Advanced Pain Discovery Platform

Pain Research

Research Grant Funding Opportunity in Pain Research

Last updated



We are funding new research aimed at increasing knowledge of the underlying mechanisms of pain and pain treatments, in order to improve daily life for people living with pain conditions, and their families.

We are inviting research grant applications as part of the Advanced Pain Discovery Platform. Proposals may seek to explore mechanisms of pain in various disciplines, including psychological, biological, cognitive and social aspects.

Through the Foundation's involvement in this funding call, applications are particularly encouraged from researchers working on pain in children and adolescents, and musculoskeletal pain in this age group.

Researchers are encouraged to work together across disciplines to facilitate novel research into the underlying mechanisms of pain. Each proposal may focus on a specific pain condition, or a specific aspect of pain, however it can also span other conditions.

The call will support pre-clinical as well as clinical research projects, with a focus on understanding the mechanisms of pain and a clear pathway to impact for people with lived experience of pain.

Applications seeking to increase our understanding of the transition from acute to chronic pain, changes in the experience of pain, and/or the transition to remission are encouraged.

Proposals may involve a wide range of methodology across disciplines, and applications involving the use of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and other innovative data technologies are particularly welcome. The call will support a broad portfolio of research projects ranging from smaller, more focused grants to larger research grants.

People with lived experience of pain are at the heart of the Advanced Pain Discovery Platform. Research proposals will be expected to have been informed by the needs of users and stakeholders, including people with lived experience of pain and members of the public and proposed plans for meaningful involvement throughout the award.

Who can apply

This funding opportunity is open to applicants from eligible UK-based organisations in accordance with standard UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), Versus Arthritis and Medical Research Foundation practice.

Applications from early and mid-career researchers are encouraged.

Full eligibility and remit details are available on the MRC’s webpage. Please visit this page for information on remit, suitability, funding provided and deadlines, and to apply for the call.

Funding available

The call is funded in partnership with Versus Arthritis, the Medical Research Foundation and Eli Lilly.

Research grants are invited up to a maximum of £1,000,000 from a total fund of £10,500,000. Though partnership with the Medical Research Foundation, £3,500,000 is ring-fenced for funding of research into mechanisms of pain in children and adolescents. Of this, £2,000,000 is available for research focusing on musculoskeletal pain in this age group.

Funding is available for research projects over three years, with 67 per cent of the full economic costs covered.

Please see the MRC website for more details.


Researchers interested in submitting an application will need to submit a brief 'Intention to Submit' in advance of the deadline. Any full applications received will not be assessed if an ‘Intention to Submit’ has not been received

  • Deadline for intention to submit: 4pm on 15 July 2021
  • Deadline for submission: 4pm on 15 September 2021

How to apply

See the MRC’s website for details on how to apply for the scheme. Please contact for any queries about the scientific aspects of your proposal.


The 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: or via 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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