Pain Research

Pain Research

Fellowship Funding Opportunity in Pain Research

Last updated



The application process is now closed, and we will not be accepting any further submissions for this funding call.


Estimates of the impact of pain in the UK suggest that more than a third of the population have been affected by chronic pain, with over 5 per cent reporting severe chronic pain (pain which causes severe disability and distress). However, historic under-investment in pain research has led to a knowledge gap in understanding, as well as a lack of available treatment options. Fellowship applications within the broad field of pain research are welcomed from mid-career researchers who are seeking to make a transition to research independence.

Which research areas does this funding cover?

Research areas could include, but are not limited to:

• understanding of the biological mechanisms involved in pain or the perception of pain

• the development and implementation of treatment for pain

• understanding and reducing the impact of pain on health and well-being in chronic and acute conditions

• collaborative and multidisciplinary research

Research on opioid analgesics and opioid-addiction is not within the scope of this competition.

How much funding is available?

The Medical Research Foundation is an independent charitable foundation. Formed by the Medical Research Council (MRC), we grow and nurture people and ideas wherever we see research opportunities with great potential. Our research projects, including this research on pain, are only able to take place as a result of the support of our generous donors.

The Medical Research Foundation will make up to £1,200,000 available in this competition. Applicants may apply for up to £300,000 to support their research, over a maximum of a 3-year period.

Who can apply?

This competition is open to all UK researchers at eligible institutions (UK HEIs, Research Council research institutes, hospitals, and other independent research organisations). Applicants must hold a PhD, DPhil or MD and be in the process of, or be ready for, transition to research independence. It is expected that applicants will be seeking, as principal investigator, their first peer-reviewed grant of three years or longer from a funding body (excluding personal fellowships).


  • Deadline for submission: 12:00 5 July 2021
  • Shortlisting notification: October 2021
  • Interview: November 2021
  • Funding decision: November 2021

DOCUMENT: Guidelines for Applicants

DOCUMENT: Résumé for Researchers

Expert Panel

The Panel is chaired by one of our trustees, Professor Moira Whyte from University of Edinburgh.

  • Professor Lesley Colvin, University of Dundee
  • Professor Christopher Eccleston, University of Bath
  • Dr Emma Godfrey, King's College London
  • Professor Anthony Jones, University of Manchester
  • Professor Bridget Lumb, University of Bristol
  • Professor Candida McCabe, University of West of England
  • Professor Steve McMahon, King's College London
  • Professor Rebecca Slater, University of Oxford
  • Professor Irene Tracey, University of Oxford
  • Professor Kevin Vowles, Queen’s University in Belfast


The Medical Research Foundation is committed to making this application accessible to all by offering assistance where needed. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with the Research Team if you have any questions or concerns about the application or interview processes: Tel: 0207 395 2416

Terms and Conditions of Award

Awards funded through this competition will follow standard Medical Research Foundation terms and conditions. The terms and conditions spell out the responsibilities of the Principal Investigator and the Lead Research Organisation. The Principal Investigator and the Lead Research Organisation are required to indicate their formal acceptance of the proposal, their acceptance of the terms and conditions of an award, and the approval of the salaries and resources sought in the application.

The Medical Research Foundation may add additional conditions to a grant award to reflect the particular circumstances and requirements of the funding, or the nature of a particular award. Acceptance of an award constitutes acceptance of both the core conditions and any additional conditions. The Medical Research Foundation reserves the right to vary these terms and conditions.

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