Small molecule High Throughput Screen using AstraZeneca facilities (Grant)

Apply for funding to run a High Throughput Screen (HTS) using AstraZeneca’s compound library and screening robots. Two funding opportunities per year with changing themes. This funding opportunity will have a focus on new targets related to Fibrosis or Extracellular Matrix.

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Apply for funding to run a High Throughput Screen using AstraZeneca’s compound library and screening robots. Funding priority in this round will be given to applications related to fibrosis or extracellular matrix targets.

Two funding opportunities a year with new thematic focus each round. Future areas will include:

  • autoimmunity

  • pain

  • motor neuron disease

  • mental health

  • dementias (including Parkinson’s and Huntington’s)

  • women’s health (including related to metabolic disorders)

The funding opportunity remains open to all targets, these will only be funded if there is insufficient demand in the areas specified in the funding opportunity guidance.


Before applying for funding, check the Eligibility of your organisation.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has introduced new role types for funding opportunities being run on the new UKRI Funding Service.

For full details, visit Eligibility as an individual.

Who is eligible to apply

To be eligible to apply for this opportunity you must be a researcher employed by an eligible research organisation.

For applicants who do not have a contract of employment for the duration of the proposed project, by submitting an application the research organisation is confirming, if it is successful:

  • contracts will be extended beyond the end date of the project

  • all necessary support for the project and the applicants will be provided, including mentorship and career development for early career researchers

Who is not eligible to apply

Research applications that are led by commercial entities are not eligible. Applications may not include collaborations with additional commercial parties.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

We are committed to achieving equality of opportunity for all funding applicants. We encourage applications from a diverse range of researchers.

We support people to work in a way that suits their personal circumstances. This includes:

  • career breaks

  • support for people with caring responsibilities

  • flexible working

  • alternative working patterns

Find out more about equality, diversity and inclusion at UKRI.



The small molecule High Throughput Screen using AstraZeneca facilities funding opportunity aims to support academic researchers in discovering potential starting points for small molecule medicinal drugs.

Academic researchers will benefit from unprecedented access to over two million molecules in AstraZeneca’s compound library, as well as its state-of-the-art high-throughput screening (HTS) facilities.

MRC will provide funding to support up to four projects per year. As capacity is limited, projects will be prioritised for funding and for time slots within the facility. The timeframe for commencement of the studies will vary, although the expectation is within six months of the funding decision.

AstraZeneca may offer to fund a project in its entirety if, based on the application, it considers that route to be the most appropriate funding mechanism for that individual study. In such cases, these will be taken forward through direct collaboration with the company without any further MRC involvement. Applicants who do not wish to accept this offer may continue to seek MRC support through the initiative.

AstraZeneca will provide technical input to support assay optimisation, investigation of alternative readout technologies and pilot HTS screen, prior to transfer of the assay to the HTS platform. Depending on the results of the optimisation, a compound set of between 100,000 and 1,000,000 of the library will be screened.

Minimum assay development guidelines

There are a number of minimum assay development guidelines which when considered as a whole will need to provide evidence that a screen could be conducted. Funds are provided to complete the assay development, so a less well developed assay is not a barrier to your application being competitive.


The duration of this award is typically 15 months, however the duration can be from 12 (minimum) to a maximum of 18 months.

Funding available

The full economic cost (FEC) of your project can be up to £270,000 (£250,000 cost to MRC).

We will fund 100% FEC of the work conducted at AstraZeneca.

We will fund 80% FEC of any work conducted at the research organisation or related to staff costs, subsistence and travel.

What we will fund

We will fund costs related to the staff and consumable costs incurred at AstraZencea for the optimisation and execution of the High Throughput Screen (HTS). These include:

  • £20,000 (100% FEC Exceptions) – Optimisation and establishment of an HTS

  • £150,000 (100% FEC Exceptions) – Execution of the HTS

  • cost of travel, accommodation and subsistence for a host institution researcher to work at AstraZeneca in Cambridge for three months (80% FEC)

  • costs for elements of the screening cascade that cannot be undertaken at AstraZeneca and must be undertaken at the host organisation (80% FEC)

  • minimal %FTE for the project lead (80% FEC)

What we will not fund

We will not fund conference attendance.

Supporting skills and talent

This scheme highly encourages a researcher from the host institution to embed themselves at the AstraZeneca facilities in Cambridge for a period of three months, in order to help with the establishment of the assay and conducting the HTS. These three months can be split into shorter chunks, based on requirements of the project. Any application not requesting funding to support a visit to the AstraZeneca facility, should state why it is not viable, however, it will not affect the evaluation of the merits of the project, as it is understood that not all researchers can accommodate a prolonged period from home.

We encourage you to follow the principles of the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers and the Technician Commitment.


Assessment process

We will assess your application using the following process.


A panel of experts, will be invited to assess the quality of your application and rank it alongside other applications after which the panel will make a funding recommendation.Applications related to the two topic areas (Fibrosis and Extracellular Matrix), will be prioritised for funding.AstraZeneca will have a nominated member on the panel of experts and be involved in the funding decision, their input will be limited to confirmation that:

  • projects are technically feasible

  • projects would pass the gating criteria for internal projects

  • there are no third party agreements preventing AstraZeneca from undertaking the project

  • no equivalent screen has been conducted as part of AstraZeneca’s internal research and development programme, or through any prior open innovation collaboration

This funding opportunity will no longer seek external peer review comments.


We aim to complete the assessment process within three months of receiving your application.


If your application was discussed by a panel, we will give feedback with the outcome of your application.

Principles of assessment

We support the San Francisco declaration on research assessment and recognise the relationship between research assessment and research integrity.Find out about the UKRI principles of assessment and decision making.

Sharing data

MRC, as part of UKRI, will need to share the application and any personal information that it contains with AstraZeneca so that they can participate in the assessment process. For more information on how AstraZeneca uses personal information, visit AstraZeneca’s privacy notice.We reserve the right to modify the assessment process as needed.

Assessment areas

The assessment areas we will use are:

  • vision of the project

  • approach to the project (including data management)

  • capability of the applicant or applicants and the project team to deliver the project

  • resources requested to do the project

  • ethical and responsible research and innovation considerations of the project

Find details of assessment questions and criteria under the ‘Application questions’ heading in the ‘How to apply’ section.The following information provides a guide on how high, medium and low feasibility will be assessed, including:

  • translatability and or readout relation to mechanism of intervention, including:

    • high feasibility:

      • direct readout relevant to mechanism of intervention

    • medium feasibility:

      • readout indirect to mechanism of intervention

    • low feasibility:

      • connection to target perturbation uncertain

  • reagent generation and supply (technical aspects), including:

    • high feasibility:

      • in-house precedent or commercially available with appropriate quality control

    • medium feasibility:

      • in-house or external precedent for related or similar target

    • high feasibility:

      • no precedent for target or family members or known to be challenging

  • reagent generation and supply (timelines, resources and cost), including:

    • high feasibility:

      • timelines will fit objectives

    • medium feasibility:

      • significant risk of not meeting timeline objectives

    • low feasibility:

      • will not meet timeline objectives

  • assay technical feasibility:

    • high feasibility:

      • assay available in a suitable format for screening at scale

      • internal experience

      • good tool compounds

    • medium feasibility:

      • assay precedence but needs adaptation for required screening scale

      • commercial assays where there is no internal HTS experience

      • indirect control compounds

    • low feasibility:

      • no internal or external precedence for screening at scale

      • no tool compounds

  • hit triage complexity, including:

    • high feasibility:

      • expected low number of false positives and negatives

      • availability of counter screen or orthogonal assay

    • medium feasibility:

      • expected large number of false positives or negatives

      •  >3 data sets need to be generated

    • low feasibility:

      • unknown fraction of false positives and negatives

      • >5 data sets need to be generated

  • timelines for assay build, including:

    • high feasibility:

      • timelines will fit objectives

    • medium feasibility:

      • significant risk of not meeting timeline objectives

    • low feasibility:

      • will not meet timeline objectives

  • throughput for full collection. Can mitigate by running smaller subsets, including:

    • high feasibility:

      • 1536 well, 100 plates per single day, homogeneous assay (cryopreserved cells)

    • medium feasibility:

      • >500k per week

      • 384 well, ~100 plates per day

    • low feasibility:

      • 384 well,

      • < 50 plates per day,

      • complex multi-step,

      • multi-day assay (continuous cell culture);

      • <100k per week

  • cost. Excluding protein and or substrates, including:

    • high feasibility:

      • <£40k total cost (reagents and plates)

    • medium feasibility:

      • £100k total cost

    • low feasibility:

      • reagents > £100k including expensive plates

Webinar for potential applicants

We will hold a webinar on 9 May 2024. This will provide more information about the funding opportunity and a chance to ask questions.

To register for the webinar email:

How to apply

Click here to start application on the UKRI Funding Service:

We are running this funding opportunity on the new UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Funding Service so please ensure that your organisation is registered. You cannot apply on the Joint Electronic Submissions (Je-S) system.

The project lead is responsible for completing the application process on the Funding Service, but we expect all team members and project partners to contribute to the application.

If the lead research organisation is an NHS organisation, check it is available in the Funding Service. You are encouraged to check this early as there may be additional steps for the organisation to be set up before you can apply.

Only the lead research organisation can submit an application to UKRI.

To apply

Select ‘Start application’ near the beginning of this Funding finder page.

  1. Confirm you are the project lead.

  2. Sign in or create a Funding Service account. To create an account, select your organisation, verify your email address, and set a password. If your organisation is not listed, email Please allow at least 10 working days for your organisation to be added to the Funding Service.

  3. Answer questions directly in the text boxes. You can save your answers and come back to complete them or work offline and return to copy and paste your answers. If we need you to upload a document, follow the upload instructions in the Funding Service. All questions and assessment criteria are listed in the How to apply section on this Funding finder page.

  4. Allow enough time to check your application in ‘read-only’ view before sending to your research office.

  5. Send the completed application to your research office for checking. They will return it to you if it needs editing.

  6. Your research office will submit the completed and checked application to UKRI.

Where indicated, you can also demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. You should:

  • use images sparingly and only to convey important information that cannot easily be put into words

  • insert each new image onto a new line

  • provide a descriptive legend for each image immediately underneath it (this counts towards your word limit)

  • ensure files are smaller than 5MB and in JPEG, JPG, JPE, JFI, JIF, JFIF, PNG, GIF, BMP or WEBP format

Watch our research office webinars about the new Funding Service.

For more guidance on the Funding Service, see:


Applications should be self-contained, and hyperlinks should only be used to provide links directly to reference information. To ensure the information’s integrity is maintained, where possible, persistent identifiers such as digital object identifiers should be used. Assessors are not required to access links to carry out assessment or recommend a funding decision. Applicants should use their discretion when including references and prioritise those most pertinent to the application.

References should be included in the appropriate question section of the application and be easily identifiable by the assessors for example, (Smith, Research Paper, 2019)

You must not include links to web resources to extend your application.


We must receive your application by 4 July 2024 at 4:00pm UK time.

You will not be able to apply after this time.

Make sure you are aware of and follow any internal institutional deadlines.

Following the submission of your application to the funding opportunity, your application cannot be changed, and applications will not be returned for amendment. If your application does not follow the guidance, it may be rejected.

Personal data

Processing personal data

MRC, as part of UKRI, will need to collect some personal information to manage your Funding Service account and the registration of your funding applications.

We will handle personal data in line with UK data protection legislation and manage it securely. For more information, including how to exercise your rights, read our privacy notice.

MRC, as part of UKRI, will need to share the application and any personal information that it contains with AstraZeneca so that they can participate in the assessment process. For more information on how AstraZeneca uses personal information, visit AstraZeneca’s privacy notice.

Publication of outcomes

MRC, as part of UKRI, will publish the outcomes of this funding opportunity at board and panel outcomes.

If your application is successful, we will publish some personal information on the UKRI Gateway to Research.


Word limit: 550

In plain English, provide a summary of your application

We usually make this summary publicly available on external-facing websites, therefore do not include any confidential or sensitive information. Make it suitable for a variety of readers, for example:

  • opinion-formers

  • policymakers

  • the public

  • the wider research community

Guidance for writing a summary

Clearly describe your proposed work in terms of:

  • context

  • the challenge the project addresses

  • aims and objectives

  • potential applications and benefits

Core team

List the key members of your team and assign them roles from the following:

  • project lead (PL)

  • project co-lead (UK) (PcL)

  • researcher co-lead (RcL)

  • specialist

  • professional enabling staff

  • research and innovation associate

  • technician

Only list one individual as project lead.

Find out more about UKRI’s core team roles in funding applications.

Application questions


Word limit: 1,100

What are you hoping to achieve with your proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Explain how your proposed work:

  • is of excellent quality and importance within the field

  • has the potential to generate new knowledge, and discovery within the field

  • is timely given current trends, context, and needs

Within the Vision section we also expect you to:

  • describe the unmet need for new therapeutic approaches to the disease of interest

  • describe how the target is involved in the pathology or aetiology of the disease of interest

  • describe how manipulation of the target could produce disease modifying effects

Complete the table available in the Funding Service and paste as a figure into the Vision section including the following:

  • target name

  • target type, for example soluble cytokine, cell surface protein

  • mechanism of action, for example agonist, antagonist

  • proposed therapeutic use, for example disease, subpopulation

  • route of administration and dosing frequency, for example IV or sub-cutaneous with daily or weekly dosing frequency, which are acute or chronic

You may demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. Further details are provided in the Funding Service.

References may be included within this section.


Word limit: 2,200

How are you going to deliver your proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Explain how you have designed your approach so that it:

  • is effective and appropriate to achieve your objectives

  • is feasible, and comprehensively identifies any risks to delivery and how they will be managed

  • uses a clearly written and transparent methodology (if applicable)

  • summarises the previous work and describes how this will be built upon and progressed (if applicable)

  • will maximise translation of outputs into outcomes and impacts

  • describes how your, and if applicable your team’s, research environment (in terms of the place and relevance to the project) will contribute to the success of the work

Within the Approach section we also expect you to:

  • demonstrate access to the appropriate services, facilities, infrastructure, or equipment to deliver the elements of the project to be conducted outside the AstraZeneca facilities

  • provide a project plan for the assay cascade beyond the initial High throughput Screening (HTS) run in the form of an embedded schematic

  • provide a description of whether your application is applicable to fibrosis or extracellular matrix

  • consider the following (guides not requirements):

    • safety:

      • cells, including GMO and Hazard group

      • reduction or removal of any high risk reagents

    • cost:

      • commercial reagents and microtitre plates –bulk discount options

    • screening cascade:

      • identify the most appropriate assay format, considering practicality and suitability for identifying hits

      • orthogonal or artefact assays post-HTS in place that are suitable for triaging primary output

    • reagents:

      • feasibility to produce or purchase enough reagents for HTS

      • stability of reagents in storage and on bench (HTS environment and over run timescale)

      • relevant tool compound if available to validate and to use as control compound

    • assay process:

      • 384 or 1536 well plate compatible

      • minimise number of assay steps or dispenses

      • preferable to use assay ready plates rather than requirement for plate-to-plate transfer

    • quality control criteria:

      • Z’ >0.5

      • signal to background >3

      • %CV of a max control plate <10%

      • reproducibility of tool compound (pXC50 +/- 0.5log)

    • screen strategy:

      • number of compounds to screen – based on cost and assay throughput

You do not need data related to all elements of the above, as work can be undertaken as part of the screen set-up work at AstraZeneca to establish that all parameters are appropriate prior to the HTS being run. However, the viability of the approach may be impacted if there is insufficient data to demonstrate that the assay would be viable.

You may demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. Further details are provided in the Funding Service.

References may be included within this section.

Resources and cost justification

Word limit: 1,000

What will you need to deliver your proposed work and how much will it cost?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Justify the application’s more costly resources that relate to work to be conducted outside of AstraZeneca.

Costs incurred at AstraZeneca:

  • £150,000 (100% Exception) costs relating to staff and consumables at AstraZeneca (justification is not required for fixed costs)

  • £20,000 (100% Exception) costs related to AstraZeneca optimising the assay, looking at alternate readouts and running a feasibility panel. (justification is not required for fixed costs)

Costs incurred at the research organisation:

  • up to £100,000 full economic cost (£80,000 MRC Contribution) to costs incurred at the research organisation for follow up assays (this figure to also include cost of sending a PDRA to AstraZeneca for three months) justification to be provided relating to the particular areas, including:

    • project staff

    • significant travel for field work or collaboration (but not regular travel between collaborating organisations or to conferences)

    • any equipment that will cost more than £10,000

    • any consumables beyond typical requirements, or that are required in exceptional quantities

    • all facilities and infrastructure costs

    • all resources that have been costed as ‘Exceptions’

Assessors are not looking for detailed costs or a line-by-line breakdown of all project resources. Overall, they want you to demonstrate how the resources you anticipate needing for your proposed work:

  • are comprehensive, appropriate, and justified

  • represent the optimal use of resources to achieve the intended outcomes

  • maximise potential outcomes and impacts

Applicant and team capability to deliver

Word limit: 1,650

Why are you the right individual or team to successfully deliver the proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Evidence of how you, and if relevant your team, have:

  • the relevant experience (appropriate to career stage) to deliver the proposed work

  • the right balance of skills and expertise to cover the proposed work

  • the appropriate leadership and management skills to deliver the work and your approach to develop others

  • contributed to developing a positive research environment and wider community

You may demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. Further details are provided in the Funding Service.

The word count for this section is 1,650 words: 1,150 words to be used for R4RI modules (including references) and, if necessary, a further 500 words for Additions.

Use the Résumé for Research and Innovation (R4RI) format to showcase the range of relevant skills you and, if relevant, your team (project and project co-leads, researchers, technicians, specialists, partners and so on) have and how this will help deliver the proposed work. You can include individuals’ specific achievements but only choose past contributions that best evidence their ability to deliver this work.

Complete this section using the R4RI module headings listed. Use each heading once and include a response for the whole team, see the UKRI guidance on R4RI. You should consider how to balance your answer, and emphasise where appropriate the key skills each team member brings:

  • contributions to the generation of new ideas, tools, methodologies, or knowledge

  • the development of others and maintenance of effective working relationships

  • contributions to the wider research and innovation community

  • contributions to broader research or innovation users and audiences and towards wider societal benefit


Provide any further details relevant to your application. This section is optional and can be up to 500 words. You should not use it to describe additional skills, experiences, or outputs, but you can use it to describe any factors that provide context for the rest of your R4RI (for example, details of career breaks if you wish to disclose them).

Complete this as a narrative. Do not format it like a CV.

References may be included within this section.

UKRI has introduced new role types for funding opportunities being run on the new Funding Service.

For full details, see Eligibility as an individual.

Project partners

Add details about any project partners’ contributions. If there are no project partners, you can indicate this on the Funding Service.

A project partner is a collaborating third party organisation who will have an integral role in the proposed research. This may include direct (cash) or indirect (in-kind) contributions such as expertise, staff time or use of facilities.

You must ensure that any third party individual or organisation you include within the Funding Service as a project partner, also provides you with a supporting email or letter of support (see next section ‘Project partners: letters or emails of support’).

The individual named as the project partner contact, cannot be included in your application as a member of the core team, in any core team role.

The project partner organisation cannot be an applicant organisation, where any member of the core team is based. For example, you cannot include a different department based within the applicant organisation as a project partner.

If an individual or organisation outside the core team is responsible for recruitment of people as research participants or providing human tissue for this project, list them as a project partner.

Add the following project partner details:

  • the organisation name (searchable via a drop-down list or enter the organisation’s details manually, as applicable)

  • the project partner contact name and email address

  • the type of contribution (direct or in-direct) and its monetary value

If there are specific circumstances where project partners do require funding for minor costs such as travel and subsistence, these project partner costs should be claimed and justified within the resources and costs section of your application.

If a detail is entered incorrectly and you have saved the entry, remove the specific project partner record and re-add it with the correct information.

For audit purposes, UKRI requires formal collaboration agreements to be put in place if an award is made.

Project partners: letters (or emails) of support

Upload a single PDF containing the letters or emails of support from each partner you named in the ‘Project partners’ section. These should be uploaded in English or Welsh only.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Enter the words ‘attachment supplied’ in the text box.

What supporting statements we are looking for

AstraZeneca is a DeFacto project partner on all awards. A standard Collaboration Agreement (CA) template has been agreed between the MRC and AstraZeneca, which is compliant with the Industry Collaboration Framework.

A copy of the CA template will be available in due course. In order to ensure a timely start of all projects, these agreements are not subject to negotiation, and an email or PDF letter should be provided by the relevant agency within your research organisation confirming that you are willing to sign up to the conditions of the award.

This should be the first letter within the attached PDF.

In addition, if any third-party organisations are involved in the application (unusual on these awards), then they should provide a letter of supported based on the guidance below and should also confirm that they are acknowledge that the agreement with AstraZeneca will only be with the applicant’s research organisation.

Important note: We are only looking for you to provide project partner letters or emails of support from the following:

  • a third party individual

  • a third party organisation

Third party means the individual and organisation must not be involved in the application core team. You must ensure that any project partners providing a supporting document, are also added to the ‘Project partners’ section within the Funding Service.

Ensure you have prior agreement from project partners so that, if you are offered funding, they will support your project as indicated in the ‘Project partners’ section.

For audit purposes, UKRI requires formal collaboration agreements to be put in place if an award is made.

What supporting statements we are not looking for

We are not looking for you to provide any letters or emails of support from individuals or organisations included in your application core team (this includes other departments within the same organisation). Any individual or organisation included in your application with a core team role cannot also be a project partner.

Do not include any other statements or any other type of information we have not requested, including letter or emails of support from colleagues simply expressing supportive opinions. We only expect letters or emails of support from your third party project partners uploaded to this section.

If you include any information not requested by MRC, your application will be rejected.

Supporting document guidance for third party project partners

Each project partner supporting letter or email you provide, should:

  • be no more than two A4 pages

  • confirm the partner’s commitment to the project

  • clearly explain the value, relevance, and possible benefits of the work to them

  • describe any additional value that they bring to the project

  • include the name of the project partner organisation and contact information (this should match the partner contact and organisation name details you must add to the ‘Project partners’ section)

Project partners letters and emails of support are not required to be on headed paper or include handwritten signatures (electronic signatures are acceptable from the nominated partner contact).

Project partner responsibility for the recruitment of people

If the project partner is responsible for the recruitment of people as research participants or providing human tissue their letter or email of support should include:

  • agreement that the project partner will recruit the participants or provide tissue

  • confirmation that what is being supplied is suitable for the proposed work

  • confirmation that the quantity of tissue being supplied is suitable, but not excessive for achieving meaningful results (if applicable)

 Multiple project partners

If you have multiple project partners, you should:

  • ensure each separate letter or email of support, does not exceed two pages of A4

  • consolidate all the supporting documents provided by each project partner into a single PDF file before uploading

  • ensure the PDF does not exceed the maximum file size of 8MB

For the file name, use the unique Funding Service number the system gives you when you create an application, followed by the words ‘Project partner’.

The Funding Service will provide document upload details when you apply.

Trusted Research and Innovation (TR&I)

Word limit: 100

Does the proposed work involve international collaboration in a sensitive research or technology area?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Demonstrate how your proposed international collaboration relates to TR&I, including:

  • list the countries your international project co-leads, project partners and visiting researchers, or other collaborators are based in

  • if international collaboration is involved, explain whether this project is relevant to one or more of the 17 areas of the UK National Security and Investment (NSI) Act

  • if one or more of the 17 areas of the UK National Security and Investment (NSI) Act are involved list the areas

If your proposed work does not involve international collaboration, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.

We may ask you to provide additional information about how your proposed project will comply with our approach and expectation towards TR&I, identifying potential risks and the relevant controls you will put in place to help manage these risks.


Word limit: 250

Does your proposed research require the support and use of a facility?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If you will need to use a facility, follow your proposed facility’s normal access request procedures. Ensure you have prior agreement so that if you are offered funding, they will support the use of their facility on your project.

For each requested facility you will need to provide the:

  • name of facility, copied and pasted from the facility information list (DOCX, 35KB)

  • proposed usage or costs, or costs per unit where indicated on the facility information list

  • confirmation you have their agreement where required

If you will not need to use a facility, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.

Data management and sharing

Word limit: 1,500

How will you manage and share data collected or acquired through the proposed research?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Provide a data management plan which should clearly detail how you will comply with MRC’s published data management and sharing policies, which includes detailed guidance notes.

Provide your response in the text box following the headings in the MRC data management plan template. You are not required to upload the document to your application.

The length of your plan will vary depending on the type of study being undertaken:

  • population cohorts, longitudinal studies, genetic, omics and imaging data, biobanks, and other collections that are potentially a rich resource for the wider research community: maximum of 1,500 words

  • all other research, less complex, the plan may be as short as 500 words

Ethics and responsible research and innovation (RRI)

Word limit: 500

What are the ethical or RRI implications and issues relating to the proposed work? If you do not think that the proposed work raises any ethical or RRI issues, explain why.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Demonstrate that you have identified and evaluated:

  • the relevant ethical or responsible research and innovation considerations

  • how you will manage these considerations

Consider the MRC guidance on ethics and approvals

You may demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. Further details are provided in the Funding Service.

Genetic and biological risk

Word limit: 700

Does your proposed research involve any genetic or biological risk?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

In respect of animals, plants or microbes, are you proposing to:

  • use genetic modification as an experimental tool, like studying gene function in a genetically modified organism

  • release genetically modified organisms

  • ultimately develop commercial and industrial genetically modified outcomes

If yes, provide the name of any required approving body and state if approval is already in place. If it is not, provide an indicative timeframe for obtaining the required approval.

Identify the organism or organisms as a plant, animal or microbe and specify the species and which of the three categories the research relates to.

Identify the genetic and biological risks resulting from the proposed research, their implications, and any mitigation you plan on taking. Assessors will want to know you have considered the risks and their implications to justify that any identified risks do not outweigh any benefits of the proposed research.

If this does not apply to your proposed work, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.

Research involving the use of animals

Word limit: 10

Does your proposed research involve the use of vertebrate animals or other organisms covered by the Animals Scientific Procedures Act?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If you are proposing research that requires using animals, download and complete the Animals Scientific Procedures Act template (DOCX, 74KB), which contains all the questions relating to research using vertebrate animals or other Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 regulated organisms.

Save it as a PDF. The Funding Service will provide document upload details when you apply. If this does not apply to your proposed work, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.

Research involving human tissues or biological samples

Word limit: 700

Does your proposed research involve the use of human tissues, or biological samples?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If you are proposing work that involves human tissues or biological samples, provide the name of any required approving body and whether approval is already in place.

Justify the use of human tissue or biological samples specifying the nature and quantity of the material to be used and its source.

If this does not apply to your proposed work, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.

Supporting information


‘Classical’ development of new investigational medicinal products has been based on the manufacture of active chemical substances (drugs), and accounts for approximately 90% of the drugs available for treatment of medical conditions today.High Throughput Screening (HTS) is a tool that has been used by big pharma for decades to search for small molecule starting points for their internal research and development pipeline projects.The Small molecule High Throughput Screen using AstraZeneca facilities funding opportunity, will provide a unique opportunity for academic drug discovery projects by supplying HTS infrastructure in the AstraZeneca Discovery Centre in Cambridge.Whilst some academic institutions have developed drug discovery screening facilities the AstraZeneca facility will offer the following access which together do not exist in academia:

  • access to advanced compound management facilities

  • a large compound collection

  • advanced screening robotics

  • multiple state of the art assay platform technologies

AstraZeneca has carefully curated a collection of approximately two million compounds within its corporate HTS collection. The full collection is available for screening within this initiative, if suitable assays are derived. It will provide the same opportunity for applicants as for AstraZeneca’s internal research and development teams, thereby maximising the chance of the academic groups identifying tractable hits which may be advanced into chemistry development programmes.Find out more about the collaboration with AstraZeneca on YouTube.Find out more about NiCoLA-B on the AstraZeneca website.

Intellectual property

All projects funded under this initiative will be collaborative studies between academic researchers and AstraZeneca. The project leads will work under a pre-agreed standard collaborative research agreement, jointly signed by the research organisation and AstraZeneca, based closely on the Lambert Agreement for preclinical studies. Release of funds will be contingent on receipt of the signed agreement by MRC.The research organisation will own all generated intellectual property (IP). AstraZeneca will have the first right to negotiate for an exclusive licence to any arising and relevant background.AstraZeneca can declare an interest (in writing) in exercising their option at any point in the project and up to six months after the project ends. If AstraZeneca do not exercise their option or are unable to agree terms, any jointly generated IP will be assigned to the research organisation at the relevant period with AstraZeneca signing away any claim over exploitation or profit.The Collaboration Agreement Template will be available in due course.

Research disruption due to COVID-19

We recognise that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused major interruptions and disruptions across our communities. We are committed to ensuring that individual applicants and their wider team, including partners and networks, are not penalised for any disruption to their career, such as:

  • breaks and delays

  • disruptive working patterns and conditions

  • the loss of ongoing work

  • role changes that may have been caused by the pandemic

Reviewers and panel members will be advised to consider the unequal impacts that COVID-19 related disruption might have had on the capability to deliver and career development of those individuals included in the application. They will be asked to consider the capability of the applicant and their wider team to deliver the research they are proposing.Where disruptions have occurred, you can highlight this within your application if you wish, but there is no requirement to detail the specific circumstances that caused the disruption.

Related content

Get help with your application

If you have a question and the answers aren’t provided on this page

Important note: The Helpdesk is committed to helping users of the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Funding Service as effectively and as quickly as possible. In order to manage cases at peak volume times, the Helpdesk will triage and prioritise those queries with an imminent opportunity deadline and/or a technical issue. Enquiries raised where information is available on the Funding Finder opportunity page and should be understood early in the application process (for example, regarding eligibility or content/remit of an opportunity) will not constitute a priority case and will be addressed as soon as possible.

Contact details

For help and advice on costings and writing your application please contact your research office in the first instance, allowing sufficient time for your organisation’s submission process.

For questions related to this specific funding opportunity please contact

For general questions related to MRC funding including our funding opportunities and policy please contact

Any queries regarding the system or the submission of applications through the Funding Service should be directed to the helpdesk.


Phone: 01793 547490

Our phone lines are open:

  • Monday to Thursday 8:30am to 5:00pm

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To help us process queries quicker, we request that users highlight the council and opportunity name in the subject title of their email query, include the application reference number, and refrain from contacting more than one mailbox at a time.

Find information on submitting an application.

Sensitive information

If you or a core team member need to tell us something you wish to remain confidential, email

Include in the subject line: [the funding opportunity title; sensitive information; your Funding Service application number].

Typical examples of confidential information include:

  • individual is unavailable until a certain date (for example due to parental leave)

  • declaration of interest

  • additional information about eligibility to apply that would not be appropriately shared in the ‘Applicant and team capability’ section

  • conflict of interest for UKRI to consider in reviewer or panel participant selection

  • the application is an invited resubmission

For information about how UKRI handles personal data, read UKRI’s privacy notice.