11 December 2018

New Funding Scheme Supporting Clinical Research Capacity

The MRC has launched a new funding scheme today which will provide full-time NHS consultants, who are research-qualified but not active, the opportunity to participate in high-quality, collaborative, research partnerships.

The Clinical Academic Research Partnership (CARP) scheme will enable clinicians to contribute to research programmes as part-time co-investigators rather than programme leads.

The scheme will have the added benefit of helping better connect basic biomedical science to clinical research. The programme will enhance medical research capacity, contributing to the people and skills needed to deliver the government’s ambitious target of increasing UK investment in research and development to 2.4% GDP by 2027.

The new scheme is targeted at NHS consultants who have a PhD or MD, but are not currently research active. It will support them to develop new collaborations with outstanding research groups, enabling the consultants to build upon their research skills while also encouraging the exchange of perspectives, ideas and connections between clinicians and biomedical researchers needed for successful translational health and biomedical research.

Professor Fiona Watt, Executive Chair of the MRC, said: "We know many consultants are keen to engage with research but lack the opportunities and funding to do so. We aim to change that, ensuring that they can put the valuable skills acquired during their PhD or MD training to use, and that research groups can benefit from the clinical insights they are able to offer.”

We have committed £10 million to pilot the scheme for two rounds of applications, with plans to develop the pilot, if successful, into a long-term scheme. The National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) has offered its full support to the scheme and committed up to £2 million additional funding to the pilot.

Professor Dave Jones, Dean of the NIHR Academy, said: "NIHR are delighted to be supporting CARP. This represents a really exciting opportunity for research-trained NHS consultants to use their research skills and develop their research careers to drive improvements in patient care. The UK is a world-leader in biomedical research and this important initiative can only strengthen us further."

Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Scientific Adviser for the Department of Health and Social Care, added: “Research to improve health in the future depends on a strong pairing of NHS and academic skills. This scheme helps NHS consultants to participate fully in research and NIHR is very pleased to support it."

Further details about the Clinical Academic Research Partnership scheme and information about how to apply can be found on the CARP funding call page.