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The pump-priming funding scheme accepts applications for small awards (up to £12,000) to enable researchers to obtain pilot data to support larger-scale applications for external research funding in the future.

Remit of the Scheme

The Medical Sciences Internal Fund Pump-Priming Scheme accepts applications for small awards (up to £12,000). The scheme aims to enable investigators in the Medical Sciences Division to obtain pilot data to support larger-scale applications to external funders in future.

Funding Categories

Funding is available in the categories listed below. All categories are run simultaneously through the single MSIF Pump-Priming call in IRAMS. Applicants should select the relevant category in the Case for Support document. 


Funding for the MSIF Pump-Priming Scheme comes from the Nuffield Benefaction and the Goodger and Schorstein Fund.

Funded Projects

Here is a list of the funded projects for the MSIF Pump-Priming Scheme. 

 Eligible applicants must:

You are not eligible to apply if you are:

  •  A student
  • An honorary or visiting member of a department

Additional notes on eligibility

  • Priority may be given to Early Career Clinical Academics (Clinical Lecturers) who are establishing their independent career. Early Career Clinical Researchers should make their status clear in their application.
  • Postdoctoral Researchers and Clinical Research Fellows who are not yet independent are eligible to apply. These applicants should make a clear case for how an MSIF Pump-Priming award will help their career development.
  • Clinical Research Fellows who have completed a doctorate may apply.
  • The Early Career Pump-Priming category is open to postdocs and early career researchers with up to 8 years of experience as an independent researcher. Independence is defined as responsibility for developing and leading their own research agenda. Consideration will be made for career breaks such as maternity leave.
  • Mid-career/Senior Academics who are more than 8 years post-independence must provide strong justification for why they require internal funding, and why costs cannot be met from their other funding sources.

Eligible costs

As of Michaelmas Term 2023 the maximum permitted application value has increased to £12,000 to reflect inflation. Applicants should obtain an X5 costing from their Department where appropriate, and all costs must be well-justified in meeting the project objectives.

Any directly incurred non-staff research costs, including equipment, are eligible for funding. Travel and subsistence may be funded where they are essential for achieving the project's objectives.

Travel to conferences or costs for hosting meetings (eg. room hire and catering) are unlikely to be funded. Staff costs to conduct the project, bridging salary and article processing charges (APCs)/Open Access fees are NOT eligible costs. 

Staff costs may only be requested to buy time from staff providing a specialist service, for example, Research Nurses, Pharmacists, Animal Technicians, etc. It is expected that any staff costs requested will represent a percentage of the staff member’s working hours for the period of the project and be for a specific purpose (for example one day per week of Research Nurse time for three months to collect blood samples). Salary for a research assistant to conduct the research project is NOT an eligible cost.

If you are not sure if the costs you want to request are eligible, please contact before submitting your application.

Letters of Support

All postdoctoral researchers applying to the scheme must have a letter of support attached from their line manager confirming that the applicant has time to complete the project on top of their normal responsibilities. 

Additional letters of support, particularly that detail department support, facilities, and/or the environment underpinning the project, are recommended. 

Please submit your application online via the Internal Research Award Management System (IRAMS).

Guidance on using IRAMS for applicants, departmental approvers, and administrators can be found on the Research Support pages.

Note that some departments may have set an earlier internal deadline so please check with your local admin team and prepare your application well in advance of the advertised deadline date. Applications must be reviewed online for eligibility and departmental support by departmental approvers and, where approved, submitted to the Committee for review. 

Please complete the application form including a two-page summary of the research proposed under the headings in the case-for-support template provided. Please submit this as a single PDF to include all required elements.

Applications, scores, and reviewer comments may be shared with other internal University panels to ensure maximum value for money.

To check for the next deadline and to apply to the Scheme, please search for the Medical Sciences Internal Fund: Pump-Priming in the Internal Research Award Management System (IRAMS).

Outcomes for each round will be announced approximately 6-8 weeks after each application deadline. Application rounds will be advertised through the University's communications channels and will be visible in IRAMS.


For more information on the MSIF Pump Priming scheme, please contact


Chair: Professor Paul Klenerman

Secretary: Adelyn Wise


Dr Goylette Chami (Big Data Institute)

Dr Claire Edwards (Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences)

Dr Roman Fischer (Nuffield Department of Medicine)

Professor Paul Klenerman (Nuffield Department of Medicine)

Dr Rogier Mars (Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences)

Dr May Ee Png (Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences)

Professor Ellie Tzima (Radcliffe Department of Medicine)

A representative of the Clinical Academic Graduate School