Call for applications to the Marie Curie Research Grants Scheme

Today we're announcing the latest call for applications to the Marie Curie Research Grants Scheme. This year’s research fund is the biggest ever and involves two new co-funding partners. It aims to address key research priorities raised by carers, health and social care professionals and people with terminal illnesses.

Working in partnership

Today’s call for applications to the Marie Curie Research Grants Scheme is the seventh since its inception in 2010. I am particularly excited to announce that two other research funders, the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MND Association) and the Chief Scientist Office (CSO) in Scotland, are joining our call for high-quality research studies to improve palliative and end of life care for people with terminal illnesses. A total of £1,425,000 will be available for projects grants, our biggest call ever.

Palliative and end of life care is still woefully under-researched and under-funded. The recent UK Clinical Research Collaboration (UK CRC) Health Research Analysis Report showed that only 0.16% of health-related research funded in 2014 by UK charitable and governmental research funders was spent on end of life care research. Whilst the report invites further analysis (which we are in the process of doing), this sum is still extremely small. 

Settting the right priorities

In 2013 Marie Curie initiated the Palliative and end of life care Priority Setting Partnership   (PeolcPSP) with the James Lind Alliance to identify the unanswered questions in palliative and end of life care research. Along with other research bodies and charities, we asked carers, health and social care professionals and people with terminal illnesses what they felt needed our attention and precious research funds.

In January this year, after lots of data analysis and a final workshop, we were able to publish 83 research questions, directly set by the people we aim to support and work with. With this rich data at our fingertips, the decision was made to use the list of questions as the basis for our research call. This makes our latest call for proposals not only the largest we’ve ever done but the most exciting. Details of exactly how the matching funding will work between the three partner organisations and the specific eligibility conditions for the three parts of the call can be found in the call documents on our website.

Reaching more people regardless of diagnosis

We were particularly excited when then MND Association joined the PeolcPSP and now the joint funding call. One of Marie Curie's strategic goals is to improve care for people with all terminal illnesses.

This is the first time that we have made such a specific call for research to improve palliative and end of life care for people living with MND. We’re keen to encourage the development of research programmes in this important but often neglected area. There was a fantastic response from the MND community to the priority setting exercise that finished in January this year. It’s vital that through this research call we find answers to issues of greatest priority and relevance to people with MND.”
Dr Belinda Cupid, Head of Research for the MND Association

I believe that working in partnership, as we have with the PeolcPSP and now with this joint research call, will be instrumental to attracting more funds to palliative and end of life care research. I hope this example will encourage other organisations to invest in research that explores the 83 research priorities we have identified and ultimately ensure we can provide better care to people living with terminal illnesses.

Tomorrow, my colleague Richard Meade, Head of Policy and Public Affairs for Scotland, will blog about the importance of the Chief Scientist Office as a funding partner for palliative and end of life care in Scotland.