MRC Launches GCRF Call on Nutrition and Non-Communicable Diseases in LMICs

The Medical Research Council (MRC) has launched a call as part of its range of activities under the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF). The purpose of the call is to fund research proposals seeking to link mechanistic understanding of disease to populations in a context-specific manner – that is, a focus on problems and health challenges that are specific to LMIC countries or regions within, LMIC populations or segments of the population.

The specific remit is to unpick the mechanistic links between nutrition/diet and non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Unhealthy diets are amongst the major modifiable risk factors for NCDs. Research programmes should aim to generate robust mechanistic evidence (for example molecular, cellular, physiological) for the role of nutrition and diet in the susceptibility, prevalence, and clinical manifestations of NCDs – and the variable role of these mechanisms alongside other risk factors, and across populations, environments and other contexts.

Subject areas may include, but are not limited to:

Variable responses to nutrition and diet-related risk factors – influenced by genetics, development, environment, infection and other contextual factors.

Understanding disease heterogeneity with respect to nutrition-related risk factors, disease phenotypes and clinical manifestations and their interactions with genetic and epigenetic factors.

Micronutrient deficiencies.

Double burden of malnutrition, for example as a consequence of epidemiological transitions and changes in dietary patterns.

Influence of early life nutrition and diet/genetic bases of NCD susceptibility through the lifecourse.

The funding call will be phased in two stages: an obligatory development stage and a full application stage. Successful applicants at the development stage will be awarded funds of up to £50,000 for up to ten months to develop full applications for new programmes of research with a duration of three to five years. Only proposals successful at the development stage will be eligible for the full application stage.

The lead applicant must be based at a UK higher education institution, MRC units and institutes, or at an eligible independent research institution and all funding is to be managed through that organisation. Researchers based in institutions in LMICs are eligible to apply as co-investigators (co-Is) or collaborators and not as the lead applicant. LMIC co-Is may be based at higher education institutions, non-profit research institutions or non-governmental organisations. Proposals should take into account how capacity building for junior UK and developing country staff will lead to developing future scientific leadership, particularly within LMICs.

Funding can be used to support networking meetings and other events to develop full proposals, strengthen or establish new partnerships (including travel and accommodation expenses). It can also cover the salaries of staff to coordinate activities, conduct literature reviews, data analysis or other research landscaping activities.

Applications for the development stage should be submitted via the Joint electronic-submission (Je-S) service by the 4 April 2019 deadline.

More information about this research funding opportunity and the application process is available on the RESEARCHconnect funding information platform. RESEARCHconnect provides up-to-the minute content, insight and analysis on research funding news and policy. To find out more about how RESEARCHconnect can keep you in the know, and subscription fees, contact us today.