Institutional Strategic Support Fund Award

Institutional Strategic Support Fund

Leicester, University of Leicester, Wellcome Trust, Institutional Strategic Support Fund, ISSF

logoThe Institutional Strategic Support Fund (ISSF) enables universities in the UK and Ireland to invest in areas that are of mutual strategic importance to Wellcome and the individual institutions. These are within and across medical and clinical sciences, public health, social sciences and medical humanities.

Leicester WTISSF: Crossing discipline, ethnic and social boundaries to promote health

The latest ISSF award to Leicester is a five year award spanning academic years 2016/17 to 2020/21. Funding of £600,000 for Years 4 and 5 is subject to WT’s acceptance and approval of a progress report and an updated plan for the use of funds. The sum of £300k per calendar year is available from the Wellcome Trust (£1.5M total).

Priority areasFunding mechanismsHow to applyProjects Funded
Bench and taps Cardiovascular Research Dig Lecture theatre

Info for award holders

GovernancePrevious ISSF successPublic Engagement
Looking at a model skulls and teeth microscope Locusts

The PI for the award is Professor Andrew Fry (, Director of Research and the Manager is Anna Harding, Assistant Registrar (  #ISSFLeicester

Latest News: New opportunities from Wellcome to make ISSF funded outputs open access

Launch 2017 Launch event 2017

Priority areas


The Leicester ISSF has four main priority areas:

Precision Medicine (lead: Professor Martin Tobin)

Leicester has world-leading academic expertise in several clinical specialties, notably cardiovascular and respiratory (inflammatory and infectious) disease, diabetes and cancer. These have received external recognition through three NIHR-funded BRUs, a CLAHRC, CRUK Centre and MRC Pathology Node. Our long-term ambition is to integrate our medical research into a single comprehensive Academic Health Science Centre. Towards this goal, the University and NHS Trust have jointly launched The Leicester Precision Medicine Institute, while incorporating precision medicine as a crosscutting theme in the current BRC and CRUK Centre applications. Precision medicine involves the use of genotype, phenotype and environmental data to identify factors in individuals or subgroups that affect disease risk, status, progression or therapeutic response. In conjunction with our outstanding discovery science and input from social sciences and medical humanities, Precision Medicine will lead to clinical trials that address patient or population differences, and ultimately lead to development of novel interventions and companion diagnostics aimed at specific populations, including ethnic, subgroups. While long-term support will come from the University, NHS, philanthropy and commerce, ISSF will pump-prime key activities.

Ethnic Health and Migration (lead: Professor Kamlesh Khunti)

The Leicester community’s social and demographic features, including the highest proportion of
non-white residents (55%) in the UK, provide a unique and important opportunity to address key
health issues across an ethnically and culturally diverse population. Leicester’s pioneering research has demonstrated that health outcomes vary between ethnic groups. For example, South Asians are more susceptible to type II diabetes and coronary artery disease, but less likely to develop age related cardiac conduction abnormalities. These findings pose questions about causality, nature (genetics) vs nurture (lifestyle), that we are ideally placed to answer and address by intervention. By combining our clinical expertise, large resident patient cohorts and their health records, multi-omic, clinical and other biometrics, and lifestyle characteristics, we can explore causes of clinical variation and develop personalised approaches to healthcare. These issues will be a focus for the new Leicester Precision Medicine Institute. We will also exploit our strengths in population studies and applied psychology to explore factors predisposing communities to particular illnesses, as well as their uptake of and response to treatments. We will pursue this agenda locally (where there is a high incidence of cousin marriages) and also develop comparative datasets in low- and middle income countries, for example working with established partners in diabetes in India (Chennai, Delhi, Pune, Jaipur). Leicester has established the East Midlands Centre for Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) Health that aims to reduce health inequalities, increase representation in research studies, develop innovative participant recruitment and outreach activities, facilitate knowledge exchange, identify new research priorities and build capacity for BME research. The cross disciplinary Migration Network and Diversity, Inclusion & Community Engagement Unit established within the School of Sociology will play an increasingly important role.

Structural & Chemical Biology (lead: Professor John Schwabe)
Leicester has an international reputation for excellence in Structural Biology, both in fundamental and (increasingly) translational research. This has had long-standing WT support with establishment of the Henry Wellcome Laboratories of Structural Biology at Leicester in 2005. Currently the group holds WT Senior Investigator, Seed and Equipment awards. Creation of the Leicester Institute of Structural and Chemical Biology is an ambitious new enterprise, with substantial University investment in new staff and equipment. Our expertise in structure-based drug discovery fits well with the Leicester Precision Medicine Institute, the CRUK Cancer Centre and Leicester Drug Discovery and Diagnostics (LD3) Centre. We have partnerships with MRC-T, UCB, GSK, 4SC and others. We will develop the Institute in exciting new directions by incorporating complementary expertise in single-molecule and chemical biology and developing technologies of cross-linking/mass-spectroscopy together with single-particle electron microscopy (EM), aiming to establish Leicester as a regional centre for cryo-EM. We will partner with Midlands Universities and have support from pioneering EM centres at the MRC-LMB in Cambridge and Birkbeck. An important use of the ISSF will be to support these partnerships and enable our researchers to gain experience and training during short visits/courses.

New Health Agendas in The Social Sciences and Humanities (co-leads: Professor Martin Halliwell & Professor Steve King)

We will focus ISSF support in two areas of expertise. Firstly, our applied social science in health
policy research and evaluation, led through SAPPHIRE (Social Science APPlied to Healthcare
Improvement REsearch), will develop cross-disciplinary projects using expertise in human factors,
behavioural economics and health communications, partnering with key commissioners such as the Department of Health and Health Education England. Secondly, we will invest in interdisciplinary research projects. Specifically, we will codify and extend existing healthcare research interests across the Humanities and Social Sciences to foster a clear and ongoing interdisciplinary conversation with the three other strategic priorities. We will develop existing projects on the social implications of migrant and ethnic health, understanding of disability in ethnic communities, and the construction of public knowledge about and expectations of therapeutic breakthrough. We will build research capacity in the medical humanities and social science health research particularly seeking to boost interdisciplinary activity in the fields of medical education and practice, including the history of medicine, mental health, disability, public health, doctor-patient relationships and the public perception of scientific knowledge. We will map our strong public engagement activities in History, Archaeology, English and Museum Studies onto the health-related interests of the other three priorities. We will use ISSF to pump prime projects and create the infrastructure for an ongoing interdisciplinary conversation once ISSF has finished.

Leicester WTISSF: Crossing discipline, ethnic and social boundaries to promote health

Cardiovascular Research






Funding mechanisms


The Leicester ISSF will use five funding mechanisms:


Early Career Researchers Fellowships

Co-Leads: Professor Martin Halliwell, Professor Steve King and Professor Ruth Luthi-Carter

The bulk of ISSF funding will be used for a competitive Early Career Fellowship scheme directed at our four strategic priorities. Senior staff will mentor these highly promising researchers, and we will provide a cohort-training fund to augment current institutional researcher training activities. The other four funding objectives will support these fellows and our researchers who have or are competitive for WT funding.

Translation and Innovation funding

Co-Leads: Dr Alasdair Gaw and Professor Steve King

At its core, the intent of this funding stream is to facilitate the transition of pre-existing research into developments which impact: patient outcomes and experiences, the organisation and operation of health care systems, patient understandings of and engagement with illness and consequent healthcare, and the depth and reach of planning and diagnostic tools for medical stakeholders and policy makers.

Discipline Bridges

Co-Leads: Dr John Cromby and Professor Mark Jobling

The aim of the Discipline Bridges scheme is to use ISSF funds to encourage academics and researchers to explore their existing projects from a new angle.

Institutional Partnerships

Co: Leads: Professor Andrea Cooper; Professor Martin Halliwell, Professor Martyn Mahaut-Smith and Professor John Schwabe

To be competitive, we recognise the importance of vibrant regional partnerships and collaborative links that access complementary expertise and strengths at other institutions. This funding stream will encourage these collaborative interactions and there are three sub streams:

Public Engagement

Co-Leads: Dr Elizabeth Hurren, Dr Cas Kramer and Dr Marie Nugent

As part of the Wellcome Trust’s bid to embed Public Engagement (PE) within research institutions, the ISSF will be used to do exactly that by focusing on three pillars: Training, Events and Recognition.


Launch posters

How to apply



Leicester WTISSF: Crossing discipline, ethnic and social boundaries to promote health


Links to how to apply to our funding mechanisms -


Early Career Fellowships - no live call at the moment


Apply for our Translation and Innovation Awards -  applications for <£500 no closing date

Completed application forms must be emailed to Anna Harding, WTISSF Manager,


Apply now for our Discipline Bridges Award - For applications up to £5k closing date 1st November; applications <£500 no closing date

Completed applications forms to be emailed to Anna Harding, WTISSF Manager,


Apply now for our Equipment Sharing Awards, <£2000 no closing date

Completed application forms must be emailed to Anna Harding, WTISSF Manager,


Apply now for our Partnership Building Awards, <£2000 no closing date

Completed applications must be emailed to Anna Harding, WTISSF Manager,


Apply now for a Public Engagement Seed Grant - Next closing date 1st November; applications for <£500 no closing date

Completed application forms must be emailed to Dr Marie Nugent, Public Engagement Manager


Apply now for funding in support of attending an external science communication/media/public engagement training opportunity - no closing date

Completed application forms must be emailed to Dr Marie Nugent, Public Engagement Manager

Projects funded

Awards Made - Year one

Discipline Bridges

  • Nicola Mackintosh, Andrew Willis, Michaela Butter (College of MBSP)
    Diversity, ethnicity and voice: enabling women to speak up about safety concerns in pregnancy and the postnatal period
  • Liz Jones, Martha Clokie (College of CSSAH)
    Virus Fear: Cultural Resistance to Biophage Therapy

Institutional Partnerships

Public Engagement

  • Andrew Fry (College of MBSP)
    Creating a Repository of Cell Biology Images
  • Deirdre Harrington (College of MBSP)

Information for award holders

logoCongratulations on your award from Leicester's ISSF

Please ensure you are fully aware of the following documents and requirements

Wellcome Trust's Grant Conditions

You are reminded that in particular any research outputs supported in whole or in part by the Grant comply with Wellcome's Open Access policy. All publications must acknowledge the Leicester ISSF in accordance with our Guidance for Research Publication Acknowledgement Practice.  The Leicester ISSF award reference is 204801/Z/16/Z.

New opportunities from Wellcome to make ISSF funded outputs open access:

Wellcome Open Research is a bold new publishing platform that removes barriers to publication, enabling Wellcome-funded researchers to rapidly publish any of their results from traditional narrative-based articles to incremental findings, methods, datasets and more. All publishing costs are centrally funded by Wellcome, simplifying the publishing process further.

Europe PMC is a repository, providing access to worldwide life sciences articles, books, patents, clinical guidelines and funding portfolios. Europe PMC provides a mechanism for Wellcome-funded authors to self-archive research publications and to link publications to their Wellcome grant.


logoWT-ISSF Governance Board: This is chaired by PVC Research & Enterprise, Professor Iain
Gillespie. The Board reports to the University Research Strategy, Policy and Performance Committee and meets annually.
WT-ISSF Executive Committee: guided by the Governance Board, this is chaired by the
Leicester ISSF grant holder and Director of Research, Professor Andrew Fry. The Committee will
meet quarterly and receive information on budget and expenditure, manage all funding activities, and coordinate applications and awards.
ISSF Manager: Anna Harding will work with the Executive Committee to manage the ISSF portfolio of funding and prepare progress reports.


Previous ISSF success

logo1. Research Centres & Institutes. The ISSF1 award enabled us to establish four new Research
Centres that have been key to research strategy development at Leicester. Firstly, the Leicester
Drug Discovery and Diagnostics Centre (LD3, previously Centre for Translational
Therapeutics), led by Prof Andrew Tobin and now by Dr Alasdair Gaw, has established a core-funded team whose mission is to progress Leicester’s world-leading basic biomedical and clinical research into translational projects that lead to novel therapies. This has gone on to leverage external funding from the MRC  (£3.13M) and a number of large academic, charity and commercial partners, including MRC-T, CRT and GSK
(£1.2M). Secondly, support for the Structural Biology Centre contributed to a £2.2M WT Senior Investigator Award to Prof John Schwabe, and continued enterprise funding of >£2M from UCBCelltech to Prof Mark Carr, and a £1.7M CRUK Centres Network Accelerator Award in structure based cancer drug discovery. The remaining two Centres, the Data-to-Knowledge-to-Practice D2K2P) Centre and Bioinformatics and Biostatistics Support Hub, are providing core informatics support for interrogating and integrating the enormous volumes of research and health data that underpin modern medicine. Together, the success of these four Centres has culminated in the launch of two new interdisciplinary Research Institutes in July 2016, the Leicester Precision Medicine Institute and Leicester Institute of Structural and Chemical Biology.

2. Strengthening our partnership with the University Hospitals of Leicester (UHL) NHS Trust.
The ISSF1 award supported many biomedical research projects that enhanced the translational and clinical research infrastructure at Leicester and allowed us to better align the research missions of the University and NHS Trust. We have three NIHR-funded Biomedical Research Units (BRUs) in Leicester: in Cardiovascular Disease, Respiratory Disease, and (joint with Loughborough) Diet, Lifestyle and Exercise, now consolidated with an award of a single NIHR Biomedical Research Centre (BRC). Funding for the Leicestershire-Northamptonshire-Rutland (LNR) East Midlands CLAHRC was renewed in 2013 and a new CRUK Leicester Cancer Centre was awarded in 2014. These five outstanding experimental medicine hubs, together with a prestigious £2.7M MRC Molecular Pathology Node in Breathomics, form the disciplinary focus for the new Leicester Precision Medicine Institute, an equal partnership between the University of Leicester and UHL
NHS Trust. Importantly, this Institute has a specific focus on Ethnic Health, which is a key priority area of this ISSF3 application. In 2012, we opened the new Central Research Facility (CRF) for in vivo pre-clinical studies, equipped with state-of-the-art infrastructure funded through a WT capital award, which has been used for many ISSF1 projects. Furthermore, the growing synergy in biomedical research and teaching facilitated by ISSF led to the University investing in a£42M Centre for Medicine, opened in 2016, that serves as a focus for community engagement and is closely linked to the Attenborough Arts Centre.

3. Enhancing The Social Sciences and Medical Humanities. Though ISSF1 funds were notspecifically allocated to Social Science and Humanities projects, institutional investment has led to establishment of a new interdisciplinary Medical Humanities Research Centre in 2012 that brings together historians, sociologists and academics from Management and English. Other relevant research groups established in that period include the Health and Public Policy Evaluation Network (HAPPEN) in Economics and the Health Communication Research Group in Media & Communications. These will benefit directly from funding under ISSF3.

4. Building Capacity and Supporting Early Career Researchers (ECRs). ISSF1 funds enabled capacity building through supporting new senior and junior appointments in priority areas including Structural Biology, Respiratory, Microbial Science and Cancer. Academics funded by ISSF1 obtained many large externally funded grants, and completed work for high quality publications. Similarly, the matched funding used to purchase infrastructure supported a wealth of research outputs and impact. ISSF1 support also helped many ECRs establish themselves as independent scientists.

5. Public Engagement. For the past 10 years, we have run enormously successful annual events,such as Brain Awareness Day and Dynamic DNA, which brings 600 pupils and teachers into the University for an exciting day of learning around genetics and health. We used ISSF1 to expand his activity with new displays and equipment, and develop new hands-on activities around cancergenetics. Funds were also made available for ECRs to gain  experience of public engagement, for example Dr Emma Chung used musicians on Great Central Railway steam trains to explain the Doppler effect to the public and how it can be used to monitor blood-flow in the brain. More broadly, ISSF1 investment contributed to a better appreciation of public engagement University-wide, and new commitment to public engagement posts.

Public Engagement

Leicester is signed up to the NCCPE’s Manifesto for Public Engagement, and has recently reaffirmed its commitment as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility agenda as ‘PROUD of Leicester’ ( – Promoting health and well-being, Restoring our environment, Opening access to culture and heritage, Upskilling for the 21st century, Developing children and young people. We want to build on this initiative and will use ISSF funds to enhance PE activities, and to continue to embed PE in research across the University.

We have a well-developed PE strategy and organisational structure that includes two new posts specifically associated with this ISSF award. many excellent interdisciplinary collaborations

Public Engagement within ISSF is managed by Dr Cas Kramer, Academic Lead for Public Engagement (College of Medicine, Biological Sciences and Psychology MBSP); Dr Elizabeth Hurren (College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities) and Dr Marie Nugent, College Public Engagement Manager MBSP (

Further information about the ISSF Public Engagement Scheme


Public Engagement     Public Engagement

School children learning about the Doppler effect at the Great Central Railway, Charnwood.

Grant conditions

PDF document icon ISSFEC02.pdf — PDF document, 105 kB (107989 bytes)


WTISSF Fellowships at Leicester
WTISSF Fellowships at Leicester
WTISSF Leicester Fellowships
Early Career Fellowships
Fellowships at the University of Leicester

Public Engagement Scheme

Public Engagement Scheme at Leicester

logo As part of the Wellcome Trust’s bid to embed Public Engagement (PE) within research institutions, the ISSF will be used to do exactly that by focusing on three pillars: Training, Events and Recognition. These three pillars together will bring about the change in culture required of our institution to raise the profile of PE and incentivise researchers to create and take part in PE initiatives.

To develop the next generation of engaged researchers, we will host a university-wide training event delivered by the NCCPE at the university as well as send some of our early career researchers on an external training course in science communications. Together this will help grow and develop the skills required of our academics to be effective and confident when talking to the public about their research. To raise awareness of the importance of PE, the NCCPE will present and discuss with more senior academics the benefits of PE to researchers and answer any questions they may have.

To kick-start more focused activity in our institution, the ISSF Public Engagement manager will be part of an organising committee for a PE event that fulfils the aims of ISSF by promoting interdisciplinary collaboration and reaching groups in the community underrepresented by the university's current PE activity. To ensure our researchers are recognised for their PE involvement, the ISSF will be used to support the creation of a university-wide awards ceremony where PE is celebrated and rewarded by senior members of the university in front of their peers. This will help champion those who are actively participating in impactful PE events, creating role models for others to become engaged with the College and wider university PE programme.

Apply now for a Public Engagement Seed Grant Call live now with a 1st November 2017 deadline; applications <£500 no deadline

Apply now for a funding in support of attending an external science communication/media/public engagement training opportunity (no deadline)

Translation and Innovation

Translation, Innovation, Leicester

ISSF funds will boost the number of translation and innovation projects that we undertake in Medicine, Biological Sciences and Psychology, the Social Sciences and Humanities to support our strategic priorities.

Why? We wish to diversify our portfolio of industrial engagement and innovation activities that underpin our health-related agenda. Through ISSF1 we established a Centre for Translational Therapeutics, now the Leicester Drug Discovery and Diagnostics Centre (LD3), which with additional University and MRC investment has supported pilot projects that subsequently secured large translational awards (e.g. MRC-DPFS £2.5M on scarring, GSK-FastTrack/DPAc >£1M on non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma). We will also support innovation projects in social science and humanities such as solutions to collecting evidence of rape in conflict countries.

What? ISSF funds will work alongside our Proof-of-Concept and Prospects Funds for resourcing translation and innovation projects that provide knowledge exchange, impact and collaboration with non-academic organizations, industry and business.

How? Awards will be made annually based on project quality, PI track record and the medium-term potential for income generation or impact.

Measures of success  We will grow our enterprise portfolio, which has yielded maximal HEIF return in the past three years, through securing new translational awards and income generation streams. We will strengthen our working relationship with the Research & Innovation Board of the NHS Trust to deliver on the Department of Health’s ‘accelerated access’ agenda. Importantly, this will engender a more impact-driven and entrepreneurial spirit in Leicester researchers.



Translation and Innovation Guidance for Applicants

Translation, Innovation, Leicester

logo Wellcome Trust ISSF funding for translation and innovation encompasses projects in the Bio-Medical Sciences, Social Sciences and Arts and Humanities. At its core, the intent of this funding stream is to facilitate the transition of pre-existing research into developments which impact: patient outcomes and experiences, the organisation and operation of health care systems, patient understandings of and engagement with illness and consequent healthcare, and the depth and reach of planning and diagnostic tools for medical stakeholders and policy makers.  Many exciting innovations such as new therapies, diagnostics and medical devices that are designed for use and acceptance by patients and clinicians can fail to achieve impact as a result of human factors rather than science quality. We are interested in projects with outcomes that impact and influence health outcomes, delivery of diagnosis, the experience of healthcare systems by patients, the adoption of new innovations by patients, health policy makers and clinicians  or the conduct and execution of health-related research by third parties.

Under this Wellcome Trust ISSF funding stream we will support collaborative  cross disciplinary projects that can make the difference in establishing core foundations, completing feasibility studies or bringing to fruition concepts and applications that have developed within the University of Leicester or University Hospitals Leicester Trust.  The annual funding for our scheme stands at £25,000, and we aim to fund a range of projects across the three Colleges of the University. We expect to have 1 funding call per year and do not seek to limit the amount of individual applications.

Such projects might include but are not limited to:

  • Developing new medical devices or clinical processes for commercial exploitation.
  • The evaluation, development or commercial exploitation of databases that can help in the planning of health systems or the targeting of health care resources.
  • Significant policy interventions, e.g. the use and circulation of patient case records by third parties.
  • Analysis of patient understandings of the risk associated with surgical or drug interventions and the development of educational tools facilitate better sensitivity to risk.
  • The development of targeted and lasting interventions in health policy, the patient journey or clinical practice using new research in the humanities.
  • Exploitable work on disease prevention, including diet, pollution and lifestyle
  • Factors affecting uptake of new medicine in a BME population
  • Factors inhibiting uptake of diagnostic innovation in the NHS
  • Sociological impacts of genetic testing
  • Cyber security in relation to health data, what are the public concerns

Our scheme leads for this aspect of the Wellcome Trust ISSF grant are Alasdair Gaw and Steve King and both colleagues would be happy to talk to prospective applicants prior to formal submission.

Applications <£500 no deadline

Discipline Bridges

Discipline Bridges Leicester

logo The aim of the Discipline Bridges scheme is to use ISSF funds to encourage academics and researchers to explore their existing projects from a new angle. ISSF funds could be used to buy out project or teaching time, for example, and discipline bridges outside Leicester could request travel and accommodation. Other costs could be considered through negotiation.

We will be flexible about the definition of cross-disciplinary work; this could include bridges between a mathematician and neuroscientist, a historian and an epidemiologist, or a group of structural biologists and a poet.

It is essential that applications for this scheme describe what will be achieved by the Discipline Bridge, and what measurable outcome or output will result. Examples could include a grant application, paper, seminar, conference proposal, or public engagement event.

Who can apply? This scheme is open to research staff including post-doctoral research associates and academic staff. Applicants can be individuals, or groups, and likewise proposals can be made to bridge with a group or an individual.

Scale of awards: Typically, Discipline Bridge awards will cover a period of one to twelve weeks, and over a range of £500 to £10,000.

How to apply: Applications for up to £500 can be made at any time. We have a live call open at the moment for applications up to £5k, closing date 1 November 2017. Applicants should fill in the appropriate application form and supply a CV and email these to Anna Harding We will also require a video summary (up to a strict maximum of 4 minutes duration, and submitted via the UoL FileDrop service) of the proposed project and how it will benefit the applicant.

Videos can use many different presentational strategies, formats, props or devices and there is no fixed format. However:

1)     Videos longer than 4 minutes in total will not be considered

2)     All videos should explain the proposed project in terms that are broadly accessible to informed non-experts

3)     All videos should clearly explain how the proposed project is ‘discipline-bridging’

4)     All videos should specify who will be involved; what they will do; and what the concrete or measurable outcome or output will be

5)     Where relevant, videos should summarise how ethical issues will be addressed (e.g. which ethics body will be consulted)

To give you inspiration, here are some video abstracts from Cell Press:


And videos in Medical Humanities from the Wellcome Trust:


There are many videos of ‘Pecha Kucha’ presentations which (with 20 slides, timed at 20 seconds per slide) are longer than the maximum permitted for this application but may nevertheless provide tips. See for example:


There are also a great many videos of presentations at “3 Minute Thesis” competitions, from universities around the world; these too might supply strategies, tips and models. Some examples are:

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI)

logo At Leicester, we are mainstreaming equality, diversity and inclusion in all that we do. Equality is a key pillar in our University Strategic Plan emphasising our commitment to equality by stating ‘We do everything we can to recognise diversities, achieve equalities and enable all our staff and students to be people who flourish’. Our robust governance structure for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion reflects the importance we place on it and shows our strong commitment to developing a culture of diversity in all that we do. Our ISSF incorporates our principles of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in all our decision making processes, taking the following key actions to ensure:

  • Transparent processes and clear guidelines for funding and recruitment decisions to be made
  • Criteria for all schemes undergo systematic review to confirm adherence to our principles of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
  • Gender balance is maintained on all our recruiting and decision making panels
  • Deadlines are compatible with school term times

Encouraging applications from:

We want to encourage applications from returners to science for all of our relevant schemes: Early Career Fellowships; Discipline Bridges and Institutional Partnerships. We encourage applicants to provide information on any career breaks taken so that we can take account of them in the selection process.

Working within a coherent structure for EDI:

Equality and Diversity.png

Institutional Partnerships

Leicester - Institutional - Partnerships

logo Through building and maintaining Institutional Partnerships Leicester will strengthen its relationships with Midlands Universities, build a partnership with the Francis Crick Institute, and access expert training and partnerships at other HEIs.

CRICK Seminar and Meeting Programme

Leicester will invite international and UK based speakers to give a seminar at the Crick and at Leicester and will host regular meetings with Crick Scientists. To nominate a speaker from the Francis Crick Institute or to be involved in a Francis Crick Institute seminar speaker visit contact Professor Andrea Cooper (

Equipment Sharing

The Equipment sharing fund of the Institutional Strategic Support Fund scheme is open all year round and has a budget of up to £15K/annum. The amount requested within an individual application is expected to be in the range <£2000. It is anticipated that the use of this fund will encourage a culture of joint working across the region facilitating collaborative research programmes, grant applications, and training. Costs can include travel (via the most economical route) and equipment or core facility access charges. Consumables costs will not be covered unless these are an integral part of the standard facility charge. The scheme is open to any Leicester researcher (including academic staff, graduate students and technical services staff) wishing to access equipment at other members of the Midlands Innovation consortium of research-intensive Universities. A search engine for equipment available to external clients within the Midlands Innovation Universities can be viewed online at In addition, the scheme can be used to support access to equipment at the University of Leicester by external researchers from the Midlands region, including from companies seeking to explore longer term use of University facilities. Research within any area of biomedical research can be supported, including interdisciplinary approaches, but applicants should consider the four ISSF priority areas: (1. Precision Medicine; 2. Ethnic Health and Migration; 3. Structural and Chemical Biology and 4: New Health Agendas in the Social Sciences and Humanities) Further queries can be sent to Professor Martyn Mahaut-Smith ( or Professor Andrew Fry (

Partnership Building

The Partnership Building strand of the Institutional Partnerships theme of the University of Leicester’s Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund is geared to initiating, deepening and maximizing the University’s partnerships in medical and health research. Applications will be open to researchers across the University of Leicester who are working on the strategic development of national and international partnerships. This fund can be used, for example, to bring two laboratory teams together to work on a topic of shared interest; to run a joint symposium with another Centre for Medical Humanities that might form the basis of a collaborative grant application; to meet with a group of international alumni on an enterprise initiative; or to work with an overseas university or NGO on a particular public or global health issue. Funding will be prioritised for interdisciplinary research and for applicants or teams who would otherwise be unable to pursue such a partnership.

The applicant should outline the value of the partnership and detail specifically how that it will enable him/her to develop research, teaching, training and enterprise activities beyond the term of the grant. These funds may be used to cover travel and accommodation expenses for outgoing visits or accommodation, room booking and hospitality expenses for incoming visits. Applications are open all year round with no deadlines for amounts in the range of <£2000. In addition to justification for the use of the fund in the application, a brief CV will be requested for all parties directly benefitting from the fund, including the applicant and partner(s). Further queries can be sent to Professor Martin Halliwell ( or Professor John Schwabe (

Apply now to the Equipment Sharing Fund, <£2000 no closing date. Completed applications forms to be emailed to Anna Harding, WTISSF Manager,

Apply now to the Partnership Building Fund, <£2000 no closing date. Completed application forms to be emailed to Anna Harding, WTISSF Manager,

ISSF Launch Slides

PDF document icon ISSF Launch Slides.pdf — PDF document, 4344 kB (4448581 bytes)

CRICK Seminar and Meeting Programme

Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund: Crossing discipline, ethnic and social boundaries to promote health

CRICK Seminar and Meeting Programme, led by Professor Andrea Cooper

As part of the WTISSF award to Leicester we will host a number of high profile CRICK researchers to visit us and give a seminar.

The first one will take place on Wednesday 28th June, 12:45pm-1:45pm in Lecture Theatre 2, Centre for Medicine. All are welcome to attend.

Our speaker/visitor is Professor Andreas Wack and the title of the seminar is "Lung epithelia under attack: influenza, interferons and pollutants”.

Please book a ticket at:

Professor Wack

Biosketch: After his PhD on thymocyte development at the MRC National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) in London, Andreas Wack moved to the research institute of Novartis Vaccines in Siena, Italy, where he worked on the modulation of human T and NK cell function by the hepatitis C virus, human dendritic cell subsets and their crosstalk, the mechanism of action of vaccine adjuvants, and next generation influenza vaccines. Since 2009 he is back at the NIMR, now Francis Crick Institute, where his group studies the responses of airway epithelia and innate immune cells to influenza infection and to influenza-bacterial co-infection. His lab aims to identify determinants of immunopathology and protection and has assessed unique and redundant roles of type I and type III interferons in influenza. A second focus of his group is airway epithelial cell differentiation, a process that has to be efficient and balanced to guarantee timely repair of lung tissue damage during infection.


Flagship Lectures and Interest Group Seminars are held regularly at the Francis Crick Institute. Here are the upcoming sessions:


Flagship lectures:

15 June 2017 - Adrian Bird, University of Edinburgh

14 July 2017 (12:00) - Michael Sheetz, Columbia University and National University of Singapore

27 July 2017 - Lewis Cantley, Cornell University, New York

7 September 2017 - Patrick Cramer, Max Planck Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen

21 September 2017 - Peter Piot, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

19 October 2017 - Peter Howley, Harvard Medical School, Boston

15 November 2017 - Harold Varmus, Weil Cornell Medicine, New York

30 November 2017 - Ruslan Medzhitov, Yale University, New Haven

14 December 2017 - Bonnie Bassler, Princeton University, New York

18 January 2018 - Josef Penninger, Institute of Molecular Biotechnology, Vienna

8 March 2018 - Elaine Fuchs, Rockefeller University, New York

26 April 2018 - James Rothman, Yale University

Flagship lectures typically take place on Thursdays at 4pm in the Crick's auditorium. If you would like to come, please contact Ava Yeo:


Interest Group Seminars:


You can find out more about each Interest Group, and see who to contact if you are interested in getting involved, by following the links below. You are welcome to attend our seminars. No registration is required (unless it is a specialist ticketed event) just ask at reception for the seminar you are interested in attending.


Cancer Cell Biology and SignallingChromosome BiologyComputational and Physical BiologyDevelopment and Stem Cells Immunology InfectionsNeuroscience Structural Biology




It would be useful to know if you are intending to attend any of the above mentioned events at the Crick. Please drop a line by email to Anna Harding ISSF Manager

Chennai 2017

Professor Andrea Cooper received an Institutional Partnership grant from the WTISSF to visit the National Institute for Research in TB – NIRT, the M.V.Hospital for Diabetes (MVHD), and the 'Prof M Viswanathan Diabetes Research Centre' in Chennai in July-August 2017.

Her visit coincided with a visit by Professor Hardy Kornfeld from UMASS Medical School.

Several round table discussions on the impact of diabetes mellitus (DM) on tuberculosis (TB0 occurred and included Cooper, Kornfeld, Dr Vijay Viswanathan, (MD, PhD, FRCP. M.V. Hospital for Diabetes), Dr Subash Babu, MBBS, PhD (NIRT) and Dr Satyavani Kumpatla (Laboratory Director MVHD) M.V. Hospital for Diabetes, Chennai. It is clear that DM severely compromises immunity to TB and results in more severe outcomes for individuals with active TB in Chennai.

As a result of the visit Cooper, Babu, Vishwanathan and Hardy developed a collaborative plan to push forward understanding of the factors driving progression to active TB in DM patients. This plan was formalized by submission of a GCRF network grant in September, which includes the above members as well as Prof Kamlesh Khunti and Dr Manish Pareek from the University of Leicester.

The network is designed to develop an implementable intervention which will be designed to identify those DM patients most at risk of developing active TB in order to monitor and focus TB treatment on these individuals.


Professor Hardy Kornfeld (UMASS, US) and Dr Vijay Vishwanathan (Head and Chief Diabetologist, M.V.Hospital for Diabetes, and 'Prof M Viswanathan Diabetes Research Centre') discuss TB and diabetes interactions in the Board room at the 'Prof M Viswanathan Diabetes Research Centre' which is a WHOCollaborating Centre for Research Education and Training in Diabetes. Professor Hardy Kornfeld (UMASS, US) and Dr Vijay Vishwanathan (Head and Chief Diabetologist, M.V.Hospital for Diabetes, and 'Prof M Viswanathan Diabetes Research Centre') discuss TB and diabetes interactions in the Board room at the 'Prof M Viswanathan Diabetes Research Centre' which is a WHO Collaborating Centre for Research Education and Training in Diabetes.
Dr Satyavani Kumpatla, (third from left) Laboratory Director - M.V. Hospital for Diabetes & Diabetes Research Centre. She is accompanied by her colleagues who work to reduce the development of foot ulcers in diabetes patients. Kumpatla.png
Cooper.png Professor Cooper and Professor Hardy Kornfeld at the National Institutes for Research in Tuberculosis, Chennai, India.
Professor Hardy Kornfeld and Dr Subash Babu, Scientific Director - NIH-NIRT-ICER at the National Institutes for Research in Tuberculosis, Chennai, India. Babu.png
Flowers.png Beautiful flower sculptures in the foyer at the M.V. Hospital for Diabetes & Diabetes Research Centre.

Chenni - Kornfield

Professor Hardy Kornfeld (UMASS, US) and Dr Vijay Vishwanathan (Head and Chief Diabetologist, M.V.Hospital for Diabetes, and 'Prof M Viswanathan Diabetes Research Centre') discuss TB and diabetes interactions in the Board room at the 'Prof M Viswanathan Diabetes Research Centre' which is a WHOCollaborating Centre for Research Education and Training in Diabetes.
Chenni - Kornfield
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