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Wellcome Institutional Strategic Support Fund

Key Deadlines

All 2018 award deadlines have now passed. Please check back here for future updates.

UCL is the recipient of an Institutional Strategic Support Fund (ISSF) award from the Wellcome Trust. This fund, which aims to facilitate investment of mutual strategic importance to Wellcome and UCL, has been enabling us to invest in and support UCL research in the life and biomedical sciences since it was first awarded in October 2016. The UCL Wellcome ISSF supports areas of high strategic need across UCL, which are also within the Wellcome research remit.

The Research Coordination Office manages the Wellcome ISSF programme on behalf of the SLMS Research Board at UCL.

ISSF funds are distributed across the following schemes:

1. Flexible support awards

There is an annual call for Flexible Funding awards. These awards are focused on strategic support for the below two schemes:

1) The establishment of new research groups, programmes and/or laboratories. 

2) Fellowship extension for early- and mid-career researchers who require additional research support beyond the end of their fellowship funding. 

The last application deadline was 05 September 2018. 

Click here for more details on how to apply.

2. Translational Research

The ISSF is contributing towards UCL's Therapeutic Acceleration Support (TAS) Fund which aims to accelerate the transition from discovery science to the early stages of therapeutic development, by providing responsive and flexible funding to overcome specific challenges in translational progression. 

TAS fund Round 3: Opened 19 March 2018.

Click here for more details on how to apply.

For further information about this fund, please contact Simon Eaglestone, UCL Translational Research Office.

3. Cross-disciplinary research and discipline hopping

The awards target UCL's strategic research priorities to support cross-disciplinary and 'discipline hopping' research through training in new disciplines, testing or developing new methods, or performing proof of concept studies between the biomedical faculties in the UCL School of Life and Medical Sciences (SLMS), and across UCL.

Funding will be available to support small research projects, up to £50K each, that require a cross-disciplinary approach to progress new knowledge and insights, as well as promoting collaboration, across different research disciplines. 

Awards are expected to have a duration of between 6 -12 months, and be ready to start by early January 2019.The project costs should be appropriate for the proposed plan of work and justified within the application. Matched funding will be a requirement.

This year's call launched on 05 September 2018. 

Click here for more information & how to apply.

4. Public engagement (PE) and patient public involvement (PPI)

The ISSF will support public engagement and patient and public involvement (PPI) through the collaborative efforts of the UCL Public Engagement Team and the NIHR programme 'Patients and the Public in Research' - by establishing closer relationships across UCL and through the partner PPI programmes of the three Biomedical Research Centres (BRCs) at: University College London Hospitals; Great Ormond Street Hospital; and Moorfields Eye Hospital.

As part of this work, we are collaborating to create the UCL Centre for Co-production in Health Research (working title). Rather than launching the Centre based on UCL aims and objectives, we are working to co-produce the development as a project team. The team is made up of an ever-evolving group of collaborators (aka co-producers) – people from the local community, patients, carers, researchers and healthcare professionals.

For further information, please contact Niccola Hutchinson-Pascal, Project Manager, UCL Centre for Co-production in Health Research.

5. Equality, diversity and inclusion

‘Where do you draw the line?’ workshops

Recently the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion team received a Wellcome Trust grant to deliver 20 ‘Where do you draw the line?’ workshops to staff and PhD students within the School of Life and Medical Sciences. ‘Where do you draw the line?’ is a harassment prevention approach and has been delivered to over 2000 UCL staff in the past few years. The concept and name came from the University of Manchester, and the content was developed by University College London (UCL), with input from the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford. 

The Wellcome Trust grant provided an opportunity to deliver a harassment the workshops and assess their impact. The Institute of Child Health, Biosciences, Psychology and Languages Sciences and Surgery and Interventional Sciences also had participation in the grant. 

While the impact evaluation is ongoing, the discussions during workshops and feedback received will help inform the work UCL is undertaking to prevent bullying, harassment and sexual misconduct. If your department or institute is interested in hosting a ‘Where do you draw the line workshop, please contact draw-the-line-training@ucl.ac.uk to arrange.

Inclusive Advocacy

The same team bid for and were successful in obtaining funding to extend the University’s Inclusive Advocacy pilot to the School of Life and Medical Sciences, through Wellcome Trust funding. This pilot was part of the Race Equality Charter Mark application and a commitment within UCL’s Race Equality Action Plan.

Inclusive Advocacy is a first of its kind initiative in HE. It is a specific sponsorship programme designed to ensure high-performing, under-represented groups reach their full potential at UCL. There will be a focus on Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) staff, within the pilot: A Rationale for Inclusive Advocacy at UCLAs of November 2018, we had recruited 82 senior leaders as Advocates, 34 of whom are from within the School of Life and Medical Sciences (34%). 

The Advocates are trained via workshops facilitated by externals and provided with a bespoke Advocate Handbook, which offers context and additional reading, as well as resources designed to aide engagement as Advocates.

Recruitment of Protégés and delivery of introductory workshops will begin in the new year.

The pilot will run for 2 years and will be fully evaluated, prior to its extension to cover staff with other protected characteristics.

If you are interested in participating, or finding our more, please email Ash Talwar (Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Manager) – a.talwar@ucl.ac.uk and Nick Anim (Inclusive Advocacy Project Worker) – nick.anim.12@ucl.ac.uk