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Funding Opportunities – Quarterly Roundup


A variety of funding programmes operate in Scotland, designed to support and inspire the development of high-quality research, innovation and collaboration. Edinburgh BioQuarter has prepared an introduction to a selection of these programme to provide an easy access starting point for researchers.

This list (Q3 – September 2020) is not exhaustive and if you are aware of health-related funding initiatives that would be of benefit to our research community, please contact us by email.

Strong infrastructure and clinical and academic expertise create a vibrant research environment in Scotland with clinical research embedded within our NHS.

A strong infrastructure and ethos of partnership between NHS, academia and industry enhances world-class research, clinical and commercial opportunities in Scotland.

Working together we can ensure that Scotland remains a leader in the life sciences and in addressing global health challenges, including the current coronavirus pandemic.



NHS Research Scotland is committed to strengthening the research culture in Scotland.

Scottish researchers can apply to a variety of funding schemes, including NIHR Evaluation, Trials and Studies Coordinating Centre (NETSCC) programmes, to meet the costs associated with clinical research. Studies should follow the AcoRD Guidance on identifying and attributing costs.


The NIHR offers ten different research programmes that researchers can apply to, each of which funds different types of research.

These broad research areas are: Public Health, Health Services and Organisation, Clinical Evaluation and Translation, Technology development, Social Care. In addition, Themed Calls are funding opportunities focusing on a particular research area in which all NIHR programmes participate.

Find out more about:


NHS Research Infrastructure Funding is provided by the Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Government Health Directorates to Scottish NHS Boards to enable the provision of a robust research support infrastructure in order to successfully deliver trials and studies.

CSO work closely with NHS Research Scotland, is in close contact with other health research funding organisations across the UK, and updates are provided in the website news section and associated links.

Find out more about:


Next Generation Home Vision Testing: Deadline for Phase 1 applications is 18th November 2020

NHS Scotland and Innovate UK are funding a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition where successful applicants will receive 100% funding and access to advice from NHS Forth Valley, NHS Ayrshire and Arran and NHS Grampian.

The challenge is to pioneer next generation home vision testing, so that it can be done at home, in school and in under-served communities, with live remote supervision from healthcare professionals.

Eye problems will be more easily detected, monitored and managed to prevent sight loss. Your project must bring together low-cost digital solutions and sources of relevant information to solve the challenges of:

  • access to eye testing
  • quicker diagnostics
  • enabling self-checks

The competition opens on 21st September and an online briefing event will be hosted on 30th September.

Find out more about:


LifeArc’s offices in Scotland are located at NINE, Edinburgh BioQuarter.

LifeArc is a charity helping turn promising science into benefits for patients and fund collaborations and science projects directly to support the early translation of biomedical innovations.

The Philanthropic Fund provides grants for rare disease science, irrespective of commercial viability. LifeArc will award £5 million in grants to support medical research projects focused on translation of rare diseases research.

The Seed Fund is aimed at developing new therapeutics and biological modalities. LifeArc has allocated an initial £25m to be invested over a four-year period.

The Development Gap Fund (DGF) is an MRC Fund administered by LifeArc which supports small-scale studies, building upon research undertaken in MRC Units and Institutes, to provide proof of concept for translational projects. Projects from MRC University Units may be considered on a case by case basis.


The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) Scottish Research Pools are collectively coming together with SFC-funded partners, Innovation Centres and Interface, to intensify efforts around interdisciplinary research and innovation to support economic recovery and societal change.

Scottish Research Pools facilitate collaborative research and development working across sectors and provide various opportunities for funding awards for academic and research staff, and students within their member Universities, to promote and encourage networking, collaboration and knowledge exchange within Scotland and beyond.

Find out more about Research Innovation Scotland.


The Medical Research Council (MRC) works to improve the health of people in the UK – and around the world – by supporting excellent science and in co-coordinating and funding medical research in the UK.


The Wellcome Trust believe in the power of ideas to improve health and offer funding schemes supporting thousands of scientists and researchers in more than 70 countries.

Funding schemes support individuals, teams, resources, seed ideas, places and major initiatives in the following areas:

  • biomedical science
  • population health
  • product development and applied research
  • humanities and social science
  • public engagement and creative industries


UKRI is committed to funding projects and programmes in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 research and innovation proposals supported by UKRI

  • Repurposing existing funding for COVID-19 research
  • Addressing the COVID-19 challenge in the UK and internationally

Find out more about UKRI COVID-19


The Government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund brings together leading research and business to tackle the big societal and industrial challenges today.

Health and social care related fund examples:

From data to early diagnosis and precision medicine
The government’s challenge to industry and research to use existing health data to improve early diagnosis and precision treatment of disease.

Healthy ageing
The healthy ageing challenge asks industry and researchers to develop products and services to help people remain independent, productive, active and socially connected for longer.

Leading-edge healthcare
The government’s challenge to industry and research to develop and manufacture new medicines and digital health products and technologies.


Funding opportunities also regularly become available via Medical Research Charities.

Medical Research Scotland

Medical Research Scotland is an independent medical research charity which provides funding for research which aims to improve the diagnosis, treatment or prevention of any disease; to understand basic disease processes; or to develop medical technology.

MND Scotland

MND Scotland is a Scottish charity providing care and support to people affected by Motor Neurone Disease (MND), as well as funding ground-breaking MND research in Scotland and across the UK, into finding a cure.


Be part of an active community people building solutions to COVID-19 with Covid Accelerator.


AbbVie seek partners to deliver innovative medicines and make a remarkable impact on people’s lives with an interest in projects at all stages (discovery to clinical), platforms and technologies.

Digital Partnering Days

AbbVie host digital partnering events. A one-to-one meeting is required in advance.

  • Meet research and partnership leadership teams to discuss your ideas and research in a virtual one-on-one setting
  • Learn more about areas of interest (Oncology, Immunology, Neuroscience, Eyecare, Virology and General Medicine) and approach to partnering