Joint funding with the MRC - how does it work?

Joint funding with the Medical Research Council: FAQs

What does it mean to apply for Joint Funding on my Fellowship application?

Applying for Joint Funding means that, if your application is successfully funded, your proposed joint funder might pay for a portion of your award - typically around 50% of the cost.

How does the Joint Funding process work?

When you apply for a Fellowship with the MRC, you'll have the opportunity to indicate on your application whether you'd like to be considered for Joint Funding, and which Joint Funder you'd like to be considered by. The Funding Finder page for each Fellowship opportunity has a full list of the Joint Funders you could choose from, and the areas of funding they're interested in.

If you request consideration for Joint Funding, the MRC will let the Joint Funder know that someone has requested it. The Joint Funder might agree to consider Joint Funding, or decline, depending on their financial circumstances.

If the Joint Funder agrees to consider Joint Funding, and your application is then successfully awarded through our normal review process, we'll again ask them to confirm if they'll jointly fund your award or not.

What does Joint Funding mean for my chances of being funded? Does it make me more likely to be successful, or less?

Applying for Joint Funding makes no difference to your chances of receiving an award. All Fellowship applications go through the same two-stage expert review process, involving the peer review and shortlisting stage, and the interview stage. All applications are in open competition with each other and awarded on their individual merits and strengths.

Does applying for joint funding change how much money I'll be awarded? If a joint funder refuses to support my application, will I lose money?

No - you will never lose or gain money on your award by choosing a joint funder. The MRC will always ensure that you are awarded the funds you've requested (unless the Panel specifically choose to prune certain costs from the award). If the joint funder agrees to co-fund the award, then less money will come from the MRC. If they decline, then all of the money will come from the MRC. You will never be financially disadvantaged by requesting joint funding.

Will the Joint Funders be assessing my proposal as well?

No - your proposal will be assessed by the MRC's Training and Careers Panel in the normal way. In the case where a joint funder is interested in your work, and where we feel we need additional expertise on the Panel to properly assess your application, we may ask them to suggest appropriate experts. These experts won't be working on behalf of the Joint Funder, though - they'll be unbiased assessors of your proposal, just as our regular Panel members are. The Joint Funder won't influence the decisions of our Panels.

What do I get from Joint Funding?

Whilst Joint Funding won't increase the amount of money you're given as part of your award, it does provide other benefits. Many people value the prestige associated with holding an award that is jointly funded between the MRC and a charity or learned society. Joint Funders often have networks of other experts in your field that they’ll help you connect with, which can help boost your career through new collaborations and contacts. They may also have groups of patients and the public who might be directly affected by your research. Working with their networks can really help you with the Public and Patient Involvement and Engagement (PPIE) elements of your work - both for work you're already doing, and for your future research proposals.

Will Joint Funding change the terms of my award?

Possibly, yes. Some Joint Funders will add in additional terms and conditions to your award. Usually these involve periodically sharing information about the progress and outcomes of your award with them. They often also include an agreement to engage positively with them so they can use you and your work for fundraising or communications purposes.