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The University of Oxford announces a pilot call in 2023 for ‘Diagnostics in Tropical and Infectious Diseases’.

The University of Oxford has a large concentration of Global Health (GH) and tropical healthcare activities, comprising diverse world-class research undertaken by its researchers based in both Oxford and its long-established Wellcome-funded overseas research and capacity-building programmes in Africa and Asia (MORU, KEMRI and OUCRU). 

The outputs and outcomes from GH research are broad reaching, bringing significant impact across all academic disciplines of medicine, the physical and life sciences, social sciences and humanities. The overseas centres provide comprehensive clinical and public health research programmes entirely focussed on the discovery and development of appropriate, practical, affordable interventions that measurably improve the health of people living in resource-limited parts of the world.

Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit (MORU), with its integrated, highly collaborative and flexible network of 5 research units and 50 sites across South East Asia, supports and conducts targeted patient-centred research addressing global and regional health problems. Current research strengths are the development of effective and practical means of diagnosing and treating tropical and infectious diseases.

Through this pilot call, MORU and the TRO aim to facilitate closer interactions between MORU- and Oxford-based teams that will support and mutually benefit global health research initiatives being led out of either location. The focus will be on diagnostic devices for tropical and infectious diseases, with the goal of driving more translational research initiatives in global health.

Introduction to “Diagnostics in Tropical and Infectious Diseases (DiTi)”

This is in collaboration with Mahidol Oxford Translational Innovation Partnership (MOTIP), funded by Wellcome IP Revenue Retention funds, and the institution translational partnership award (iTPA) by Wellcome (MORU, based in Bangkok, Thailand). This call aims to strengthen the long-term partnership between Oxford University and our host institute, the Faculty of Tropical Medicine (FTM), Mahidol University through the newly established tropical medicine diagnostic development centre (Tropmed_DC). The call will look to establish partnerships and support collaborative projects around the priority areas of novel diagnostics tools targeting development of the tropical healthcare setting. Oxford employed PIs based in Oxford (UK) or MORU Tropical Health Network (Thailand) are encouraged to apply with at least one PI being based in Oxford, UK.

Technologies supported can span from early stages of prototyping to requiring further validation towards implementation in the clinical setting and thus would benefit from on the ground testing in relevant patient populations and global health settings.

Appendices 1 and 2 provide two different representations of the translational pathway and some examples of translational research activities that align with each stage (please note these lists are non-exhaustive). The MORU-Oxford DiTi call will support projects that are beyond stage D1 (Appendix 1) and TRL 1 (Appendix 2). If you require accessible appendices please contact Kavita S Subramaniam.

This scheme intends to fund short (up to 12 months) collaborative projects that will assist the translation of research towards tropical healthcare with a highlight focus area in diagnostic tools for tropical and infectious diseases. The call aims to utilise pre-existing resources made available by on-the-ground researchers in MORU in which Oxford based researchers would want to test their diagnostics tools on appropriate cohort pool on.

The funding will not support:

  • Discovery research (D1 or TRL1 – see Appendices 1 and 2)
  • Entire translational projects; Staff between posts/funding (i.e. as “bridging” funds)
  • DPhil/PhD studentships; Continuation of pre-existing research grants

Any researcher from the University of Oxford (whether Oxford- or MORU-based) holding a contract extending to at least the end of the proposed project may apply to lead this project proposal, assuming they have host departmental approval. Applicants should clarify their eligibility with departments, and departmental approvers are required to check eligibility of their applicants before advancing any applications. MORU Network researchers who are not University employees are eligible to apply as Co-investigators.

The MORU-Oxford DiTi Panel particularly welcomes applications from Early Career Researchers and applicants seeking to establish individual research careers should they fit these criteria.

Projects are expected to start by 1 November 2023.

Projects are anticipated to be up to 6 -12 months in duration. Funding will be provided for up to £100,000 of Directly Incurred costs. Please also note that PI or co-applicant salary is not an eligible cost.

Download the case for support form (if you require an accessible form please contact Kavita S Subramaniam). The application form should be submitted online via IRAMS link which requests information about the principal applicant and any co-applicants or collaborators, a lay summary (non-confidential), a financial breakdown of your proposal (X5 report must be appended), a Gantt chart depicting the timeline and milestone of your project and a case for support form uploaded to the application system.

You must incorporate all requested components of the case for support into one document (see application form) and upload this in the template provided on IRAMS as one single PDF. IRAMS Guidance in the form of quick reference guide documents for applicants, departmental approvers and administrators can be found on Research Support pages.

Please note that applications must be reviewed and approved in IRAMS by a Departmental Approver before they will be reviewed by the MORU-Oxford DiTi Panel; the advertised application deadline is the deadline for final submission to the MORU-Oxford DiTi Panel. Departments may set an earlier internal deadline to allow for departmental review, so please check with your local admin team and submit your application to your Departmental Approver in advance of the advertised deadline.

Lead applicants are strongly encouraged to contact their local translational support team before the application deadline. The purpose of these discussions will be to:

  1. Finalise the concept for the proposal and ascertain eligibility for the scheme
  2. Assist teams in finding collaborating groups in Oxford/MORU network as appropriate
  3. To identify opportunities for project support (both financial and non-financial) to accelerate translation
  4. Assist with application development

Please note: if you haven’t yet identified a corresponding partner team at Oxford or MORU (as appropriate) with whom to collaborate, your organisation’s MORU-Oxford DiTi Support team can work with you to identify potential synergies and to explore potential partnerships to take your proposal forward.

The case for support form must include:

  • A 250-word abstract of the proposal requesting this funding, including specific tropical or infectious disease (s) to be tackled and the proposed diagnostic tool(s)
  • A 500-word scientific justification on the background information and unmet need of the disease in which your proposal will be addressing
  • IP status: Does the project require use of background IP and do you/will you have the necessary agreements in place if such background IP is controlled by a third party? Will the project generate any arising IP? How will this be managed between collaborators
  • Project objectives and proposed outcomes, including information about proposed development milestones and potential next steps following completion of the project to include, for example, sources of follow-on funding, plans for commercialisation, key stakeholders for implementation of outcomes
  • A project timeline, aligning with milestones to demonstrate that these are realistic both in terms of the objectives set and the time necessary to achieve them in the form of a Gantt chart to be appended
  • A discussion around market competition – will the proposed research offer significant advantages over current methodologies and/or approaches from other research teams?
  • Details of any industrial engagement in your project and plans to advance this
  • A justification for support for the MORU- and Oxford based teams, explaining how the proposal is aligned with the remit and objectives of the fund

The deadline for submission of applications to IRAMS is 12pm (BST) on Friday 15 September 2023.

Projects will be assessed on: strength of rationale; quality of science; un-met medical need; future commercial opportunity and clinical implementation into LMIC settings; IP position; likelihood of developing a full proposal to be submitted to external translational award schemes, or similar follow-on funding schemes, within the required timescale and budget.  Should ethics and/or home office approvals be required for the projects, priority will be given to those applications that already have these in place.

Applications will be reviewed by the MORU-Oxford DiTi Panel in mid-October and a funding decision will be made. Award letters will be sent out by 31st October.

Please note, the MORU-Oxford DiTi Panel membership comprises both internal academic and external commercial experts to ensure robust, vigorous review in line with funder recommendations. All external members are required to sign a CDA prior to reviewing applications. Find further further information on Panel membership.

24 July 2023: Call opens

15 September 2023: Application deadline (12PM, British Summer Time) 

18 September: Send out application packs to panel 

w/c 16 October 2023: MORU-Oxford Panel review meeting and funding decision

1 November 2023: Project start


Dr Nessa Carey, Entrepreneur in Residence (EiR), Medical Sciences Division


  • Dr Mike Whelan, Clover Biopharma
  • Prof Rossana Peeling, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Director of the International Diagnostic Centre (IDC)
  • Prof Miles Carroll, Nuffield Department of Medicine
  • Prof David Eyre, Big Data Institute
  • Dr Joanna Miller, Medical Sciences Division
  • Oxford University Innovations Representatives


Translational Research Office, Oxford:

  • Dr Deepak Kumar
  • Dr Kavita Subramaniam
  • Deborah Thomas

Tropical Medicine Diagnostic Development Centre, Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit (MORU), Thailand:

  • Dr Maneerat Ekkapongpisit
  • Maytouch Lojanarungsiri (Ben)

Moru iTPA Office

Translational Partnership Manager: Maneerat Ekkapongpisit

Email: Mobile: +66(0) 824486470


Project ConsultantMaytouch Lojanarungsiri

Tropical Medicine Diagnostic Development Center

Email: Mobile: +66(0)922 800 007

 Address: Mahidol-Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit (MORU), Mathematical and Economic Modelling Department (MAEMOD), 11/F Chamlong Harinasuta Building, 420/6 Rajvithi Rd, Bangkok 10400, Thailand

Oxford Translational Research Office

Translational Research Manager: Kavita S Subramaniam

Email: or Translational Research Office Website