MRC have written to us outlining a recent update to its funding policy to allow the inclusion of a one-page ‘methodology and experimental design’ annex to the case for support.
MRC have stated “The methodological rigour of all applications to the MRC is scrutinised closely during the peer-review process. However, we are increasingly aware that applicants often focus on presenting a compelling scientific rationale at the expense of providing sufficient methodological detail to persuade reviewers that the study will deliver robust and convincing findings. To help address this deficit, and in response to feedback from the community, we are making an important change to our application process; with immediate effect, the MRC is introducing an optional one page annex to the case for support within all research proposals. This will allow applicants to specifically detail the methodology and experimental design aspects of their proposals, and to include figures, tables and/or diagrams relevant to this, where appropriate. Full details can be found in the MRC Guidance for applicants (Sections 2.4.3 and 4.1.4).”
You are strongly encouraged to use the new guidance. Applications for funding will be rejected outright if they do not provide sufficient detail to convince MRC Research Boards and Panels that the proposed experiments will be carried out appropriately; i.e. in the context of a robust study design; with the necessary statistical power to answer the research question; and with an analysis plan that is fit for purpose.