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Impact Accelerator Award - Confidence in Concept Fund

Confidence in Concept (CiC) is a long-standing component of the Medical Research Council's (MRC) translational research strategy. The aim of the funding is to accelerate the transition from discovery research to translational development projects. 

In 2022, the CiC scheme was incorporated into a new UKRI Impact Accelerator Award (IAA-CiC), but the funding objectives remain the same.

Since the University's first CiC award in 2014, 105 projects have been funded. Our strategy has been to target funds into areas where Newcastle has internationally recognised research strengths in basic discovery science, experimental medicine and clinical trials including (but not limited to) rare diseases (mitochondrial and neuromuscular), liver disease, cancer, and respiratory disease. CiC projects have been delivered in diagnostic technologies, drug discovery and early phase clinical trials. The scheme also encourages the use of the award to develop academic-industry interactions. 

Researchers at the University have achieved significant successes through past funding, including:

  • awarding of follow-on funding, over 60% of which has focused on onward translation
  • granting of several patent awards to research projects
  • the launch of three spin-out companies
  • new industrial interactions and ongoing collaborations, including onward investment and joint research

Current Call

In 2022, Newcastle University's IAA-CiC award will consider smaller applications as a result of the limited resource available. This funding will support investigators to undertake further scientific and technical development of an idea that is close to translation, to establish the scientific and/or commercial potential of a concept. Each project can apply for £50k-£120k, and projects must be no longer than 12 months in duration, with a strict finish date of 28 February 2024.

The closing date for Expressions of Interest is 12 September 2022.

If you have any questions about the fund please email cic.pm@newcastle.ac.uk.

Eligibility

Applications are accepted from:

  • Newcastle University researchers and academics (including NHS staff with honorary University contracts)
  • basic scientists
  • clinician scientists

Scope

Applications relevant to any area of translational research are considered. Projects deemed to have the greatest potential for near-term impact and the ability to attract additional investment will be given priority. It is desirable that projects also include plans to create/develop new interactions aimed at forming partnerships for future translational funding opportunities.  Where appropriate, partnerships with industry are beneficial. 

The award will not fund:

  • entire translational projects
  • administration costs
  • industrial partner costs
  • staff between posts/funding or PhD studentships (bridging)
  • continuation of normal research grants
  • costs related to the protection of IP
  • staff exchange into a Newcastle University spin-out company

Projects should be no more than 12 months in duration and must finish by 28 February 2024. We will not permit extensions beyond this date.

Application process

There is a two-stage application process:

1. Expression of interest (EoI)

Three panel members (clinician scientist / non-clinician scientist / industry representative) review all EoIs and select projects for full application.

The closing date for Expressions of Interest is 12 September 2022.

Applicants will be notified of the EoI outcome by 30 September 2022 with successful applicants invited to submit a full application by 28 October 2022.​

2. Full application

The application form for full stage applications will be provided to those projects selected from the EoI submission.

Each application is reviewed by three panel members (clinician scientist / non-clinician scientist / industry representative) before being discussed by the full panel, which includes experts in methodology, clinical governance, clinical trial design and delivery and statistics.

Outcome of the full application stage will be sent out by end of November 2022.

Assessment criteria

Applications are assessed on scientific grounds, with the potential to convert the CiC project to downstream translational research grants a key consideration. The criteria are adopted from the MRC’s guidance and include:

  • quality (methodology, innovation, leadership, collaboration),
  • impact (scientific question, knowledge gap, health and/or socioeconomic impact, resource of value to many disciplines),
  • productivity (likelihood of delivery, use of resources).

Projects should be no more than 12 months in duration and must be completed by 28 February 2024 (extensions beyond this date will not be permitted).

Project Management

We will arrange a project set-up meeting for funded projects to review the stated aims, methodology and its milestones. It will confirm the funding and budget set-up requirements.

Progress reporting

Regular meetings will ensure effective monitoring of research progress. The allocated translational development manager will help develop follow-on funding applications.

Outcome reporting

Project end

There is a requirement to submit a short report once the project is complete. The business and translational development teams will advise with ongoing support. They will build external collaborations and develop follow-on funding applications.

Annual report

UKRI collect information on the benefit of IAA-CiC funding through an annual report filed by the university which monitors onward outcomes from all CiC funded projects.  PIs will be required to provide update information each year on the following metrics:

  • follow-on funding applications (submitted/awarded)
  • publications
  • patents (applications/published)
  • impact activities
  • industry collaborations
  • spin-out companies related to the project
  • staff trained and supported

We also use the report for the University’s renewal application for Confidence in Concept funding.