How we decide what research to support

White coats hanging on pegs

We develop research funding strategies with expert advice from the Medical Research Council’s international and national medical research experts.



These experts advise us on national and international research priorities and opportunities and, on the basis of this advice, the Medical Research Foundation’s Board of trustees decide on behalf of our donors and the beneficiaries of our research (the public) what research to support.

By using the MRC’s expertise, the trustees ensure that the Medical Research Foundation’s funding strategy reflects the current health and research needs.

Having established priorities for research, we may (depending on the nature of the fund and whether donors have set any restrictions on how and where funds can be spent):

  • Seek applications directly from researchers to conduct research in particular fields;
  • Work in partnership with other funders to jointly support new research proposals and initiatives.

We use leading scientific experts identified by the MRC to assess the quality of research proposals.  By peer reviewing applications for support, we can provide you with assurances that the research that we support is of the highest standard, will produce research results that are valid and will add to the knowledge base, and are most likely to benefit human health.

We act independently of the MRC in policy and decision-making, while using the expert opinion of the MRC and the wider scientific community, to inform our policies and decisions.

We take the final decision on which applications to support taking into account the donors’ wishes, the quality of the research proposed, and the importance of the research area in terms of human health.

We award grants to established research organisations such as universities, hospitals, general practices and other research institutes at which a successful applicant is employed. All awards are subject to Medical Research Foundation grant terms and conditions which are based on established UK Research Council terms and conditions and reflect agreed principles of good research practice.

We expect the results of the research that we fund to be disseminated widely through high quality scientific journals with a view to ensuring that the findings that it has supported inform further research, health care practice or health interventions.