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Cambridge Academy of Therapeutic Sciences


A number of the key translational research funding opportunities in the UK are listed here. For additional opportunities, you may also want to search the Research Professional website.

Get in touch for more information or for support in applying for funding opportunities. 

MRC Biomedical Catalyst: Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme (DPFS)

This scheme supports academic-led projects where the goals are to improve prevention, diagnosis, prognosis, or treatment of significant health needs, or that focus on developing research tools that increase the efficiency of developing interventions. 

The following activities are eligible for support:

  • Developing candidate therapeutic entities (e.g. drug discovery)
  • Pre-clinical testing of novel therapeutic entities
  • Early-phase clinical studies of novel therapeutic entities (phases 1 and 2)
  • “Repurposing” clinical studies – using existing therapies for new indications
  • Developing and testing novel devices
  • Developing and testing diagnostics (including biomarker validation)

Individual projects can start and finish at any point along the translational pathway but would not typically progress from initial development through to phase 2 clinical testing in a single application. Where there is a justified need for continued MRC support, sequential applications are encouraged.

Applications including partnerships with charities or industry are encouraged where these add value to the project but industrial collaboration is not a prerequisite for application. 

DPFS is an ongoing scheme, with deadlines every 4 months. Full submissions are by invitation only after outline submissions have been assessed. 

Visit the MRC website for more details and to access the call documents. 

MRC/NIHR Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation (EME) Programme

This programme funds ambitious studies evaluating interventions that have the potential to make a step-change in the promotion of health, treatment of disease and improvement of rehabilitation or long-term care. Within these studies, EME supports research to improve the understanding of the mechanisms of both diseases and treatments.

The EME Programme primarily supports clinical trials, and other robustly designed studies that test the efficacy of interventions. The interventions should have the potential to improve patient care or benefit the public.  The programme will only support studies where there is sufficient evidence that the intervention might work in man, i.e. that there is ‘proof of concept’. 

Innovative study designs involving stratification, the use of routinely collected digital data or novel methodologies are strongly encouraged.

The application process is usually two-stage and outline applications are accepted throughout the year.

Visit the NIHR website for more details and to access the call documents. 

Wellcome Trust Innovator Award

These awards support researchers who are transforming great ideas into healthcare innovations that could have a significant impact on human health.

An Innovator Award provides up to £500,000 of funding and usually lasts up to 24 months. For multidisciplinary collaborations, awards are up to £750,000 and have a duration of up to 36 months.

You can work in any scientific discipline, including a discipline outside life sciences and example technologies include:

  • therapeutics (small molecules or biologics)
  • vaccines
  • devices
  • diagnostics
  • digital technologies
  • regenerative medicine

The work that you propose must be essential for developing your healthcare innovation.

The Wellcome Trust particularly encourage proposals from multidisciplinary collaborations within or between organisations. These collaborations do not need to include life sciences researchers.They also encourage partnerships between not-for-profit and commercial organisations. They expect most commercial organisations that partner not-for-profit organisations to provide in-kind contributions in addition to Wellcome’s funding. 

You can apply online at any time and shortlisting meetings happen every three months.

Visit the Wellcome Trust website for more details.

British Heart Foundation Translational Award

The next deadline for the preliminary application for the British Heart Foundation Translational Award is the 8th March 2021. The Translational Award supports projects in cardiovascular science from the development of proof of concept stage to being ready for commercial market. Applicants can request up to £750,000 for 3 years.

Projects in the field of stroke, vascular dementia and cardiovascular aspects of diabetes will also be considered. For more information and the application form please visit the BHF website. For an informal discussion please email or

Visit the BHF Website for more details.