 2.4. Applicants already registered for a degree must include a letter from their postgraduate research office confirming the date and terms of registration which should be attached to the application as a letter of support.

In the Research Experience section applicants should specify the post-doc research experience they have to date, clearly demonstrating how their research experience matches that of the relevant career stage in the applicant skills and experience table.

Applicant employment history should not be entered here, but should be entered in a CV attachment instead (see section 3.2.1).

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3.1.3 Objectives

The Objectives section comprises three sub-sections; Objectives, Career Intentions, and Collaborations Explanation. The sections have character limits of 4000, 4000 and 2000, respectively, including spaces and returns.

The Objectives section should summarise the project’s aims and may also illustrate links with the Career Intentions and the Technical Summary sections.

Applicants should indicate the reasons for applying for the fellowship in the Career Intentions section (see MRC vision for fellowship support) and outline their short- and long-term research and career intentions. In the case of medically qualified applicants this section should include details of how they will balance their research and clinical commitments and plans for the completion of specialist training. Applicants should detail how they meet the skills and experience required for a given scheme throughout the proposal and should particularly be addressed in the Research Experience section (see 3.1.2) and the applicant’s CV,

The Collaborations Explanation section should highlight any significant national and international collaborations, both commercial and academic. Plans to spend time at a second academic organisation or industrial partner should be outlined in this section. A letter of support from each collaborator indicating their willingness to support the project in the manner described in this section must be submitted with the application. Collaborators’ CVs are not required and should not be uploaded.

3.1.4 Summary and technical summary

Sharing information and knowledge about MRC’s research portfolio is central to the Council’s mission and consequently the Summary and Technical Summary of MRC awards are published. During the preparation of these sections, applicants should bear in mind that they will subsequently be publically available, along with the applicant’s name and institution, if the application is successful.

The Summary section should be used to provide a plain English summary of the research proposed in language that can be understood by a non-academic audience, explaining the context of the research, its aims and objectives, and its potential applications and benefits. The section is limited to 4000 characters, including spaces.

The Technical Summary should comprise a scientific abstract of the proposed research, detailing the aims, objectives, methodology, scientific and medical opportunities of the study. The section is limited to 2000 characters, including spaces and returns.

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3.1.5 Academic beneficiaries

This section should summarise how the proposed research will contribute to knowledge, both within the UK and globally. This should include how the research will benefit other researchers in the field, identify academic beneficiaries in other disciplines and outline how the results of the proposed research will be disseminated to these beneficiaries. The section is limited to 4000 characters, including spaces and returns.

3.1.6 Communications plan

Plans should be outlined for engagement, communication about the research and dissemination of its outcomes with the research community and, where appropriate, with potentially interested wider audiences. The MRC attaches great importance to the communication of research findings both within and beyond the academic community. The section is limited to 4000 characters, including spaces and returns.

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3.1.7 Impact summary

The summary should address the following two questions:

Who will benefit from this research? Summarise who is likely to be interested in or to benefit from the proposed research, both directly and indirectly. It may be useful to think of beneficiaries as ‘users’ of the research outputs, both immediately and in the longer term. Beneficiaries must consist of a wider group than that of the investigators’ immediate professional circle carrying out similar research, and should include any:

  • Commercial private sector beneficiaries
  • Policy-makers within international, national, local or devolved government, government agencies or regulators who would benefit from this research
  • Beneficiaries within the public sector or third sector, including museums, galleries and charities
  • Beneficiaries within the wider public

How will they benefit from this research? Describe the relevance of the research to these beneficiaries, identifying the potential for impacts arising from the proposed work. Consider how the research has the potential to contribute to the nation’s health, wealth or culture, for example:

  • Fostering global economic performance, and specifically the economic competitiveness of the UK
  • Increasing the effectiveness of public services and policy
  • Enhancing quality of life, health and creative output
  • The likely potential impacts and their importance
  • Realistic timescales for the benefits to be realised
  • Research and professional skills staff on the project will develop

The section is limited to 4000 characters, including spaces and returns.

3.1.8 Other support

List any funding received in the last three years, including details of the project title, funder, amount, duration and whether the funding has been awarded or is under consideration. Only funding secured by the applicant as principal or co-investigator should be listed; supervisors and sponsors awards should not be included.

Fellowship applications may be considered simultaneously by certain funders. Please refer to section 2.8 for details.

Contributions from project partners should not be entered here. See section 3.1.13 for guidance on project partners.

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3.1.9 Related proposals

If the proposal is a continuation or resubmission of a previous application, provide details of the previous submission in this section. For resubmissions a brief (<100 characters) reason for resubmitting the proposal may be included. A more detailed description of the amendments since the original submission may be included in the cover letter. Section 2.9 summarises the eligibility considerations relating to resubmissions.

3.1.10 Staff

Co-investigators are not permitted in fellowships applications. Where required (and if the terms of the fellowship allow) support for researchers, technicians and other staff may be requested. Support for students may not be requested.

Clinical Research Training Fellowship applicants should not request staff costs. In exceptional circumstances where the delivery of the project requires the incurrence of additional staff costs, these must be requested within the £20,000 per annum Research Training Support Grant (RTSG) and the need for additional staff must be fully detailed in the justification of resources (section 3.2.4).

The salary requested for each member of staff should reflect the full anticipated cost during the lifetime of the award, including any anticipated promotions and salary increments to ensure that the costs requested are as accurate as possible. Indexation should not be included as this is calculated post-award. Once the grant is awarded, no additional requests can be made for supplementary salary costs. CVs should be attached to the application for any named researchers; named technicians and other staff do not need to provide a CV.

Sponsors and supervisors are not expected to request funds to support their time as part of a post-doctoral fellow’s application. In exceptional circumstances this may be appropriate; if requested, their contribution to the project should be detailed in the justification of resources and the request should not exceed 5% of their time (or a total of 5% FTE across all sponsor/supervisors if more than one is named). The associated cost should be entered as a directly allocated researcher cost. Clinical Research Training Fellowship applicants may request costs to support supervisors’ time or PhD fees but not both. In either case the request must be within the £20,000 per annum limit (see section 3.1.11.2 for details).

Staff may be entered as directly incurred and directly allocated. The salary of any staff whose contribution to the project can be supported by an auditable record for the duration of the fellowship should be requested as directly incurred. Any directly incurred staff (whether full or part-time) who are not contracted to work 100% of their time on the fellowship project will be required to maintain timesheets or project records for auditing purposes. Funding for staff whose time will not be exclusively dedicated to the project and whose contribution will not be supported by an auditable record should be entered as directly allocated.

Fellows planning to spend time at a second centre overseas may request support for 100% of the cost associated with any overseas staff salaries. Please refer to section 3.3 of the Guidance for Applicants and contact RFPD@headoffice.mrc.ac.uk for advice on requesting exceptional costs.

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3.1.11 Resources

3.1.11.1 Full Economic Costing for Fellowships

All research grant proposals and post-doctoral fellowship applications are costed on the basis of Full Economic Costs (FEC), with the exception of pre-doctoral Clinical Research Training Fellowships (see Section 3.1.11.2). If a grant is awarded the MRC will provide funding at a rate of 80% of the FEC and the research organisation(s) must agree to fund the balance of the FEC for the project from other resources. Fellows planning to spend time at a second centre overseas may request support for 100% of the costs associated with any overseas research and staff salaries. Please refer to section 3.3 of the Guidance for Applicants  and contact RFPD@headoffice.mrc.ac.uk for advice on requesting exceptional costs.

Universities and other Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) will use Transparent Approach to Costing (TRAC) methodology to calculate FEC. Other research organisations can apply for full economic costs provided that the methodology they adopt has been validated by the Research Councils as appropriate and robust.

3.1.11.2 Pre-doctoral Clinical Research Training Fellowships

Pre-doctoral Clinical Research Training Fellowships comprise support for the fellow’s salary plus funding of up to £20,000 per annum. This may be used to support the costs of the project, including consumables, travel costs, and PhD fees. Since April 2013, publication costs may not be requested.

Pre-doctoral fellowships are not subject to Full Economic Costing (FEC). Estates and Indirect Costs are therefore not payable, and awards are made at 100% of the requested funding.

Certain costs may be requested in addition to the £20,000 per annum:

  • the costs incurred by undertaking training at an overseas centre/second UK centre/industry placement (see section 2.3).
  • the purchase and maintenance costs of animals. Any other related costs, such as project license costs, consumables, or other experimental costs must be requested within the £20,000 per annum limit.
  • costs for healthy volunteer studies not supported by local clinical research networks.

Only these costs can be applied for above the £20,000 per annum limit. Proposals requesting costs outside these limits will not be considered.

There is no limit to the funding that can be requested to meet these costs, but requests should be reasonable and explained in the justification of resources attachment. The former type should be clearly noted as ‘2nd centre costs’ in the Resources section of the application form.

3.1.11.3 Travel and subsistence

Funds for travel and subsistence for the fellow and any staff working on the project, including any overseas costs, should be entered in this section. The cost and destination of each travel item should be entered in the form and should be justified in the Justification of Resources. All costs associated with a placement at an overseas centre, second UK research organisation or industry partner should be labelled ‘2nd centre cost’ within the description in the Destination and Purpose field.

All travel must occur between the start and end date of the award and should be costed by the most suitable and economical means at current prices with no allowance for inflation. Subsistence rates, both UK and overseas, should be those applicable within the host research organisation.

If the project includes a period overseas of six months or more, costs for fares, baggage, medical insurance and rent of reasonable accommodation should be included and an overseas living allowance may be requested. In general a request of up to 11% of the Fellow’s salary is considered a reasonable contribution towards the cost of living overseas. Travel costs for a spouse and/or children may be requested if the fellow intends to spend over six months abroad and their family will accompany them for the whole period.

3.1.11.4 Equipment

Any item over £10,000 (including VAT) should be requested as an equipment cost. Please refer to the Guidance for Applicants for full details about what should be included in this section.

3.1.11.5 Other directly incurred and directly allocated costs

Any item less that £10,000 (including VAT) is classed as a consumable. Consumables explicitly identifiable as arising from the conduct of a project should be entered as directly incurred other costs. Any costs arising from resources used by the project that are shared by other activities should be entered as directly allocated other costs.

Applicants may no longer request funds for publication costs. These are now funded by Research Councils UK by means of a block grant to eligible research organisations. Please refer to section 3.7 of the Guidance for Applicants for further information.

NHS costs should be entered as directly incurred other costs. See section 3.5 of the Guidance for Applicants for further details.

If the fellow plans to undertake a placement at an overseas centre, second UK research organisation or industrial partner, any associated costs should be labeled as ‘2nd centre costs’ in the Description field. If the Fellow plans to spend six months or more at an overseas research organisation, the associated research costs may be requested and in most cases will be paid at 100%. Please refer to section 3.2.5 of the Guidance for Applicants and contact RFPD@headoffice.mrc.ac.uk for advice on requesting exceptional costs.

3.1.11.6 Research facilities/existing equipment

This section should identify any funds charged to the project to access shared research facilities and equipment. Items entered under this heading will require their use, but not the associated cost, to be justified in the justification of resources (see section 3.2.4).

3.1.11.7 Animal costs

The costs associated with the purchase, breeding and maintenance of each species of animal used should be entered in this section. The Animal Research and Animal Species sections of the form must be completed if the proposal uses animals (see section 3.1.16).

3.1.11.8 Research council facilities

This section should be completed if the project requires access to facilities supported by the Research Councils. A drop-down list of facilities is included in the Je-S form. The applicant should confirm prior to submitting the proposal that the establishment is able to provide the required facilities.

3.1.12 Estates and indirect costs

Estates and indirect costs will be calculated by the research organisation and the agreed rates can be obtained from their finance department or research office.  The costs should be entered as single annual figures (£ total pa for the project) and do not need to be justified in the justification of resources.

Those research organisations which have not developed their own rates should use the default rates which can be found on the UKRI funding assurance page

Estate costs may include building and premises costs, basic services and utilities, lease/rent rates, insurance, cleaning/porters/security/safety costs, staff facilities, and any clerical staff and equipment maintenance not already included as either a directly incurred or directly allocated cost.

Indirect costs are non-specific costs charged across all projects based on estimates that are not otherwise included as directly allocated costs. They may include general office and basic laboratory consumables, library services/learning resources, typing/secretarial support, finance, personnel, public relations and departmental services, central and distributed computing and the cost of capital employed (including redundancy). The costs of ethics reviews and infrastructure technicians can be included under this heading.

Estates and indirect costs at second centres

If the fellow plans to spend time during their fellowship at a second UK centre, overseas, or undertaking an industrial placement estates and indirect costs will continue to be payable to the lead research organisation if this period is less than six months (per absence).

For a period of six months or more, indirect costs will continue to be paid to the lead research organisation. Estates costs will not be payable to the lead research organisation for the period of the fellow’s placement, however a contribution to the second centre’s costs may be requested as described below, and the total figure for estates costs requested should be adjusted accordingly. The MRC will not make direct payments to the second centre, either in the UK or overseas; this must be arranged through the lead research organisation.

If the fellow plans to spend six months or more at a second UK research organisation, the lead research organisation should request estates costs on behalf of the second centre for the duration of the fellow’s training period there at the second centre’s agreed rates for estate costs.

If the fellow plans to spend six months or more at an overseas centre a contribution to the centre’s estates and indirect costs can be requested as directly incurred other costs. These can be requested at 100% (contact RFPD@headoffice.mrc.ac.uk for advice on requesting exceptional costs). The estates and indirect costs associated with overseas locally employed research staff in developing countries may also be requested as other directly incurred costs at 100%.

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3.1.13 Project partners

Details of any collaborating researchers or organisations (other than the lead research organisation) that will make specific contributions to the project should be listed in this section. The organisations may be from the UK or overseas, and the contributions may be financial or in-kind. In-kind contributions may include staff time, access to equipment, sites or facilities, or the provision of data, software or materials. The financial value of the contribution should be included on the Je-S form. Where the input is important to the project but has no significant financial value, a nominal sum of £1 may be entered as the value of the contribution.

Each project partner should provide a letter of support which must be on headed paper, dated and signed and which should confirm the organisation’s commitment to the proposed project, detail the nature of the collaboration and the value of the project partner’s contribution, and identify the relevance and possible benefits of the proposed work to the project partner.

Where the project partner (whether an individual or organisation) is responsible for recruitment of people as research participants and/or providing human tissue, then list them as a project partner on the proposal form and enter a nominal sum of £1 for the value of the contribution. Details should be included in the case for support and a letter of support must be attached to the application which includes the following information:

  • That the project partner has agreed to recruit the participants/provide tissue
  • That what is being supplied is suitable for the research being undertaken
  • That the quantity of tissue (where relevant) being supplied is suitable, but not excessive for achieving meaningful results

Where the project partner is industrial, applicants must follow the guidance relating to MRC Industrial Collaborative Awards (MICAs) as outlined in section 3.2.10 and on the MICA section of the website, including a MICA form and a signed Heads of Terms with the application.

3.1.14 Sponsors

The Sponsors section must be completed for all fellowship applications.

In the case of pre-doctoral fellowships this section should be completed by the applicant’s supervisor(s) and each supervisor must also complete the supervisor CV template and attach this to the application.

For post-doctoral fellowships this section should be completed by at least one senior member of the department who has academic responsibility for the fellow. In this case the sponsor is not expected to fulfil a supervisory role during the award, but act as a supporter for the application. The sponsor should have expertise in the scientific area of the application and will act as guarantor for the quality of the proposed research, suitability of the candidate and level of training and development the department will provide.

An entry should be included for each sponsor, detailing:

  • The sponsor’s name
  • In what capacity they have known the applicant (250 character limit)
  • How long they have known the applicant
  • Their views on the applicant’s scientific ability and suitability for the fellowship scheme for which they are applying (3000 character limit)
  • The number of academic staff in the proposed department.
  • Details of the support, training and skills that the department will provide, including an overview of how the candidate’s research area fits within the department’s priorities (4000 character limit)

All sponsors can be set up as an Editor with View and Edit Rights so they can complete their own details if required. The applicant should ensure sufficient time is allowed for the sponsor(s) to complete their parts of the form before the submission deadline.

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3.1.15 Classifications

The classification sub-sections should be completed to indicate the type of fellowship application, the applicant’s clinical speciality and sub-specialty (non-clinicians should select ‘Not Applicable’), whether the project involves the development of technology for clinical use, the research setting, and whether the project will use human biological samples or stem cells.

3.1.16 Ethical information

The Ethical Information sub-sections should be completed to give details of any human participation, research using animals, genetic and biological risk, and ethical committee approvals required. Section 5 of the Guidance for Applicants provides further guidance on this section of the Je-S form.

Applications that include the use of animals should be prepared after careful consultation of Section 4 of the Guidance for Applicants to understand the information that must be included when describing the experimental design and planned analyses.

Applicants for clinical and skills development fellowship schemes must also complete the ‘Honorary Clinical Contract and Clinical Details’ section.

  • Applicants who are not clinically qualified should answer ‘No’ to the question ‘Would an Honorary Clinical Contract be sought?’ and enter ‘NA’ or ‘0’ in the subsequent required fields.
  • Clinically qualified applicants (including doctors, nurses, midwives, and allied health professionals) should indicate what level of HCC they will seek or their reasons for not seeking one, using the fields to outline how they plan to maintain their clinical skills during the tenure of the award. Applicants are also required to detail the number of ‘Clinical Sessions/Programme Activities’ they are planning to undertake per week during the duration of the Fellowship, the percentage of their time they propose to spend on clinical work and what percentage of that time will be directly relevant to their research project. As described in section 2.2, clinical applicants are able to spend up to 2 sessions a week on clinical duties as part of a full time award.

Applicants for the Career Development Award or Senior Non-clinical fellowship schemes are not required to complete the HCC section and it is not included in the forms for these schemes.

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3.1.17 Mentors

A mentor is someone who provides independent career advice and is distinct from a sponsor or supervisor. Where a mentor is listed on the application a letter of support should be included detailing the support they will provide. A mentor’s time cannot be included in the costings for the proposal.

3.1.18 Reviewers

Up to three independent reviewers can be nominated in this section. Nominated reviewers should be experts in the research field and/or be able to provide an expert view on the value and benefits of the research proposal to users. Reviewers should not be nominated from research organisations connected to the proposal or where any possible conflict of interest may arise. 

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3.2 Attachments

All attachments should be completed in a sans-serif typeface (Arial or equivalent, not Arial Narrow) and font size of 11 point, with a minimum of 2cm margins. Applications will not be accepted where smaller or narrow typefaces have been used.

3.2.1 CV

The applicant and any named researchers should submit a CV. Applicants should use the CV template (DOCX, 27KB) available. No other CVs should be submitted unless you are applying for a Clinical Research Training Fellowship (CRTF), in which case the CRTF supervisor CV template (DOC, 75KB) should be completed also. CVs may be a maximum of two sides of A4.

Details of sponsors or supervisors should be included in the Sponsors’ section of the form and they should not submit a CV except if applying to the Clinical Research Training Fellowship (as detailed above) or in exceptional cases where salary support is requested. In this case they should complete the Sponsors’ section of the form and attach a CV.

The CV should outline the employment history. It should state the applicant’s current research organisation and salary and include details of any career breaks, specifying the duration of any breaks in months. A summary should be given of formal training and qualifications, including any training and qualification being undertaken at the time of submission, and any prizes and memberships of professional bodies should be noted.

Applicants for pre-doctoral fellowships who are registered for a higher degree must provide a letter from their postgraduate office confirming their registration date and the percentage of time for which they are registered.

3.2.2 List of publications

The applicant’s recent publications should be included as a separate ‘List of Publications’ attachment, which may be a maximum of 1 page of A4.

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3.2.3 Case for support

The Case for Support should summarise:

  • Importance: explain the need for research in this area and the rationale for the particular lines of research planned.
  • Research Plan: describe the aims and objectives of the proposed research. Give details of the general experimental approaches, study designs, and techniques you will use. It is not necessary to describe each experiment, but enough detail must be given to show why the research is likely to be competitive in its field.
    • Highlight plans which are particularly original or unique.
    • Describe all human studies and animal experiments.
    • Explain how new techniques or particularly difficult or risky studies will be tackled, and outline alternative approaches should these fail.
    • Identify where access to facilities or resources will be required. Give sufficient detail to demonstrate the benefit to the project.
  • Research Environment and Development Opportunities: detail the specific training and scientific considerations which led to the choice of proposed host department (up to one page). Describe the special features/facilities of the research training environment in the host institution/s. If this is a department where the fellow has been based for a year or more, include details of the reasons for remaining. If the proposal involves a clinical trial please refer specifically to the training arrangements and benefits available/in place in the proposed department. Proposals for Skills Development Fellowships must contain development of new expertise and skills in a priority area and the proposed training should be detailed in this section.
  • Include any details of work that will take place as part of the proposed fellowship at a second UK or overseas centre.
  • Key references must be included in the case for support within the specified page limit and may not be uploaded as a separate list of publications attachment. Citations must be in 11 point Arial font and include sufficient information for reviewers to easily locate the articles listed (e.g. First author name et al, Title, Journal. Year, Volume, Pages.) but there is no house style which needs to be followed.

The page limits for the case for support for each fellowship type are as follows:

Career stage

Scheme

Maximum length (A4) pages)

Training Fellowships: Training and Consolidation

Clinical Research Training Fellowship (CRTF)

4

Early Career Fellowships: Consolidation and Exploration

Skills development fellowships

5

Transition to Independence

Career Development Award (CDA)

6

Transition to Independence

Clinician Scientist Fellowship (CSF)

5

Transition to Leadership

Senior Clinical Fellowship (SCF)

8

Transition to Leadership

Senior Non-Clinical Fellowship (SNCF)

12

 

In general, for Training and Consolidation, Early Career and Transition to Independence fellowships, approximately 25% of the case for support should explain the importance of the project and detail preliminary data, 50% should outline the research plan, and 25% should describe the research environment, development opportunities and key references. For Transition to Leadership fellows, a larger proportion of the case for support should be dedicated to describing the research plan.

3.2.3.1 Case for support: Reproducibility and statistical design (recommended annex)

A one page annex may be included in addition to the page limits above to provide additional detail of the methodology and experimental design aspects of the proposal (beyond that contained in the main case for support), or if the project includes a clinical trial to provide detail on the trial. This must be included as a clearly marked annex at the end of the main case for support, entitled ‘Reproducibility and statistical design annex’.

More detailed guidance is available in section 2.2.3.4 of the Guidance for Applicants, including what not to include in the annex.

3.2.4 Justification of resources

Cross Council guidance on how to write a justification of resources (JoR) is available on the Je-S Help Pages or in section 2.2.4  of the Guidance for Applicants.

The role of the JoR is to aid reviewers when assessing proposals so that they can make an informed judgement on whether the resources requested are appropriate for the research proposed. All items requested in the proposal need to be justified in the JoR. The JoR is a mandatory attachment and may be no more than two sides of A4 in 11 point Arial typeface.

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3.2.5 Pathways to impact

This is a mandatory attachment and may be up to two sides of A4 in length. Activities which will promote potential economic and societal benefits should be described, along with specific actions that will be taken to ensure that the potential beneficiaries identified in the Impact Summary (section 3.1.7) have the opportunity to benefit from the research.

More detailed guidance is available in section 2.2.5 of the Guidance for Applicants.

3.2.6 Data management plan

The Data Management Plan (DMP) is a mandatory attachment and should be submitted on the DMP template available on our website. The DMP should demonstrate how the applicant will meet, or already meets their responsibilities for research data quality. It should refer to any institutional and study data policies, systems and procedures and be regularly reviewed throughout the research cycle.

The maximum length is three sides of A4, though for less complex research the DMP may be as little as a quarter of a page of A4. If any section is not relevant to the proposal ‘not applicable’ should be entered. More detailed guidance is available in section 2.2.8 of the Guidance for Applicants.

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3.2.7 Head of Department’s supporting statement

This is a mandatory attachment and must be from the Head of the Department which will host the fellow. In this statement the Head of Department should summarise:

  • how long they have known the applicant
  • the applicant’s suitability for an MRC fellowship
  • the suitability of the project for the research training and career development of the candidate
  • why the centre is appropriate for the work proposed, including the commitments the department will make to mentor and support the fellow

3.2.8 Letters of support

All letters of support should be dated, signed and on headed note paper, and a maximum of two sides of A4. The following types of letters of support may be submitted:

Mentor’s supporting statement: If a mentor is included on your application form a letter of Support from the mentor must be attached detailing the mentoring arrangements.

Previous Head of Department’s supporting statement: If you have recently moved department or plan to undertake your fellowship at a different department to your current affiliation, an additional supporting statement should be uploaded from your previous/current Head of Department.

Second centre’s supporting statement: A supporting statement from the industrial partner or second research organisation Head of Department should be included if a second centre is involved in the fellowship.

Project partners and collaborators’ supporting statements: Project partners should provide a letter of support as detailed in section 3.1.13 of this guidance. Collaborators may provide letters of support to indicate the time and resources they are prepared to commit where these are critical to the project. If a partner or collaborator will be providing clinical samples for the project the letter should confirm their willingness to provide the samples and that they have the appropriate ethical approval to cover the proposed research (see section 3.1.13).

Degree registration: Applicants for pre-doctoral fellowships who are registered for a higher degree must provide a letter from their postgraduate office confirming their registration date and the percentage of time for which they are registered.

Support for NHS costs: Projects which will incur NHS costs will need to complete a Schedule of Events Cost Attribution Template (SoECAT) to be eligible for the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) portfolio and the support it provides. This should be PDF’d and uploaded as a letter of support. This change came into effect on 1 October 2018. See section 3.5 of the Guidance for Applicants for full details.

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3.2.9 Cover letter

A covering letter may be included as part of an application. It should be no more than 2 x A4 pages using 11 point Arial. The covering letter may be used to cover details such as Conflicts of Interest, names of conflicted experts who should not be used as referees and if the application is a resubmission, details of how this application differs from that submitted previously. It MUST NOT be used to cover anything which should be included in the Proposal Form, Case for Support or other required attachments.

3.2.10 MRC Industrial Collaboration Agreement (MICA) forms and Heads of Terms

Any research proposal involving a collaboration with one or more industrial partners (contributing either in cash or in kind) is handled by MRC as a MICA. MICA is not a scheme in itself, but a mechanism to support the establishment of an agreement between academic and industry research partners.

Each proposal that involves such industrial collaboration will need to include a MICA form and also a Heads of Terms, which will need to be signed by each collaborator to confirm that they are willing to collaborate for the duration of the study. See the MICA section of the MRC website for further guidance relating to these attachments.

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