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Funding Organisations


This page provides a quick guide to organisations which fund ageing research in the UK. It includes both large and small charities.

If you know of an organisation which is not listed and should be, then please give details to the SPARC secretariat which will be pleased to follow this up.

Research Councils

  • AHRC
    AHRC has schemes which accommodate ageing issues and AHRC is involved with the NDA programme.
    BBSRC operates schemes where research proposals within their broad remits can be submitted at any time for consideration by an appropriate set of referees and awards panel. Several programmes specifically encourage ageing-related research. Several special programmes include themes on healthy living, nutrition, and cognitive and sensory issues.
    EPSRC operates schemes where research proposals within their broad remits can be submitted at any time for consideration by an appropriate set of referees and awards panel. Several other programmes specifically encourage ageing-related research, such as those on sustainability, the built environment and crime, include themes relating to social inclusion, transport, accessibility, healthy buildings and well being
  • ESRC
    ESRC has schemes which accommodate ageing issues and is involved with the NDA programme.
  • MRC
    The MRC has schemes which accommodate ageing issues and is involved with the NDA programme.
  • New Dynamics of Ageing
    A cross-Research Council programme (AHRC, BBSRC, EPSRC, ESRC, MRC) managed by ESRC, specifically concerned with ageing. It has had several calls for proposals and several more are planned.
  • Royal Society of Edinburgh
    Strategic Promotion of Ageing Research Capacity: a unique programme funded by BBSRC and EPSRC and managed by the research community which is supporting 34 projects. No further calls for proposals are planned.

Technology Strategy Board

  • Technology Strategy Board
    The Technology Strategy Board is an executive non-departmental public body (NDPB), established by the Government through the DTI. Its task, operating across all important sectors of the UK economy, is to stimulate innovation in those areas which offer the greatest scope for boosting UK growth and productivity. It has wide remit and to operate at arm's length from Government as an NDPB. With a business-led panel of board members, an executive team and a business focus, the Technology Strategy Board will play an increasingly important role in the development of the Government's innovation strategy. Its primary aim is not the creation of knowledge - where Government separately invests over £3 billion per annum - but the translation of knowledge into innovation and new and improved products and services. The vision: for the UK to be seen as a global leader in innovation and a magnet for technology-intensive companies, where new technology is applied rapidly and effectively to create wealth. The activities of the Technology Strategy Board are jointly supported and funded by the DTI and other Government Departments, the Devolved Administrations, Regional Development Agencies and Research Councils.

Association of Medical Research Charities

  • AMRC
    AMRC is a membership organisation of the leading medical and health research charities in the UK. Over the last five years, charities have contributed over &pound3.25 billion to research in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and contribute almost one third of all public expenditure on medical and health research in the UK - a situation without parallel elsewhere in the world. Working with its 111 member charities and partners, it aims to support the sector&#39s effectiveness and advance medical research by developing best practice, providing information and guidance, improving public dialogue about research and science, and influencing government. The collective remit of members is very broad but a large proportion have an interest in issues which in some way or other are related to ageing.

Association of Charitable Foundations

  • Association of Charitable Foundations (ACF)
    The Association of Charitable Foundations (ACF) is the UK wide support organisation for grant-making trusts and foundations of all types. It is entirely dependent on its members, who pay a subscription according to size. There are over 300 independent trusts and foundations, large and small, with total grant-giving of more than 1 billion per year. The collective remit of the members is very broad indeed but some have an interest in ageing issues. Many are very small.

Organisations with a particular interest in ageing and older people

  • Dunhill Medical Trust
    Dunhill Medical Trust is interested in supporting research concerned with diseases and issues of ageing; the care and environment of older people; disabilities that predominantly affect older people and rehabilitation for older people. Proposals in the following areas are particularly welcomed: applied research or research that has the potential to be translatable within a reasonable time frame; pilot studies which could establish whether major funding is justified; multidisciplinary and collaborative studies; initiatives aimed at expanding research capacity in the above priority areas. Serendipity Awards: an exciting new award scheme which is well-described by its title!
  • Research into Ageing (RiA)
    Research into Ageing (RiA) is a special trust within Help the Aged which funds fund high-quality research into the most common health problems affecting older people, including dementia, bone disease, wound healing, stroke and heart disease. It also works with researchers and healthcare professionals to boost awareness of the potential of research to improve the quality of later life. RiA spends 2 million per year on a wide range of research issues from social science, social policy and economics to biomedical science.
  • The James Tudor Foundation
    The James Tudor Foundation is a grant-giving charitable organisation established for the relief of sickness. The Foundation makes grants, gifts or loans within its area of benefit, principally to organisations that can maximise the effectiveness of its donations. It will fund research where its aims matches its objects and where it considers that it is likely to have a beneficial impact. It occasionally funds awards and scholarships where they demonstrate that they contribute to the Foundation's areas of benefit.
  • The Joseph Rowntree Foundation
    JRF is one of the largest social policy research and development charities in the UK, spending about 7 million a year on a research and development programme that seeks to better understand the causes of social difficulties and explore ways of overcoming them. Current research themes: Housing and neighbourhoods; Poverty and disadvantage; Practice and research; Drugs and alcohol; Governance; Immigration and inclusion; Independent living; and, Parenting. Calls for proposals are made throughout the year. There will not always be current calls in each of its areas of interest. Please note: JRF only accepts proposals in response to a specific call.
  • The Nuffield Foundation
    The Nuffield Foundation wishes to fund work that starts from the perspectives, needs and interests of the older person and his or her family, rather than those of service providers. It is interested in projects that will enhance individual autonomy and choice and that recognise variation in preferences and provision. The Foundation is keen to support work that brings an international comparative perspective to bear, and is particularly interested in fostering work that considers European as well as other countries&#39 perspectives.<br />
  • Thomas Pocklington Trust
    The aim is to fund research into the prevention, alleviation and cure of sight loss, continuing with the already established programme of research and explicitly establishing a new development programme which: contributes, in a tangible way, to the cure, prevention and alleviation of visual impairment; promotes best practice in service provision and the development of innovative solutions to address the changing needs and expectations of people with visual impairment; and, raises the profile of and promotes the work of the Trust. The Trust is partricularly interested in providing top-up, matching and follow-on funding for research-council funded projects.

Organisations with a particular interest in the diseases of old age and the issues facing older people

  • Alzheimer's Research Trust
    Alzheimer's Research Trust funds innovative and promising UK research in any area of dementia from the most talented scientists in top research environments. The Alzheimer's Research Trust funds research which will further the understanding of the basic disease process in Alzheimer's and related dementias; that is directed towards early detection, the identification of risk factors and preventive measures; or which offers progress towards effective treatments.
  • Arthritis Research Campaign
    ARC is a major provider of funding for research into arthritis and related musculoskeletal diseases, with an annual expenditure of around 20 million. arc 's major aim is to support the highest quality research into the cause, cure and treatment of arthritis and related musculoskeletal diseases.
  • Asthma UK
    Asthma UK is a major funder of asthma research in the UK. Each year it spends approximately 3 million on research which includes project grants, fellowships and chairs. Asthma UK has funded nearly 30 million of basic and clinical research to date, across a broad research programme aimed at understanding why people develop asthma in the first place and identifying new treatments to control and prevent asthma.
  • British Heart Foundation
    British Heart Foundation plays a leading role in the fight against diseases of the heart and circulation by supporting research into its causes, prevention, diagnosis and treatment. It has a wide variety of research support schemes, including project and programme grants, studentships and many different types of fellowship.
  • British Infection Society
    British Infection Society aims to promote the science and practice of medicine in relation to infection, and to further research, training and education in the subject. Several grant schemes are already available.
  • British Lung Foundation
    British Lung Foundation funds ground breaking research of the highest scientific calibre into all aspects of lung disease in the UK. Since 1985 has funded 280 research grants totalling over 16 million. Has a variety of awards including project grants, young investigator awards, travel grants and collaborative grants with MRC.
  • British Microcirculation Society
    British Microcirculation Society was founded in July 1963 "to advance the study of circulation of the blood and other tissue fluids especially, though not exclusively, in the small vessels and of matters relating thereto".
  • BUPA Foundation
    BUPA Foundation currently gives medical research grants to work in the following areas: i) surgery: projects ranging from development of surgical practices to evaluating outcomes and identifying/teaching new techniques; ii) preventive health: projects covering all health environments (including the workplace) from epidemiology to health maintenance; iii) information and communication: projects designed to enhance the partnership between medical professionals and the public/patients ; iv) mental health in older people: the prevention, treatment and palliative care of mental ill health in older people; and v) health at work: the feasibility and potential value of the workplace for health promotion and active management of employee health.
  • Cancer Research UK
    Cancer Research UK supports research on all aspects of cancer through the work of over 3,000 scientists, doctors and nurses across the UK.
  • Deafness Research UK
    Deafness Research UK is the largest fundraising charity making grants to hearing research in the UK. It has awarded over 7 million for approved research in universities and hospitals nationwide - and over 2 million of this has been awarded over the last five years. It currently administers over 40 grants, including awards for two and three-year projects, research fellowships, postgraduate studentships, equipment and travel.
  • Diabetes Research and Wellness Foundation
    DRWF programme is designed to support bright young researchers, as well as established institutions, as they strive to make the kind of life-changing break-through our members and supporters are hoping for.
  • Diabetes UK
    Diabetes UK's Research Strategy provides research opportunities exist within the key areas of Care & treatment, Cause & prevention and Cure. These are broad topic areas where there are gaps in current knowledge and which, if advanced by investment in research, have the potential to yield significant improvements for people with diabetes. Diabetes UK operates a range of research funding schemes and research-training opportunities in the form of PhD studentships and research fellowships aimed at young clinicians, scientists and others at different stages of their careers.
  • Heart Research UK
    Over the last 40 years, Heart Research UK has funded many of the ground breaking medical breakthroughs we take for granted, including the first ever sucessful UK heart transplants and the development of heart valves. It currently fund grants worth more than 2.3million at more than 32 universities and hospitals around the UK. It focuses on funding innovative, pioneering research and often support young researchers on their first steps into heart research through Clinical , Basic Science , Novel and Emerging Technologies and Healthy Heart Grants.
  • Macular Disease Society
    Macular Disease Society actively promotes research into Macular Degeneration by funding research projects at UK hospitals.
  • Multiple Sclerosis International Foundation
  • Multiple Sclerosis Society
  • National Association for the Relief of Paget's Disease

    Founded in 1973, with the following aims: to offer support and information to Paget's disease sufferers; to sponsor research into the causes and treatment of the disease; and, to raise awareness of the disease among the medical profession and the public. Paget's Disease  is a metabolic bone disorder of unknown origin which normally affects older people.

  • National Osteoporosis Society
    The NOS supports clinical research that is consistent with its aims to improve the diagnosis, treatment, support and services available for people with, and at risk of, osteoporosis in the UK. Since 1994 the NOS has committed 2.3 million to research, using income from individual donations, group fundraising, legacies, membership appeals, the Big Lottery Fund and funding from other trusts. More than 100 projects, studentships and fellowships have been funded to date.
  • Parkinson's Disease Society
    PDS is the leading source of research funding in the UK for the study of all aspects of Parkinson's. It supports a range of biomedical, health and social care, and social policy research, and encourages funding applications from all sectors to undertake research related to improving the quality of life for people with Parkinson's disease, either in the short or long term. There are a number of different funding streams, or grant types: Project Grant Scheme; Fast-Track Grants; Commissioned research; Programme grants; and, Career Development Awards.
  • Remedi
    Remedi provides funds for medical research projects in the UK which will result in new rehabilitation procedures, improved medical equipment, services and facilities which dramatically improve the quality of life for babies, children and adults and make the journey from illness or disability back to a normal life a reality. It supports rehabilitation and disability projects, often to complete the "incubator" or pilot study stage prior to that supported by a Reserach Council.
  • RNID
    The Royal National Institute for Deaf People is actively involved in biomedical, scientific and technical research, through small research grants, studentships that and working partnership with other organisations.
  • The Alzheimer's Society
    Quality Research in Dementia (QRD), the award winning research grants programme of the Alzheimer's Society, focuses on overcoming dementia by concentrating on three key areas of research - cause, cure and care. The programme covers the effectiveness of drugs, therapies and care practices, and the health and social impact of dementia on carers and the community at large. The programme also funds and evaluates research on the basic science of dementias and contributes to the long-term search for prevention, treatments and cure. QRD actively involves people with dementia and their carers in setting the research agenda, awarding grants and assessing outcomes. Quality Research in Dementia aims to influence the direction of basic scientific research, care practice, health and social policy for the benefit of people with dementia and their families.
  • The Circulation Foundation
    The Circulation Foundation makes a number of awards in the field of vascular disease but there are few details on how to apply on its website.
  • The Hypertension Trust
    The Hypertension Trust has a broad remit; it seeks to fund research training opportunities into arterial hypertension and related vascular diseases, including pathophysiology, epidemiology, detection, investigation and treatment. The Trust's main objective is to provide training opportunities for young graduates in order to prepare them for a career in research in these fields. Two types of awards are available - two-year Research Fellowships and three-year Research Studentships (leading to the award of a PhD).
  • The Stroke Association
    In 2004/05 The Stroke Association approved the spending of over 2 million on a wide range of research. A large proportion of this money was awarded in the form of Research Project Grants, Allied Health Professional Research Bursaries and Clinical Fellowships. It invites applications for Research Project Grants in the field of stroke, usually with two deadlines per year.

Organisations with a much broader remit

  • Action Medical Research
    Action Medical Research46 is looking for answers to many serious illnesses, selecting the best research projects in those areas where we are most likely to find cures or treatments. Its support is not restricted to any single part of medical science. It is interested in the needs of everyone in the country, from the youngest babies to the growing number of older people. It offers Project Grants and Research Training Fellowships.
  • Allen Lane Foundation
    Allen Lane Foundation funds work which, will make a lasting difference to people's lives rather than simply alleviating the symptoms or current problems;is aimed at reducing isolation, stigma and discrimination; and, encourages or enables unpopular groups to share in the life of the whole community. Its grants are very small.
  • Audi Design Foundation
    Significant supporter of inclusive design research
  • BackCare
  • Big Lottery Fund
    The Big Lottery Fund opened a £25 million programme on 29 October 2007 aimed at promoting social, medical and socio-medical research by ‘third sector organisations', such as charities and community bodies. The fund will try to reinforce links between the sector and the research community by offering funds to projects that involve partnerships with universities and other research organisations. It wants to encourage applicants to set the agenda for the research being conducted using their grant. Organisations will be able to apply for funds of up to £500,000 over a five-year period through the programme. Exceptional projects may be eligible for funding of up to £1 million. “The research programme is a demand-led programme that will award grants to charities and voluntary sector organisations undertaking high quality research in the areas of health and social wellbeing,” said Stephen Dunmore, chief executive of the fund. “The dissemination of findings from this research will ultimately lead to the development of better services and interventions for people, improving lives across the UK”. The first round of funding will close on 28 February 2008. A third and final round of funding for the programme is scheduled to close in March 2009. A series of seminars is being planned for November to guide potential applicants.
  • British Association of Critical Care Nurses
    A key objective of BACCN is to promote the art and science of critical care nursing, and to provide facilities for nurses to further their education, skills, and personal and professional development in caring for critically ill and dependant patients. It operates a Small Research Grants scheme.
  • British Occupational Health Research Foundation
    British Occupational Health Research Foundation considers funding research or evidence reviews in occupational health, including work in the following areas: Biomedical, Psychosocial, Ageing workforce, Performance/productivity, and HR domain provided it relates significantly to occupational health (for example diversity, dignity at work). It prefers to fund work that is of international relevance and work has direct practical application at work (preferably to both private and public sectors).
  • Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation
    Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation occupies a unique position in the spinal cord research community. Since 1982 it has pushed all accepted boundaries by seeking out the best and brightest scientists and encouraging them to tackle the enormous challenges of spinal cord repair. CDRF's research philosophy is bold, forward-looking, and strategic. Among its research grantees and scientific advisors are many of neuroscience's most renowned individuals. Its research portfolio includes seminal discoveries, carefully calculated risks that have paid high dividends, and a critical mass of solid science that is the springboard for moving toward human application. CDRF's research philosophy encompasses the bench-to-the-bedside continuum. Its research programs take deliberate aim at all points in this spectrum, from very basic science - exploring the molecular and cellular mechanisms of injury and repair - to clinical application, creating networks of highly skilled centers to test or deliver promising therapies as they emerge from the research pipeline. Individuial grants, programs and consortia funding.
  • Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation
    Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation awards grants to a wide range of beneficiaries which have included artists, scientists, university academics, schoolchildren, community-based organisations, theatre groups, research institutes, and national and regional museums. In 2006-07 increased funding was made available for Daiwa Foundation Small grants, Special project grants and Daiwa Foundation Awards.
  • Daphne Jackson Trust
    Daphne Jackson Trust enables scientists, engineers and IT specialists to return to work after career breaks.
  • Deafness Research UK
    Deafness Research UK is the largest fundraising charity making grants to hearing research in the UK. It has awarded over 7 million for approved research in universities and hospitals nationwide - and over 2 million of this has been awarded over the last five years. It supports awards for two and three-year projects, research fellowships, postgraduate studentships, equipment and travel.
  • Department of Health
  • European Society of Hypertension
  • Fight for Sight
    Fight for Sight has been fighting eye disease through research for the last 40 years. It is is the largest charity funder of eye research in the UK and is dedicated to funding research into the causes, diagnosis and prevention of blindness and the treatment of eye disease. It supports projects, fellowships and studentships.
  • Food Standards Agency
    Official government agency with a broad brief for health, diet and food issues.
  • Foundation for Nursing Studies
    Foundation for Nursing Studies recognises that nurses, midwives and specialist community public health nurses are at the heart of patient care. It has a small projects programme (to cllinically based nurses, midwives and healthcare teams who want to develop healthcare practice to improve patient care in any healthcare setting across the UK) and a developing practice programme (for specific areas of healthcare practice that require development).
  • GlaxoSmithKlein
    GlaxoSmithKlein provide awards for young clinical scientists at an early stage in their careers.
  • Great Britian Sasakawa Foundation
    Great Britian Sasakawa Foundation is concerned with UK-Japan relations and particularly wishes to support activities/projects in science & technology; medicine & health; environment & social issues; Japanese studies; and in the Japanese language. The Foundation's awards are intended to provide "pump-priming" and not core funding of projects, but even small grants have enabled a wide range of projects to reach fruition, such as: Visits between the UK and Japan by academics, professionals, creative artists, teachers, young people, journalists and representatives of civic and non-governmental organisations; Research and collaborative studies, seminars, workshops, lectures and publications in academic and specialist fields; Teaching and development of Japanese language and cultural studies in schools, Further Education colleges and universities; and, Exhibitions, performances and creative productions by artists, musicians, film-makers, writers and theatre groups.
  • Guide Dogs
    Guide Dogs wants a world in which all people who are blind and partially-sighted enjoy the same rights, opportunities and responsibilities as everyone else. Through its aid programme, Guide Dogs supports a variety of research activities. It includes research into human eye health and the reasons for blindness as well as the health and welfare of our guide dogs.
  • Institute of Occupational Safety and Health
  • ME Research UK
  • National Co-ordinating Centre for Research Capacity Development
    The Research Capacity Development Programme is funded by the Department of Health (DH) as one of its National Programmes. It is managed, on behalf of DH by NCCRCD. The RCD Programme makes research training awards to individuals who show the potential to become research leaders in their particular field and whose research is people or patient-focussed and relevant to the NHS. It funds personal awards for researchers to develop research capacity in health and health care and provide coherent training programmes for those individuals who can demonstrate the potential to become a research leader of the future. The Personal Awards Scheme (PAS) enables all researchers working on health-related topics to apply for funding in open competition. There are three types of award: Researcher Development (RDA) - pre-doctoral studies; Post-Doctoral (PDA) - post doc; Career Scientist (CSA) - senior level.
    The National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts is the largest single endowment devoted exclusively to supporting talent, innovation and creativity in the UK. Its mission is to transform the UK's capacity for innovation. It invests in early stage companies, inform innovation policy and encourages a culture that helps innovation to flourish. Most likely to be of interest to product design researchers.
  • NHS Estates
    Operates a research and development programme. Access information via the Department of Health website, then organisation policy, then estates and facilities management, then estates and facilities R&D fund.
  • Smith & Nephew Foundation
    Smith & Nephew Foundation is an independently administered charitable trust funded entirely by global medical device company Smith & Nephew plc. It offers awards to individuals in the nursing professions who wish to undertake postgraduate research with the objective of improving clinical practice in nursing and midwifery in the United Kingdom.
  • The British Academy
    The British Academy receives grant-in-aid from the Office of Science and Innovation (OSI) to fund research at postdoctoral level in all branches of enquiry within the humanities and social sciences (in practice this includes some types of design and engineering work). The Academy's research funding strategy is focused on providing small-scale support. Its aim is to foster high-quality research and to help develop research capacity through a framework of responsive-mode programmes. The Academy provides a range of schemes to support the intellectual activity of UK-based scholars, including research appointments, research grants for individual and joint projects, conferences, and bilateral agreements to promote international collaboration.
  • The Colt Foundation
    The Colt Foundation considers applications for funding high quality research projects in the field of occupational and environmental health, particularly those aimed at discovering the cause of illnesses arising from conditions at the place of work. The Trustees prefer to be the sole source of finance for a project. It supports studentships, fellowships and projects.
  • The Gatsby Charitable Foundation
    The Gatsby Charitable Foundation is an endowed grant-making trust which makes grants for charitable activity which they hope may make life better for people, especially those who are disadvantaged. The Foundation concentrates support in a limited number of fields of activity and generally does not make grants in response to unsolicited applications and do not normally make grants to individuals.
  • The Healthcare Foundation
    The Healthcare Foundation spends up to 20 million annually on projects throughout the UK and also support health improvement in the developing world. Its work is currently focused on: building and making public the knowledge base for quality and performance improvement; developing leaders to improve health and healthcare services; supporting organisational efforts to improve quality and performance in health and healthcare services; engaging clinicians in quality improvement; engaging patients for better health and healthcare outcomes. The Foundation does not accept unsolicited applications for grants but operates through calls for proposals.
  • The King's Fund
  • The Leverhulme Trust
    The Leverhulme Trust makes awards for the support of research. The Trust emphasises individuals and encompasses all subject areas. It place special weight on: the originality of the projects put to them; the significance of the proposed work; the ability to judge and take appropriate risk in the project; the removal of barriers between traditional disciplines. It does do not usually support research in social policy and welfare (especially action research); and medicine.
  • The Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851
    The core programme of the Commission's awards comprises Research Fellowships, Industrial Fellowships and Industrial Design Studentships. The Commission also offers a Research Fellowship for the Built Environment and a Research Fellowship in Design as well as occasional Special Awards.
  • The Wellcome Trust
    The Wellcome Trust's mission is to foster and promote research with the aim of improving human and animal health. This allows it to respond flexibly to medical needs and scientific opportunities, tackling immediate priorities and supporting research that will benefit future generations. It supports large-scale, nationally and internationally important ventures, as well as research in areas such as biomedical science, medical humanities, biomedical ethics and the history of medicine. It is concerned with technology transfer, for example delivering practical healthcare benefits, as well as public engagement, education and linking science and art.


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Welcome to SPARC and KT-EQUAL: Knowledge Transfer for Extending Quality Life

SPARC brings together researchers, practitioners and policy makers in ageing. It specialises in communicating the latest design, engineering and biological ageing-related research to all stakeholders, making the case about the benefits for an ageing population of scientific research, and it encourages new blood into ageing research. Although funding for SPARC ended in December 2008, SPARC is continuing to function from the University of Reading within a new initiative - KT-EQUAL which commenced in January 2009. Soon KT-EQUAL will have its own website but for the time being news and information about SPARC and KT-EQUAL events are being handled by the SPARC website.

SPARC Mission Statement

Supporting Older People by
Putting Research into Practice and
Actively Promoting Needs and Solutions through
Research Leadership and


BBSRC - Biotechnological and Biological Sciences Research Council EPSRC - Engineering and Phsyical Sciences Research Council