Information about some of the key funders in our portfolio
Types of Funders
Charities are an important independent stream of research funding. Many of them are dedicated to funding medical and health research that benefits the public good (eg. Wellcome Trust, Cancer Research). The Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) has around 100 members and some of them fund substantial ‘competitive’ research programmes. Other charities may commission ‘contract’ research on an ad-hoc basis.
All charities are regulated by charity law, which places some restrictions on the use of charitable funds for research. For example, there must be a provision to disseminate research results and funds must not be allocated to research with commercial objectives.
UK Research Councils
Research Councils (RC-UK) fund a wide range of projects in line with national research priorities that are agreed by the UK government and other parties.
Researchers at LSHTM usually respond to competitive calls and schemes run by:
- MRC – Medical Research Council
- ESRC – Economic and Social Research Council
- BBSRC – Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
The Royal Society is an independent body which supports excellence in science through a range of fellowships and smaller grants. It is not a Research Council but it funds many of its schemes in a similar way.
UK Government Departments
There are a number of Government departments which provide targeted research funding in accordance with national strategies. LSHTM researchers most commonly deal with:
- DoH - Department of Health
Through ad-hoc research budgets or via managed programmes, eg. PRP - Policy Research Programme
- NIHR - National Institute for Health Research
Large R&D programmes in the NHS funded by DoH
- DFID - Department For International Development
Some large collaborative calls and some smaller systematic reviews with a focus on improving health and reducing poverty in developing countries
European Commission (EC)
Funding opportunities are mainly provided through the EC's Research Framework Programme (FP7) which runs until the end of 2013. FP7 will be replaced by a new scheme, Horizon 2020, the details of which can be found on the EC Resource page (intranet).
FP7 comprises four programmes:
- Cooperation – collaborative research
- Ideas – European Research Council (ERC)
- People – Marie Curie Actions
- Capacities – Research infrastructures
The EC provides national information and advice through the UK Research Office. UKRO disseminates information on funding opportunities and provides general advice and training on applying for and managing research projects. In addition, National Contact Points (NCPs) have been set up to encourage participation in the different areas of FP7.
Under Horizon 2020 the school has been awarded the Erasmus Charter 2014-2020 and has an Erasmus Policy Statement. Both documents can be found on the Introducing our School web page.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
This is an overseas charity which funds significant competitive research programmes to improve the treatment of, and interventions to prevent, diseases such as malaria and HIV in developing countries.
Although Gates is a US-led organisation, it funds research work in institutions throughout the world.
National Institutes of Health, USA (NIH)
The NIH is the US national medical research agency and is made up of a number of institutes. Its mission is to fund research which helps to extend healthy life and reduce the burden of illness and disability.
It is unusual for NIH to fund projects which are led by non-US institutions. Collaborations with US institutions may improve the chances of success.
World Health Organization (WHO)
WHO funds research and training programmes in conjunction with a number of international agencies (such as UNICEF, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), World Bank). An example is TDR – a programme for research and training in tropical diseases.
WHO also help to create broad collaborations between private industries, large charities (like Wellcome Trust and Gates), government agencies (like DFID, NIH and USAID) and research institutions to address specific needs.
Examples of these collaborations are:
- Medicines for Malaria Venture
- Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics
- Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative
- Partnership for Maternal Newborn and Child Health
Research undertaken for commercial funders (industry and the private sector) must be negotiated with great care. Research Operations Office should be contacted at an early stage - prior to any discussions with the funder concerning price and contract details.
Price negotiations take place in the context of:
- Understanding the value of the research to the funder’s business
- Acquiring some knowledge of competitors’ positions
- Taking advantage of market opportunities
- Ensuring cost recovery is in line with LSHTM policies
Contract negotiations are often lengthy. The final contract must ensure that researchers retain both the academic freedom to publish and disseminate knowledge and the ownership of any Intellectual Property arising. It must also minimise risks to LSHTM.