The primary objective of CICRA is to fund medical and scientific research aimed at understanding, treating and seeking a cure for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and in particular but not limited to, the potential to help children and young people with this condition.
CICRA has several streams of funding which are all peer reviewed by our Medical Advisory Panel (MAP) and external referees, with the exception of the small bursary grants. These funding streams are:
- 3-year Research Fellowship – a clinical/scientific training post for paediatricians in training who are seeking to specialise in paediatric gastroenterology with an interest in IBD. Many leading paediatric gastroenterologists in the UK have received their training through this scheme.
- 3-year PhD Studentship – a scheme to encourage young scientists to gain their PhD while researching IBD. Fees and stipends are in line with Medical Research Council (MRC) rates.
- 2-year Postdoctoral Fellowship – for non-clinician scientists with a PhD wishing to undertake scientific research relevant to or involving children with IBD. This initiative is designed to attract basic scientists (e.g. immunologists, microbiologists, geneticists etc.) into the field of IBD relevant to children.
- 1- or 2-year Project Grants – either to support a single project or part of a larger ongoing project.
- small bursary grants (at the Trustees' discretion) up to £400 (max. £5,000 annually) to help UK based health professionals (trainees, nurses and final year medical students involved in IBD) to be able to attend medical/scientific meetings. Preference will be given to those presenting their own paediatric work, although assistance may be offered for attending IBD-related training courses. In addition an annual bursary of £1000 (John Earnshaw Award) is granted to a trainee paediatric gastroenterologist towards travel to an international medical/scientific meeting.
CICRA ensures that it receives expert and independent advice for all funding opportunities and that all proposals are assessed objectively, impartially and in accordance with guidelines set down by the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC), of which CICRA is a member.
CICRA is very grateful for the support received from members of the medical profession who act as advisors in the peer review process, whether as members of the Medical Advisory Panel or as independent referees.
All applications for financial support (except bursaries) are initially reviewed by the CICRA Grants Administrator to ensure they meet the criteria set for each type of award. Any application falling outside of the criteria will not be further reviewed and the applicant will be notified.
Full applications are sent to all members of the Medical Advisory Panel (MAP) for review, comment and independent grading. Suggestions for additional external referees are also sought. Appropriate external referees are approached after discussion with the Chair of the MAP. Once three external reviewers for each application have been identified they are approached by the CICRA Grants Administrator and, if they agree to act as a referee and are not conflicted, are sent a copy of the application with an evaluation form for comment and grading. Applicants with a possible high score but with need of clarification on specific points will be given the opportunity to answer these queries.
Scores from external referees and all MAP members are returned to the CICRA Grants Administrator, who calculates mean scores, ranks them, collates all comments and sends to the members of the Advisory panel prior to their annual meeting. At their annual meeting at least the top three ranked applications in each funding stream will be considered by the MAP (minimum 4 members). The Chair of the MAP makes the recommendation of the Panel to the Trustees for the final decision on which grants to fund. The Grants Administrator notifies the applicants of the outcome of the Trustees decisions and provides anonymised comments from the referees.