MRC Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme

 Posted by  Funding
Oct 182010
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The Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme (DPFS) is a new, rigorously-assessed, funding scheme set up by the Medical Research Council (MRC) to help strengthen the translation of fundamental research towards patient benefit. It does not fund discoveries of new causes or risk factors of disease, biomarkers, drug targets, biomaterials or research tools, but takes these as starting points and supports their application to improve healthcare and benefits for patients. The DPFS forms a key part of the MRC’s Translational Research Strategy.

Key features:

  • The objective of the Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme is to support the translation of fundamental basic and clinical research findings towards the clinic.
  • Projects should target significant and unmet health needs.
  • The DPFS will support the development of novel therapies, interventions and diagnostics, and the research tools used in the development of therapies, interventions or diagnostics.
  • DPFS proposals will need to show a clear understanding of the evidence needed to advance a treatment into medical use and use this to define two to three clear milestones, depending on project complexity, in their project plans. These will help maximise success and enable the project to attract required downstream funding, whether from public or private sources, along the path to meet its clinical aims.
  • The DPFS will support a significant proportion of high-risk high-payoff projects, especially in fields not being actively pursued in the private sector at present.
  • The focus of the DPFS in diagnostics is to provide support for the development and technical validation of assays suitable for clinical application.
  • It is envisaged that projects would normally seek initial funding in the range of £250k-750k. Depending on the nature of the research, this might be sufficient for one or two years work, or occasionally longer.
  • Applications including partnerships with charities or industry are strongly encouraged where these add value to the project for example in terms of access to expertise, technologies, reagents or funding.

Examples of proposals likely to be supported:

  • Validating an association between a fundamental discovery and a disease process (target validation).
  • Developing candidate therapeutic entities – from drug discovery up to early evaluation in humans.
  • Developing candidate diagnostics or medical devices – from prototype design up to early evaluation in humans.


Outline applications must be submitted via the Electronic Application and Assessment (EAA) system using the DPFS outline application form. The deadlines for outline applications are Thursday 18 November 2010 and Tuesday 8 March 2011 (4pm).

Proposals will be assessed by a two-step process. A brief outline proposal will be reviewed by an expert panel. Successful outline applicants will be invited to submit a full application, which will undergo a further round of more detailed review.

Further information is available on the MRC website at Alternatively contact HSC Innovations for advice. This information was summarised from the MRC website.