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Confidence in Concept Fund

Confidence in Concept Fund

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

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, all aligned to these patient groups. 

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 seven patent awards to research projects.
  • the launch of three spin-out companies, including Changing Health, which was highlighted in the MRC's evaluation report on Translational Research 2008-2018 as an exemplar of CiC-funded research, having achieved NHS adoption and having significant patient impact.
  • new industrial interactions and ongoing collaborations, including onward investment and joint research. ​

Current Call

In 2021, we aim to maximise translational research opportunities by supporting projects via a joint approach between the MRC CiC funding and the Newcastle University’s Wellcome Trust Translational Partnership (WTTP). The WTTP was established in October 2019 and has so far supported 19 small translational projects. It aims to provide a supportive environment for researchers to undertake translational research and in addition to project funding, a Translator in Residence can give expertise and guidance, bespoke training for researchers in translation can be provided and external expertise arranged to provide necessary guidance to projects. Awardees of this years CiC awards will be able to access this additional support from WTTP.

This year, Newcastle University's 2021 CiC award will consider smaller applications as result of the limit 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 £25k-£100k, and projects must be no longer than 12 months in duration, with a strict finish date of 28 February 2023.

The closing date for Expressions of Interest is 24 September 2021.

If you have any questions about the fund please email


Applications are accepted from:

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


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.

The award will not fund:

  • entire translational projects
  • admin costs
  • industrial partner costs
  • staff between posts/funding or PhD studentships
  • 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 2023. 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) and a representative from the University’s Global Challenges Academy review all EoIs and select projects for full application.

The closing date for Expressions of Interest is 24 September 2021.

Please read the CiC 2021 Guidance Document in full.

Complete the CiC 2021 EoI form

Successful applicants will be invited to submit a full application by end of November 2021.​

2. Full application

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

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 finish by 28 February 2023 (extensions beyond this date will not be permitted).

Project Management

We will arrange a project set-up meeting 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

This report must include:

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

This is a requirement by the Medical Research Council for the annual Researchfish submission. We use the report for the University’s annual renewal application for Confidence in Concept funding.