Funding FAQs

Here, you can find the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about our schemes and programmes but if you can’t find the answer here, do please contact us.

Some of the innovative special initiatives in which we’ve been privileged to participate have taught us a lot about the wider support needed from funders to go alongside the money and about the networks, convening power and access to capabilities our position gives us.

We wish to maintain our dual role in providing funding for both academic and clinical research, and high-quality, system-changing community-based initiatives, within the scope of our charitable objectives. We are only a small team though (we try to keep our overheads low so that we can distribute as much of our available funding as possible) and this means we need to be practical about how much of this additional support we are realistically able to provide.

We have therefore decided to focus our resources on just two or three community-based programmes in each plan period.  These will have the potential for demonstrating good practice and contributing to achieving evidence-informed systemic change.

We’ll be announcing the programmes as they come on stream – our most recent being the opportunity for locality-based organisations to become demonstrator sites for our TAPPI programme in partnership with the TEC Services Association and the Housing LIN). 

We will also be providing opportunities for community organisations to apply in partnership with universities to some of our themed research programmes (see our suitable living environments programme which made awards in 2021/22).

Please subscribe to receive news and updates by entering your details in the “Join us” section at the bottom of this page, or check the Apply for Funding section for open calls.

Where can I find funding for my community project now ?

You may wish to take a look at GrantNav from 360 Giving, which collects data from over 100 charitable funders, as a starting place to research potential alternative supporters for your community project.

The Trust’s charitable objectives are in the broad area of understanding the mechanisms of ageing and improving health and social care for older people.  For each plan period, however, we will publish a more focused set of priorities and related call documents which will provide more detail.  Please check the Apply for Funding section for open calls.

We don’t fund:

  • Sponsorship of individuals
  • Organisations based outside the UK, or whose work primarily benefits people outside the UK
  • Research via a third party (such as a fundraising charity supporting research for which the funds have not yet been raised/committed)
  • Proposals relating to the research or treatment of cancer.

We always aim to be clear in our call documentation the topics we are seeking to address, so please always first check we are open to applications and secondly, read the call description and associated documents carefully.

Success rates vary by year and programme. We publish our success rates for a particular programme when we announce the successful awards. You can see these by visiting our “News” page and filtering for our “Awards announcements”.

For the research funding programmes awarded during Financial Year 2022/23, the outcomes were as follows:

The following is general advice only.  You should check the call documentation for the scheme for which you are applying carefully as it will set out eligible costs.

Where the application process is in two stages, please note that we typically only allow costs to increase by up to 10% from the first stage to the full application stage.

Our guidelines reflect the Association of Medical Research Charities’ (AMRC) position statement on supporting research in universities. UK Universities receive funding through the Charities element of the Quality-Related (“QR”) Funding distributed by the Higher Education Funding Council (or equivalent body in the devolved nations) as a contribution towards the full economic costs of their grant-funded research. Therefore, you should not include costs which UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) generally refers to as Indirect or Directly Allocated costs, except in specific cases (more detailed guidance is given below). A grant awarded by the Dunhill Medical Trust will qualify for support in this way.

Proposals for funding should detail carefully all of the relevant directly incurred costs, with reference to the following guidance.

Eligible staff costs 

  • We will meet directly incurred salary costs, such as salaries of research assistants, whose time can be supported by a full audit trail. The level of salary requested should be fully justified in the case for support. Salary costs should include any increments to which an individual is entitled.
  • We may provide a portion of the directly allocated salary costs of Principal Investigators (lead applicants) and/or Co-Investigators (co-applicants) in some cases (please check the full call documentation for details).
  • We will not contribute towards the Apprenticeship levy.
  • Clinical Trials Unit (CTU) Staff: we may provide a reasonable contribution towards CTU staff participating in the research, providing appropriate justification is given. Please see the section below for more details.

It is expected that Research Assistants and other staff directly employed on a study:

  • Will normally be employees of the organisation hosting the study (i.e. the organisation employing the Principal Investigator/lead applicant).
  • May be employed by other eligible organisations, where their involvement is necessary to fulfil a well-defined purpose, such as provision of specialist analytical services.
  • Exceptionally, these staff may work for other organisations, or as independent specialists, where their involvement is necessary to fulfil a well-defined purpose (such as specialist consultancy advice).

Eligible non-staff costs

  • We will meet approved directly incurred non-staff costs in full (i.e. costs directly attributable to the study), including:
    • travel and subsistence costs
    • small pieces of equipment (please check the full call documentation for details)
    • materials and consumables
  • We will meet justified payments for patient, carer and/or public involvement (PPI) in line with payment guidance for researchers and professionals from the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR)
  • We may meet some directly allocated costs with appropriate justification (e.g. the costs of using research facilities such as imaging scanners, infrastructure technician costs etc.)
  • We will not meet overhead costs (typically those identified by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) as Directly Allocated Costs, Indirect Costs and Estates Costs) for research institutions. However, where research grants include community-based organisations as co-applicants, costs for the community organisation’s contribution to the study will normally be met at their full economic cost. Please check the full call documentation for details.

Guidance on specific non-staff cost items:

  • Travel and subsistence costs for Principal Investigators (lead applicants), Co-Investigators (co-applicants) and staff assigned to the study, where these are required by the nature of the work. These will normally be met and should be based on the most suitable and economical form of travel.
  • Conference costs: The costs of attendance at conferences as speakers or to present a poster by members of the study team to disseminate the findings from the grant maybe applied for, subject to suitable justification. The costs for attending an academic conference as a delegate typically will not be met.
  • Requests for study-specific items of equipment costing up to £10k may be met but should be fully justified. For requests between £10k and £100k, we will expect a detailed case to be provided and at least a 50% contribution towards the total cost of the equipment from the host institution and/or other funders. Suppliers’ quotations will also be required.
  • We would normally expect the host institution to provide access to major equipment, but where specific circumstances require substantial usage and a contribution to the use or purchase of major equipment is requested, a detailed case should be provided, with the University contributing at least 50% of the costs.
  • The cost of materials and consumables required to carry out the proposed research will be met but should be justified. Estimated figures for consumables/materials are not acceptable and must be itemised.
  • Non-UK costs (e.g. for specialist tests or assays) may be met, on condition that full justification is provided. It will however be the responsibility of the host institution to reimburse the non-UK institution for carrying out such tests.
  • Computers and other IT equipment dedicated to the study may be met, on condition that full justification is provided.
  • Data storage, archiving and management costs may be met, on condition that they are reasonable and proportionate in the context of the study.
  • Recruitment costs: we will pay a maximum of £500 towards recruitment costs for staff being supported by the grant.
  • Publication and open data costs: these may be included in applications but should be fully justified and comply with the Trust’s open access policy.

Can I request a contribution towards NHS resources?

Applications that include NHS resources will need to adhere to the Department of Health and Social Care AcoRD guidance. As an AMRC member charity, the Trust would expect any research costs identified as ‘Part B’ (e.g. recruitment of participants or data collection) that are carried out by existing staff employed by the NHS, National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network (CRN), or other clinical organisation to be paid by the Department of Health and Social Care through local networks or the NHS Trust (see FAQs 6 and 7 of the AcoRD guidance linked above). Any Part B costs included in an application will be automatically struck out and applicants should therefore pay particular attention to attributing costs appropriately (consulting their local CRN prior to submitting an application where necessary).

Excess Treatment Costs

If your application includes ETCs, you will be required to complete an online ‘Schedule of Events Cost Attribution Template (SoECAT)’ for clinical research. This can be completed via the NIHR Central Portfolio Management System (CPMS). In order to create a SoECAT, you will need to create an account in the CPMS. After creating the account, you will need to login to CPMS to activate this account. If any assistance is required in creating the account, please refer to this user guide.

The SoECAT forms part of the Integrated Research Approval System (IRAS) application process and it will not be possible for you to apply for ethical approval for a study that includes ETCs if it has not been completed. Additional guidance for the completion of the SoECAT is available on the Online SoECAT Guidance page. There is also an Online SoECAT Guidance Module which includes video tutorials and linked resources (an NIHR Learn account is required to access and enrol onto the module) and a helpful Study Representative – Online SoECAT Top Tips infographic.

If your study includes ETCs and you have been invited to submit a full application, you will need to complete a SoECAT and submit it to the AcoRD Specialist for your region. Once the specialist has authorised your costs, the authorised version must be uploaded to your full application using the file upload function.

Although the SoECAT is only applicable to full applications, applicants submitting an outline application to us which includes ETCs are urged to look at the advice provided by NIHR and to contact their region’s AcoRD Specialist to determine the likely turnaround time for their SoECAT, so that they are aware of the timescales involved if invited to submit a full application.

If you are concerned that your SoECAT will not be authorised in time for the submission deadline of the scheme you are applying to, you are strongly advised to contact us immediately.

Although use of the SoECAT in research funding applications, as well as inclusion in both the IRAS application and the UK Local Information Pack, are common to all four UK nations, there are a number of nation specific differences relevant to SoECAT and these are set out here.

Broadly, applications will be reviewed against our Research Funding Strategy to assess whether they meet the our eligibility criteria and strategic priorities. Specific details on the assessment process will also be provided in the guidelines for the funding call you are applying to.

In two-stage processes, the initial outline or expression of interest will be eligibility checked, scored and ranked by the Trust’s experienced grants team against a set of criteria published in the call documentation. All applications invited to a second stage will be subject to external peer review, then scored (again against a set of criteria published in the call documentation) and ranked by the Research Grants Committee and/or Expert Panel members and all decisions reported to the Board of Trustees.

The Research Grants Committee has delegated authority from the Board to make funding decisions within the agreed funding envelope. On occasion, a decision may be referred back to the Board if it is felt that the study risks compromising the reputation of the Trust.

You should note that we receive many more applications than we can possibly fund and even if an application meets all of the criteria above, it may still fall below the cut-off for funding.

We consult a very wide range of reviewers, both from within the UK and internationally, to help assess the grant applications we receive. Reviewers are identified by a number of methods, including suggestions made by academic members of the Research Grants Committee or by the wide range of academics and researchers known to the Trust. In most cases, however, literature searches are carried out using a number of online publication databases including Europe PubMed Central (Europe PMC), MedLine/PubMed (the US National Library of Medicine’s bibliographic database), Google Scholar and Dimensions from Digital Science to ensure that the most appropriate expert opinion is being sought. For some funding calls, applicants are also permitted to nominate peer reviewers themselves (although the Trust may not necessarily follow up on the suggestions offered).

As each funding call made under our strategic framework will be unique, there is no ‘standard’ application form. You will need to register for an account on our Grants Management Portal and then select the scheme for which you are applying. The online application form will only appear within the Portal when the scheme is open to applications so do check current deadlines for opening and closing dates. We will make downloadable copies of application forms available to help you plan your application – but do please note that we will only accept submissions via the Grants Management Portal during the published submission periods.

Our Research Grants Committee members have put together their “top ten” tips on writing a good application…

  • Your application will be looked at by several people: peer reviewers, other specialists, as well as non-specialists. Craft it so it can be understood by all these readers – the detail must be accurate, but make the main messages stand out for the non-specialist glancing through the application.
  • Remember you know much more about your planned research than the reviewer. Don’t leave things in your head that need to be explained in the application – asking a critical friend to review the final draft can be useful.
  • Be explicit about who will benefit, how, and why. Explain why the research is needed what impact will it have. The impact section is very important. Even if work is more “early stage”, there should be a clear pathway for what this work might lead to that ultimately improves the health and well-being of older people.
  • Always provide an analytical plan (e.g., but not exclusively, a power calculation), based on solid evidence from the literature and/or feasibility data.
  • Be realistic about what you can achieve with your resources, both in terms of the funding you request and the tasks you hope to achieve. Make sure that what you plan to do is feasible. In developing your application, focus on work that answers your core questions/objectives, which should be clearly specified and achievable in the time/resources available. Applications can fall down by having too broad a scope leading to concerns about feasibility.
  • Be clear about how your proposed study fits with what is already known and how it will be a useful addition. Why does this particular study need to be done by this particular team at this particular time? Make clear what the gap in the literature is and how you intend to fill it (watch Dragons’ Den for examples…)
  • For research that involves human participants (including samples extracted from human participants in the course of the study, or data originally collected from older people) make sure you have clear plans for public involvement, ideally that should include the development of your protocol e.g. reviewing your plain language summary.
  • Write clearly and make sure your message comes across credibly. Tell a convincing story. Take a look at our strategic priorities and write in language that we will understand. The Academy of Medical Sciences have provided their top tips for writing a lay summary.
  • It’s not a time to be shy – shine!  We want to be sure that you can deliver.
  • And last but not least, allow yourself plenty of time, everything takes longer than you think. Remember that you’ll need input from your finance colleagues and from your Head of Department or Dean. They will all need to create accounts on the Grants Management Portal and “sign off” on your full application before you can submit. Check the deadlines and work back from there.

The guidelines for the funding scheme to which you are applying will outline the feedback you will receive at each stage of the application process. Individual or general feedback is normally provided to applicants in order to help improve their proposal for resubmission elsewhere. When providing general feedback on the news section of our website, this will highlight the common themes that distinguished stronger applications, as well noting areas that could have been improved upon by all applicants. You can see examples of the general feedback we have published for some of our previous schemes in the “Feedback for applicants” section of our news page.

No. Evidence of Health Research Authority (HRA) approval or a Home Office Licence will need to be provided prior to you starting your study and any grant offer will be conditional upon proof of ethical approval, research sponsorship arrangements etc. It is not expected that these will be in place during the application process, though.

You can see examples of our funded projects in the “Our work in action” section of our website (although please bear in mind that some of these examples are for grants awarded under the old schemes). We also publish a full list of grants awarded each year in our Annual Report & Accounts, and you can search our funded grants and the publications arising from them in Europe PMC.

Yes, we are an endorsed funder approved by UKRI for the Global Talent visa programme. For more information about applying to work in the UK as a researcher or academic leader under the Global Talent visa programme, please visit the UK government website.

We will only support the use of protected animals in research where no viable alternative exists and applicants are required to comply with guidance published by the National Centre for the Refinement, Replacement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs). Where an applicant intends to use animals in the proposed research, they will be required to complete a detailed section of the application form if invited to full application.

We generally make multiple calls each year, which may cover a range of funding mechanisms. We also periodically collaborate with other organisations to make funding available. Please check the “Apply for funding” section of our website for details of open calls and deadlines.

We use an online application system (Grants Management Portal) and you will need to register for an account in order to apply for funding. We are also an ORCID member organisation. In common with a number of other major funders, we now require all lead applicants (Principal Investigators) for research grants to provide an ORCID iD when completing an application form in our Grants Management Portal. Applicants who don’t have an ORCID iD should register for one and complete the education, employment, funding and publications (“works”) sections of their ORCID profile. This will auto-populate the relevant sections of our application form.

Online application forms will only appear within the Grants Management Portal when the scheme is open to applications, so do check current deadlines for opening and closing dates.

We will only accept submissions via the Grants Management Portal during the published submission periods.

We have provided a “how to” guide for navigating and using the Grants Management Portal.

If you need any further help, please email [email protected] and a member of our Grants Team will be able to assist you.

We require all lead applicants (Principal Investigators) for research grants to provide an ORCID iD when completing an application form in our Grants Management Portal. Applicants who don’t have an ORCID iD can register for one.

Through ORCID, researchers can allow funders, publishers and research organisations to access the information in their ORCID profile during grant and manuscript submission. In the future, we’ll be able to automatically capture research-related information linked to individuals, to simplify and speed up grant application and reporting processes.

Unfortunately not. Our Research Funding Strategy identifies the Trust’s priority areas for support and the call guidelines will set out available funding mechanisms, to enable you to decide which of your projects best fits these.

Principal Investigators (also known as PIs and lead applicants) should be:

  • Academics; or
  • Clinicians; or
  • Allied health professionals (normally at post-doctoral level or with equivalent research experience), or
  • Other appropriately qualified professionals with a strong involvement in the health of older people (normally at senior scientist level, or equivalent) who are employees of an eligible research organisation.

Lead applicants for whom this is a first grant as Principal Investigator will not be precluded; indeed, the Trust wishes to encourage the development of research capacity by providing opportunities for career development.  We would, however, expect to see a more experienced researcher(s) as a Co-Investigator/Co-applicant with a clear plan for mentoring and support.

Co-Investigators (also known as Co-Is and co-applicants) are expected to make a substantial and defined contribution to the research. You will be required to state the contribution of the co-applicants to the study in the application form. Depending on the scheme to which you wish to apply, co-applicants might come from both within and beyond academia and could include lay representatives – please see the relevant call documentation for details.

Staff to be employed on the grant may be named as co-applicants, if they have made a significant contribution to the proposal and they will be employed for a significant proportion of their time on the project (normally at least 50%).

Lay co-applicants should have appropriate and directly relevant expertise and should be spending a substantive amount of time on the project and not merely fulfilling an advisory role.

We will publish the timetable with each detailed call for proposals.

If you intend to carry out the research in a Clinical Trials Unit (CTU), you will need to set out all of the CTU costs being applied for (both staff and non-staff), with detailed justification for each cost. Any ineligible costs will be automatically struck out and applicants should ensure that any Part B AcoRD costs are not included (see the answer to the question “What costs will you cover?” above for more information regarding this and eligible costs).

No. All successful research applicants need to provide evidence of the acceptance of the proposed sponsor to undertake this responsibility before a research grant can be confirmed, or state that the research does not fall within NHS research governance requirements.

The Dunhill Medical Trust is a National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) non-commercial partner. This means the studies we fund are automatically eligible for NIHR support. That’s great news for our researchers, because this support is free and it can help to improve the delivery of your study in the NHS.

For more information, visit the NIHR website.

Yes, as a member of a consortium of biomedical and health research funders, we contribute to the funding of Europe PubMed Central (Europe PMC). You can view our Open Access Policy here.

In line with our Open Access Policy, the Trust will normally provide a contribution towards the valid costs of open access fees.

When publishing papers arising from our funded grants, grant holders must also ensure that the Trust is correctly acknowledged.

As described in our Terms and Conditions for Research Grants, in certain circumstances, we may make a grant offer to support research conditional upon securing an Intellectual Property Agreement (sample at this link) for the sharing of any commercial revenues that may arise as a result of the work we have funded.

Researchfish is an online platform developed specifically for collecting research outputs, outcomes and impact.

We, in common with many research organisations and funders, use Researchfish to capture the outcomes and impacts of the research we fund. The data we collect through Researchfish will allow us to understand and communicate the difference that our funded research is making to the understanding of age-related diseases and frailty and the health and well-being of older people.

We will provide you with details of how often and when we need our award-holders to make submissions as part of the award terms and conditions.

No. The Trust does not receive or seek funds from any external body and promotes the highest ethical practices in scientific and medical research, and fully complies with the Joint Protocol of Cancer Research and Universities UK on Tobacco Industry Funding to Universities (2004). Please read about our history.