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Advanced Pain Discovery Platform – Expression of Interest for Multidisciplinary Consortia for Data Generation

Expression of Interest deadline

31 August 2020 at 1600 hours


The Medical Research Council (MRC),  Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and Versus Arthritis are pleased to announce a £14m call for large and ambitious multidisciplinary consortia. This will build the foundation of a national-scale programme supporting discovery and translational science that will bring together leadership, tools and resources to help unravel the complexity of pain, driving new treatment development. This investment is part of a major new £24m initiative to establish an Advanced Pain Discovery Platform (APDP) that is jointly supported by the UKRI Strategic Priorities Fund and Versus Arthritis and will lead to step changes in the understanding and treatment of chronic pain across a wide range of conditions.


The call will provide funding for collaborative multidisciplinary consortia that focus on:

  • Pursuing innovative and ambitious “big ideas” in chronic pain research, which will enable a step change in the field.
  • Improving our understanding of the mechanisms of pain, building on our knowledge of normal pain processes to better understand chronic pain, taking into account biological, cognitive and psychosocial factors.
  • Collating, generating and interrogating human data and samples, to allow for the identification and validation of new interventions, and to allow improved access to well-phenotyped human populations.

It is strongly recommended that applications demonstrate how they will:

  • Actively strengthen intersections between important disciplines that do not routinely engage with each other,
  • Build capacity in the field and develop skills.
  • Embed knowledge mobilisation.
  • Involve patient insight in the development of the outlined work as well as collaborate with them in the delivery of the proposed research.

Further information on the scope of the call and how to apply can be found on the MRC website

How to Apply

The call process will be in two stages:

  1. Expression of Interest
    To participate in this call for consortia, you must submit an Expression of Interest to UKRI via a bespoke online submission system by 31st of August 2020. The online submission system can be accessed here, there is an option to save your draft submission as you go. A pro-forma, which allows you to complete the Expression of Interest questions offline, can be found here. You must complete all sections of the form for your Expression of Interest to be eligible. The potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the preparation of expressions of interest is recognised by the funders, and it is anticipated that details of workstreams and consortium partners might evolve between selection and submissions of full application.
  2. Full application
    Shortlisted Expressions of Interest applications will be invited to submit a full application via Je-S by January 2021. Guidance on how to make the full submission will be provided to successful Expression of Interest applicants. Applicants will be invited to be interviewed by a bespoke panel of experts as part of the funding decision.


If you would like to contact Professor Walsh regarding the APDP please email. Alternatively, if you would like to contact other members of the APDP Programme team or to be added to the APDP mailing list, please contact them here.

BBSRC Contact

Name:             Iain Templeman


Phone:            (+44) 01793 413368