GOSH Charity and Sparks National Funding Call 2021/2022

Researcher in lab

Call for applications

Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) Children’s Charity is committed to supporting outstanding paediatric health research. For the fifth year in a row, we are making £2 million available to support eligible project grant applications from researchers across the UK.

Building on success of previous editions, 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 The Norrie Disease Foundation, Acrodysostosis Support and Research, Krabbe UK, Myotubular Trust, Kawasaki Disease UK and Ewing’s Sarcoma Research Trust. Further information on these partnerships can be found below.

GOSH Charity Funding Call 2021/2022 (.pdf) (425.6 KB)

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 5pm, Wednesday, 7 July 2021.

Remit of the funding call

GOSH Charity is 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. Similar to last year, we will also consider applications seeking to understand how COVID-19 affects children, particularly in the context of pre-existing diseases or conditions. Qualitative and mixed-methods research projects, including healthcare management and service delivery for specific childhood diseases/conditions or groups of closely related conditions, are also welcomed.

All projects must aim to improve understanding of the disease or associated conditions or to improve outcomes for the affected child. Proposals will be expected to have the potential to lead to new medical developments or improved healthcare (e.g. diagnostic tools, novel interventions) through laboratory and/or clinically based research. Applicants must clearly articulate the route to clinical application and/or potential for patient benefit, regardless of where their proposed studies are positioned along the basic-to-applied research continuum.


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 paediatric health research, 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 has 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. Total costs of up to £250,000 per application will be considered, for a maximum project duration of three years. 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, nor may it be applied towards PhD studentships.

Funding Process

Applications will be received and managed by GOSH Charity and considered by its Research Assessment Panel. Final funding decisions are expected to be announced in March 2022. Full details about the application process, including the composition of our Research Assessment Panel, are available through the GOSH Charity’s website.

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 Norrie disease, and particularly welcome research into Norrie disease progressive hearing loss. Projects must be able to demonstrate potential benefit to people with Norrie Disease exploring inner ear therapies to treat the progressive hearing loss.
  • Aim to identify treatments that improve the quality of life for patients with Acrodysostosis. Key areas of concern for the Acrodysostosis community are cognitive impairment, skeletal abnormalities and hormone resistance.
  • 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.
  • Aim to advance the understanding of Kawasaki Disease, including its aetiology and triggers, to improve diagnosis or lead to a cure or improved treatment. Projects aiming to provide insight into Kawasaki Disease through the study of COVID-19-triggered Paediatric Inflammatory Multi Organ Syndrome (PIMS) are also encouraged to apply.
  • Aim to advance the understanding of Ewing’s Sarcoma and to provide benefit for patients through the development of early diagnosis tools, improved treatment or a cure.

Pilot Scheme for Support of Public & Patient Involvement (PPI) Activities

This year we also have the pleasure of announcing a pioneering partnership between GOSH Charity, Genetic Alliance UK and Congenica Ltd to implement a pilot support and guidance scheme for applicants willing to develop bespoke PPI plans that complement their research projects. The objective is to enable the exchange of perspectives between researchers, parent and patient communities, the general public, and, in some cases, industry, with a view to providing tangible benefits to all and accelerating the impact of research for our beneficiaries.

Find out more.

The scheme will offer participating applicants the opportunity to receive specialist advice and gain access to PPI experts and relevant networks to help them design and implement PPI within their research projects, regardless of how close to the clinic their studies are. Briefly, participants will be asked to provide a high-level summary of what PPI activities they would want to develop in their outline application form.

Following review and shortlisting of applications, successful applicants will then be invited to submit full proposals and receive feedback and advice on how to further elaborate the outlined PPI plans. Through the scheme, awardees will then be offered one-to-one support and guidance to implement their PPI plans as they commence the work and as needed over the lifetime of the award.

GOSH Charity considers PPI to be a core component of the research it supports, as it brings tangible benefits to both researchers and patients by enabling co-production and accelerating progress towards meaningful impact. While the scheme is not mandatory this year and will be expected to evolve as it is implemented, we strongly encourage applicants to consider taking advantage of this great opportunity to synergise with the community of patients their research is ultimately aimed at.

Please refer to the call’s frequently asked questions for examples of what would constitute valid PPI activities and what resources are already available to help you develop and propose an appealing PPI plan for the first stage of call.

Further Information About the Call

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, the career stage of the main applicant, or participation in the PPI support scheme. 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 grants@gosh.org.

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 5pm, Wednesday, 7 July 2021.

GOSH Charity LifeArc Funding Call 2021

GOSH Charity LifeArc Funding Call 2021 (.pdf) (223.7 KB)

Please note the 2020/21 call is now closed for outline applications.


GOSH Charity and LifeArc are inviting translational, milestone-driven applications which aim to improve the prevention, diagnosis, prognosis, or treatment of rare disease or that focus on developing research tools that increase the efficiency of developing interventions in rare disease. The scheme is designed to support applications on the translational pathway with the expectation that researchers will continue to develop their therapy/ diagnostic after GOSH charity/LifeArc funding, either by securing further funding from external translational schemes (from funders such as the Medical Research Council, National Institute for Health Research, Innovate UK and others), or partnering with/ licensing to industry.

Applications should:

  • Address a rare disease medical need
  • Have a strong scientific rationale
  • Be a target-driven milestoned project with a credible delivery plan
  • Have a clear route to patient
  • Make the most of the unique patient populations at GOSH

The following activities are eligible for support:

  • Developing candidate therapeutic entities (e.g. drug discovery)
  • Pre-clinical testing of novel therapeutic entities in vitro or in vivo
  • Pre-clinical validation for repurposed therapeutics
  • Early-phase clinical trials of novel therapeutic entities (phases 1/2)
  • Clinical trials of existing therapeutics repurposed for a new indication
  • Developing and testing novel devices
  • Developing and testing diagnostics (including biomarker validation)

All modalities of intervention are eligible for support from the scheme, including small molecules, peptides, antibodies, vaccines, regenerative medicine, cell and gene therapy, devices, surgical techniques and psychological approaches. An indication of where this scheme fits within the wider translational funding pathway can be seen in the funding call document.

The following activities are not eligible for support:

  • Fundamental or investigative research that does not link to a development plan
  • Studies where the primary purpose is to investigate disease mechanism
  • Late-phase clinical trials

If you have any questions about this, please contact grants@gosh.org.