UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), including the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and led by the Medical Research Council (MRC) would like to invite applications for new multi-disciplinary approaches to mapping and tackling multimorbidity at scale.

Multimorbidity is associated with a reduction in quality of life, increased use of health services and reduced life expectancy. As the number of conditions an individual has increases, so does the likelihood of increased healthcare costs. Multimorbidity has suffered scientifically from being seen as a random assortment of diseases, making it difficult to address. However, with new understanding of the impact of various factors (including biological, social, behavioural, environmental and others), multimorbidity can be seen as series of non-random clusters of disease. While some clusters are obvious, for example, obesity with cardiovascular disease-osteoarthritis & several cancers, others need further identification, particularly physical and mental health comorbidities.

Large multi-disciplinary research collaborative efforts are needed to address current research gaps and achieve the required cohesion in this field. To this end, this Strategic Priorities Fund (SPF) research call, jointly funded by the UKRI and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), will bring together multi-disciplinary collaborations with a range of scientific, methodological, and clinical knowledge and skills to build manageable, focussed “Multimorbidity Research Collaboratives”. These collaboratives will be expected to have strong patient involvement.

Recognising the potential to identify new patterns of multimorbidity and contributing factors, and the more advanced nature of research on more established multimorbidity clusters, the call is designed in two streams:

  • For those groups that need time to consolidate existing data or collaborations and/or obtain preliminary data there is an option to apply for a rapid and modest “Consolidator grant”. These grants will serve as a test bed, bringing new disciplines together and provide proof-of-concept data, enabling the best groupings and ideas to mature to a second “Research Collaborative award” stage.
  • For those other groups that have already developed multi-disciplinary networks and supporting data, there will be the option to move straight to the “Research Collaborative award” stage.

Closing date

The MRC will administer this call on behalf of the funders. Applicants are advised to ensure their host research organisation is allowed sufficient time to complete the final submission of the proposal through Je-S, by 16:00 (GMT), on the advertised call closing date 11 February 2020.