Who funds us#
Where does the money come from? To date, the bulk of our funding has come from the Medical Research Council (MRC). But we sit at the intersection of many fields, so have previously applied for funding to the BBSRC, EPSRC, and the Wellcome Trust.
Major funds include, or will shortly include:
2022-2025 · Innovate UK Biomedical Catalyst grant · “GEMINI OS”: predicting the suitability of Parkinson’s patients for Deep Brain Stimulation · with Machine Medicine Technologies Ltd (PI, London), and St George’s Hospital (London).
2023-2025 · BBSRC Computational Cognitive Neuroscience grant · “The computational basis of learning to forage” · Mark Co-PI, with Matt Apps (Co-PI, Birmingham) and Nathan Lepora (Co-I, Bristol)
2020-2023 · MRC Project Grant (NMHB) · “The Neural Basis of Movement Transitions” · Mark sole PI. Data and support from the labs of Bill Frost and Lee Miller (also Chicago, by coincidence).
Previous major projects have included:
2012-2020 · MRC Senior non-Clinical Fellowship (to Mark) · “Networks of neural dynamics” · Includes collaborations with Rasmus Petersen, Adrien Peyrache and Sid Wiener, and Constance Hammond
2017-2019 · MRC Project Grant (NMHB) · “Resolving the size and nature of neocortical population codes” · PI. With Rasmus Petersen (Co-I) and Mat Evans (named PDRA).
The UK funding landscape
Government funding for scientific research is overseen by UKRI (UK Research and Innovation). UKRI acts both as direct funder of research (via fellowships at the moment), and as the umbrella organisation which co-ordinates the seven research councils. Of the seven, the most relevant to us are the Medical Research Council (MRC); the Biology and Biotechnology Research Council (BBSRC); and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). These councils all directly fund personal awards (fellowships) and research-led awards (project and programme grants). All applications work much the same way: the proposal is assessed by at least 3 reviewers; the proposal, reviews and any responses allowed are considered by the relevant grant panel (which means three of the panel will have read in-depth and report to the panel); the panel ranks all proposals and funds those above the cut-off.
Third sector funding plays a big role in UK research, The UK is fortunate to be the home of the Wellcome Trust, which funds around £1 billion of research each year. The Wellcome mainly funds personal awards and clinical trials. Other major charities of relevance to us include The Leverhulme Trust and Parkinson’s UK.
Historically, the UK has been the most successful of all EU nations at winning funding from the EU funding bodies, both from the large projects supported by the EU Framework funds (e.g. Horizon2020) and the personal awards from the European Research Council. Current UK government policy is to underwrite any successful Horizon Europe or ERC funding bids until an agreement is reached on whether the UK can join the Horizon programme as a third-party. We still await our fate there.