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Five reasons researchers should apply for the JDRF UK Small Grant Awards

With the third round of our Small Grant Awards now open for applications, hear from previous awardees on why you should apply.
Content last reviewed and updated: 02.01.2024
A photo of Dr James Pearson

Dr James Pearson, who received one of our Small Grant Awards in 2021.

What are the JDRF UK Small Grant Awards?

Our Small Grant Awards provide competitive funding to support early career researchers with innovative ideas. We fund projects that have the potential to deliver significant contribution to the understanding or management of type 1 diabetes. This funding opportunity provides researchers with an opportunity for independence within the field of type 1 diabetes research, encourages collaboration, and allows novel research ideas to develop into the basis for further funding.

Why should you apply?

Below are five reasons you should apply to JDRF UK Small Grant Awards, from our 2021 awardees themselves – Dr James Pearson, Dr Martin Eichmann, and Dr Carol Yang.

1) Research independence  
Becoming independent as a type 1 diabetes researcher can be challenging. However, whether you are a basic researcher, clinician, or healthcare professional, the Small Grant Awards can help you take that leap.
Carol said: “W ith the help of the Small Grant Awards, I was able to start an independent research group”.
Martin said: ”The Award helped kick-start my independent research career.”

2) Create data for further funding
The Small Grant Awards can give you the funding to gather preliminary data that would allow you to apply for large-scale grants.
James said: “The Small Grant Award allowed me to create exciting new data that has led to me being successfully awarded nearly £1 million as part of the Type 1 Diabetes Grand Challenge”.

3) Career progression  
As well as opening opportunities for further funding, the Small Grant Awards can help accelerate your research career.
Martin said: “My Small Grant Award allowed me to set up and establish new research methodology”
James said: “This Award provided me with a fantastic opportunity to explore a previously unfunded offshoot of my current research”.

4) Improve your collaboration network
Collaborations are at the heart of good research. Such connections can enrich a researchers’ network, among multiple disciplines.
James said: “The Small Grant Awards solidified my current collaborations and enabled me to collaborate with new researchers outside of the type 1 diabetes research field”.

5) Pass on the support to other researchers  
The positive impact of these awards does not stop with the awardees.
Carol explained: “This funding has allowed us to support student projects and provide opportunities for young people to gain hands-on experience in my research lab”.

As well as the above awardees, the latest three projects to receive our Small Grant Awards are exploring new ideas from targeting the immune attack causing type 1 diabetes, to growing new insulin-producing beta cells in the lab.

Increased funding for 2023

We are pleased to announce an increase in funding for the 2023 Small Grand Awards. In this challenging time of increasing prices, we hope the increased funding of £20,000 for basic research and £30,000 for clinical research will open even more doors for our successful applicants.

Thank you to our supporters

Without our supporters, this research and increased funding would not be possible. We couldn’t have put it better than 2021 Small Grant Awardee, Martin, who said: “I am incredibly grateful to all donors and to JDRF and their supporters for this award that provided me with a crucial steppingstone to advance my research and to help improve the lives of people living with type 1 diabetes”.

How to apply

Please visit the Small Grant Awards page for further information, including the application form.

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