Research and Innovation ideas to address COVID-19

The Medical Research Council (MRC) is funding new research projects as part of the UK Research and Innovation response to the current COVID-19 pandemic through the DHSC/UKRI COVID-19 Rapid Response Initiative.

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MRC expects all applications which will deliver public health impact within the next 12 months to be submitted to the joint DHSC/UKRI COVID-19 Rapid Response Initiative NIHR single portal site.

Requests to switch existing MRC award funding to address COVID-19 research priorities

UKRI has put in place the following process to allow researchers to repurpose existing UKRI standard grant to address COVID-19 research priorities. To be eligible, the research to be undertaken must address one of the following:

  • new research or innovation with a clear impact pathway that has the potential (within the period of the grant) to deliver a significant contribution to the understanding of, and response to, the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts.
  • supports the manufacture and/or wide scale adoption of an intervention with significant potential
  • gathers critical data and resources quickly for future research use

Please note that no subsequent extension to the grant or additional costs will be allowed to meet the original objectives where these were altered to permit new COVID-19 research. Further information is available on the UKRI website here.

Time-sensitive resource and data collection

For those unable to repurpose their existing funding, and research aims will not deliver public health benefits within twelve months, MRC will consider applications through the UKRI rolling call to collect and store time-sensitive resource/data for future research use of benefit and relevance to combating COVID-19 in the UK context.

Applications should build on existing relationships with relevant data/resource holders. Proposals must be timely, with rapid activation, to enable early and valuable access time-dependent resources. Interdisciplinary proposals are welcomed, where appropriate.

MRC will not support any research costs or new posts associated with these activities.

Consideration should be given to the scale of the activity, relevance and potential linkage to other related UK and global activity, and potential to provide unique information of relevance to combating COVID-19 disease.

Data produced as a result of this funding would need to be shared in line with the Joint statement on sharing research data and findings relevant to the novel coronavirus (nCoV) outbreak.

Researchers must distinguish their downstream research activities already supported through COVID-19 rapid response funding.

For general enquiries related to MRC-specific applications please email

Underpinning Research and Aetiology of Disease

Applications that will not deliver public health impact within the next 12 months but fall within MRC remit are expected to come through existing Board and Panel mechanisms.

Please visit the MRC website for more information on how we fund research, our science areas, types of research awards and fellowships, application deadlines, and guidance for applicants.

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