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Initial review and Prioritisation

In the first instance applications will be reviewed by the MSD Fund Manager for eligibility of the applicant, eligibility of costs, firmness and feasibility of future funding plans, and if any applicants should be considered for priority funding.

Applicants may be prioritised for funding if they have taken a period of any type of leave for caring responsibilities where they have been away from work for at least 6 calendar months and have returned to work within 12 months of the bridging application deadline.

In cases of shared parental leave there may be gaps in the period of caring leave where the applicant was back at work, provided that the applicant has taken a cumulative period of at least 6 months’ of caring leave, ending within 12 months of the bridging application deadline.

For more information and rationale about the prioritisation of applicants who have taken a period of leave for caring responsibilities, see the FAQs.

The Fund Manager will refer to colleagues (e.g. Head of Research Strategy & Funding, Athena SWAN Facilitator, Research Culture Facilitator, Associate Head of Division for Research) as needed in identifying priority applicants.

Additional priority groups may be added in future if a specific need for support is identified.

randomised Selection process

Depending on the value of the applications received, it is expected that 4 or 5 applications per round will be funded. Once any priority applications have been selected, the remaining slots within the round will be allocated through a randomised selection process. External funders (for example Wellcome IFRC and British Academy Small Research Grants) are also trialling various randomisation processes for allocating research funding. 

The random selection will be done using Microsoft Excel which uses the Mersenne Twister algorithm (MT19937) to generate random numbers. Each application will be assigned an integer number and then the formula =INT(RAND()*(b-a)+a) will return a random integer number between a and b, where a is 1 and b is the number of applications +1.

This randomised selection process will be completed and witnessed by members of the MSD Research Strategy and Funding Team, and the process and results for each round will be documented.