Information for prospective applicants


Research grants may be held in any country but must meet UK standards of research ethics, scientific integrity and animal welfare.

Research institutions must be able to accept the charity’s Terms and Conditions of Grant Aid including the policy on protection of intellectual property rights described therein. Employees of commercial companies are not eligible to apply.

Amount and scope

The charity awards project grants only, up to a maximum of £150,000 per year for up to 5 years. As a guideline, the majority of grants awarded are in the region of £60,000 - £100,000 per year for up to three years, with a number of small grants of up to £30,000 per year also meeting success.

The Foundation recognises that clinical trials are of crucial importance in bringing out new therapies and vaccines. We are keen to support pilot studies, and to work in partnership with other research funders, professional associations and the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries to support clinical trials, but providing sole funding for large-scale clinical trials, particularly phase 3 trials, is usually beyond our means.

The Foundation is favourably disposed towards partnership funding generally within the requirements of a rigorous peer review process. The charity also encourages co-operative and collaborative research as a means of accelerating progress towards new vaccines and treatments.

Meningitis Research Foundation is an NIHR non-commercial partner and also meets eligibility criteria for HEFCE’s Charity Research Support Fund and equivalent funds in Scotland (Scottish Funding Council), Wales (HEFCW and Northern Ireland (Department for Employment and Learning).


Meningitis Research Foundation grants are highly competitive and are awarded primarily on the basis of scientific merit and clear relevance to the Charity’s research strategy.

The Foundation is an active member of the Association of Medical Research Charities and supports AMRC policies on peer review, good research practice, the use of animals in research and university indirect costs.

Peer Review procedure

Full applications that are considered by the Panel are assessed by structured peer review, according to the Association of Medical Research Charities’ principles of accountability, balance, independence, rotation of advisers, and impartiality. Applications for projects involving animals are also assessed for the replacement, refinement and reduction (3Rs) of animals in research.

At least two independent external referees, drawn from several hundred experts around the world, provide detailed written comments and an overall score on the application. With the help of external referee reports, and using the assessment criteria (below), the Panel meets to decide which applications to recommend to the trustees. Final decisions on grant awards are then made by the trustees.

Panel members, external referees, Foundation staff and applicants all agree to abide by a Code of Conduct.

MRF has been awarded AMRC’s Certificate of Best Practice in Peer Review.

Assessment Criteria

  1. Relevance
  2. Clinical benefit
  3. Design
  4. Originality
  5. Methodology
  6. Ability of proposers to achieve objectives
  7. Probability of completion within time frame
  8. Ethical aspects
  9. Realism of costings

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