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The MRC Applied Global Health Research Board

In today’s blog, Nicholas Duvall, Research Development Officer shares insights from our recent event on the Medical Research Council’s new Applied Global Health Research Board, and highlights what research this new Board will fund and how you can apply.

Edinburgh Research Office delivered an event about the Medical Research Council’s (MRC) new Applied Global Health Research Board. The Applied Global Health Research Board has been established to deliver on commitments to global health research contained in the MRC Delivery Plan for 2019.

It is their ambition to:

  • Increase investment in global health research capacity building
  • Invest in a broader range of health topics, which reflect the changing burdens of disease globally
  • Form more multidisciplinary and cross-sector collaborations and links.

The Board’s remit

Presentations at the event covered the new Board’s remit. The Board will cover applied research which will be of primary benefit to the health of vulnerable populations in low- and middle-income countries. The MRC defines applied research as that which seeks ‘practical solutions to health challenges from late-stage intervention development onwards’. This can include implementation research, scaling-up activities, health economics, health services and policy research, and other applied research which does not fit with other MRC funding routes.

What research will it fund?

The board will fund research via three standard MRC mechanisms, Research Grants, Programme Grants and Partnership Grants. There will be two funding rounds each year; each round will have two stages, for outline and full applications.

The first outline stage closes on 7 April 2020.

Although proposals may be on any applied global health topic, there is a ring-fenced budget for maternal and neonatal health, and early childhood development, adolescent health and implementation science will also be prioritised at meetings.

An academic’s perspective

At the event we also heard from a current MRC award holder, Dr Jonine Figueroa, about her project, ‘Improving earlier diagnosis and precision medicine for reduced mortality of breast cancer in Kenya’.

Dr Figueroa emphasized the importance of building on existing health priorities of the country where research is being carried out, investing in good study staff, and monitoring progress regularly, as well as having realistic expectations.

Current best practice

It is important that research questions are co-created with research partners in low- and middle-income countries, and through engaging with stakeholders. Projects must be based on equitable partnerships, with commonly agreed vision and goals, and a mechanism for resolving disagreements or conflicts fairly.

Edinburgh Research Office has produced guidance on writing global challenges research proposals.

Further information

Edinburgh Research Office also manages internal funds for international development research which support the development of partnerships, themes, large applications and impacts. Find out more about Seed funding: Global challenges.

Download our presentation slides from the event (University of Edinburgh staff access only).

Find out more information about the MRC Applied Global Health Research Board.

If you’d like to discuss applying to this board, please contact us on

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Nicholas Duvall


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