Research & Grant Policy
Policy adopted on October 2019, next due for review on October 2021
Leukaemia & Myeloma Research UK Ltd (LMRUK) is a charity registered in England and Wales under company registration number 09481278, in Scotland under company registration number SC046106 and charity registration number 1161622.
The charitable objects of LMRUK, as detailed in its articles of association, are “to for the benefit of the public to protect and promote the health of the public in particular by research into the nature, causes, diagnosis, prevention, treatment and cure of leukaemia and myeloma, including the development of research into practical applications for the prevention, treatment and cure of leukaemia and myeloma and to provide information and raise public understanding of such matters” (Objects).
LMRUK is governed by trustees (Trustees) who have a duty, acting at all times in the best interests of LMRUK, to apply LMRUK’s assets to advance the Objects and have ultimate responsibility for all grant-making decisions.
The purpose of this policy is to set out the principles and procedures that guide the Trustees when they are making grants to further the Objects. It also provides information about LMRUK’s grant-making process to anyone who is applying to LMRUK, or would like to apply to LMRUK, for a grant.
Why The Charity Funds Research
One of LMRUK’s primary Objects is to fund research. We believe that we can best promote cure of leukaemia and myeloma through supporting researchers to advance their understanding of stem cells and how they can use them to treat blood cancer patients, particularly through stem cell transplants.
Our Funding Priorities
LMRUK is keen to support activities that advance the Objects in an effective way. However, the Trustees recognise that a limited amount of funds are available to distribute each year. The Trustees’ current funding priorities are to advance understanding of stem cells and how they can be used to treat blood cancer patients, particularly through stem cell transplants.
The Trustees will occasionally award grants that fall outside the priorities stated in this policy, provided that they are satisfied that the grant will further the Objects and is an appropriate use of LMRUK’s funds.
LMRUK supports the principle of using animals in research only when it is necessary to advance understanding of serious health conditions to develop better treatments and there is no alternative that can be used to find out the same information without using animals. LMRUK only fund research which complies with the law and animal welfare guidelines – the principle of the 3Rs to refine, reduce and replace the use of animals in research.
Who can apply for a grant
The Trustees welcome proposals that support their funding priorities from organisations and individuals, although the Trustees are particularly keen to support universities.
The Trustees will only award grants to organisations based in the United Kingdom (UK) that either:
- are registered as charities with the Charity Commission for England and Wales, the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator and/or the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland; and/or
- qualify as charities under the law of England and Wales, but are not required to register with the Charity Commission for England and Wales.
The Trustees will not usually award grants to an applicant that has:
- previously submitted an unsuccessful proposal to LMRUK; or
- previously received a grant from LMRUK.
Grants to Trustees or connected persons
Nothing in the Charity’s articles of association authorises a Trustee or any person connected to them to receive a benefit from the Charity as a beneficiary of LMRUK.
If an application for a grant is made to the Charity by a Trustee, or a person connected to them, the non-conflicted Trustees must therefore either reject the application or if they consider that it is in the best interests of the Charity to make the grant, seek authorisation from the Charity Commission before making it.
In this policy references to persons who are “connected” with a Trustee mean:
- a child, stepchild, grandchild, parent, brothers or sister of a Trustee;
- the spouse, unmarried partner or civil partner of a Trustee or of any person falling within the first bullet point above;
- any person who is in a business partnership with a Trustee or any person who is in a business partnership with any person falling within the first two bullet points above; and
- any company, business, trust or organisation in which a Trustee (or any other person connected to them) has an interest as a beneficiary or through ownership, control or influence.
What we will fund
LMRUK currently funds two types of grants,
- Full Grants are to fund 1 – 2 year research projects and should not exceed £50,000 in total
- Small Grants are to provide support for small projects or to facilitate development of a full project and should not exceed £15,000.
The exact sums available will be agreed annually by the Trust Board and detailed on the LMRUK website.
All grants awarded by LMRUK must be used to cover costs that are directly connected to carrying out the charitable activities that the Trustees have agreed to fund (Funded Activities). Unless the applicant is able to demonstrate that the expenditure is essential for, and directly linked to, the Funded Activities, grants must not be used to fund any of the following types of expenditure:
- salary costs;
- capital expenditure (the applicant must also be able to demonstrate that any assets acquired using grant monies will be used for similar purposes after the end of the Funded Activities);
- contributions to the cost of overheads; and
- travelling expenses.
The Trustees will award grants to fund up to 100% of the cost of an application. However the Trustees:
- will consider funding part of the cost of a proposal where the total cost is shared with one or more other funders; and
- encourage applicants to seek matched or additional sources of funding for their proposal.
If a grant covers part of the cost of a proposal, the Trustees may require the applicant to provide details of the other funder(s) and the funding that they have secured or applied for (including any loans or other commercial funding).
How to apply for a grant
Call for applications will be held once a year, usually in May. The timescale for grant programmes will be set out in the grant application and approved by the RRC and Trust Board.
All applications must be made using the form that can be accessed through LMRUK’s website.
If the application is made by or on behalf of an organisation, the following must also be provided with the proposal:
- a complete, up-to-date copy of the organisation’s governing document; and
- its registered charity number(s) as issued by the Charity Commission for England and Wales, the Office for the Scottish Charity Regulator and/or the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland; and/or
- if it is a charity under the law of England and Wales that is not required to register with the Charity Commission for England and Wales (because it is either an exempt or excepted charity, or has income below the registration threshold), evidence of its charitable status (such as an HMRC reference number); and
- the organisation’s most recent set of accounts; and
- any other requirements detailed in the call for applications.
When the Trustees are considering a grant-funding proposal, they will undertake due diligence checks on the applicant. The checks that are undertaken will vary according to the Trustees’ assessment of any risks associated with the proposal or the applicant.
Due diligence may include requesting details of, and taking such steps as the Trustees consider to be reasonable to scrutinise, any of the following:
- the applicant’s governing documents;
- the applicant’s status as a charity, including (where it is required to do so) evidence that the applicant has been registered with a charity regulator;
- the applicant’s latest accounts and financial position;
- the identity of the applicant’s directors, trustees, executive committee or other key personnel, in particular, to seek to establish whether they are authorised to act in that capacity;
- the applicant’s governance and operational structures and practices;
- the applicant’s internal financial controls;
- relevant operational policies and procedures that the applicant has in place;
- the applicant’s aims and values; and
- any external risk factors that might affect the proposal.
In cases where the applicant will receive support from another funder, or works with a partner, the Trustees may undertake due diligence on that funder or partner.
The Trustees will keep a written record of any due diligence that they undertake.
How we make decisions about grants
The Trustees have ultimate responsibility for all grant-making decisions and for ensuring that all funds awarded are used to advance the Objects and applications will be considered taking into account the following criteria:
- relevance to blood cancer and its treatment using stem cells;
- significance of research output;
- quality of research;
- feasibility of application.
The Trustees have delegated responsibility for reviewing grant applications and making recommendations to the Trust Board to the Research Review Committee (RRC). The Trust Board retains the sole discretion as to whether to accept or reject RRC recommendations at the Grant Decision Meeting.
Research Review Committee (RRC)
The RRC comprises one Trustee and at least 3 scientists appointed by the Trust Board who must have demonstrable experience in research work and an expertise in the field of blood cancer.
Scientist members of the RRC are volunteers appointed for a three-year term that may, at the discretion of the Trust Board, be extended for a further two years. Scientists can apply to be appointed to the RRC by completing the RRC Member’s Form available on LMRUK’s website.
Members of the RRC must:
- at all times observe the highest standards of propriety involving impartiality, integrity and objectivity;
- ensure that a full range of scientific opinions, including unorthodox and contrary scientific views are appropriately taken into account;
- ensure that any significant diversity of opinion among members is fully explored and discussed and if it cannot be reconciled is accurately reflected in the minutes.
RRC makes recommendations for research funding to the Trust Board, considers grant applications and the comments of Peer Reviewers and provides advice to LMRUK as to whether individual research grant applications merit LMRUK funding.
The current scientist members of the RRC are:
- Dr Paul Spencer Hole, Senior Research Scientist. Has been engaging in academic research at Cardiff University and extends his experience in a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company.
- Dr Rhys Morgan, Lecturer in Biomedical Sciences in Department of Biochemistry and Biomedicine, at the University of Sussex.
- Dr Claire Seedhouse, Associate Professor within Division of Cancer and Stem Cells, University of Nottingham. She is Principle Investigator and research group leader in Blood Cancer at the University of Nottingham.
- Dr Joseph R. Slupsky, Reader in Department of Molecular and Clinical Cancer Medicine, University of Liverpool. He is Principal Investigator of the Liverpool Blood Disease Biobank and Academic Lead University of Liverpool Technology Directorate Cell Sorting and Flow/Mass Cytometry Facility.
The RRC has the following terms of reference:
- to work within LMRUK policies (having particular regard to the Conflict of Interest Policy), plans and budgets;
- to make recommendations for research funding to the Trust Board ensuring that such recommendations make effective use of charitable funds and the Trust’s stated funding priorities;
- to consider grant applications and the comments of Peer Reviewers and provide advice to LMRUK as to whether individual research grant applications merit LMRUK funding
All applications for Full Grants will be reviewed by at least two independent external experts (Peer Reviewers) appointed by the Trust Board (who may seek advice from the RRC or others) each with:
- research experience either in clinical practice or in a university;
- success in obtaining research grants/awards;
- no conflict of interest under LMRUK’s Conflict of Interest Policy; and
- a willingness to devote the necessary time and effort to conduct a detailed review of the relevant grant applications.
Peer reviewers will be instructed to submit their written assessments to the RRC for further appraisal and grant applicants will be provided with the opportunity to respond to any comments made by the Peer Reviewers.
Applications for Small Grants will be assessed by the RRC taking into account:
- relevance to blood cancer and its treatment using stem cells;
The RRC may recommend the appointment of Peer Reviewers ahead of the Grant Consideration Meeting.
Grant Consideration Meeting (Triage)
At an annual meeting usually held in September (Grant Consideration Meeting) the RRC will review and discuss grant applications, Peer Reviewers assessments and applicants’ responses to Peer Reviewer comments. If the RRC believe further external expertise may assist in this triage process then they may request guest contributors attend the meeting.
The RRC will consider each proposal based upon its relevance to blood cancer and its treatment using stem cells, significance of research output, quality of research, and feasibility using the attached scoring matrix. If an application has the potential to be fundable and any concerns raised in the Peer Reviewers assessments are addressed in the applicant’s response the RRC will submit the application together with the RRC’s recommendation that it be considered (triage in) and justification for this to the Grant Decision Meeting (below). If the RRC conclude that an application is not fundable or that there are concerns which have not been satisfactorily addressed then the RRC will again submit the application together with the RRC’s recommendation that it be rejected (triage out) and justification for this to the Grant Decision Meeting.
The RRC must clearly explain their recommendations and the justification and methods used to arrive at the decision made.
It is vital that members of the RRC (and Peer Reviewers) maintain objectivity in their assessment and are aware of the potential for unconscious bias and the impact this may have on their review. Reviewers should not use journal-based metrics, such as Journal Impact Factors, as a surrogate measure of the quality of individual research articles, to assess an individual scientist’s contributions.
Grant Decision Meeting
The Trustees must declare the nature and extent of any interest, direct or indirect, which could, or could be seen to, prevent them from making a grant decision only in the best interests of LMRUK. Situations in which a conflict of interest may arise include where:
- a Trustee (or a person connected to them ) stands to benefit from a grant from LMRUK; or
- a Trustee has a duty of loyalty to a third party that conflicts with their duty to LMRUK.
Any such conflict of interest must be declared and managed by the Trustees in accordance with LMRUK’s Conflicts of Interest policy.
In all cases where a recommendation is made to them to award a grant, the Trustees may (in their absolute discretion) refuse to approve that recommendation, particularly if they consider that a grant would not be an effective way to further the Objects, or would conflict with LMRUK’s policies or interests.
The Trustees will inform applicants of their decision in writing. If the Trustees decide not to award a grant for a proposal the Trustees are not obliged to give the applicant reasons for their decision.
The Trustees’ decision whether to award a grant is final.
How grants will be awarded
If an applicant is awarded a grant, the Trustees will:
- set out the key terms of the grant and any conditions that are attached to it in the Award Letter; and
- ask the applicant to sign the Award Letter to indicate that they accept the terms and conditions.
Full and Small Grants will be paid in instalments: usually 75% at the start of the research project and 25% on its completion.
Grant awards will not be increased. If additional funding is required the grant holder will need to submit a new application in accordance with the terms of this policy.
Reporting requirements and monitoring
The Trustees will take steps to monitor the use of the grant and verify that the grant is used for the purposes that have been agreed. The arrangements for monitoring will vary according to the nature of the grant, but the Trustees will always seek to ensure that the arrangements are appropriate and proportionate.
Arrangements for monitoring use of the grant may include asking the recipient to provide any of the following:
- copies of formal records such as receipts, invoices, bank statements and management accounts to show that funds have been used for the purpose for which they have been awarded and in accordance with the terms of the grant
- regular written or verbal updates showing progress to date, summarising key achievements or problems encountered, indicating whether targets have been met and giving reasons for any delay in implementing work funded by the grant;
- a final written report on completion of the work funded by the grant (usually required within 6 weeks of completion of the work), showing how funds have been spent, evaluating where the work has been successful and identifying lessons that can be learnt; and
- information suitable for publication for the general public including on LMRUK’s website;
- information about any proposed changes to the proposed activities (any changes must be approved in writing in advance by the Trust Board).
If appropriate, the Trustees may also visit grant-funded activities and interview individuals involved in running those activities.
Basic monitoring requirements will be set out in the Award Letter and Grant Award Terms & Conditions. However, the Trustees may take any additional steps to monitor the use of grant funds that they consider appropriate.
Appropriate references must be made to LMRUK and to its funding of the research in all published material and any other documentation arising from or otherwise relating to the research. If grant holder wishes to use LMRUK logo on any presentation or publication, it must be approved by the Trust Board in advance.
Clawback and repayment
The Trustees may require repayment of all or any part of the grant if:
- the project or purpose for which it was awarded does not proceed;
- part of the grant remains unused when the activities that the grant was intended to fund have been completed; or
- the grant is used for a purpose other than that which has been agreed.
Reviewing and amending this policy
This policy (including the grant-making priorities and principles set out in this policy) will be reviewed by the Trust Board at least every two years.
The Trustees may vary the terms of this policy from time to time.