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ERA-HDHL call for transnational research proposals: "Nutrition & the epigenome"

Call status: Closed
Previous call: 6 February 2018 - 12 April 2018

This call is administered by the Joint Call Secretariat


BBSRC and MRC are pleased to announce support for UK participation in the JPI HDHL Joint Action on Nutrition and the Epigenome and encourage their research communities to apply for funding as part of transnational consortia.

The aim of this call is to support transnational, collaborative research projects that gain a better understanding of the diet-epigenome relationships and their effect on human health. This will allow the development and substantiation of intervention strategies for treating nutrition-related diseases and sustaining good health throughout the life course.

BBSRC and MRC will jointly fund the UK partner of successful consortia. Up to €1 million will be available to UK researchers for this call, from which we anticipate funding 3-4 proposals.

For further information, please view the call documents on the HDHL JPI website (see external links)


Previous research has studied epigenetic changes in early life. However, the effects of diet on epigenetic regulation, gene expression in different tissues, and subsequent metabolic health and disease are still unclear. Experts need to better understand the mechanistic pathways that link dietary interventions to those epigenetic changes that have functional/physiological consequences to the tissue and ultimately the organism.

Proposals should focus on diet and epigenome, and cover one of the following areas:

  • Establishing cause-and-effect relationships between diet, the epigenome and metabolic health
  • Identifying risk factors and early stage epigenetic changes
  • Epigenetic effects across the lifespan and inter (and potentially trans) generational epigenetic effects
  • Investigation of modifiable factors that could be involved in epigenetic regulation
  • The effect of diet and nutritional status on the intra-uterine environment

The full call text is available on the HDHL JPI website.

Specific requirements for UK partners

Information on specific requirements for researchers applying for UK funding is set out below. Following these requiments, in addition to those set out in the main call text, is mandatory.


It is expected that applications submitted to this call will be multidisciplinary transnational research consortia as defined in the main call text.

Standard BBSRC and MRC eligibility criteria will be applied to the UK components of applications. Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), Research Council Institutes (RCIs) and Independent Research Organisations (IROs) that are normally eligible to received BBSRC or MRC funding can apply.

Full details of eligibility conditions can be found in the BBSRC grants guide and the MRC Guidance for Applicants.

Please note that studies primarily motivated by elucidating disease processes or states are not within BBSRC remit. Potential applicants are strongly advised to contact the BBSRC/MRC (see contacts below) in advance of making an application to resolve any eligibility and remit queries.

Industrial collaboration

Standard terms and conditions for industrial collaboration apply. Applicants who intend to collaborate with industrial or other non-academic partners should note that any costs incurred, direct or otherwise, by these partners cannot be met by BBSRC or MRC. These costs must be met by the non-academic partners as in-cash or in-kind contributions. Costs incurred by the UK academic partner as a direct result of working with other consortium partners (such as visits to labs or exchange of materials) can be requested.

All applications involving industrial partners should complete an MRC Industry Collaboration Agreement (MICA) form.


Subject to conditions of eligibility and peer review being fully met, up to €1 million will be available to UK researchers for this call.

The funders expect that individual consortium applications will not request more than €300,000 for the UK partner(s). We anticipate supporting 3-4 applications from the available UK budget.

The UK component of applications should be costed on the basis of full economic costs (fEC). If the grant is awarded, funding will be provided on the basis of 80% of fEC. The submitting organisations must agree to find the balance of fEC for the project from other resources.

UK costs should be entered on the transnational application in Euros at the exchange rate of £1 = €1.14. The requested funding must be equivalent to the 80% that will be requested from Research Council funding.

The 20% contribution from submitting organisations should be recorded as an “in cash contribution”.

Applicants should include a statement to confirm the exchange rate used, and that costs are entered at the 80% fEC level on the application form.

How to apply

This call is closed to applications.

Further details on the application process can found on the HDHL JPI website. The proposals must be submitted by the project coordinator in electronic format via the Electronic Submission System of JPI HDHL.

Specific national regulations and guidelines

Successful UK project partners will have one month from the date they are notified of a positive funding decision to submit a formal application through Je-S. The UK project partners‘ application through Je-S will not be subject to further peer review. Please also note:

  • PhD students cannot be funded as part of a standard collaborative research proposal
  • UK grant holders are required to comply with RCUK data sharing and open access policies (both available on the RCUK website)
  • Awards will be subject to standard research council grants terms and conditions.


In addition to reporting requirements set out in the HDHL call document, standard RCUK reporting terms and conditions will apply. UK partners are expected to report on outputs and outcomes on a regular basis (and for at least five years post-completion) though Researchfish.

Any publications (including academic papers and press releases) or other dissemination activities resulting from research funded through this call must acknowledge co-funding from BBSRC and MRC.

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