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Our Imperial Confidence in Concept launch event - 19 February 2019


The MRC ‘Confidence in Concept’ scheme awards grants to accelerate the transition from discovery research to translational development projects by supporting preliminary work or feasibility studies to establish the viability of an approach. These awards ‘pump-prime’ the translation of novel therapeutics, devices and diagnostics, including ‘repurposing’ of existing therapies towards clinical testing.

In 2019 there will be a project-managed fund available, together with support from the NIHR Imperial BRC, The Royal Marsden Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, the Imperial College London Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund (ISSF) and Impact Acceleration Accounts, to identify early targets, not currently being developed, within the Faculties of Medicine, Natural Sciences and Engineering to enter the drug, devices and diagnostics development pathway.

As part of this scheme we are also inviting applications to the AstraZeneca (AZ) Innovation Fund - specifically to enable drug discovery by facilitating the development of new technologies and the exploration of disease biology. All projects must have a PI from both Imperial and AZ to qualify, and be investigating new science or demonstrate proof of concept for new technology capabilities with the primary objective of seeding larger funding applications.

Applying for the scheme

***Call open 19 February 2019*** 

For further information and eligibility, please read the ICiC Application Guidelines Feb 2019  (Imperial login required)

Applicants should complete an ICiC Expression of Interest form Feb 2019, and submit by e-mail to Confidence in Concept by 12noon on Wednesday 27 March 2019
Note: All applications require approval from your Head of Department.

ICiC documents 2019

For further information and eligibility, please read the ICiC Application Guidelines Feb 2019   (Imperial login required)

Applicants should complete an ICiC Expression of Interest form Feb 2019‌, and submit by e-mail to Confidence in Concept by 12noon on Wednesday 27 March 2019

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to apply?

Any researcher from within the Imperial Academic Health Science Centre (i.e. anyone undertaking research within the partnership of Imperial College London and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust) that holds a contract extending to at least the end of the proposed project, and has departmental approval, is eligible to apply. For this call Royal Marsden (RM) employees may also apply as lead applicants providing they have an Imperial College co-applicant. Royal Marsden employees may be co-applicants on proposals led by Imperial staff.

Do I have to be based at a clinical campus?

No, this call is open to all eligible researchers irrespective of site, as long as the project is focussed on progressing new therapeutics/diagnostics/devices.

What is the difference between the MRC Confidence in Concept and the other funds?

The first represents an award from the MRC to provide pilot funding to bridge the potential gap between discovery research and well-developed applications for DPFS support. The remit of the MRC Confidence in Concept fund includes novel therapeutics, devices and diagnostics, including “repurposing” of existing therapies. The NIHR Imperial BRC Therapeutic Primer Fund is to support the discovery and development of new therapeutics only. The Wellcome Trust Imperial ISSF fund can support all types of multidisciplinary application with the stipulation that it falls within the Wellcome Trust remit. Funds from The Royal Marsden will only fund joint projects between Imperial and Royal Marsden employees. It is anticipated that all supported projects will evolve into applications to DPFS/DCS or similar follow-on funding schemes.

Can Imperial employees (or ICHT employees with honorary College contracts) working on the Brompton, Marsden or Chelsea & Westminster campuses apply?

The MRC component is open to anyone with an Imperial College contract, honorary or otherwise. This is the fourth year that The Royal Marsden has contributed funds to this scheme and as such collaborative applications are encouraged. Previous schemes have involved an element of funding from the Chelsea & Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and therefore collaborative applications between Chelsea & Westminster and Imperial are also encouraged.

Can ICR employees with honorary Marsden contracts apply for this funding?

This year ICR has received an MRC Confidence in Concept award. As a consequence, for this call the ICR employed researchers are not eligible to apply for the Imperial Confidence in Concept Scheme, but are encouraged to submit projects aiming to speed up translation of discovery/fundamental science into new therapeutic approaches to the ICR Confidence in Concept Scheme instead.

How should I cost my proposal?

Applicants should use InfoEd to assist with costing their proposals and if there are any queries about this, they should email or contact Julie Williams ( or Ra Chitnavis (, the JRO contacts for this scheme. Applicants should select ‘internal scheme’ as the funder.

In addition, collaborations between Imperial and the Royal Marsden researchers must contact prior to submission to their proposals assist with costing.

It is vital to accurately cost proposals so that the research will not be impeded by resource constraints. This involves accurately costing all the staff effort and other direct costs required to deliver the research project, including a realistic view of investigator time.

What can I include in costs?

Projects should be costed as FEC projects including staffing and outsourcing costs. No indirect or directly allocated costs will be supported.

Outsourced contract work is permissible and should be fully costed and supported with a reasonable justification for using that supplier/collaborator. Where more than one supplier is available, the presentation of quotations acquired would be welcomed.

Generally, it is envisaged that this budget will not cover the recruitment of new staff. Directly incurred staff costs are permissible, however these are not standard research grants, but are milestone-driven grants designed to prove concepts/”prime” an idea (to facilitate successful projects applying for further translational funding from research funding bodies such as the MRC in the future). The Scheme Committee has the authority to cease project funding in the event that project milestones are not met. Therefore applicants are advised that employing staff on contracts beyond the term of a milestone is at their own risk (the grant will not allow funds for redundancy should the project be terminated).

All budget items must be justifiable and candidates invited to submit a full application will be asked to discuss the budget at the full application meeting. Budget items that cannot be justified will not be approved/included in the award and re-working of budgets may be requested post-meeting.

It is envisaged that project awards will be for 100% of the directly incurred costs only. This is shown in InfoEd by selecting the “charity” rule on the recovery page after completing the finance section.

Can I request a no-cost extension if needed?

Due to the restrictions on our award from the MRC all projects must be completed by March 2021; no extension requests will be granted. We advise applicants to have staff already in place to prevent recruitment delaying the project start date.

Can I include capital equipment in costs?

Given the size of the grants, it is not anticipated that capital equipment will form part of the grants.  However, if applicants make a justifiable, specific case these items may be considered up to a maximum of £10K. NIHR Imperial BRC funded projects and the Royal Marsden funded projects are limited to £5K per item of capital expenditure.

Can I include co-applicants from outside of Imperial?

Only co-applicants from The Royal Marsden or Chelsea & Westminster Hospital may be included. Activities can be outsourced, but these should be Imperial-led projects. Researchers from The Royal Marsden may also be lead applicant on proposals providing they have an Imperial co- applicant. Other academics or industry partners may be included as collaborators on the application.

Do I need to discuss the application with the relevant technology transfer team before applying?

We strongly recommend that applicants contact technology transfer specialists in the College’s Industry Partnership and Commercialisation (IPC) team before submitting an expression of interest, to discuss market potential analysis and any arising IP. Please contact Jon Wilkinson (, IPC Senior Executive or Stephanie Morris (, IPC Director for the Faculty of Medicine.

Please note that, as of 1 March 2019, tech transfer work is now led directly by the College. This replaces the external technology transfer office arrangement that was previously in place.

Who forms the Scheme Committee?

The Scheme Committee is composed of representatives from Imperial Innovations, Imperial College Faculties of Medicine, Engineering and Natural Sciences, external experts and The Royal Marsden.

What is the balance of the projects being supported?

With the funding originating from HEFCE, MRC, NIHR Imperial BRC, Wellcome Trust ISSF, The Royal Marsden Foundation Trust the scheme looks to support a balanced portfolio of projects including both pre-clinical and clinical work elements.

Is project management mandatory?

Yes. The Scheme Committee recognise the importance of a centralised Project Manager who is familiar with all the projects and can facilitate, monitor and report progress to the Committee.

Who will decide which particular fund a project is supported by?

(e.g. Confidence in Concept fund, NIHR Imperial BRC/Imperial Innovations Therapeutic Primer Fund, Wellcome Trust ISSF, The Royal Marsden)

Applicants will apply through a single competition. The Selection Panel will determine the funding source of supported applications. Funding of the projects will be 100% of the directly incurred costs applied for.

NIHR Imperial BRC funded projects and the Royal Marsden funded projects will need to adhere to NIHR BRC contract terms and conditions, in particular concerning the ineligibility of costs relating to animal work, the limits on items of capital expenditure, intellectual property, the need to spend within NHS financial years, and requirements to meet clinical study performance metrics.

Will there be further calls for proposals?

Further MRC Confidence is Concept funding is dependent on a subsequent call from the MRC.

ICiC Showcase Event - 19 February 2019

Our Imperial Confidence in Concept launch event  ‘All You Can Innovate’, was held on Tuesday 19th February 2019.

The event included presentations, posters and demonstrations about translational research at Imperial, industry engagement possibilities and funding opportunities.

There was also be an opportunity for individual academics to meet with industry during the ‘Corporate Speed Dating’ (Imperial login required) component of the day. The Coporate Speed Dating area created a quick and easy way for Imperial academics and entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas for collaborations to companies. This was a great way to create new contacts and start new conversations.

Very helpful advise on funding opportunities through various stages of development"

support team surgery, AYCI 2019

In addition, we held support team surgeries to provide attendees with the chance to talk to other key parties. This included funders such as the MRC and Imperial support resources including Research Strategy, Corporate Partnerships, Innovations, Apollo and the College’s Translator in Residence.


All You Can Innovate 2019

 Tuesday 19 February 2019

 10 am registration
- 10.30am opening

Translation and Innovation Hub (IHUB) - 10th Floor
White City Campus
80 Wood Lane
London W12 0BZ
Please register your interest by completing thAll You Can Innovate registration form
Summary of the table's contents

Previously supported projects

Year 1

Principal InvestigatorProject
Charles Coombes Understanding the Role of CDK9 in mediating resistance to CDK7 inhibitors and optimisation of CDK9 inhibitors
Michael Edwards  Uncoupling harmful pro-inflammatory cytokine responses from beneficial anti-viral immunity in virus induced exacerbations of asthma and COPD
Georgios Giamas  Drug screening, crystallisation and structure determination of the human Lemur Tyrosine Kinase 3
Uta Griesenbach Airway epithelium as a factory for production of blood clotting factors
Pau Herrero Vinas Clinical Validation of an advanced bolus calculator for diabetes
Prapa Kanagaratnam ROTO-Mapping: A technique for detecting potential rotos of activation during human atrial fibrillation
Nicholas Long Formyl peptide receptors: novel targets for imaging inflammation
Nick Oliver Clinical Assessment of a Novel Microprobe Array Continuous Glucose Monitor in Type 1 Diabetes
Gregory Quinlan Development of the haemolysis triple filter
Michael Schneider Novel inhibitors of MAP4K4 (HGK), a therapeutic target in cardiac muscle cell death
Mohamed Shamji IL-35 modulate allergen-driven memory human TH2 allergic responses and has a potential therapeutic value in patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis
Anita Simonds Evaluation intelligent oxygen therapy [chronic hypoxaemia/COPD]
Robert Snelgrove Manipulating the dual functions of LTA4H: one drug to target two pro-inflammatory mediators tightly implicated in neutrophilic lung disease
Shiranee Sriskandan Novel protective antigens in pathogenic group A Streptococcus
Molly Stevens A quantum-dot biosensor system for the detection of myocardial fibrosis biomarkers in clinical samples
Euan Stronach Novel chemical modulators of platinum response in ovarian cancer: characterisation and development of DNA-PK/AKT pathway inhibitors
Simon Taylor-Robinson A novel, low cost, urinary diagnostic test for liver cancer screening
Mark Thursz Phosphodiesterate 12 (PDE12) inhibitors in-vivo proof-of-concept study in Dengue virus (DENV) mouse model
Sivaramesh Wigneshweraraj Bacteriophage inspired antibiotics

Year 2

Principal InvestigatorProject
Jake Baum Towards an in vitro high-throughput translation-inhibition discovery platform for the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum
Maria Belvisi TRPV4 antagonist: novel, effective treatment for asthma and COPD
Paul Bentley A low-cost, portable ‘hand-and-brain training’ stroke rehabilitation aid
Bob Brown & David Cunningham Stratified Medicine in oesophagastric (OG) cancers: DNA methylation and mutational profiles as predictive biomarkers
Tony Cass Continuous monitoring of therapeutic drug levels using minimally invasive plasmonic nanosensors
Robert Dickinson Is xenon combined with hypothermia neuroprotective following traumatic brain injury?
Andrew Edwards Novel Antibiotics Activated By Beta-Lactamase: Treating and Preventing Infection By Directing Bacterial Evolution
Dan Elson Calibration-free structured lighting for flexible gastrointestinal endoscopy
Matthew Fuchter The Development of Highly Specific SIRT2 Inhibitors as a Novel Treatment for Parkinson’s Disease
Roger Gunn Repurposing Low-Cost Consumer Technology for Motion Correction in Dementia Neuroimaging
Anastasios Karadimitris Donor TCRVa24 iNKT cells in the prevention of acute-graft-versus-host disease in allogeneic haemopoietic stem cell transplantation
Maurits Kleijnen Proteasome Envelope Agonists: Developing novel compounds for use against Multiple Myeloma
Spyros Masouros Bespoke synthetic grafts for the treatment of an osteochondral defect that maximizes bone stock preservation
Thomas McKinnon Application of a truncated Von Willebrand Factor molecule for gene therapy for Von Willebrands disease
James Moore Jr Lymph node replacement tissue construct
Niamh Nowlan A wearable sensor for monitoring fetal movements
Nicholas Peters Identifying the critical concurrent sources for targeting ablation of atrial fibrillation through a novel spatiotemporal cycle-length decomposition
Piero Posocco Towards a compact proton irradiator for in-vitro radiobiological studies
Robert Snelgrove Manipulating the dual functions of LTA4H: one drug to target two pro-inflammatory mediators - Proof of concept in neutrophilic lung disease models
Molly Stevens Quantum-dot DNA Biosensing System for Meningococcal DNA Detection in Human Serum
Ed Tate Establishing the chemotherapeutic scope of novel, orally active inhibitors of human N-myristoyltransferases in cancer
Paul Turner Intranasal diagnostics in food allergy: a feasibility study (INDY project)
Sivaramesh Wigneshweraraj Characterization of two novel small molecule inhibitors of the bacterial transcription machinery