Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.
Skip to main content

The Medical and Life Sciences Translational Fund (MLSTF) is open to all University of Oxford researchers and provides consolidated internal proof of concept funding for translational medical and life sciences projects.

The MLSTF supports proof of concept projects at the earliest stages of translational research. This fund does not support exploratory basic science. It funds researchers to accelerate the transition from discovery research to translational development projects by supporting preliminary work or feasibility studies to establish the viability of a translational approach. Funding is also available for other additional support initiatives on existing projects, including market analysis.

The MLSTF is a consolidated fund comprising devolved funding from MRC, BBSRC and Wellcome.

The MLSTF Committee, comprising members of the Medical Sciences Division and Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences Division, as well as external members, will allocate funding to successful projects from across the University.


The Fund supports goal-oriented translational research projects with a strong scientific rationale and which meet a clear and important translational medical need. Projects should also demonstrate distinct advantages over competing translational approaches that are in development or are already available in the marketplace.

Projects proposed should broadly be in the scientific remit of MRC, BBSRC and/or Wellcome. Projects should aim to provide sufficient preliminary data to establish proof of concept, strategic merit in a translational context, or the viability of a translational approach (i.e. to provide confidence in the underlying concept, before seeking more substantial funding from other sources), such as MRC Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme (DPFS), BBSRC follow on fund or equivalent schemes from other funders, or from industry. An explicit outcome of the award of MLSTF is that projects should subsequently be strong candidates for external follow-on translational funding.

To be competitive, the project proposal should identify a critical path for generating preliminary proof-of-concept data that supports moving to the next stage of translation. The project should be milestone-based with clearly articulated and quantifiable markers, which will form the basis of a rigorous monitoring process that will take place throughout the project's lifetime. While it is assumed that failure to achieve a milestone may indicate that a project is unlikely to generate the evidence needed for progression to its ultimate goal of translation, the proposed project may be high risk provided that appropriate milestones are in place to mitigate risk.

All modalities of therapy and diagnostics including engineering/medical technology and bioinformatics approaches are welcomed. The research areas under which applications have been supported in the past include diabetes, cancer, inflammation, vaccine science, rare diseases, mental health, antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Added to this remit in 2018 are Bioscience for health; Agriculture and food security; Industrial biotechnology and bioenergy.

Applications for interdisciplinary research are particularly welcome; it is anticipated that half of the funding available will be awarded to interdisciplinary projects.

Any academic-industry collaboration supported should follow the principles and policies of a MRC Industry Collaboration Agreement (MICA). If your project involves collaboration with industry you will therefore need to agree heads of terms with any proposed industry partners before submitting your application. Please contact your local Research Services team who will be able to assist with this.

Where the partner is an existing or prospective spinout, there must be a strong and clear case that the proposed project is a new stream of work and not additional development of the initial technology that was licenced to the spinout. It should also be clear that the spinout is the most appropriate company to support this particular project. A clear statement of how conflict of interest will be managed must be included.


Funding available from MLSTF will be up to £75k per project. Awards will be made from MLSTF for direct costs only.

Whilst a ‘match’ contribution is not mandatory, it is strongly encouraged. The cost of individual projects in this case can be up to £150k with applicants being required to demonstrate at least 50% matching from another source of the direct costs awarded. Match funding from industry is especially encouraged; it is anticipated that half of the funding available will be awarded to projects able to demonstrate an industry match. Any industry contribution should be costed in line with University policy.

For projects in the BBSRC remit, a match is strongly encouraged but not a requirement. If no match funding is provided, the PI should state clearly in their application why match funding is not appropriate for their project.

Projects are expected to be no more than 12 months in duration and must have a start date that allows project completion in advance of March 2021. Please ensure that your project is scheduled accordingly and that the timeline is appropriate to the objectives and milestones set out.

The funding will not support: entire translational projects; bridging funding or PhD studentships; continuation of normal research grants; and costs relating to protection of intellectual property. Please also note that PI or co-applicant salary is not an eligible cost.

Awards will be managed from the Medical Sciences Divisional Office on behalf of the University. Applications, scores and reviewer comments may be shared with other internal University panels to ensure maximum value for money.


The MLSTF comprises funding from:

Applicants are not required to identify the component part of this fund they are targeting, however they are welcome to do so if they feel their proposal fits very clearly with one. The Committee will decide which source of funds to allocate to successful projects and this will be communicated to applicants on award notification.

PIs must be University employees holding a contract of employment and may be hosted by any department of the University. Researchers holding honorary or visiting positions are not eligible to apply. Applicants should clarify their eligibility with their departments, and departmental approvers are required to check eligibility of their applicants before advancing any applications. 

The Committee welcomes applications from Early Career Researchers and applicants seeking to establish independent research careers. 

Questions about development of projects for submission to the MLSTF should be directed to the Head of the Translational Research Office Sarah Wagstaffe in the first instance.

Applicants are also encouraged to discuss their proposal with Oxford University Innovation well in advance of submission. OUI will be able to advise and support on the industry engagement and IP aspects of bids.

Please submit your application via the Internal Research Award Management System (IRAMS)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 Committee; the advertised application deadline is the deadline for final submission to the MLSTF Committee. 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. 

The online application form in IRAMS requests information about the principal applicant and any co-applicants or editors, a lay summary, a financial breakdown of your proposal and a case for support uploaded to the IRAMS application system. You must incorporate all requested components of the case for support into one document and upload this in the template provided on IRAMS as a PDF.

A case for support (four pages max.) and CVs (one page max. each) for all applicants named in the application must be appended to this application form. The case for support must include:

  • A 250-word abstract of the proposal requesting MLSTF funding;
  • Project objectives and proposed outcomesincluding 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;
  • A timeline for your project, aligning with milestones to demonstrate that these are realistic both in terms of the objectives set and the time necessary to achieve them;
  • A justification for support explaining how your proposal is aligned with the remit and objectives of the Fund;
  • Details of any development of industrial engagement in your project and plans to advance this;
  • IP status: Are third parties involved and how will IP be managed with respect to these collaborators? Has the research in this proposal been funded in the past by a third party? How will you manage background and foreground IP? Have you consulted all relevant agreements in advance of submitting your application (e.g. MICA)?
  • A description of any matched funding secured.

This fund is currently closed for applications.

For enquiries about the MLSTF or to discuss your application please contact the Head of the Translational Research Office Sarah Wagstaffe.

For enquiries about submitting your application in IRAMS please contact the Medical Sciences Division Research Funding Team:

Please note that the membership of the MLSTF Committee is currently in transition and the information below is subject to change

Chair: Professor Matthew Wood

Secretary: Adelyn Wise


Professor Paul Brennan

Professor Andrew Carr

Professor Helen McShane

Professor Eleanor Stride

Professor Antony Galione

Professor Jane Langdale

Dr Nicholas Edwards

Dr Thomas Hanke

Ms Angela Hobbs

Dr Andrew McLean


Dr Maxine Allen

Dr Paul Ashley

Ms Gill Rowe

Dr Sarah Wagstaffe

Developing a novel dengue vaccine 

Professor Arturo Reyes-Sandoval (Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine) was awarded funding for his project to develop a new vaccine against dengue fever. Find out more. 

Modulating circadian rhythm disruption

Dr Sridhar Vasudevan (Department of Pharmacology) received funding to investigate a series of drugs which could be used to modulate and treat circadian rhythm disorders. Find out more. 

Developing slow-wave activity saturation as a marker of depth of anaesthesia 

Dr Katie Warnaby (Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences) received funding to develop a new technique for measuring depth of anaesthesia in patients. Find out more. 


Further funded projects

  • Development of UGGT1 inhibitors as broad-spectrum antivirals: Zitzmann, Nicole. Biochemistry. £36,709
  • Development of an adeno-associated viral vectored immunoprophylactic strategy against blood-stage Plasmodium vivax Malaria: Bardelli, Martino. NDM Jenner Institute. £40,200
  • Developing small molecule inhibitors for a rare childhood seizure disorder: Yue, Wyatt. NDM, Structural Genomics Consortium. £42,036
  • Harnessing the properties of a small compound to improve the efficiency of reprogramming dendritic cells to pluripotency: Fairchild, Paul. Pathology Dunn School. £42,207
  • Deep Brain Stimulation for Multiple System Atrophy. Green, Alex. Surgical Sciences. £70,662
  • Structure-guided design of FAM83B inhibitors for triple negative breast cancer. Bullock, Alex. NDM. £15,000
  • MICA: Reprogramming tumor immunity by targeting tenascin-C: Kim Midwood; Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences; £65,569
  • T-cell receptor-like antibodies targeting p53: Alison Banham; Radcliffe Department of Medicine;  £41,490
  • Polymer-DNA nanoparticles for Therapeutic Intracellular Delivery: Andrew Turberfield; Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics; £22,506
  • Orthotopic colorectal cancer patient-derived xenograft models to test therapeutic manipulation ofGREM1: Simon Leedham; Nuffield Department of Medicine; £75,000
  • Structure-Guided Design of Sonic Hedgehog Morphogen Inhibitors: Christian Siebold; Nuffield Department of Medicine; £15,000
  • Proof-of-concept controlled human infection with Plasmodium vivax malaria to accelerate Phase II clinical trials of vaccine candidates: Angela Minassian; Nuffield Department of Medicine; £65,000
  • How does BCG vaccination facilitate protection against malaria? Milicic, Anita; Nuffield Department of Medicine; £42,803
  • CMV-vectored vaccines: second generation vectors with improved safety profile:  Sarah Sebastian; Nuffield Department of Medicine; £22,635
  • Development of a novel bivalent vaccine to prevent both Salmonella Typhi and Paratyphi infections: Christine Rollier; Department of Paediatrics; £45,223
  • Ultrasonic electrospray of intact complexes from vesicles and exosomes: Carol Robinson; Department of Chemistry; £33,835
  • Non-invasive estimation of pulmonary blood flow in primary pulmonary hypertension : Peter Robbins; Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics; £40,674
  • New approaches to microsphere formulation for single dose prime-boost vaccine delivery: Anita Milicic; Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine; £51,813
  • Utilising immune-dominant epitopes of limited variability to create a novel influenza vaccine: Sunetra Gupta; Department of Zoology; £50,421
  • Development of UGGT1 inhibitors as broad-spectrum antivirals: Zitzmann, Nicole. Biochemistry. £36,709.03
  • The development of pan-genotypic Hepatitis C virus vaccine generating T and B cell immunity: Barnes, Eleanor; Experimental Medicine; £25,000
  • A universal H1N1 influenza vaccine using an epitope of limited variability: Gupta, Sunetra; Zoology; £71,729
  • A flexible and scalable platform for creating novel medicinal macrocycles: Naismith, James; Structural Biology; £75,000
  • Pre-clinical development of therapeutic cross-reactive monoclonal antibodies to Ebola viruses: Rijal, Pramila; RDM; £62,000
  • Structure based beta-Lactamase resistant transpeptidase inhibitors to address antibiotic resistance: Schofield, Christopher; Chemistry; £31,591
  • Polymeric-DNA nanoparticles: modular delivery systems for nucleic acid-based therapies: Turberfield, Andrew J.; Physics; £72,890
  • Measuring lung inhomogeneity in paediatric cystic fibrosis: Ritchie, Grant A.D.; Chemistry; £47,813
  • Universal Big DNA assembly: transition to a translatable high throughput process: O'Callaghan, Christopher; CCMP; £70,266
  • Using DNA-based diagnostics to prevent death of children with blood disorders in sub-Saharan Africa: Schuh, Annette; Oncology; £58,590
  • Using genome variation to sort extremely rare cell populations for clinical application: Frater, John; NDM Experimental Medicine; £59,529
  • Antibody-mediated oligonucleotide delivery to brain for neurodegenerative disease: Hammond, Suzan; Paediatrics; £74,762
  • CAT&MAUS: simultaneous imaging and analysis of joint motion for clinical assessment: Mellon, Stephen; NDORMS; £70,817
  • GAPDH and extracellular vesicles: biological nanoparticles for therapy of neurodegenerative diseases: Dar, Ghulam; Paediatrics; £74,762
  • Proteomic biomarkers in IBD: Adams, Alexander; NDM Experimental Medicine; £68,400