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Priorities in Clinical research

Maximum duration: No maximum
Maximum costs: No maximum
Deadline: Wednesday 24th May 2017 at 4pm
Contact: Sarah Rudkin & Pete Morley at

Priorities in clinical research

Clinical research delivers healthcare science that develops and evaluates the safety, efficacy and effectiveness of medications, devices, diagnostic products and treatment regimens intended for human use. These may be used for prevention, treatment, diagnosis or for relieving symptoms of a disease.

Review and recommendation of clinical research funding is being undertaken by a new committee going forward, our Treatment subcommittee replaces our previous Clinical Studies Subcommittee. Since 2008, clinical research priorities have been determined primarily by our seven Clinical Studies Groups (CSGs) which were established to develop strategies that identified the key priority areas and study questions designed to improve patient outcome in given disease areas. In future priority areas will be determined by the charity and new Disease, Treatment and Health subcommittees with input from advisory groups which builds on the CSG activity.

The inaugural call for the Treatment subcommittee is seeking to continue to draw on the CSG activities, calling for applications for clinical research funding in the areas defined in the current Clinical Studies Group strategies. We aim to fund innovative research that seeks to address key clinical research priorities that will change practice and impact patients, utilising novel trial design and methodological approaches on the basis of established feasibility and pilot work. It is expected that every study will be delivered in conjunction with a UKCRC-registered clinical trial unit (CTU) or affiliated personnel, unless circumstances are such that this is less appropriate.


  • Call opens                                  24 January 2017
  • Deadline for full applications      24 May 2017
  • Applicant rebuttal                       Early October 2017
  • Notification of outcome               December 2017

What do clinical research awards provide?

Clinical research grant applications must support proposals to provide:

  • hypothesis-led assessment of clinical treatment
  • outputs required to conduct assessment of clinical treatments.

Treatments aren't limited to drugs, and encompass vaccines, devices, surgeries, psychological, physical, behavioural, radiotherapy, and educational clinical management.

Definitive assessment studies must be well-founded on pilot studies or distinct feasibility evidence relating to outcome measure selection, study design and statistical methods, subject recruitment and retention and delivery of the intervention. Applications defining feasibility studies to identify these parameters will be accepted. Clinicians and methodologists should collectively identify the approach to be taken to gather all parameters needed to formulate the definitive study. Methodologist should be within a registered CTU or the research design service or MRC methodology hub.

Who can apply?

At least one of the applicants must have a tenured position within a UK university, hospital or recognised academic research institution.

The lead applicant and co-applicants may apply for their own salary as long as they don't already hold a tenured position and at least one of the co-applicants has a tenured or permanent position (ideally the head of department).

Fellowships aren't funded within clinical studies; justification in support of such a post may be provided for Treatment subcommittee consideration.

What can you apply for?

There's no financial limit to a clinical studies grant application. Costs must be attributed as Research, Support or Treatment according to the Attributing the costs of Research and Development, AcoRD guidelines.

Please ensure you reference the application guidance document for details.

How to apply

Whilst clinical research applications no longer mandate CSG approval, it is strongly recommended that your proposal is discussed with the relevant CSG prior to submission, who will be able to comment on how the application fits with the CSG strategy, whether there is an overlap with other studies and if the study will contribute to CSG activities.

If you have worked with a CSG to formulate your application, we recommend that a letter of support from the CSG is included with your application.

All applications must be submitted through our grants management system, Grant Tracker.

Application review and assessment

  • Up to three external clinical reviewers
  • Up to two external methodology reviewers
  • The research programme manager will review the study costings and timings, including attribution as per AcoRD

Assessment criteria

The criteria used to assess full applications include:  

  • Relevance and importance to the Clinical Studies Group strategies
  • Clinical impact
  • Potential for impact on the quality of life for people with arthritis Involvement of people with arthritis in the proposed research
  • Scientific merit, quality of the research design and methodology
  • Feasibility of the approach and potential to deliver the stated outcomes
  • Value for money
  • Applicants’ track record and ability to deliver the proposed research, strength and make-up of the research team, including multidisciplinary collaboration and proposed management arrangements    
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    Arthritis Research UK fund research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis. You can support Arthritis Research UK by volunteering, donating or visiting our shops.