Guidance for applicants update history - MRC

A list of recent changes to the guidance for applicants.

V21.4 – October 2021

  • 1.3 Applicants – removed text that whilst the RO is responsible for ensuring a new PI is suggested if the current PI is to leave, MRC must be consulted to approve this request
  • 2.2 Attachments – removal of NIRG text in Project Partners as covered elsewhere
  • 3.2.2.3 Other Costs – updated to include payment and incentives for healthy volunteers
  • 3.3 Overseas costs – updated text
  • 6 Research involving existing facilities and resources – updated for how to apply for funding involving LPS
  • Other updates made to content reference numbers following migration of guidance for applicants to the UKRI website

V21.3 – August 2021

  • 1.3.4 Project Partners – Update to definition of project partners
  • 3.2.2.3 Other Costs – Update to definition of subcontractors/dual roles and entitlement of outputs
  • 3.3 Overseas Costs – New format of how to present overseas costs in Je-S
  • 5.2.2 Research involving human participants in lower and middle income countries (LMICs) – terminology update

v21.2 – April 2021

  • 1.1 Who Can Apply – update to public sector research establishments eligibility
  • 1.3 Applicants – applicants must ensure permission is received for any other person named on the proposal form
  • 1.3.2 Co-Investigator – update to India/China Co-Investigator eligibility
  • 1.6.1 Studentships – removal of individual studentship text
  • 2.2.9 Additional requirements for GCRF and Newton Calls – removal of section
  • 3.2.1 Research Staff costs – update to MRC External Scientific Staff (ESS) text
  • 2.2 Attachments – text updates.

v21.1 – March 2021

  • 2.2.1 CV – CV guidance updated taking into consideration disruptions resulting from COVID-19
  • 2.2.3 Case for Support – updated to include optional annex – Research disruption caused by COVID-19 pandemic
  • 3.2.2.2 Equipment – from 1 April 2021 MRC will fund this equipment at 80% FEC.

v20.3 – November 2020

  • 1.3.2 Co- Investigators – India and China Co-Investigator cost update
  • 1.6.1 Studentships – removal of studentships from partnership grants
  • 2.2.4 Justification of resources – removal of studentships from partnership grants
  • 2.5 Peer review – impact of COVID-19 update and Peer Review considerations
  • 3. Resources – inclusion of the long-term impact of COVID-19 and applications should be based on the information available at the point of submission
  • 3.3 Overseas costs – updates to costs associated with overseas Co-Investigators including Co-Investigators on the OECD DAC list. Developed Countries (inclusive India and China).

v20.2 – June 2020

  • 2.1 The proposal form – information on summary requirements for Official Development Assistance (ODA) transparency and reporting
  • 2.1 Impact Summary – section removed – applicants no longer required to provide an Impact Summary from 01 March 2020
  • 2.2.3.4 Impact – new section – guidance on impact in grant applications for case for support and assessment
  • 2.2.5 Pathways to Impact – section removed – applicants no longer required to provide Pathways to Impact attachment from 01 March 2020.

v20.1 – February 2020

  • 1.7.2 Applying for a funding opportunity – improved guidance to explain users experience when applying for opportunities through Je-S
  • 2.1 The proposal form – guidance updated to include instructions around changes to the ‘pathways to Impact’ and ‘Impact Summary’ for applicants applying after 01 March 2020
  • 2.2.3.3 Case for support content – further guidance added on adding classifications for public engagement and further detail added around factors on assessment for the track record of applicants registering/publishing previous trials
  • 2.2.5 Pathways to impact – guidance updated to include instructions around changes to the ‘pathways to Impact’ and ‘Impact Summary’ for applicants applying after 01 March 2020
  • 2.2.5.4 Further information – section removed as it links to UKRI pathways to Impact guidance which is no longer required after 01 March 2020
  • 2.5.2 Applicants’ response to reviewers’ comments – new guidance introduced for applicant’s response page limit for programme grants.

v20.0 – January 2020

  • 2.2.3.4 Reproducibility and statistical design (recommended annex) – further information added regarding the recommended Annex. Link embedded within the section to worked examples of experimental design
  • 1.3.3 Researcher Co-Investigator – link added to RCOI page on MRC website
  • 1.5.2 Resubmissions and Renewals – clarity added on outline resubmission policy for the Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme (DPFS)
  • 2.2.2 Publications – revised text to clarify UKRI’s commitment to recommendations and principles set out by the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA)
  • 2.2.3.3 Case for support content – further detail added around factors on assessment for the track record of applicants registering/publishing previous trials.
  • 2.2.8 Data management plans (DMP) – changes made to the requirements for intervention studies involving human participants
  • 2.2.10 Additional requirements for GCRF and Newton Fund calls
    2.2.10.1 Gender Equality Statement – new section added to cover Gender equality requirements for GCRF/Newton fund calls
  • 2.5.2 Applicants’ response to reviewers’ comments – new guidance introduced for applicants response page limit for programme grants.

v19.7 – August 2019

  • 2.2.3.4 Reproducibility and statistical design (recommended annex) – further information added regarding the recommended Annex. Link embedded within the section to worked examples of experimental design.

v19.6 – August 2019

  • 3.5.1 NHS costs – NIHR web links updated. Clarification of which pages of the SoECAT need to be appended to an application
  • 1.1 Types of research organisations (ROs) – clarification on funding eligibility of MRC Units and Partnership Institutes (Francis Crick Institute, Health Data Research UK, UK Dementia Research Institute)
  • 3.9 MRC Units and the Francis Crick Partnership Institutes – clarification on costings for MRC Units and Partnership Institutes (Francis Crick Institute, Health Data Research UK, UK Dementia Research Institute)
  • Entire PDF document – corrections to typos.

v19.4 and 19.5 – June 2019

  • 1.3.3 Researcher Co-Investigator – update: Guidance on Researcher Co-Investigators to inform that RCoIs are not permitted on NIRGs
  • 3.5.1 Excess Treatment Costs of Studies Involving Human Participants – update: Corrected error in guidance to applicants where MRC refer applicants to ARCO rather than AcoRD.

v19.3 – April 2019

  • 3.5.1 NHS costs – update: New subheading created for excess treatment costs of studies involving human participants
  • 4.3 Experimental design, avoidance of bias and statistical considerations – update: Further detail included on the NC3R’s Experimental Design Assistant PDF report.

v19.2 – March 2019

3.5 NHS costs – update: clarified guidance on when a SoECAT is required
2.2.9.1 Statement of support – update: Guidance on NIRGs updated to require a named senior academic in the statement of support who has supported the candidate during development of the application and details of how they will continue to provide support.

v19.1 – February 2019

  • 3.5 NHS costs – update: added guidance for Excess Treatment Costs of Studies Involving Human Participants. Removed guidance on completing the NHS costs proforma
  • 3.2.2.3 Other costs – update: clarified guidance on the inclusion of DNA sequencing costs.

v18.4 – October 2018

  • 1.1 Types of research organisations – update: Added text stating that NHS bodies are eligible to apply as lead applicants
  • 2.2.2 Publications – update: Added text stating that MRC reviewers are advised not to use journal-based metrics when assessing proposals.

v18.3 – August 2018

  • 3.2.1 Research staff costs – update: New text added on expanding the range of development activities eligible under the grant conditions to support career development and future careers of researchers.

v18.2 – June 2018

  • 1.3 Applicants – update: New text added stating that where a project involves a clinical trial involving human subjects the Impact Summary should include plans for disclosure of results
  • 2.2 proposal form – update: New text added stating that where a project involves a clinical trial involving human subjects the Impact Summary should include plans for disclosure of results.

v18.1 – May 2018

  • 1.1 Types of research organisations (ROs) – changed HEFCE to Research England and Department for Employment and Learning Northern Ireland to Northern Ireland Department for the Economy. Updated references to MRC Units and Institutes
  • 2.1 The proposal form – removed section on ‘Project co-funders’ as no longer relevant
  • 2.2.1 CVs – added text on inclusion of unnecessary personal data in CVs.
  • 2.2.8 Data management plans – new guidance on intervention studies involving human participants
  • 3.2.1 Research staff costs -text on External Scientific Staff moved from Section 3.8.3
  • 3.2.2.1 Travel and subsistence – new guidance on expectations for requests for conference funding
  • 3.2.3.1 Estates – new text added on which staff are included in the FTE multiplier for calculating estates costs
  • 3.8 Costing of applications involving MRC units and institutes – renamed to ‘Costing of applications involving MRC institutes (MRC Harwell, MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences and MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology). References to MRC Units removed. Guidance on External Scientific Staff moved to Section 3.2.1 Research staff costs
  • 3.9 MRC units and the Francis Crick Institute – renamed 3.9 MRC units and the Francis Crick Institute. References to MRC units removed
  • 5.2.1 Regulations and guidance – reference to Guidelines for Good Clinical Practice in Clinical Trials (1998) replaced with MRC Guidelines for Management of Global Health Trials (2017)
  • 6 Research involving existing facilities and resources – section 6.2 High Throughput Sequencing Hubs deleted as no longer relevant. New guidance on Data, tools and facilities of Genomics England (Section 6.4).

v17.3 – July 2017

  • 2.2.3.4 Reproducibility and statistical design (recommended annex) – update: ‘Methodology and experimental design’ annex renamed ‘Reproducibility and statistical design’. New guidance on what should be included
  • 2.2.6 Covering letter – update: Revised guidance on detailing conflicted experts in the covering letter
  • 2.2.9 Additional requirements for New Investigator Research Grants – new: Summary of additional requirements for New Investigator Research Grants (statement of support from host RO and declaration that the applicant has originated the research question and written the research proposal)
  • 4.1.4.2 Je-S section on ‘Animal species’ and 4.1.4.3 Case for support – Reproducibility and Statistical design annex. Update: Revised guidance on where to include information on experimental design, statistical analyses etc.
  • 4.1.4.6 Use of animals overseas – new: From 1 September 2017, applications involving the use of animals overseas should include a signed statement from both UK and overseas PIs regarding work being carried out overseas. If the research involves the use of rodents overseas, rather than in the UK, the ‘Additional questions on the use of rodents overseas’ form must also be completed
  • 5.2 Human participants in research – new: Additional guidance on describing ethical implications where research involves human participants in lower and middle income countries (LMICs)
  • 6.4 High performance computing facilities – update: Changed from ‘National supercomputing facilities’ to ‘High performance computing facilities’.

v17.2 – May 2017

  • 2.1 The proposal form – update: New text added stating that where a project is potentially ODA compliant the Impact Summary should address how it meets ODA requirements
  • 2.2.5.3 Assessment – update: Text on assessment criteria revised
  • 3 Resourcing – update: Renamed ‘Resources’. New section created that covers all information on research staff costs. Previously staff costs were included under 4 different headings (DI Staff, DA Investigators, Other directly allocated costs, Overseas staff). This new section also includes new text stating that MRC encourages and supports collaborative research projects and team approaches.
    New table been added outlining the 3 different sections of the Je-S proposal form where research team members can be included. Existing table outlining the four fund types has been updated to include examples of where members of the research team could be included
  • 3.4 Support from other sources – update: Text moved to Section 2.1 The proposal form
  • 3.5 Research involving cohort resources – update: Moved to Section 6 Research Involving Existing Facilities and Resources
  • 4.1.4.1 Je-S section on ‘Animal research’ – update: New text added confirming that details of any procedures categorised as moderate or severe should be in accordance with the maximum prospective severity rating in the Home Office licence under which the work will be carried out
  • 4.1.5 Ethical and welfare standards and review – update: New text added stating that if applicants are contracting out animal research or proposing to undertake any experiments outside the UK they are strongly advised to view the ‘Choosing contractors for animal research: expectations of the major UK public funders’ presentation produced by the NC3Rs
  • 5 Ethics and approvals/Section 6 Research Involving Existing Facilities and Resources – update: Sections 5.5 High throughput sequencing hubs, 5.6 Access to facilities provided by other organisations, and 5.7 National supercomputing facilities moved to newly created Section 6 Research Involving Existing Facilities and Resources.

v17.1 – January 2017

  • 1.4.2 Duration of employment – update: moved to Section 1.3 Applicants
  • 1.5 Multiple applications – update: text updated to clarify MRC position on multiple applications and resubmissions
  • 2.2.2 Publications & 2.2.3 Case for support general guidance – update: text updated to confirm that preprints may be included in publication lists.

v16.4 – June 2016

  • 2.4.3 Case for support content – update: Research plans section updated to include additional one page annex to case for support for methodological and experimental design justification
  • 2.4.3.1 Guidance summary for methodology and experimental design in applications – new: Guidance on new methodology and experimental design annex
  • 4.1.4.2 Je-S section on ‘Animal species’ – applicants are encouraged to provide the ‘supporting information’ as detailed below in the case for support ‘methodology and experimental design’ annex and not in the Je-S application form. In the narrative text field in Je-S, under ‘Supporting information’, please state the information is found at ‘methodology and experimental design’ annex. More information on the use of this annex can be found at Section 2.4.3. Please note that you are not required to duplicate information presented elsewhere in the application
  • 4.1.4.3 Proposal attachment ‘Case for support’ – the scientific case underpinning the choice of animal model and the experimental plans should be detailed in the one-page annex to the case for support (entitled ‘methodology and experimental design’ annex) See Section 2.4.3 for more detail. There is no requirement to duplicate information.

v16.2 – March 2016

  • 4.1.3 Experimental design, avoidance of bias and statistical considerations – update: Worked examples of justifications for experimental design and animal numbers in grant applications now available to download
  • 3.1.1.3 Directly incurred costs, Equipment – update: From 1 April 2016 the upper equipment threshold will change from £134,011 (£111,676 ex VAT) to £138k (£115k ex VAT). The higher threshold was previously linked to the OJEU threshold value for Schedule 1 Services but this is no longer the case.

v15.2 – December 2015

  • 1.3 People named on the grant – update: Section now called ‘Applicants’. Wording has been revised to clarify the different roles applicants involved in the research proposal may have. Section 1.3.5 Sub-contractors has been moved to section 3.1.1.4 Directly incurred/other costs
  • 1.4.3 Responsibilities of applicants – update: New guidance added on how applicants should make a declaration of interest
  • 2.1.1 Application checking – update: New reason added to list of reasons for returning applications to research (justification of the use of animals does not meet MRC requirements)
  • 2.12 Peer review – update: Additional guidance on nominating independent peer reviewers.

v15.1 – October 2015

  • 2.9 Research Council facilities – update: Ion Beam Centre, University of Surrey, added to list of facilities
  • 2.10 Application checking, common reasons for returning applications to research offices – update: guidance on reasons for return updated
  • 3 Resourcing – update: Revised guidance on application costing. Please be aware that some historical data may have been removed
  • 3.2 Guidance on costing of applications involving MRC units and institutes – update: Revised guidance on how to cost applications involving MRC units and institutes
  • 3.3 MRC units and the Francis Crick Institute – new: Guidance for eligible individuals from MRC units and the Francis Crick Institute who wish to apply for MRC grants as either a lead or co-applicant
  • 3.5 Research involving cohort resources – update: Guidance on research involving cohort resources has been incorporated into the guidance (previously a standalone page)
  • 5.9 Use of induced Pluripotent Stem Cell (iPSC) resources – update: Guidance the use of induced Pluripotent Stem Cell (iPSC) resources has been incorporated into the guidance (previously a standalone page).

Last updated: 15 October 2021

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