Immunology Innovation Award

About this scheme

Key information

Career level
Mid-career researcher
Established independent researcher
Non-clinical researcher
Health professional
Industry researcher
Early career researcher
Workshop theme
Immune homeostasis
Application deadline
3 May 2017
Workshop dates
18–20 July 2017
Funding period
1 year
Funding amount
Up to £45,000

The Immunology Innovation Award is jointly funded by Cancer Research UK and Arthritis Research UK and aims to catalyse new multidisciplinary collaborations across disease areas.

Applicants for Immunology Innovation Grants must attend a sandpit workshop — an intensive and interactive three-day residential event where they will have the opportunity to:

  • Network and form new collaborations spanning diverse research areas and organisations
  • Work in broad, multidisciplinary teams to generate new and innovative research ideas
  • Pitch projects for seed funding to test the feasibility of their ideas

Immune homeostasis is defined as an equilibrium which the immune system reaches. In health, this equilibrium results in the effective discrimination of potentially harmful foreign entities from self. In contrast, dysregulated homeostasis can have severe consequences. For example, an over-reactive immune response can lead to autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, but might also limit the growth of cancer cells and the formation of tumours.

Research ideas developed at the workshop should:

  • Lead to the significant advancement of our understanding of the processes involved in immune homeostasis
  • Be relevant to understanding immune homeostasis in different disease modes: to explore how it is maintained, how it becomes perturbed and how it can be effectively harnessed for therapeutic use

Applications are welcome from a wide range of disciplines, including those working in the fields of cancer and arthritis research, immunologists, physical scientists, healthcare professionals, engineers, and those working in the digital and technology space.

Applicants do not need a specific expertise or background but must be:

  • Creative, open-minded, and able to work effectively as part of a team
  • Willing to engage with those working in other disciplines from a variety of backgrounds, and other key stakeholders
  • Able to attend all 3 days of the workshop
  • Based in the UK

We particularly welcome applications from those working in the physical sciences and from people representing organisations (large or small) that will contribute new expertise and new thinking in immunology research.

We regret that PhD students and junior postdocs are not eligible to attend the workshop.

We provide accommodation, refreshments and meals and will cover standard class travel costs for the workshop.

Teams who successfully pitch proposals at the workshop will receive seed-funding for one year to cover the costs of pilot/feasibility studies. Funding will not cover salaries.

How to apply to this scheme

Application process

This workshop is themed on Immune Homeostasis and will take place on 18–20 July 2017. For more information please see the workshop specification document.

The application process has 5 stages:

  1. Submit a completed application form and up to date CV by noon 3 May 2017 to
  2. We will review your application and successful candidates will be notified week commencing 15 May 2017.
  3. If your application is successful you will be invited to attend the workshop on 18-20 July 2017.
  4. Over the course of the workshop teams will develop pilot/feasibility study proposals, which they will be able to pitch for funding on the final day of the workshop. Up to five teams will be funded, and decisions will be presented at the end of the event.
  5. The principal investigator (PI) for each successful study team will have until 10 August 2017 to submit a written version of their feasibility study proposal through eGMS that outlines their group’s intended activities as presented at the workshop, with costings.

Further guidance on the post-award processes will be made available to successful applicants at the sandpit event.


Before you begin your application

You must:

  • Read the workshop specification
  • Obtain the approval of your host organisation/employer/board/shareholder(s) (as appropriate), to ensure that your organisation is willing and able to engage in a collaborative project.

Selection criteria will include:

  • The potential to work in trans-disciplinary environments
  • The potential to develop innovative and adventurous approaches to research
  • The ability to work collaboratively with others
  • The ability to communicate and engage with diverse non-academic stakeholders throughout the research process
  • Relevant research expertise and experience

Funding decisions will be made on the final day of the workshop by the workshop director, subject-guides, and people affected by cancer and arthritis. The Director of the Immune Homeostasis workshop will be Professor Adrian Hayday.

Decisions are ratified by the Cancer Research UK Science Committee.

Cancer Research UK contact details

If you wish to discuss your eligibility before starting your application, please contact:

Dr Kristina Tubby
Project Manager
Tel: +44 (0) 20 3469 5224

In partnership with