Aim of the call

Drug-resistant epilepsy is highly prevalent in the UK with over 30% of people living with uncontrolled seizures, resulting in poor quality of life and increased risk of Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP). Of the 65 million people worldwide living with epilepsy, one-third have seizures that do not respond to available treatments. Despite many more therapies being developed in the last twenty years, the proportion of people living with refractory epilepsy has not reduced, making prediction analysis an important area of research that could potentially improve the lives of people living with the condition.

Innovations in Healthcare – Urgent Research Call

Angelini Pharma and Epilepsy Research UK have joined forces to commission a study that will use large-scale NHS clinical data records to understand and predict important clinical outcomes in refractory epilepsy. The collaboration between the two funders and the successful applicant will bring together the expertise of each to support a pilot study that will underpin future development in this area and accelerate innovations in the treatment and care of people living with uncontrolled epilepsy.

Applications are invited for high-quality pilot study proposals of up to £200,000 to support a research project lasting a maximum of two years. Grant proposals will identify sources of clinical data that can be organised and used to characterise predictors of epilepsy to accelerate innovations in clinical interventions and pathways. We encourage multidisciplinary proposals, with an emphasis on the long-term sustainability of the dataset and with the potential for scalability.

It is anticipated that the majority of the funding will cover dedicated salaries or support staff, data access, and technology costs.

Scope of the call

Applications are welcomed for health data research that includes all of the following components:

  1. Identification of relevant patient dataset(s) such as NHS electronic health records or existing cohorts
  2. Organisation, design, and manipulation of data using novel or existing health data research analytic tools or programmes, with emphasis on future sustainability and scalability as a data resource
  3. Characterisation of predictors of refractory epilepsy using predefined clinically relevant and important outcomes, with the aim of understanding and predicting refractory epilepsy and to accelerate innovations in the treatment and care of people living with uncontrolled epilepsy

Patient and Public Involvement (PPI)

Studies are required to include an appropriate Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) component in the proposed research, through Epilepsy Research UK’s Shape Epilepsy Research Network, which should be costed into the proposal. To discuss involving the Shape Network in the development of your proposal, please contact ShapeNetwork@eruk.org.uk.

Applicants must consider the feasibility of their approach (R&D approvals, capacity to recruit, etc) and commence the research shortly after notification if successful. The health data to arise from the funded project should be scalable and accessible for future research use.

It is anticipated that the results from the study will be published in peer-reviewed journals. Epilepsy Research UK will coordinate collaboration activities and work in partnership to disseminate findings to a broader audience to influence health policy and practice.

Funding, eligibility, and costs

Applications are invited for up to two years duration, to a maximum of £200,000 per application. The funders anticipate making one award.  The Principal Investigator should be an employee of a UK-based university, NHS institution, or other recognised higher research institution.

The funders will cover direct costs related to the research only. It is anticipated the costs related to the delivery of any interventions should be covered by other means.  Where required, costs related to intervention delivery (excess treatment costs) that cannot be negotiated may be included in the grant application.

Timeline

  • Monday 4 April 2022: Call issued by Epilepsy Research UK for applications
  • Monday 16 May 2022: Deadline for applications, followed by internal triage process
  • Tuesday 24 May 2022: Applications go to the expert panel and external reviewers
  • Monday 27 June 2022: Recommendation to Epilepsy Research UK/Angelini Steering Group and successful application awarded

It is anticipated that research as part of this collaboration will begin within 6 months of notification of award and will continue for a period of up to two years, with quarterly meetings with the steering group throughout.

Review procedures

Applications will be independently peer-reviewed by an expert panel which will include members of Epilepsy Research UK’s Scientific Advisory Committee and other externally co-opted applicants. The current SAC membership can be found at https://epilepsyresearch.org.uk/our-research/research-strategy/

The expert panel, in its grant-awarding capacity, abides by the code of good practice set out by the Association of Medical Research Charities (www.amrc.org.uk). As funds are limited, the selection of proposals for funding is highly competitive.

The panel will consider the potential of the proposed research to understand and predict refractory epilepsy, as well as the future sustainability and scalability as a data resource

Feedback will be provided to applicants after the awards are announced.

Please direct any enquiries to Caoimhe Twohig-Bennett, Head of Research, Epilepsy Research UK (Email: caoimhe.bennett@eruk.org.uk)

Applications are now open and will close at 4pm on 16th May 2022.

Full guidance for applicants and the application forms are available below.

APPLICATION FORM
Guidance for Applicants