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GOSH Charity and Sparks National Funding Call 2020/2021

Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) Charity and Sparks have a shared passion and commitment to support paediatric research nationally. Through our partnership, established in 2017, we are making £2 million available to support project grant applications from researchers across the UK.

Building on last year’s success, we will also continue to partner with other charities to jointly award funding for exceptional projects in specific disease areas. This year we are proud to partner with Acrodysostosis Support and Research, Dravet Syndrome UK, Krabbe UK and the Myotubular Trust. Further information on these partnerships can be found below.

Remit of the funding call

GOSH Charity and Sparks are inviting project grant applications for paediatric health research studies focusing on complex or rare diseases. The call will support research across the spectrum of medical conditions affecting the foetus, neonates and children directly, as well as pregnancy disorders that affect the child. We will also consider applications seeking to understand how COVID-19 affects children, particularly in the context of pre-existing diseases or conditions.

All projects must aim to improve understanding of the disease or associated conditions or to improve outcomes for the affected child. Research proposals will be expected to have the potential to lead to new medical developments, such as diagnostic tools or novel interventions, with a clear articulation of the route to clinical application through a combination of clinical and laboratory-based research.


This is a national funding call and is open to independent researchers based anywhere in the UK. As a way of increasing and retaining capacity in this critical research area, we are particularly interested in supporting projects from promising early career researchers. To this end, while we welcome applications from independent researchers at any level of seniority, if a funding decision is required between applications of equivalent quality, those of early career researchers will be prioritised. Awards may not be used to support the salaries of the Principal Investigator/team leader. Please refer to our list of frequently asked questions for further details.

Funding Available

GOSH Charity and Sparks have made £2 million available for this funding call and it is anticipated that a range of proposals from different investigators and institutions across the UK will be eligible for an award. Therefore, applicants are asked to carefully consider their request for funding and whether it represents good value for money. The Charities would not expect applications to exceed £250,000. Funding will be provided for the direct costs of research (such as research staff and consumables) but will not cover consultant programmed activities, the salary-time of the Principal Investigator/team leader or PhD studentships. Projects will have a duration of up to three years.

Funding Process

Applications will be received and managed by GOSH Charity and considered by its Research Assessment Panel. Final funding decisions will be announced in April 2021. 

Research Partners

We are also delighted to extend the reach of this call by offering, in association with our research partners, the possibility of joint funding for projects focusing on their respective areas of interest. We therefore specifically welcome any applications that:

  • Aim to improve the treatment or quality of life of patients with Acrodysostosis, and particularly welcome research into making a mouse model for Acrodsysostosis Type 2, so that treatments can be found and tested using repurposed drugs. Projects must be able to demonstrate benefit to people with Acrodysostosis.
  • Improve understanding, quality of life for those affected by Dravet syndrome including those that investigate and improve treatments in comorbidities associated with Dravet Syndrome.
  • Aim to address the cause, diagnosis, understanding and treatment of Krabbe Disease.
  • Aim to significantly advance the search to find a cure and/or a treatment for any of the genetic forms of centronuclear and myotubular myopathy, including studies on modifiers of disease progression.

Please note that all applications to this call will be uniformly assessed according to the same criteria for remit, quality, impact and value for money, irrespective of their potential for co-funding by one of the research partners or the career stage of the main applicant. Further prioritisation of applications will only be considered where proposals are deemed equally competitive.

For frequently asked questions about this funding call please click here.

Alternatively, if you would like to know more about the funding call, our research partners, or have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the GOSH Charity Grants team at

To start your outline application please click here and follow the instructions on the Grants Management System website.

The deadline for submission of outline applications is 4pm, Wednesday, 19 August 2020.

Dr Simon Newell Early Career Investigator Award

Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity, Sparks and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) make an annual award for excellence in research to an outstanding young medical research worker in British paediatrics. The nomination window will open in the coming months.


Since 1999, Sparks has funded an annual award that recognises excellence in the field of paediatric research. In February 2017, Sparks joined Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity and became part of the GOSH Charity family and this award is now funded by both charities. The award is offered to recognise an outstanding young medically qualified researcher in British paediatrics and the selection process is coordinated by the RCPCH.

The award is named in memory of Dr Simon Newell - a renowned and widely respected neonatologist and paediatrician who had a passion to encourage the next generation of paediatric clinicians and researchers. He made an enormous contribution to neonatal medicine across the UK and was a great advocate for paediatric health.

Simon was connected to Sparks throughout his career, first as a researcher, then a member of the Medical Advisory Committee and later a Trustee. This award has been named in his memory and as recognition of the tremendous work he did.

The award comprises of:

  • a trophy
  • £1,000 for the winner
  • £1,000 for the winner's department, to purchase equipment and cover other expenses such as consumables connected with their research.

The RCPCH will present the winner at the RCPCH Annual Conference in May 2020. The winner will be notified ahead of the conference and the RCPCH will cover the winner's travel and conference costs.

Application process

The application window will open on 1 September 2020 and the process is managed by the RCPCH. To apply, please visit the RCPCH website

For any questions regarding the process please contact

Click here to view previous winners of the award.

More Information

If you have any questions about research calls or applications, please contact