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2022 MRC-SCN UK-Canada Exchange Programme Awards

   

The Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Canadian Stem Cell Network (SCN) are pleased to launch the UK-Canada Exchange Programme Awards scheme, which will provide funding for travel and skills exchange between regenerative medicine researchers in the UK and Canada. The deadline for applications is September 15, 2022, at 5 p.m. (sender’s local time). Successful applicants will be notified by October 6, 2022.

About This Program
As part of MRC and SCN’s on-going partnership, and starting in 2022, the MRC and SCN will each invest up to $180,000 CAD/£112,000 GBP over two years to support new and developing collaborations between the UK and Canada’s researchers in regenerative medicine, encouraging the sharing of techniques and skills through a reciprocal exchange programme. The funders may consider holding similar calls in subsequent years.

The purpose of the UK-Canada Exchange Programme Awards is primarily to provide new skills to researchers, including MSc/PhD students, post-doctoral fellows, research associates, technicians, and newly independent investigators, and to build new links between UK- and Canada-based scientists. The awards can be used for travel, accommodation, and site visits or conference attendance in either country, and will serve to add value to the research taking place in both countries by facilitating closer collaboration.

Scope

  • Eligible exchange researchers include graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, research assistants or research associates, and newly independent investigators (within five years of their first independent academic research appointment). Newly independent investigators can apply as both the exchange researchers and the named PI.
  • SCN and MRC will support the travel of up to six Canadian and six UK researchers each year at $15,000 CAD/ £9,500 GBP per researcher. Each proposal must have the support of one Canadian Principal Investigator (PI) and one UK PI, with each lab acting as either host, visitor, or both. Proposals can be for the travel of two researchers, one from each lab (bidirectional); or one researcher (unidirectional). Bidirectional exchanges between two labs are encouraged and preferred.
  • Exchanges are expected to be 6-12 weeks in length.
  • Exchanges should be relevant to regenerative medicine. Regenerative medicine is the branch of medicine that develops methods to regrow, repair or replace damaged or diseased cells, organs or tissues. Regenerative medicine includes the generation and use of therapeutic stem cells, tissue engineering and the production of artificial organs. Research applications that are focused on cancer must be regenerative in nature and/or use stem cells for addressing the proposed problem. Interdisciplinary projects with relevance to regenerative medicine are welcomed.

 This funding is available to support the following collaborative activities:

    • Travel for researchers in either direction, including transportation and meal costs while traveling
    • Accommodation costs for the duration of the exchange
    • Visits/access to facilities
    • Conference attendance (subject to approval by SCN/MRC)
    • Other collaborative activities may be supported on a case-by-case basis

Exchange awards are not a vehicle for supporting research projects and these awards cannot be used to fund:

    • Salary costs
    • Items of equipment
    • Other research costs including consumables
    • Ordinary living costs, e.g. meals.
  • Funding will be delivered to participating Canadian institutions from SCN and to participating UK institutions from MRC.
  • Exchange personnel will be responsible for finding and securing their own suitable accommodations for the duration of the exchange. SCN/MRC will support eligible accommodation costs.

Eligibility

  • Each application must be submitted jointly with the support of one named PI in the UK and one named PI in Canada. Each PI can be acting as exchange host, sending an exchange scientist, or both.
  • UK named PIs must meet the eligibility criteria for MRC funding. Canadian named PIs must meet the eligibility criteria for Tri-Agency funding.
  • Eligible exchange researchers include graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, research assistants or research associates, and newly independent investigators (within five years of their first independent academic research appointment). Newly independent investigators can apply as both the exchange researchers and the named PI.
  • The project that is the focus of the exchange must have been previously peer-reviewed and funded by a granting organization/agency in Canada (e.g. CIHR, NSERC, or SCN) or in the UK (e.g. UKRI, the Wellcome Trust, medical research charities).
  • The host and exchange researcher are responsible for ensuring they obtain permission from the host institution (including all relevant training, e.g. health and safety) for the exchange researcher to access institutional facilities associated with the host laboratory, and for following all institutional rules and guidelines for the duration of the exchange. Arrangements should be made for facilities access in advance of the exchange wherever possible.

Timetable

Application stage Date
Call opens July 18, 2022
Closing date for proposals September 15, 2022
Assessment of proposals September 19-30, 2022
Grant awarded October 6, 2022
Expected project start November 8, 2022 – February 15, 2023


Application process

All those interested in applying must submit an application form by September 15, 2022. Completed applications consist of:

  • Completed application form
  • CVs of both lead investigators (one from UK, one from Canada) of any exchange researchers
  • Proof of a previously peer-reviewed and funded grant by a granting organization/agency in Canada (e.g. CIHR, NSERC, or SCN) or in the UK (e.g. UKRI or Wellcome) including project abstracts

Completed application packages should be sent to both Ellie Arnold (earnold@stemcellnetwork.ca) and Natasha Jardine (natasha.jardine@mrc.ukri.org) by September 15, 2022.

Assessment criteria

  • The project that is the focus of the exchange must have been previously peer-reviewed and funded by a granting organization/agency Canada (e.g. CIHR, NSERC, or SCN) or in the UK (e.g. UKRI or Wellcome).
  • Applications will be evaluated jointly by SCN’s Training and Education Committee and MRC’s Head Office on the following:
    • The value added to regenerative medicine and stem cell research in the UK and in Canada.
    • The benefits and future joint research likely to accrue from the collaboration.
    • The long-term potential of the collaboration.
    • The novelty and impact of the training opportunity and expertise of both partners.

Contacts
For questions about this program and application process, please contact Ellie Arnold (earnold@stemcellnetwork.ca) or Natasha Jardine (natasha.jardine@mrc.ukri.org).

About Our Partner
Promoting stem cell research, regenerative medicine and advanced therapies is a priority for MRC and the UK government, and MRC is committed to supporting research in this area, towards improving human health. In addition, the MRC has a leading national role in training future research leaders across a range of biomedical, clinical and health disciplines, and we are a signatory to the concordat to support the career development of researchers. The development and movement of talented people and their ideas is critical to the success of the UK research and innovation system, and MRC supports international partnerships to tackle important and challenging research goals.

 

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