MRC Proximity to Discovery Industry Engagement fund

This scheme is currently closed for applications. 

About the scheme

MRC have awarded the University of Bristol £100,000 for short term two-way people exchanges between industry and academia which align to MRC strategic priorities in population health, cardiovascular research, infection and immunity, neuroscience and cancer. MRC see people exchange as a key way of exchanging skills and knowledge and developing longer term working relationships.

Anticipated outcomes include:


  • increased direct funding to the University from our industrial partners
  • increased joint University and Industry applications to research councils and Innovate UK
  • increased partnering and licensing activity


  • a deeper knowledge of industrial needs and working methods, which will enable them to better direct their research efforts into future impacts.
  • RED/EBI will have regular contact with the University-based awardee and will work with them to identify training needs that may be filled in advance of them going out to the partner company. For example, they may be given some mentoring on the drug discovery process, IP or other areas as appropriate. 

Funds will be allocated through competitive funding calls.

Eligible activities

People exchange projects should be UK based but can be flexible, part-time or full-time, although are not expected to exceed 6 months full-time unless in exceptional circumstances. Activities could include:

  • an exchange of skills or knowledge which will enable new collaborative medical projects to develop or
  • an enhancement of the understanding of each other’s business model allowing the University to better support development of medical research collaborations with industrial partners.

In order to ensure a reasonable spread of exchanges, we would not fund more than two exchanges within the same company during the course of the program, unless in exceptional circumstances.

Exchanges do not necessarily need to be underpinned by MRC funded research.

Funding can be used to support academic and industry costs related to people exchange.

Successful applicants must have a collaboration agreement in place with the third party before the project commences.

Eligible staff

Applicants may be full-time or contract staff:  Research scientists, senior academics, technicians, students and/or professional services staff (such as University research support staff or industry-based Business Development staff).

Award amount

Proposals are expected to be up to £25,000 each for 6 months. Please note we only have £100,000 in total for this call. Funds should be spent by 31 August 2019.


  • Funding can be used to support academic and industry costs related to people exchange.
  • An approved fEC costing and Head of School signature on the application form are not necessary by the submission deadline but are required before the assessment panel meeting.
  • Please choose “UoB Full Economic Cost” as the Funder to include appropriate inflation. Where possible, please include the FEC number in the application form. 

Outward exchanges

Funds for outward exchanges of University staff to industry can be used for

  • salary of the secondee (and associated superannuation and NI contributions)
  • reasonable travel and subsistence costs needed to support the secondee

Indirect and Estates costs are not permitted. Post-doctoral secondees should be paid an appropriate Research Assistant salary.

Secondees must be eligible to work in the UK for the duration of the secondment. 

Inward exchanges

Industrial partners are expected to contribute by covering all of the costs of associated with them sending staff to Bristol on exchanges.

Non-eligible costs

  • Indirect and Estates costs must be covered by the School or Department
  • The funding is not intended to support staff exchange into a spin out company of the host RO
  • IP protection, public engagement, training of undergraduates, and new research costs are not permitted
  • One of the purposes of these exchanges is to provide access to existing equipment so the purchasing of new equipment is non-eligible 


Please contact to discuss your idea.

Further information and queries

If you require further information or have any queries, please email Sarah Blackmore, EBI Funding Officer

Funded Proximity to Discovery Industry Engagement projects

Find out more about our funded Proximity to Discovery Industry Engagement projects

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