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Priorities in clinical research

Duration: no maximum
Costs: no maximum
Outline application deadline: 16:00 on 31 August 2017
Full application deadline: 16:00 on 10 January 2018
Contact: Keith Pugh & 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 undertaken by our Treatment subcommittee. Apart from the Paediatric group, our Clinical Study Groups (CSGs) are no longer operating and are in the process of being replaced with Research Advisory Groups.

This call for the Treatment subcommittee is seeking to continue to draw on the CSGs activities, calling for applications for clinical research funding in the areas defined in the strategies defined by the CSGs. 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: 12 June 2017
Deadline for outline applications: 31 August 2017
Notification and feedback: October/November 2017
Deadline for full applications: 10 January 2018
Funding decision: May 2018
Notification of outcome: June/July 2018


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, the research design service or an 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.

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

There is a Pain challenge call for applications running concurrent with this call. The Pain challenge seeks applications across a spectrum of science from biomedical to applied science. Research resulting from that call is expected to make a significant leap forward in our understanding of musculoskeletal pain, how it is managed and how it may be prevented. These defined areas are not necessarily targeted in the strategies put forward by our outgoing CSGs. Applicants should submit applications for the Pain challenge round via a separate outline form. For advice regarding which call to submit a clinical study/trial to please contact the Research office.

What can you apply for?

There is no financial limit to a Priorities in clinical research 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 of how to complete your application.

How to apply

There is a two-stage application process for all applications. At the first stage, applicants are invited to submit an outline application which provides an overview of the project and funding requested. This should be submitted through Grant Tracker where the outline form is available.

Applicants successful at the outline stage will be invited to submit a full application through Grant Tracker which will request more detailed information on the proposal. Where possible feedback will be provided, allowing an opportunity for applicants to reshape their submissions for the full application stage in line with subcommittee comments. Only applicants approved through the outline stage will be eligible to apply for a full application.

Whilst clinical research applications are no longer mandated to be submitted with CSG approval, there remains scope to discuss applications previously in development with the CSGs with the outgoing Leads prior to submission and to submit your application with commentary/a letter of support from them.

Application review and assessment of full application

  • 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

Outline applications will be assessed by the Treatment subcommittee. The criteria used to assess outline applications include:

  • Relevance to the scope of the Priorities in clinical research call
  • importance, meets an unmet clinical need
  • impact, significance of the research outputs on the route to patent benefit and clinical need
  • involvement of people with arthritis
  • quality and appropriateness of the research design and methodology
  • feasibility and ability to deliver
  • value for money.

The criteria used to assess full applications include:

  • Relevance and importance to the CSGs 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.

Submissions after 16:00 will not be accepted.

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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.