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The MRC CiC is a block grant provided to the University by the Medical Research Council. It is used to support the earliest stages of translational research projects. It is intended to accelerate the transition from discovery research to translational development projects by supporting preliminary work or feasibility studies to establish the viability of an approach.

Background

The MRC has awarded the University of Oxford a total of £850,000 under the fourth round of the MRC Confidence in Concept (CiC) scheme. Up to £260,000 is available in this final round of the 2016-18 CiC. The funding will be used to support the earliest stages of translational projects. It is intended to accelerate the transition from discovery research to translational development projects by supporting preliminary work or feasibility studies to establish the viability of an approach. An Oxford Confidence in Concept Committee, comprising members from the Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences Division and the Medical Sciences Division as well as external members, will allocate the funding to individual projects within the University.

Remit

Projects should aim to provide sufficient preliminary data to establish the viability of a translational approach, i.e. to provide confidence in the underlying concept, before seeking more substantial funding from MRC Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme (DPFS), MRC Regenerative Medicine Research Committee or equivalent schemes from other funders, or from industry. That is, an explicit outcome of the award of Confidence in Concept funding is that projects should subsequently be strong candidates for the successful award of DPFS or equivalent funding.

The Confidence in Concept scheme is not limited to the development of new chemical entities; all modalities of therapy and diagnostic are welcomed, including engineering/medical technology and bioinformatics approaches.

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

Projects must be able to articulate clear development milestones. These milestones will form the basis of a rigorous monitoring / mentoring process that will take place throughout the project lifetime.

Costing and match funding

The award will be used to support a number of preliminary-stage projects. The total cost of individual projects will be in the order of £100-150k. Awards will be made for up to 50% of the direct costs of the project only. Direct costs requested from the CiC are anticipated to be in the range of £50k-£75k per project. Funded projects will be required to demonstrate at least 50% matching from another source.

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. The Industry price should cover any associated overheads, however the match funding requirement applies to the direct costs only. Therefore any industry contribution will be the direct cost match plus the associated overheads. 

Projects are expected to be between 6 and 9 month in duration and have a start date before or on 1 February 2017. 

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.

Industry Collaboration

Any academic-industry collaboration supported through the Confidence in Concept scheme 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 in this.

How to apply

For this final round of the 2016-18 CiC there will be a one stage application process. Those wishing to apply should submit their full proposal (combined as a single PDF) to research@medsci.ox.ac.uk no later than midday on Monday 17 October 2016.

 

The full proposal should include:

  • the application form including a Head of Department signature
  • a two page summary of the research project for which MRC Confidence in Concept funding is being sought
  • a one page CV (including ten recent publications) for each applicant named in the application form
  • An X5 costing admin output for the project, this does not need to be submitted to Research Services

The two page summary should clearly describe the added value of an award, and include:

  • a lay summary of the proposed project
  • the objectives and proposed outcomes and how they would provide a basis for seeking more competitive funding
  • the timeline for the deliverables

 Timeline

  • 9 August 2016 – Call published
  • 17 October 2016  Application deadline
  • 30 November 2016 – Final outcome

Contact

Liam Murphy 

Confidence in Concept Committee

Membership

Chair: Professor Matthew Wood

Secretary: Liam Murphy

Members: 
Professor Alastair Buchan
Professor Donal Bradley
Dr Maxine Allen
Professor Chas Bountra
Dr Nicholas Edwards
Professor Antony Galione
Dr Trevor Howe
Professor Alex Markham
Dr Andrew McLean
Dr Adam Stoten