Action Medical Research

Grants and fellowships to enable medical research in hospitals or research institutions across the UK that aims to prevent disease and disability and alleviate physical disability.

The following grants are available:

  • Project Grants - Grants are normally available for up to £200,000. Consideration will be given to requests at a lower level of funding including grants below £50,000.
  • Research Training Fellowships - Applications are not expected to be much above £240,000 for a three year fellowship. The maximum upper limit is £250,000.

A research team can only apply for one grant per grant round.


Before You Start

In 1952 Duncan Guthrie set up the charity which was to become Action Medical Research. Originally established to find a preventative vaccine for polio, the charity has expanded and now funds the most comprehensive range of innovative medical research.

The aim of the charity is to prevent and treat disease and disability by funding vital medical research in hospitals or research institutions across the UK.

Support will focus on child health to include problems affecting pregnancy, childbirth, babies, children and young people.  A broad spectrum of research will be supported with the objectives of:

  • Preventing disease and disability.
  • Alleviating physical disability.

Emphasis is placed on biomedical clinical research or research at the interface between clinical and basic science.

Support is also available for research and development of equipment and techniques to improve diagnosis, therapy and assistive technology. Applications in the field of medical engineering are encouraged.


Grants are not provided for the following:

  • Service provision or audit studies.
  • Higher education, although Research Training Fellows are strongly encouraged to independently register for a PhD.
  • Course fees for degrees or subsistence costs.
  • Medical or dental electives.
  • Work undertaken outside the UK.
  • Any indirect costs such as administrative or other overheads imposed by the University or other Institution.
  • Costs associated with advertising and recruitment of staff.
  • Top up funding for work supported by other funding bodies.
  • Costs to attend conferences (current Action Medical Research grantholders may apply separately as the need arises during the grant).
  • General appeals from other charities. Applications would normally come directly from research teams and projects need to be passed through the scientific peer review system.
  • Research into complementary / alternative medicine.
  • How best to train clinical staff.
  • Psychosocial aspects of treatment.
  • Social research, family relationships or socioeconomic research.
  • Very basic research with little likelihood of clinical impact within the short to medium term.

What You Need To Know

Key Criteria

Applicants must work within a university, teaching hospital or other recognised research institution in the UK.

Applicants based in core funded units can apply but need to demonstrate added value. Work of notable excellence or innovation is favoured by the charity.

Eligible Expenditure

Project Grants

Support may be obtained for up to three years under this scheme in support of one precisely formulated line of research. The principal investigator (PI) for a project grant is normally employed in a permanent position in a UK university or institution. Fixed term employees on a long term contract may be eligible to be a PI, providing the term of employment extends at least six months beyond the duration of the proposed research project and the host research institution is prepared to give all the necessary support to the individual and the project. Funding will not cover the salary of a PI.

Support covers salary costs, consumables and items of dedicated equipment essential for carrying out the work. The university or research institute should provide standard laboratory equipment and standard office computers. The application should not include any indirect costs such as administrative or other overheads imposed by the university or other institutions and funding is not normally available to pay salary costs for those already employed on salaried positions.

Potential joint awards from Action Medical Research and The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy Charitable Trust

Applications will be considered through the Action Medical Research peer review system for research into the treatment and rehabilitation of paediatric non-acquired brain injury and/or cerebral palsy. Paediatric non-acquired brain injury includes any brain injury caused by events before or during birth (prenatal and perinatal period). Cerebral palsy includes any movement disorder that is attributed to non-progressive disturbances that occurred in the fetal or infant brain. Exclusions to this definition include progressive neuromuscular conditions.

The Principal Investigator must be a full member of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy. Grants of up to £250,000 are available.

Potential joint awards from Action Medical Research and The Scottish Government Chief Scientist Office (CSO).

Applications will be considered through the Action Medical Research peer review system for translational biomedical research in the fields of child health under Action's broad remit to include problems affecting pregnancy, childbirth, babies, children and young people. Projects will be identified in open competition as part of a response mode UK-wide round managed by Action Medical Research. Applications for joint funding will be from lead applicants with tenured posts at recognised Scottish Universities, NHS hospitals or research institutes.

Research Training Fellowships (RTF)

Grants are awarded for two to three years duration for the training of young medical and non-medical graduates in research techniques and methodology in a subject relevant to the overall aims of the charity. These awards are intended for medical and bioengineering graduates. Applications from clinicians, bioengineers, research nurses and allied health professionals are welcomed. The scheme is not intended for basic biological scientists or for postdoctoral researchers unless they are in the field of bioengineering and will be receiving significant new training. The scheme aims to help build the UK research base by training the research leaders of the future.

These awards should not be viewed as project grant applications to simply extend current research as candidates will be expected to demonstrate a significant training element to their project. The awards are not perceived as studentships and higher education fees are not covered although training fellows are strongly encouraged to independently register for a higher degree.

Candidates are expected to have at least some experience of research following their first degree. Medical graduates should have had limited research training but wish to develop a long-term career in academic medicine in the UK. They should not be more than six years post MRCP (or equivalent).

Consumable research expenses essential for the period of research training will be awarded, dependent upon provision of a full justification for their request. Support covers salary costs and consumable costs. Items of capital equipment cannot be considered.

How To Apply

Application deadlines are as follows:

  • Project Grants awards round two including potential joint awards from Action Medical Research and Borne: 28 March 2017.
  • The 2016 Research Training Fellowships deadline has now passed. Details on future deadlines will be reported when available.

All applicants should complete the relevant two-page outline proposal form and e-mail it to the Research Department. The purpose of the outline is to establish that the proposed work clearly falls within the remit and priorities of Action Medical Research.

If the outline proposal is acceptable, applicants will be invited to complete a full application form online.