Special Project Grants

For research projects costing more than £300,000. This grant type supports basic science research and funding for population based cohort studies and studies using datasets only.

If you are applying for funding for a clinical trial or for a cohort study recruiting a specific patient population (not population based) costing more than £300,000, please use our Clinical Study form.

Entry requirements

  • The principal investigator will be a senior researcher working in an established research institution in the UK. He/she must have a strong track record of   project grant support, usually from us and an internationally recognised research profile.
  • The proposed research plan must be extensive and imaginative, but remain focused.

Grant duration

  • Up to five years, with an interim review at the half way point.

Award may include

  • Staff salaries. For example: technician, research assistant, postdoctoral salaries. This excludes PhD studentships.
  • Research consumables directly attributable to the project.
  • Research equipment essential for the project.

How to apply

Preliminary outline proposals

Prospective applicants must have submitted a preliminary outline at least 18 months before the expected start date and received our approval to submit a full application.

To decide whether it is appropriate to apply, please complete the online preliminary application form following the instructions in the GMS User Guide.

Additional information

You will be asked to attach a single PDF document to your online application form containing the following information:

  1. Name, department and institute for each co-applicant (maximum of 10 co-applicants allowed).
  2. Background to your proposal.
  3. Research proposals for the next five years, including objectives and the main methods to be used to tackle the research aims.
  4. Your objectives in the longer term.
  5. An explanation of why the research requires Special Project rather than Project Grant support.
  6. Summary of expected costs.
  7. Relevant current and recent grants held by principal investigator and co-applicants.
  8. List of the principal investigator's and co-applicant(s) relevant publications.

Sections 1-6 must not exceed three A4 sides.

Please ensure Arial font size 12 is used. If this font size is not used, the application will be rejected prior to formal consideration.

Outline proposals should be submitted at least 18 months before the expected start date of any award. Allow one month for outline to be considered.

Full applications

Once a preliminary application is approved you will be able to complete a full online application form following the instructions in the GMS User Guide.

Additional information

You will be asked to attach a single PDF document to your online application form containing the following information:

  1. For resubmissions, include an unedited copy of the original feedback followed by a detailed response, limited to 3 pages, explaining how the revised application has changed from the original submission.
  2. Abstract of the proposed investigation in less than 150 words.
  3. Background to the project and pilot data.
  4. Original hypothesis.
  5. Experimental details and design of proposed investigation.
  6. Power calculations.
  7. Expected value of results.
  8. List of references relevant to the proposed project.
  9. List of principal investigator's and co-applicant(s)' relevant publications.
  10. Appendices should be a maximum of 3 additional pages containing only tables or figures essential to the understanding of the application. Research papers whether published, in press or in preparation may not be attached (although hyperlinks can be provided). 
  11. Brief CV (two A4 sides including email address) of named staff for whom salary is requested.
  12. Supporting letters from collaborators.
  13. Quotes obtained for requested equipment.
  14. Valid copy of ethical approval if relevant.

Sections 2-7 must not exceed 10 A4 sides. The PDF file size must not exceed 20MB.

Please ensure Arial font size 12 is used. If this font size is not used the application will be rejected prior to formal consideration.

Decision process

There are no closing dates. Please submit the application when it is ready.

We will acknowledge receipt of your application within 24 hours and and we will advise when you can expect the result. A decision will be reached by the Chairs and Programme Grants Committee (four meetings a year) after it has considered external peer review reports.

As Special Project Grants are rarely awarded without revision, the application should be submitted 12 months before the expected start date.

Apply online