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Our winning proposals: What makes for a MRC win?


Pilot data, clinical relevance and canny timing all play their part, say five grantees

Medical Research Council Research Grants are highly competitive considering the amount of work required: the success rate for 2017-2018 was only 24 per cent. What separates the winning bids from all those other excellent research proposals? After speaking with five 2018 grantees in neuroscience and mental health, it became apparent that robust pilot data has a lot to do with it.

Lorenzo Fabrizi, a senior research fellow at University College London in neuro, physiology and pharmacology who won a £1,230,213 Research Grant from the funder says that preliminary data from collaborators and unpublished work in his own group was crucial to his bid. “I would say one-third [of the pilot data] was redeployed data from a collaborating group on a new question and the other two preliminary data sets came from work that was already going on in the group. 

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