UK DRI Pilot Studies Programme - Round 2

Request For Proposals

The ‘Pilot Studies Programme’ is designed to encourage UK DRI post docs to consider new avenues of research aimed at understanding or treating neurodegenerative diseases. Awards of up to £44,000 (direct costs) will be provided for up to one year. Up to ten awards will be made for this cycle. (This request for proposals will be repeated every four months.)  

Applications will be judged on the basis of scientific merit, novelty and the potential for the project output to be used to obtain subsequent major external funding.  

Availability of appropriate facilities and the technical ability to carry out the project in a relatively short time frame are fundamental. Clinical, translational and basic research projects will be considered.  

The programme is restricted to UK DRI post-doctoral investigators. 

RFP open:                          1 November 2019

Applications due:               Midday 31 January 2020

Recipients announced:       Week beginning 9 March 2020

Awards start:                     Week beginning 15 March 2020

1. Applicants should have a doctoral degree (MD, PhD, ScD, PharmD, DO, etc) and be engaged as a post-doctoral researcher at a UK DRI centre.

2. The applicant must have the support of their PI who must be a UK DRI Group Leader and must be committed to continued involvement and support throughout the project.

3. The proposal must be written and presented by the post-doctoral applicants (not their PI).

4. It is the responsibility of the applicant to obtain all relevant clearances and/or approvals for the proposed work, such as those required for human tissue or animal research.

5. Funding is intended to be flexible and may be used in a manner most useful to the project. However, the award cannot be used to support the applicant’s salary or for major equipment. The project and spending must be completed within 12 months or the final date of the applicant’s appointment, whichever is earlier.

1.Significance. Does this study address an important problem relevant to our understanding, diagnosis or treatment of dementia or neurodegenerative diseases? 

2. Prospects. If the aims of the proposed work are achieved, is it likely and realistic that the applicant will be able to use the resulting pilot/preliminary data to support an external grant application? Has the applicant or their PI specified a programme or award that they would aim for?

3. Approach. Are the conceptual framework, design, methods, and analyses adequately developed, well integrated, and appropriate to the aims of the project? Does the applicant acknowledge potential problem areas and consider alternative approaches?

4. Innovation. Are the aims original and innovative? Does the project employ novel concepts, approaches, or methods?

5. Investigator. Is the applicant appropriately trained to carry out the work? 

6. Environment.Does the scientific environment in which the work will be done contribute to the probability of success? Are reagents, tools or other methods in place to begin the project or will they be in place rapidly enough to allow the project to start promptly and be completed within the time frame set? 

1.  Completed cover page (1.0 page)

2. Research plan (maximum of 4.0 pages). All figures, tables etc must be incorporated into the text.

  • Background and Significance (~ 0.5 page)
  • Specific Aims (~ 0.5 page)
  • Preliminary Studies (if any) (~ 0.5 page)
  • Research Design and Methods (study design; data to be collected; analysis plan; proposed follow-up studies for future grant application (maximum of 2.0 pages)
  • References (~ 0.5 page)

3. Ancillary Documents

Applications must also include the following pages: 

  • Budget (direct costs only) and budget justification (maximum of 1.0 page)
  • Biographical sketch (for applicant only) including up to 5 relevant publications (1.0 page)
  • Letter from your PI confirming her/his support, access to required tools/facilities, and confirming that any key collaborators have confirmed their participation/support (1.0 page)
  • The deadline for the receipt of the application is midday 31 January 2020.
  • The entire package (8 pages maximum; no exceptions) must be assembled into a single PDF and emailed to
  • Format: All text must be Arial or Calibri 11-point font. Figures, charts, tables, etc must be readily legible. Single-spacing is allowed. Margins, in all directions, must be at least 0.5 inches.

For any questions relevant to your application, please contact Aoife at

Applications must be submitted to by midday 31 January 2020.

Downloadable RFP & application cover page

RFP - UK DRI Pilot Awards - Round 2

Application cover page - UK DRI Cover Page - Round 2

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