Policies and Strategies
The Crohn’s in Childhood Research Association (CICRA) is a national registered charity founded in 1978. CICRA’s mission is to advance knowledge of childhood inflammatory bowel disease, in particular Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis through:
- Supporting several research funding streams – currently including a Research Fellowship Scheme, a PhD Studentship Scheme, Project Grants and some educational bursaries. The aim is to finance high quality, peer reviewed medical research and disseminate the results.
- Providing effective education for patients, their relatives and the public in the problems related to these disorders
- Providing support for members, families and health care professionals through the sharing of understanding and information about IBD, and by facilitating communication within their membership
Why is CICRA needed?
The Crohn’s in Childhood Research Association is the national registered charity committed solely to improving the lives of children and adolescents suffering from Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, two of the most important diseases in a group of illnesses known collectively as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
Childhood Inflammatory Bowel Disease is little known to the general public despite the fact that over the last 30 years there has been a dramatic increase in the number of children affected by this condition (about 1 in 5 of all patients affected by IBD are under 18 years of age). Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis are chronic conditions for which there is still no known cause or cure and are characterised by periods of remission and relapse.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease has only been seen in children over the last 30 – 40 years. When CICRA was formed in 1978 there were very few general paediatricians in a position to diagnose or treat these children without the help of a gastroenterologist treating adults with the condition. CICRA’s first mission therefore was to give young doctors the opportunity to train in paediatric gastroenterology. In 1982 CICRA set up the first Paediatric Gastroenterology Laboratory in London
What type of research does CICRA fund?
This falls into four categories:
- 3 year Clinical/Research Fellowships
- 3 year PhD Studentships
- 1 – 2 year Project Grants
- Small bursary awards (at the discretion of the Trustees)
A Research Fellowship is a clinical/scientific training post for paediatricians in training who are seeking to specialise in paediatric gastroenterology. Many of the leading paediatric gastroenterologists in the UK have been trained through this scheme.
PhD studentships are to encourage young scientists to develop an interest in Inflammatory Bowel Disease whilst carrying out a 3 year research project to gain their PhD.
Project grants are for either a single project or as part of a larger ongoing project.
Small bursaries are awarded for the cost of travel, registration, accommodation for trainee health professionals involved with IBD in children, especially if presenting research related to the aims of the charity and exceptionally towards the cost of IBD related training courses.
How does CICRA support its research activity?
The funds available to the Trustees determine the level of research. CICRA has a 3-year grant forecast for Fellowships and PhD studentships, so that once an award is made, the funds are transferred into a designated account. Grants are usually advertised on an annual basis.
Who may apply for a grant?
Applications for a Fellowship are invited from any institution in the UK who has the infra-structure, ability and qualified staff to supervise the clinical and scientific training in childhood inflammatory bowel disease.
Applications for a PhD studentship are invited by any department / supervisor in the UK with suitable laboratory facilities who is qualified to supervise a three year PhD studentship in paediatric IBD.
Project grants are open to any UK based qualified person carrying out, or wishing to carry out, a specific line of research into IBD
How are the awards assessed?
With the exception of the Small Bursary Awards, all applications undergo strict peer review. The CICRA Medical Advisory Panel is made up of eminent scientists and clinicians specialising in gastroenterology. In addition, external referees from this country and abroad are used to review and grade all applications. Comments and gradings are presented to the MAP, who make recommendations on funding to the Trustees, who then make the final decision.
The Association of Medical Research Charities
CICRA is a member of the AMRC and abides by the AMRC statements on ‘University Funding’ and the ‘Use of Animals in Medical Research’ (www.armc.org.uk)