How we fund and track the progress of grants
Our rigorous processes ensure that every research project we fund is high-quality science and meets the needs of people with Parkinson's.
Our grant schemes
Parkinson’s UK funds research through open competition. Funding opportunities are announced each year via our website, in Synapse (our e-newsletter) and through advertisement on external websites.
Our Grant Assessment Panels
The Grant Assessment Panels (GAPs) provide advice to Parkinson’s UK about whether individual research grant applications merit charity funding. This involves considering the comments of peer and lay reviewers in making a judgement as to the quality and relevance of each grant application.
Parkinson’s UK has two Grant Assessment Panels: GAP1 and GAP2.
- GAP1 is formed of 30-40 scientific experts and up to 11 lay review co-ordinators (who are members of the charity’s Research Support Network). The panel has responsibility for making recommendations for funding for the project grant, themed research and fellowship schemes.
- GAP2 is formed of up to 60 scientific members from around the world. This virtual panel has responsibility for making recommendations for funding for the PhD studentship and small grant schemes.
Our lay reviewers
We have up to 100 lay grant reviewers. These are people who are personally affected by Parkinson’s and are members of the charity’s Research Support Network.
Reviews from lay grant reviewers allow us to incorporate the unique and valuable perspectives of people affected by Parkinson’s into our decisions about which projects to fund. This means that the needs and interests of people affected by Parkinson’s are reflected in our research.
For project grants, lay review co-ordinators collate the feedback from lay grant reviewers into reports which they present at our GAP meetings, helping to inform funding decisions by our review panels.
Lay reviewers’ comments are reported at PhD studentship and small grant teleconferences by GAP2 panel members.
The application process
Applications for small grants, project grants, fellowships and PhD studentships are made via the charity’s online application system. Grant rounds will normally open on the system at least 3 months in advance of the deadline.
Information on how to apply for each grant scheme is available on our website, as are the terms and conditions for research grants. Once the electronic deadline has passed, no further applications will be accepted for that round.
Our review procedure
Applications will be judged by reviewers against the following criteria:
- importance and relevance of the research
- potential impact of the research for people affected by Parkinson’s
- scientific quality of the proposal
- quality of the researcher and team
- value for money
- budget and infrastructure
Browse our grant schemes for specific requirements. See below for information on our scoring system.
A good plain English summary is essential for evaluation by lay grant reviewers who will judge all applications against the following criteria:
- the importance and relevance of the research for people affected by Parkinson’s
- the potential benefit of the research for people affected by Parkinson’s
- if the proposed research involves human participants, whether they think people would be likely to take part
See below for information on our scoring system.
Any application which involves non-human primates, cats, dogs or equines will be sent for additional expert 3Rs review by the NC3Rs.
Our scoring system
Applications are assessed at panel meetings using the following scoring system. You can see the full list of criteria by downloading our scoring system (PDF, 227KB).
Not fundable (without significant changes)
Definitely not fundable
The Chief Executive has delegated authority from the Board of Trustees to approve awards up to £500,000. For awards over £500,000, Research directorate staff will write a paper for presentation at the next Board of Trustees meeting, or for circulation to trustees by email, for their final decision.
The Research directorate will update the Board of Trustees on all awards up to twice per year.
Acceptance of awards
Once the final decision on funding has been made, applicants are sent award or rejection notices by email.
Unsuccessful applicants receive a summary of comments from the lay, peer and GAP reviewers.
Successful applicants must return an acceptance form within 8 weeks and advise directorate staff of the start date of their project within 6 months.
WEBSITE AND CHARITY PUBLICATIONS
Each project has a plain English summary for external use. The Research Communications team, in collaboration with the grantholder, will produce the summary.
Information about funded grants will appear on the charity’s website and in our research magazine, Progress, as well as in other media and communication materials produced by the charity.
Annual reports are due on the anniversary of the start date for the project. A final report for the grant must be submitted within 3 months of the end date.
The Research team monitors the content of the annual and final reports, and may contact the researcher to clarify or request further information. If annual reports do not demonstrate sufficient progress against the aims of the project, the charity (in accordance with its grant terms and conditions) reserves the right to terminate the grant.
If reports are not submitted on time, invoice payments will be withheld until the report has been received. The charity also reserves the right to refuse to accept further applications for funding from the grantholder (either as a principal applicant or co-applicant) until reports for active projects are up-to-date.
Grantholders are required to make annual researchfish submissions on the outcomes of their research. Submissions will be required over the lifetime of the grant and up to 5 years after the end of the grant. Grantholders are encouraged to record their outcomes in researchfish® throughout the year as they arise. We use this information to monitor performance, to understand our impact, and to support fundraising.
Throughout the grant and after it ends, researchers are required to advise the Research directorate in advance of upcoming publications and to comply with our open access publishing policy.
Our Media and Communications teams work in partnership with researchers and host institutions to maximise publicity of research outcomes.
Grant payments are made to the host institution upon production of an invoice for expenditure (quarterly in arrears). Invoices will not be approved for payment unless the grantholder is up-to-date with reports for all their Parkinson’s UK grants.
Variations to grants
Grantholders who wish to apply for a cost extension, no cost extension, virement or other variation to their grant must fill out the appropriate form, available by emailing email@example.com. Applications for variations must be made at least 2 months before the end of the grant.
Annual assessment panels
The charity’s larger grants will also be monitored through annual assessment panels made up of staff, external scientific experts and members of the Research Support Network.
The grantholder will be asked to host up to 2 engagement activities during the grant (such as hosting a project visit, speaking at a local Parkinson’s UK group or supporters’ conference, or attending an open day with other researchers).
These activities enable members of the charity’s local groups and the Research Support Network to learn more about the grant and to meet the grantholder and the research team.
TRANSFERS TO PROJECTS AND FUNDRAISING
Trusts, corporates and individuals can donate funds in support of a specific project. ‘Adopt a Project’ transfers help the charity to achieve our pledged funds to the researchers rather than providing additional money for a specific project.
Grants may be underwritten by an external funding body.
Grantholders may be asked to become involved in publicity for the trust and/or Parkinson's UK.
Once a grant has ended and the final report submitted, grantholders and the finance officer from their institution must sign a grant completion form. The grant completion form confirms that the final report has been submitted and the final invoice has been paid.