Reporter 404, 16 June 1997
The Medical Research Council has announced new ways of funding research in universities. New types of grants are replacing some of the existing grant schemes and changes are being made to some of the schemes which remain. The changes are designed to help the Council improve its ability to fund and nurture research of the highest quality and increase productivity and collaboration.
Details of the changes are given in a booklet available free on request from the MRC and on the World Wide Web at http://www.mrc.ac.uk.
Some of the key changes are:
- The introduction of five new types of response mode grant:
- Centre grants - to support multidisciplinary research groups in partnership with universities and with full-time scientific leadership and management.
- Co-operative group grants - to bring together a critical mass of researchers (normally in a single university) in ways which add value to individual research projects and improve productivity.
- Development grants - to help universities get to the point where they can make competitive applications for Co-operative Group Grants.
- Career establishment grants - long-term support for scientists newly appointed to university academic posts. Designed to help them establish themselves as independent research workers capable of winning support in open competition.
- Innovation grants - to provide short-term funding for high-risk, speculative or innovative research. Awarded on the basis of the quality of prior MRC-funded research.
- The current six Grants Committees will be replaced by a new MRC Advisory Board with a larger overall membership.
- Phasing out of the current standalone project grant system by 1998/99.
Other forms of support for research (namely programme grants, units and institutes, support for clinical trials and training and career development awards) remain, with some minor changes which reflect the introduction of the new grant schemes. "These changes will significantly improve the MRC's ability to meet its objective of funding the highest quality research to improve human health," said Professor George Radda,Chief Executive of the MRC. "They will help foster new partnerships with universities, increase collaboration and multidisciplinary working and help research at the interface between clinical and basic biological science. The new grants will also encourage innovation and risk-taking, help new investigators become established and offer increased flexibility. We believe that all of these are vital for the future of biomedical research in the UK."
For further information see the MRC World Wide Web pages at http://www.mrc.ac.uk
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