MRC Funding to Develop and Evaluate Innovative Methods to Study Adolescent Health

Closing Date: 27/10/2022

Funding from the Medical Research Council to develop and evaluate innovative tools and methods for health and wellbeing research in older children and adolescents between eight and 18 years old in support of the new MRC Adolescent Health Study (AHS).

The Medical Research Council (MRC) has launched this opportunity to support research projects of 18-24 months that will develop and evaluate tools and methods specifically for working with older children and adolescents in longitudinal population studies. Proposals could identify innovative new approaches or aim to improve, adapt or validate existing research methods or tools.

The tools and methods developed through this opportunity will need to be delivered for testing during the pilot phase of the MRC Adolescent Health Study (AHS), a new, planned large-scale MRC longitudinal population study to accelerate research to understand health trajectories and outcomes in adolescents. The aim is to develop and evaluate tools and methods that will help to enhance AHS and will give it the best possible chance of success.

Applications are welcomed for methods and tools relevant for use in the age range of eight to 18 years, as well as those that will develop and evaluate tools and methods for use in specific, narrower age ranges within the eight to 18 year range. The outputs should aid and enhance engagement, recruitment, retention and assessment.

Projects can have general health relevance or can be tailored to specific health research areas and may span relevant interests of more than one UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) research council.

Projects focusing on tools and methods for the assessment of health and wellbeing could collect information on any of the following factors, all of which will be relevant to AHS:

  • Biological
  • Behavioural
  • Family and social relationships
  • Socio-economic
  • Psychological
  • Medical
  • Environmental

Proposals are welcomed across the full remit of the opportunity to understand trajectories of human health and wellbeing. However, research is particularly encouraged that addresses needs in the following areas, which have been identified as strategic gaps through recent AHS virtual programme community workshops:

  • The use of digital platforms and other tools for engagement and networking, both between study participants or with schools, parents or guardians and other key stakeholders.
  • Novel and innovative approaches and digital technologies for data collection, for example, through gamification.
  • Approaches for incentivising participants and schools which could, for example, include the sharing of anonymised data for analysis.
  • Innovative tools and methods for ensuring the reliability, validation and standardisation of sample and data collection, particularly where it is performed at home in all or a subset of participants.
  • Novel and innovative tools and methods for passive data collection that are ethical and acceptable.
  • Novel ways of collecting consent and reconsent across the age range from participants and parents or guardians.
  • Tools and methods to simplify data and sample collection and to reduce the burden on participants and researchers.
  • Innovative biomarkers that are valid in the age range of the study.
  • Tools and methods that are acceptable and informative within groups currently underrepresented in research.
  • Adaptation and validation of existing tools and methods so that they are acceptable and appropriate for young people aged eight to 18.

Projects should involve adolescents and other stakeholders as relevant, including schools and parents or guardians, noting that AHS will be a schools-based study. Applications should demonstrate how co-production will be embedded into the design and delivery of the project.

Outputs should be:

  • Feasible and acceptable for use within the age range of AHS and across diverse population sub-groups, including those with additional needs.
  • Adaptable and able to evolve throughout the lifetime of AHS, to remain relevant and informative in the future.
Funding body Medical Research Council (MRC)
Maximum value £150,000
Reference ID S24205
Category Medical Research
Fund or call Fund