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Office for Translational Research


MRC CiC call is currently closed


The MRC Confidence in Concept (CiC) scheme is a translational research award aimed at accelerating the transition from discovery science to the early stage of translational science by supporting preliminary work or feasibility studies to establish the viability of an approach. Its remit includes novel therapeutics, devices and diagnostics, and drug ‘repurposing’ towards clinical testing. With this 'pump-priming' award, applicants should aim at gathering sufficient preliminary data in view of applying more substantive funding in the field of Translational Research.

This is an institutional award, the OTR applies to the MRC on behalf of the University of Cambridge, in conjunction with the institutional Wellcome Trust Developing Concept Fund administered by CATS.

The funding is for up to £50K and 9 months (100% direct costs). The purpose of these limits is to enable translational research rather than, for instance, being a convenient method of bridging funding for a postdoc. Overall, the projects should have/be:
  • Clear line of sight to benefiting patients or the healthcare system
  • Sufficient supporting data for the concept of the proposed solution
  • Close to being tested in humans or in healthcare set-ups.

In addition the proposed funding should be used to support the gathering of data that will lead to follow-on, larger-scale translational funding and/or an industrial collaborative project, spin-out or even direct implementation into clinic. The MRC is also keen to support projects with co-funding and /or potential IP that might be licensed.

Please contact Dr Cathy Boucher, - for discussion about your project and application form.




The expert panel includes:
Dr John Skidmore (Chair), Chief Scientific Officer ALBORADA Drug Discovery Institute
Prof Margaret Ashcroft, Department of Medicine
Prof Charlotte Summers, Critical Care Biology Group
Prof Michael Sutcliffe, Theme Leader of Bioengineering
Dr Dave Smith, Principal Scientist, AstraZeneca
Mr Stuart Kay, Director Medtech Solutions Ltd
Prof David Jayne, Director of the Vasculitis and Lupus Service, Addenbrooke’s Hospital
Dr Tim Allsopp, Industry Expert in Residence at the University of Cambridge
Dr John Pritchard, Industry Expert in Residence at the University of Cambridge
Dr Neil Thompson, Independent Consultant
Prof Steve Charnock-Jones, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Prof Timothy Eisen, Department of Oncology
Dr Miles Parkes, Department of Medicine
• Dr Mark Toshner, Department of Medicine
Dr Sofia Villar, MRC Biostatistics Unit
Prof Masashi Narita,  Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute
Dr Stephanie Hopley, Apollo Thereapeutics
Prof Anne Willis OBE, MRC Toxicology Unit



Principle Investigators (PIs) and their Projects

Weeks, Michael Cell surface biomarkers to predict outcome of COVID-19 upon hospital admission 
Cameron, Ruth Membranes and the reduction of clinical adhesions
Duce, James Targeting cell death by ferroptosis in Parkinson's disease
Gurnell, Mark Enabling wider application of molecular imaging of pituitary adenomas through a fluorine-18 radiotracer
Campbell Smith, Gordon   A quantitative serum metabolite ratio to predict fetal growth abnormalities
Summers, David Development of drugs to combat bacterial biofilms and antibiotic persisters


Past awards


Principle Investigators (PIs) and their projects

Baumberg, Jeremy

A system for rapid urine testing for improved delivery of antibiotics: a feasibility study

Brenton, James

Therapeutic targeting of chromosomal instability in cancer


Enhancement of User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) of an online platform using Computerised Adaptive. Testing technology to enable early assessment of mental health difficulties in secondary school students

Henson, Frances

PODS-BMP7- as an ostearthitis treatment- a large animal proof of concept study

Malliaras, George

Minimally invasive Spinal Cord Stimulator (MI-SCS): validation experiments in human spine cadaveric model

Rowitch, David

Development of a novel hearing computer application and modified headphone system for the DigiScreener sensory screening platform



PIs and their projects

Beardsall, Kathryn NeWTS: Neonatal Wireless Transmission System
Boyle, Louise A novel approach to increasing tumour immunogenicity
Burton, Graham Detection of placental dysfunction using changes in glycosylation of secreted proteins as a novel diagnostic marker
Hutchinson, Peter Development of in-vivo voxel-based 31P magnetic resonance spectroscopy as a clinical diagnostic tool in brain injury patients
Ladds, Graham Utilising the ‘first-in-class’ small molecule positive allosteric modulators of the human GIPR to aid glycaemic control in type II diabetic patients
Mallucci, Giovanna Developing the repurposed neuroprotective drug trazodone for clinical trials
Moggridge, Geoff Development of a novel polymeric trans-catheter aortic valve to improve durability in high-risk patients: proof of concept study
Pettigrew, Gavin Developing a novel image analysis software to assess pre-implantation kidney biopsies
Soilleux, Elizabeth Technical validation of a patented artificial intelligence solution for the diagnosis of coeliac disease/ gluten sensitivity



PIs and their projects

Aigbirhio, Franklin Development of a novel inflammation PET marker with low binding affinity variation towards the human translocator protein
Bance, Manohar Mapping and modifying spread of electrical stimulation inside the cochlea following cochlear implantation
Bujdoso, Raymond Detection of CJD prion infectivity in blood and urine by bioassay in PrP transgenic Drosophila
Chan, Dennis

Memory App for community-based detection of early Alzheimer’s Disease (MAPP-AD)

Cowburn, Russel ADNEX-GBM
Flewitt, Andrew Synchronous measurement of PSA isoforms to improve early prostate cancer detection using novel low-cost acoustic sensors
Laurenti, Elisa

Improving gene therapy protocol efficacy by modulating haematopoietic stem cell exit from quiescence

Mutreja, Ankur

Simple, Sensitive and High-resolution SNP based diagnostic kits for Cholera, Shigella and Typhoid

Nejentsev, Sergey Novel host-directed therapy in tuberculosis
Saeb-Parsy, Kourosh Design and build of a scaled-up device to process and obtain large quantity of lymphocytes from the spleen of a single donor



PIs and their projects

Allen, Louise “Digi-Vis”: an all-in-one digital visual function assessment system
Bryant , Clare Antagonism of TLR4 as a novel therapy for viral exacerbation of asthma
Fawcett, James Repurposing 4-methylumbelliferone for spinal cord injury
Hyvonen, Marko Inhibiting PH domain-mediated activation of Btk in haematological cancers
Jena, Rajesh AGORA-­RT: Advanced Glioma Oncosimulator for Risk Adaptive Radiation Therapy
Jones, Joanne CCR5 blockade – a novel therapeutic strategy in Multiple Sclerosis
Moggridge, Geoff Development of a Transcatheter Mitral Repair System for patients with Mitral Regurgitation
Thora Karadottir, Ragnhildur Repurposing glutamate AMPA receptor modulators for enhancing myelin regeneration in Multiple Sclerosis
Zeviani, Massimo  An experimental medicine study to study the effects of nicotinamide riboside on mitochondrial biogenesis in patients with mitochondrial myopathy



PIs and their projects

Bennet, Martin Predicting plaque rupture using invasive imaging and biomechanical modelling
Caldas, Carlos Targeted delivery of CO using artificial metalloproteins: CO’s immunomodulatory properties for cancer therapy
Davenport, Anthony and Glen, Robert  Identification of 'hit to lead' small molecule biased apelin receptor agonists from a potent lead series and a high throughput screen for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension
Elliot, Stephen and Hutchinson, Peter Development of microdialysis online-sensor technology for use in the neurocritical care of patients with acute brain injury
Ghevaert, Cedric Assessing the efficacy of clinical grade banked human pluripotent stem cells for the in vitro production of platelets for transfusion
Howe, Christopher Inhibition of RNA processing in the Plasmodium apicoplast
Lever, Andrew RNA trans-splicing for eradication of cells containing replicating and latent HIV
Moggridge, Geoff Development of a Removable Transcatheter Valve as an Alternative to Surgical Valve Replacement for Aortic Stenosis
Sinclair, John Analysis of the latent load of human cytomegalovirus in patients undergoing treatment  with HDACi inhibitors



PIs and their projects

Bohndiek, Sarah A video-rate near-infrared hyperspectral endoscope for early detection of oesophageal cancer
Cameron, Ruth A novel concept for the repair of abdominal aortic aneurysms – endovascular re-lining
Cox, Tim A validated targe to rescue therapeutic delivery of lysisimal enzymes
Itzhaki, Laura Development of stapled-peptide and small-molecule inhibitors targeting the substrate-recognition domain of tankyrase
Lever, Andrew Validation of genomic RNA packaging as a therapeutic target for HIV/AIDS
Luisi, Ben  Finding effective inhibitors of bacterial tripartite multidrug efflux pumps
Mott, Helen Maturation and characterization of stapled peptides for Ras-RalGEF-RalA/B inhibition
Slater, Nigel Improving cryopreservation of human haematopoietic stem cells and pancreatic islets
Venkitaraman, Ashok  Identification of novel clinical settings for BRCA2-RAD51 inhibitors using a functional genomic screen for synthetic lethality



PIs and their projects

Aigbirhio, Franklin Simple Modular Systems for the Preparations of PET Imaging Probes
Davenport, Anthony Design and in vitro characterisation of novel ‘biased’ agonists for preclinical validation of the apelin receptor as a drug target for pulmonary arterial hypertension
Glen, Robert New approach to the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH): Novel antagonists of the human (h)5-HT1B Receptor
Neal, David Development of a novel niche-specific Androgen Receptor (AR) antagonist for prostate cancer treatment



PIs and their projects

Cox, Tim A discovery platform for approval drugs to rescue therapeutic delivery of lysosomal enzymes in clinical application
Fearon, Douglas Reversing immune suppression in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma with AMD3100/Plerixafor and antibody to PD-L1
Franklin, Lyons New transcriptome-based biomarkers for autoimmune disease
Franklin, Robin Identification of NCE Retinoid X Receptor gamma modulators as a regenerative therapy for Multiple Sclerosis
Hovorka, Roman  Closed-loop insulin delivery in the general ward - Towards achieving optimal glucose control in hospitalised patients with type 2 diabetes
McNaughton, Peter A new approach to analgesia: novel antagonists of the sensitization of TRPV1 through interaction with AKAP79
Rubinsztein, David Screen for novel autophagy-modulatory kinase inhibitors