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Institutional Strategic Support Fund

The Institutional Strategic Support Fund (ISSF) is a Wellcome initiative providing financial support to enhance institutional strategies for biomedical sciences. The LSHTM is among the institutions that have been awarded ISSF support since the scheme’s inception in 2011. Under this scheme, Wellcome funds are matched by funds from the School.

ISSF aims to enhance the generation of new knowledge, to promote innovation, collaboration and knowledge exchange, and to accelerate the application of research to achieve improved health outcomes.

Current ISSF award

The School’s third ISSF (ISSF3) award runs over the five-year period: 1 October 2016 to 30 September 2021, with Wellcome investing £500k per annum, and the School providing at least £500k per annum over the same period. It focusses on the support of individuals, public engagement and in stimulating greater cohesion and interaction between School staff, wherever they are based, and between staff and their collaborators.

Funding opportunities

The below funding opportunities are available for staff at the School to consolidate their research independence, pursue new areas of research and reach new audiences. Open calls for applications are advertised via School newsletters and on the relevant web pages.

LSHTM Fellowships
These Fellowships aim to support the career development of researchers at the mid-career transition, offering up to 18 months’ salary support, up to £10,000 towards research expenses and tailored career development support. Calls for applications were held in February 2018 and October 2019.

Pump Priming Grants
Small, discrete grants of up to £10,000 are available to early career researchers to catalyse new research projects and collaborations. Calls run annually.

Public Engagement Small Grants (currently open for applications)
The scheme offers grants of up to £1,000 each year for staff and research degree students to undertake a public engagement project linked to their research. See the Small Grants page for more details on how and when to apply.

ISSF / LSHTM Partnership Grants
The ISSF Partnership Grants offer flexible funding to support the exploration, development and consolidation of collaborations between Faculty and MRC Unit staff and/or priority partner institutions in sub-Saharan Africa, such as AHRI ​(South Africa), BRTI (Zimbabwe), MEIRU (Malawi), MITU (Tanzania), and Zambart (Zambia). Calls run annually.

ISSF3 Governance

The School’s Senior Leadership Team acts as its ISSF Management & Oversight Committee, giving final approval for all budgets and expenditure under the ISSF.

Academic lead: Professor Dame Anne Mills, Deputy Director & Provost
Operational lead: Dr Hannah Whiteman, Head of Strategic Research

ISSF3 Themes

ISSF3-supported activities focus on three themes of strategic importance to the School:

Theme 1: Investing in talent and excellence
Activities under this theme focus on supporting our staff to achieve their full potential.

Thanks to ISSF3, we continue to expand the research advice and support available to academic staff, particularly early and mid-career researchers, through the Strategic Research Office (intranet). This includes advice on where to seek funding, assistance in preparing grant applications and organising mock interviews. ISSF also provides funds for the LSHTM Fellowship programme supporting postdoctoral researchers to make the transition towards independence.

The fund supports a multitude of equality, diversity and inclusion activities throughout the School for awareness around disability, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation. From bullying and harassment training, to a welcome event for LGBT+ student and staff, and events and activities for Black History Month - the fund is used to celebrate the diversity of our staff and students and the communities we work with locally and around the world.

Theme 2: Strategic research initiatives
This theme comprises activities fostering international partnerships and supporting the initiation of novel research projects and collaborations.

ISSF funds have enabled the creation of a dedicated International Partnerships Officer role at the School. Global partnerships are key to achieving our mission to improve health and health equity in the UK and worldwide. We are working to build on existing relationships and to facilitate further collaborations by supporting interactions between LSHTM staff and colleagues at partner institutions.

The fund also supports a Pump Priming Grant scheme offering small flexible grants of up to £10,000 to early and mid-career researchers to pursue new research ideas and collaborations.

Theme 3: Public engagement
Activities under this theme seek to broaden the public’s understanding of our research, establish a dialogue that can shape the research agenda and support staff in finding effective ways of interacting with the public.

ISSF funding has enabled the School to support a full-time Public Engagement Coordinator since 2012 to manage the strategic and operational delivery of public engagement across the School. The funding has also allowed us to expand our innovative Public Engagement Small Grants scheme – which originated in the Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases in 2015 – across all three Faculties. The scheme offers small grants of up to £1,000 for staff and research degree students to undertake a public engagement project linked to their research.

We will soon launch Public Engagement Awards using ISSF3 support to recognise and celebrate high quality public engagement by staff and students from across the School.

ISSF3 supported projects

2017 Public Engagement Small Grants
The joint ISSF/School Faculty funded 2017 Public Engagement Small Grants Scheme made awards to 14 projects across all three School faculties. Please visit our public engagement page for summaries of the funded projects.

Please see the ISSF case studies pages for examples of past LSHTM Fellowships and pump priming grants undertaken under previous ISSF awards.

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