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Stacking the odds towards a cure

Maximum duration: up to 60 months
Maximum costs: up to £1.5 million
Outline application deadline: 8 August 2018
Full application deadline: 19 December 2018

Disease subcommittee applications – Elizabeth Waterman
Treatment subcommittee applications – Keith Pugh

What is the cure challenge?

We are inviting applications for research proposals that will move us further along the pathway to developing a cure and more effective treatments for people with arthritis.

Through this call, we seek to fund ambitious research that will move us further and faster on the pathway to developing a cure and more effective treatments for people with arthritis. We are inviting applications which span the translational pathway from discovery and pre-clinical research, through to early stage trials, first-in-man studies and larger scale clinical trials. Applications are encouraged in areas which address significant unmet need defined in priorities in musculoskeletal disease (sources signposted within the call document). Key will be the level of ambition expressed; applicants must clearly demonstrate how their proposal will make a step-change towards a cure and more effective treatments.

Further details about the scope of the call can be found in the call document (PDF 179.6 KB).

We understand that term ‘cure’ can mean different things to different people, which is why we have sought valuable insight ahead of launching this call, talking with people with arthritis and researchers alike, which has helped to inform the scope and ambition of the research we hope to fund. This included a national workshop, to find out more please read our workshop report (PDF 371 KB).

Who can apply for the cure challenge research award?

We wish to encourage applications from both new and established researchers. At least one of the applicants must have a tenured position within a UK university, hospital or recognised academic research institute. We welcome applications from early career investigators however we won’t accept fellowship applications as part of this call.

Applications for the programmatic level funding is intended to support substantial bodies of research and awards should seek to answer an interrelated set of questions. Applications for these awards should be led by established groups with a substantial internationally competitive research track record.

Further information on eligibility criteria can be found in the call document and guidance document (PDF 119.6 KB).

What can you apply for?

We expect to fund a range of award sizes across discovery, experimental medicine and clinical research. Awards are available for up to 60 months, within a funding range of £50,000-£1,500,000. We would encourage applicants to give consideration as to how to strategically use the full range of funding available. The more substantial funding is available for clinical trials and studies, and significant bodies of research, which seek to answer an interrelated set of questions on a broader front than would be feasible in a series of discrete smaller awards. While this call is open to all applicants, we remain keen to encourage new investigators to apply for our funding.

Costs for salaries, expenses, animals (where relevant) and small items of essential equipment can be requested. For further details on what you can apply for see the associated guidance document.

How to apply?

The Disease and Treatment subcommittees are receiving applications to this Cure challenge call. Applicants should consider to which subcommittee they wish to apply before starting an application. Please contact the Research office for advice if necessary.

There is a two-stage application process for all applications. Applications should be submitted via Grant Tracker.

Applications will be assessed by one of our subcommittees, depending on the nature of the research proposed, applicants should select the appropriate outline form for the subcommittee they wish to submit to: either the Disease or the Treatment subcommittee.

Applicants will be informed of the outcome of the outline stage in October 2018 and successful applicants will be invited to submit a full application in GrantTracker to a deadline of 16:00 on 19 December 2018. Funding decisions are expected in June 2019.

The deadline for the receipt of outline applications is 16:00 on 8 August 2018. Submissions after 16:00 will not be accepted.

For more information, go to
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.