ERUK invites applications for grants to support pilot studies in the UK. We encourage high quality proposals for fundamental science and clinical research grants investigating the causes, diagnosis or treatment of epilepsy and associated conditions.

Applications are invited for grants of up to £30,000 to support pilot or start-up studies lasting no more than two years.

Pilot grants provide an opportunity to test and explore new ideas with a clear emphasis on the generation of new or preliminary data. Information gathered from the pilot study enables researchers to obtain larger-scale funding. The grant award can support research costs, equipment and salaries. The project must be a novel piece of research and not part of a project or fellowship already being funded by ERUK or any other funding body.

Examples of previous successful applications:

Pilot Studies


Pilot grants are a single stage application process.

July 2019 – grant round opens for ten weeks for preliminary applications from 22nd July-27th September 2019.

November 2019 – preliminary applications are shortlisted by our Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC).  Shortlisted applications are then sent externally for independent peer review.

March 2020 – Following peer review, the SAC meet to review the applications and make recommendations to the ERUK Board for funding.

April 2020 – Applicants are notified of the outcome of their application.


The SAC, in its grant-awarding capacity, abides by the code of good practice set out by the Association of Medical Research Charities ( As funds are limited, the selection of proposals for funding is highly competitive. Good quality proposals that are not chosen for funding are encouraged to re-apply the following year.   The criteria used by the SAC to shortlist and fund pilot studies include the following:

1 Hypothesis Is there a clear hypothesis?
2 Originality Is it an original idea?  Is it likely to lead to useful data (about proof of concept and/or feasibility)?
3 Feasibility Is the idea realistic?  Is the data obtained likely to lead to a larger funding application?
4 Quality Is the project well-structured and well-designed?  Does the proposal contain a clear understanding of its potential limits?  Have appropriate statistical considerations been taken into account?
5 Impact How does this line of research stand to benefit people with epilepsy and their family and carers?
6 Skills Have the applicants indicated that they have, or that they could rapidly attain, the necessary skills/resources/facilities to undertake the project?
7 Plain English Is the summary readable, clear and accurate?
8 Ethics Is it an ethical study?
9 Added costs What are the additional research costs and why have they been incurred
10 Eligibility Based on instructions for applicants?

Epilepsy Research UK is a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) non-commercial Partner. This means the studies that we fund may be eligible to access the NIHR Study Support Service which is provided by the NIHR Clinical Research Network. The NIHR Clinical Research Network can now support health and social care research taking place in non-NHS settings, such as studies running in care homes or hospices, or public health research taking place in schools and other community settings. Read the full policy: Eligibility Criteria for NIHR Clinical Research Network Support.

In partnership with your local R&D office, we encourage you to involve your local NIHR Clinical Research Network team in discussions as early as possible when planning your study. This will enable you to fully benefit from the support available through the NIHR Study Support Service. To find out more, please visit:

If your study involves NHS sites in England you will need to apply for Health Research Authority Approval. For guidance on submitting an application please visit: