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Project grants

Description of a project grant

The project grant provides support for high-quality, diabetes-related research. Applications should normally be for hypothesis-driven projects.

Financial support

Support may be requested for up to five years. There is no limit to research expenses that may be requested; however, all requests must be fully justified.


Applicants applying for £500,000 or more must contact the Diabetes UK Research department in the first instance and should normally hold substantial funding from Diabetes UK or another funding body.

Early-career basic scientists applying for £15,000 or less should consider applying for anEarly-Career Small Grant. Clinical Lecturers who are applying for £30,000 or less should consider applying for a Starter Grant for Clinical Lecturers. Please check your eligibility for either scheme before applying.


Salaries may be requested for research (both postgraduate and postdoctoral) and technical assistants.

Research assistants may wish to register for higher degrees during the lifetime of the grant but it should be noted that in these instances Diabetes UK will not pay university and/or college fees.

PhD students should not be included as a member of staff on a project grant on application. Applicants wishing to hold a PhD Studentship should apply through the Diabetes UK PhD Studentship scheme.

Clinical and secretarial assistance may be provided in some cases if essential for the project but must be fully justified within the application.


Applicants may apply for equipment through the project grant scheme. While there is no upper limit on the amount that can be sought, host institutions are encouraged to contribute towards the cost of the requested equipment and - when applicants plan to use the equipment across projects and departments at their institute, rather than solely on the project being applied for - a contribution will be expected. We would normally expect that the contribution will be proportionate to the total amount requested and applicants should discuss the requirements for an institutional contribution with a member of Diabetes UK staff before submitting an application. Please ensure that any contribution is detailed in the justification of costs.


Applicants must have a tenured post or be able to demonstrate that they will have a salary and position at the institution they are applying from for the lifetime of the grant.


The next deadlines for this scheme are:

  • 1 June (Committee meets in October)
  • 1 December (Committee meets in May/June)

How to apply

Administrative processes

Peer review

All applications will be sent out for peer review to researchers who have not published or worked in the same institution as any of the applicants for at least five years. Please consider this when suggesting reviewers for your application.


Applicants will be given the opportunity to rebut peer reviewer comments. The peer reviews will be sent out via the Diabetes UK online grant application portal which allows applicants to submit their response (1,500 word limit).The date when applicants will be contacted for rebuttal will vary depending on the grant round applied for, but as a guidance:

  • Applicants will be contacted in March for the 1 December application deadline (May Committee meeting)
  • Applicants will be contacted in August for the 1 June applications deadline (October Committee meeting)

Pre-selection process

Due to the high number of applications received by Diabetes UK, it is not possible to take forward all applications to the Research Committee meeting for discussion on the day. Therefore, following external peer review, applications undergo a pre-selection process.  Prior to the Research Committee all applications are reviewed remotely by the Chair of the Research Committee and the Committee members designated to speak to that application. Based on the external peer review comments and scores, and the response to the reviewers comments (for project grants), they agree which applications are taken forward to the Research Committee meeting for further discussion. 

Applications that have not progressed through the pre-selection stage will be informed of the outcome after the Research Committee meeting. 

The Research Committee

Applications are sent to the Research Committee, who recommend which applications should be funded.

Grants Advisory Panel

Prior to the Research Committee meeting, the Diabetes UK Grants Advisory Panel (GAP) meets to discuss all early-career small grant applications and directly provide feedback to the Research Committee through the members of the GAP who attend Research Committee.  

The GAP perspective can directly influence the funding decision made and so applicants should take this into consideration, especially when they are completing the summary for people living with diabetes, by making sure that the summary is written in plain English. 

Our Research Funding Process and Review Panels page gives you more insight into the grant application lay review process.

Assessment criteria

Applications are assessed on the following criteria:

  • Potential difference the research will make to the lives of people with diabetes.
  • Scientific excellence.
  • Track record of the applicants.
  • Value for money.
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