22/129 Motor neurone disease highlight notice (HTA Programme)

The Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Programme is accepting stage one applications to this funding opportunity.

In order to apply for this call you will need to carefully review the following documents:

All primary research projects are expected to establish a programme appointed Study Steering Committee and it is important that you read the Research Governance Guidance before completing your application. Costs incurred by this committee should be included in the budget as appropriate.


Any changes to these dates will be emailed to all Lead Applicants with an application in progress.

  • Stage one deadline: 1pm on 4 January 2023
  • Notification of out of remit/non-competitive decision if unsuccessful: Early February 2023
  • Notification of stage one shortlisting decision: March 2023
  • Stage two writing window: March 2023 – May 2023
  • Notification of stage two funding decision: late August/early September 2023
  • Start date for funded studies: April/May 2024

Specific requirements for this call

The NIHR is inviting research proposals that seek to develop the critical underlying infrastructure to accelerate progress in and learning from MND clinical trials. This will build on existing initiatives, networks and collaborations that capitalise on recent progress in drug development, to improve trial design and participation, validate new patient relevant outcomes and validate identified clinical biomarkers that are known to correlate to a clinical endpoint.

NIHR is interested in funding studies that use innovative trial designs that have the potential to increase patient participation in clinical studies. This could be through the use of stratification, predictive modelling, and/or the use of novel study designs, such as platform trials and n-of-1 studies. Applicants should also consider the efficiency of studies to reduce the burden on participants, such as the use of remote monitoring or bio sampling.

Some examples of potential areas of interest are given below. This is not an exhaustive list and other research within the remit of the participating NIHR funding programmes and relevant to this call will also be considered.

  • Research on already identified biomarkers to ameliorate diagnosis, improve prognostic accuracy and determine treatment efficacy; Biomarkers must correlate with a known clinical endpoint;
  • Testing hypotheses concerning gene variants within clinical trials, to understand differential responses, enhance gene therapy trial design, trial selection and personalized precision medicine;
  • Research to develop and evaluate new technologies for their potential to improve quality of life;
  • Validating Patient Related Outcome Measures (PROMs) and assessing the feasibility of using a PROM in appropriate care settings;
  • Research into care management, planning and coordination including but not limited to workforce and care navigators; informal carer support, respite services and day services; models of care including specialist hubs and interface with sectors and agencies; and the use of remote services and digitalised self-management support;
  • Training and awareness for general staff in hospitals e.g. around end-of-life care;

Applications which involve investigators spanning a range of specialties are encouraged and partnership with national charities and industry are welcomed.

For the purpose of this particular call, the NIHR research programmes will not be able to support:

  • Causes of MND including biochemical processes involved in the disease progression;
  • The development of new treatment strategies for MND;
  • Studies identifying new biomarkers;
  • Developing new biobanks;
  • Developing new PROMS;

For studies positioned early in the developmental pathway or which focus on the mechanistic understanding of disease, applicants may wish to refer to UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) funding opportunities, including the Medical Research Council (MRC) translational research schemes.

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