Joint Health Systems Research Initiative

This scheme supports research based in low- and middle-income countries to improve health systems in those locations.

The scheme is jointly supported by the Department for International Development (DFID), the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Wellcome Trust.

Scheme at a glance

Career stage:

Leading a research programme

Where your host organisation is based:

UK, Republic of Ireland, Low- or middle-income countries, Rest of the world

Type of researcher:

Basic, Clinical, Public health

Level of funding:

Approximately £4 million is available to fund five to ten research grants. Foundation grants are up to £200,000 each.

Duration of funding:

Research grants normally last up to three years. Foundation grants last for 24 months.

Who can apply

You can apply to the Health Systems Research Initiative if your research is based in a low- or middle-income country.

The principal investigator for your study must be employed by an eligible organisation either in a low- or middle-income country or in the UK. If the principal investigator is based in the UK, there must be a clear partnership with, and scientific leadership from, co-investigators based in the countries where the project will take place.

You can find out more about eligibility for this initiative on the Medical Research Council website.

What we're looking for

Health systems in low- and middle-income countries face the challenges of substantial socioeconomic and health inequalities, rapid globalisation and evolving disease burdens. We need a robust evidence base to strengthen health systems and improve the delivery of healthcare.
 
Our reviewers are looking for proposals that will generate evidence on how to strengthen and improve health systems in low- and middle-income countries. Research findings should inform the delivery of evidence-based interventions or structural changes that are of direct relevance to decision makers.

You should describe how and why your project findings will have the potential to improve the health of people living in low- and middle-income countries.

We encourage applications from multidisciplinary teams that include biomedical scientists and social scientists.

You can chose from two types of grant:

  • Research grants: These grants are for small and larger-scale projects.
  • Foundation grants: These grants support researchers who are conducting preliminary studies before designing research grant proposals. The grants are also for exploring possible innovations, under-researched areas and creative approaches.

You can find out more about eligibility for this initiative on the Medical Research Council website.

Other schemes

Joint Global Health Trials scheme

Funding late-stage trials of interventions that will provide evidence to help improve health in low- and middle-income countries.
Full details of Joint Global Health Trials scheme
Scheme finder

This year, the Health Systems Research Initiative has about £6 million to fund several awards. There are two types of grant. Both types include research expenses directly related to the study.

1. Research grants

Approximately £4 million is available to fund five to ten research grants. These grants normally last up to three years, with a maximum duration of five years. There are no budget limits.

2. Foundation grants

Each foundation grant has a maximum budget of £200,000 and lasts for 24 months.

You can find out more about the support we offer on the Medical Research Council website.

What we don’t offer

We don't fund the routine delivery of health services. Funding is available for research only.

Please go to the Medical Research Council website to find out how to apply. The MRC processes all applications for this scheme. Please don’t apply to the Wellcome Trust. 

The Joint Health System Research Committee shortlists and recommends applicants. There are no interviews for this scheme.

Dates

The Medical Research Council considers applications once a year. 

Research grants

  • Outline proposal deadline

    30 January 2018

  • Decision about outline proposals

    June 2018

  • Panel meeting

    October 2018

Foundation grants

  • Application deadline

    5 June 2018

  • Panel meeting

    October 2018

More information

Find out about how we've worked with the funding community to develop principles and obligations setting out what we expect from those responsible for clinical training, trainees and funders across the UK.

Funding partners

Definitions

Leading a research programme

For researchers with a PhD or the equivalent, and significant postdoctoral research experience.

UK
Republic of Ireland
Low- or middle-income countries

See a list of low- and middle-income countries, as defined by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Rest of the world
Basic

You're not a clinically qualified researcher.

Clinical

You're a clinically qualified doctor, vet, dentist or a clinical psychologist.

Public health

Key dates

The Medical Research Council considers applications once a year.

Research grants

  • Outline proposal deadline

    30 January 2018

  • Decision about outline proposals

    June 2018

  • Panel meeting

    October 2018

Foundation grants

  • Application deadline

    5 June 2018

  • Panel meeting

    October 2018

Contact us

If you have a question, contact the Medical Research Council: