External Funding Opportunities

Heads-up: Wellcome Neuroscience of Mental Mental Health Award, launching in April 2024

Last year, Wellcome commissioned a report to explore how cellular, animal and computational neuroscience could best address mental health challenges. This found that to unlock the full potential of neuroscience in mental health, more collaboration is needed among neuroscientists, clinical researchers and people with lived experience.

To this end, Wellcome will be launching in mid-April 2024 a Mental Health Award call, which aims to fund projects that focus on understanding symptoms associated with anxiety, depression and/or psychosis.

This call invites researchers to be especially collaborative, so to facilitate finding new collaborators, Wellcome have partnered with the Neuromatch service, which specialises in connecting researchers through networking and matchmaking activities. There will be networking activities on the 25th and 30th of April. 

If you are interested in this call and looking for local collaborators, please don't hesitate to contact us at Edinburgh.Neuroscience@ed.ac.uk or Edinburgh Mental Health at emh.network@ed.ac.uk.


Academy of Medical Sciences Springboard Round 10 - internal triage involved

The prestigious Academy of Medical Sciences Springboard funding programme for 2024 (Round 10) is now open for applications by academic researchers who are in their first independent research position and have not yet obtained substantial research funding support from other sources, such as large grants or large fellowships.

  • Because the University of Edinburgh is only allowed to make four nominations to this round, there will be an internal selection process. Please follow the link above to read more about the scheme and the process.
  • The award provides funding of up to £125,000 over two years from March 2025 to support research costs (excluding applicant salary) and professional development, as well as access to the Academy’s mentoring and career development programme.
  • Please ensure you have obtained approval from your line manager and Head of School/Centre/Institute before applying.
  • Internal applications must be submitted to ERO via demandmanagedcalls@ed.ac.uk by 12 noon Friday 19th April 2024.


Pre-announcement: UKRI Future Leaders Fellowships 

UKRI has now launched Round 9 of the Future Leaders Fellowships. This cross-UK Research and Innovation scheme supports early career researchers and innovators to tackle ambitious and challenging research and innovation and develop their own careers.

As before, UKRI has capped the number of applicants the University of Edinburgh is allowed to put forward at 10, so there will need to be a multi-step internal selection process.

  • Please follow your local triage process and deadlines. If you are based in the Centre for Discovery Brain Sciences or Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences, details on the initial triage step will be circulated shortly, but in the meantime, please let your Head of Centre know as soon as possible if you are interested in applying.
  • Only applicants with full and explicitly stated backing of their Host Centre/Institute can be submitted to the College triage step, which has a deadline on the 11 am on Monday 22nd April.
  • For more information on how to apply, please visit the UoE information site and UKRI’s webpage.
  • ERO is putting together a webinar to outline the selection process as well as insights on what makes a successful application; the date of this is to be announced but will be listed on the UoE information site


Internal funding opportunity: The Big Ideas Fund 24/25

The Big Ideas Accelerator is a new University internal seed-funding scheme to support radically interdisciplinary ideas and collaborations that span Colleges. The team are looking for innovative and disruptive ideas that require further proof of concept or development, and which would not normally be covered by external funding or existing internal schemes.

  • Grants will be typically in the range of £10k – £15k (exceptionally £20k if there is clear justification). The team anticipates funding around 15-20 projects.
  • There will be an information webinar on the 12th of March: sign up here
  • Deadline: Wednesday 24th April 2024


BBSRC Responsive Mode grants

This scheme supports excellent investigator-led research across the breadth of BBSRC's scientific remit. 

  • The full economic cost  of your project can be up to £2 million. Funding is available for up to five years.
  • Deadline 24th April 2024, 4pm


MND Association funding schemes

MND Association opens many of its funding schemes in mid-March, including:

  • Biomedical PhD studentships; deadline 26th April 2024
  • Non-clinical research Fellowships (junior and senior); deadline 26th April 2024
  • The Biomedical Project Grant scheme has been open since September and will close on 1st November 2024.


BBSRC Fellowships

Fellowships aimed at postdocs/similar to carry out independent research within a host lab, and gain leadership skills.

You must provide strong evidence of working towards this goal, demonstrating an upward trajectory to pursuing independent work within a host organisation. You must show high potential to become future research leaders.

  • Not eligible to apply if you hold/have held a position at lecturer level.
  • No limit on the value of the grant. BBSRC will fund 80% of the full economic cost.
  • Fellowship will last for three years if full time (pro-rata if part-time)
  • Deadline 2nd May 2024, 4 pm


Medical Research Foundation: Launchpad Grants in Mental Health

The Medical Research Foundation is inviting mid-career researchers in the field of mental health to apply for funding to support their research. Funded research should increase understanding of mental health, and improve diagnosis, treatment and recovery. It will also act as a launchpad for further research suitable for larger funding opportunities.

  • Applications within a broad field of mental health research are welcomed. However, applications from neglected areas of mental health, including suicide and self-harm, trauma-related mental health, borderline personality disorder and OCD, are particularly encouraged.
  • Neurodevelopmental disorders are considered within the scope of this competition, and applications from researchers working in ADHD and Tourette’s are particularly encouraged.
  • Up to £100,000 over 2 years available
  • Deadline Wednesday 8th May 2024, midday


College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine (CMVM) Impact Funding

This small-scale funding scheme as part of the University’s strategic investment into impact is to accelerate the impact of CMVM research. Stand-alone research-based proposals are not within the scope of this fund. There are two impact routes to apply for: Plant/Seed or Grow/Deliver, depending on the stage of your engagement and impact project. 

  • Applications can be made for amounts from £500 to £2,500.
  • Deadline Monday 13th May 2024, 5pm
  • If you have any problems accessing the documents, please email the CMVM Research Impact Manager Dr Lena Lorenz.


MRC New Investigator grants: Neurosciences and mental health

This scheme supports neuroscience and mental health researchers to take the next step towards becoming an independent researcher. Applicants must have the skills and experience to ‘transition to independence’the support of a host research organisation.

  • There is no limit to the funding you can apply for, but the typical full economic cost of a project is under £1 million. 
  • Deadline 15th May 2024, 4pm


MRC Partnership Awards

This opportunity provides funding to support new partnerships between diverse groups of researchers within MRC's remit. The grant will allow you to establish new, high-value collaborative activities or capabilities and add value to high-quality scientific programmes that are already supported by grants from MRC and other funders.

  • Funding is available for between 1 and 5 years. There is no limit to the amount of funding you can apply for, however resource requests will vary between partnerships so you are strongly advised to discuss this with the relevant programme manager before applying.
  • Deadline Wednesday 15th May 2024, 4pm


MRC, NIHR and Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases: Management of multiple long-term conditions

Proposals should aim to improve the availability of effective, equitable, efficient, integrated, patient-centred, safe, and timely care for people living with MLTCs (including at least one non-communicable disease), in low- and middle-income countries or among disadvantaged populations in high-income countries.

  • Funding available: total fund up to £5,000,000 (subject to quality)
  • Duration: 3-5 years
  • Deadlines: 15th May 2024 (first stage), 3rd October 2024 (second stage)


My Name’5 Doddie Foundation: New opportunities following £6 million investment

My Name’5 Doddie Foundation was established with one clear goal: to expedite the development of new treatments for motor neuron disease (MND) and ultimately, a cure. Last week, they announced a new £6 million investment into research in 2024, beginning with the launch of the Discovery Network and the reopening of their flagship Advancing Treatments Award. 

1) Discovery Network

The Discovery Network is a new funding opportunity for multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional teams to apply for £1 million over 3 years. Teams will take on bold ideas and innovative approaches to better understand the biology of MND, with a focused goal of identifying new therapeutic targets. The Network will be underpinned by a culture of collaboration and open science.

  • Deadline for Expressions of Interest: Friday 17th May 2024, midday

2) The Advancing Treatments Award

The 2024 Advancing Treatments Award will support the early-stage development of new treatments to slow, stop or reverse MND disease progression, or to better manage the symptoms of MND, where they could transform the lives of people living with the condition. Applications are accepted across two strategic priorities: 1) Validate therapeutic target and 2) Accelerate new treatments (not including identifying novel targets).

  • Deadline for Expressions of Interest: Friday 17th May 2024, midday

3) Catalyst Award

This scheme will open in the autumn and will offer up to £100,000 for up to 1 year to support projects that aim to gather proof-of-principle data for innovative new approaches. 


Wellcome Early-Career Awards

This scheme provides funding for early-career researchers from any discipline who are ready to develop their research identity. Through innovative projects, they will deliver shifts in understanding related to human life, health and wellbeing. By the end of the award, they will be ready to lead their own independent research programme.

  • Funding available: Your salary and up to £400,000 for research expense
  • Three rounds a year: next deadline Tuesday 21st May, then Tuesday 1st October 2024


BBSRC Strategic Longer and Larger (sLoLa) Grants

The sLoLa grants are a key part of BBSRC's investment in Frontier Bioscience and provides large-scale funding to catalyse and convene the critical mass of research effort needed to address significant fundamental questions in bioscience. Funded projects will:

  • Have the potential to lead to major breakthroughs in our fundamental understanding of living systems
  • Clearly demonstrate the need for longer and larger scale funding
  • Demonstrate a fully integrated team science approach
  • Deadline- 21st May 2024 


NIHR Challenge - Maternity Inequalities research consortium (internal demand management in place)

The first ever NIHR Challenge funding call, backed by £50 million, will task researchers and policymakers with finding new ways to tackle maternity disparities.

  • Funding duration: 5 years
  • Eligibility: applications to be led by a university, with ~1-3 other organisations e.g. industry, third sector, practice, etc.
  • Internal selection process: Please fill out an Expression of interest form by 8th April 2024
  • NIHR Stage 1: deadline 22nd May 2024; to select the organisations to be part of the consortium


Wellcome Trust targeted funding for researchers of Black, Bangladeshi and Pakistani heritage in the UK

Wellcome is launching £20 million in new funding to support researchers to stay in research and advance their careers.

Researchers at a UK higher education institution can apply at any stage of their career from postdoctorate onwards, up to but not including professorship. The awards cover any discipline, but the research area must align with Wellcome’s Discovery Research remit – encompassing research into life, health and well-being – or in their Climate and Health, Mental Health, or Infectious Disease research programmes.

  • Award cycle: once per year, for an initial four years, with an allocation of ~£4.5 million per year
  • Award amount: up to £200,000 per researcher in up to two years
  • The funding will open in spring 2024.
  • Sign up to the newsletter by CMVM Research Office to stay informed.


Mental Health Research UK - PhD Scholarship Competition 2025

Mental Health Research UK (incorporating the Schizophrenia Research Fund) has announced a competition for two PhD Scholarships, beginning September 2025. They will fund two scholarships.

  1. The John Grace QC scholarship should focus on psychotic disorders, including puerperal psychosis​
  2. Topics such as post-natal depression, developing post-natal family mental health interventions, factors influencing maternal mental health.
  • Deadline: 27th May 2024


MRC Better Methods, Better Research

This scheme funds the development or improvement of generalisable methods underpinning biomedical and health research.

Applicability of methods must extend, without significant modification, beyond a single case study or research question. Methodology research should be developed with end-user engagement.Applications must also include a dissemination plan that outlines the activities to support uptake, implementation and best use of methods by others beyond the project team.


Understanding public involvement in non-clinical research

Funding is available to improve the understanding, design and practice of public involvement in non-clinical health and biomedical research. Applications should address gaps in public involvement, build on existing good practice and deliver generalisable learning to be used by others. Multidisciplinary approaches are welcomed.


MS Society Catalyst Awards

Catalyst Awards provide support for short-term, small-scale pilot or proof-of-concept research projects. These may be “high risk, high reward” type projects and must be hypothesis-driven. Two Catalyst rounds are run each year. Researchers from within and outside the MS field can use these Awards to explore innovative ideas in MS research.

  • Both junior and established researchers are eligible to apply
  • Projects can last up to 12 months.
  • Deadlines in 2024: 23rd January and 18th June, both 12 noon


Enhancing equality, diversity and inclusion in BBSRC-funded networks

Funds are available to provide peer support, networking and related activities for your members who identify as being part of a group currently under-represented within your network.

  • Total fund: £400,000
  • Collaboration and partnership between networks, communities and other organisations, such as the learned societies, is encouraged.
  • Deadline- 25th June 2024


Chief Scientist Office (CSO) Response Mode schemes

All applications to the this scheme are assessed by one of two research advisory committees:

Translational Clinical Studies Research Committee

The Committee considers applications for research aimed at improving treatments and / or diagnostic approaches for conditions of clinical importance to the population of Scotland.

Health Improvement, Protection and Services Research Committee

The Committee considers applications for research aimed at improving or protecting population health or improving the quality, safety and/or effectiveness of healthcare in Scotland.

Deadline: 28th June 2024


Una Europa Seed Funding Call 2024

Una Europa Seed Funding aims to kick-start collaboration between alliance partner universities and 'plant a seed' that can eventually attract external funding. Open to all disciplines, the 2024 Call emphasises the empowerment of early-career researchers. 

  • Seed Funding project teams must involve academics from at least four Una Europa universities.
  • The value of funding available varies according to how many universities are involved; a team of 4 partners can apply for up to 18,000 euros.
  • Deadline: 28th June 2024, 5pm (Central European summer time)


IBRO meeting support

The IBRO Meetings Support program supports funding requests from symposia, short courses, workshops, and meeting organizers on important topics in neuroscience.

  • Application dates: 1st July – 31st August, 2024
  • For eligibility and application requirements, please visit the website.


Medical Research Scotland Early Career Researchers Awards

These grants are available to help recently appointed Early Career Researchers further develop their own independent programme of research. They can be used for new research projects, critical pilot studies, critical replications, proof-of-concept work or to supplement other research programmes, whether funded by other grants or not.

  • Eligibility: Early Career Researchers who have started a recently-awarded independent research position and have received other funding, as principal investigator, to start their own independent research programme. Please review further eligibility details on the website.
  • The maximum value of each award is 20,000
  • Deadline: 4th July 2024, 12 noon


Brain Research UK Fellowship schemes

Applications are invited for Post-doctoral fellowships and Clinical PhD fellowships from candidates seeking to conduct their own independent research, focused on on one of Brain Research UK's three research themes: headache and facial pain, neuro-oncology, and acquired brain and spinal cord injury.

  • Research proposals must be based on either: 1) Pre-clinical or clinical research driven by a mechanistic hypothesis and demonstrating a clear pathway to translation; or 2) The development of a biological model of disease that enhances one of the three research themes and facilitates translation. 
  • Post-doctoral fellowships will be for three-years, or part-time equivalent, with a maximum value of £300,000, including salary and research costs.
  • Clinical PhD fellowships will be for a minimum of two and maximum of four years, with a maximum value of £300,000, including salary, fees and research costs.  
  • Deadline: Tuesday 10th September 2024


MRC Career Development Awards

This scheme supports talented researchers to become an independent researcher in a medical research field. To be eligible, applicants must have a PhD or equivalent, show evidence of career progression, and show clear plans for developing as a leader in your area of research

  • MRC will fund the lead applicant's salary and project costs for up to five years.  
  • Next round will open in July 2024 and close on 11th September 2024
  • Please ensure you have discussed your plans with the the Head of the host department (Centre or School) as early as possible.


Pre-announcement: Faraday Discovery Fellowships, Royal Society

These Fellowships, supported through a £250m fund from the Department of Science Innovation and Technology (DSIT), are large, investigator-led grants awarded to a single Principal Investigator to enable them to establish an outstanding team of researchers to address challenging research questions. Applicants can apply for up to a maximum of £8 million over ten years, with the aim of providing long-term, stable funding to give the most talented “mid-career researchers” the time and freedom to tackle “difficult and intractable research problems”.   


The Faraday Discovery Fellowships does not operate thematic priorities, and will consider applications from all areas of the Royal Society remit.

  • The scheme is scheduled to open on 14th August and the outline application deadline will be 2nd October 2024.
  • Given the scale and length of this support, and the relatively small number to be awarded across the UK, it is likely this will be highly competitive. 
  • There will be an internal selection process prior to the two-stage application to the Royal Society. Please look out for information about this if you are interested in applying.


For further funding opportunities, please explore the ERO Funding Calendar. ERO have also put together a new SharePoint page on major funding bids and a toolkit for targeting these.