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How we fund research

Our approach to diabetes research - a scientist smiling whilst working in a lab

Our research strategy

For over 85 years, we've led the way in funding pioneering research that changes lives. But we're not stopping here. With 5 million people living with diabetes in the UK, our research has never been more needed.  

Our research strategy sets out our bold plans for research and the priorities that most urgently need addressing through research.  

We co-created our strategy with people living with diabetes, scientists and healthcare professionals, to make sure it focuses on what matters most to them. 

Read our research strategy

How we fund research

We fund research in three ways: 

  • We award money to support the best research projects proposed by UK researchers.
  • We fund awards to help talented scientists and healthcare professionals develop their research skills and become the diabetes research leaders of the future. 
  • We make targeted investments to support research in underfunded areas where there are important gaps or opportunities. 

In each case, our rigorous approach ensures that the research we fund is of the highest scientific quality and has the greatest potential to improve the lives of people living with or at risk of diabetes. 

How does it work?

  1. Researchers develop ideas and apply for our funding.  
  2. We ask scientific experts around the world for their feedback on each application we receive.  
  3. Our Grants Advisory Panel (GAP), made up of people affected by diabetes review all the applications. They tell us which projects would make the biggest difference to people with the condition. 
  4. Our Research Committee of diabetes experts meet to discuss each application. They consider their scientific quality and likely success. 
  5. We rank all the applications using the scores given by GAP and Research Committee and fund as many of the top-scoring projects as possible within our budget. Every year, thanks to your donations, we invest another £6-7 million into new diabetes research.  

You can explore all the projects we’re funding right now up and down the UK.

How people living with diabetes shape our research

We’re more than just a research funder. We work to shape and influence diabetes research in the UK, to make sure your donations and investment from other funders is directed to where it’s needed most.  

We do this by listening to people living with diabetes and using their views to steer the direction of diabetes research in the UK.  

Diabetes Research Steering Groups

Our Diabetes Research Steering Groups (DRSGs) bring together people affected by diabetes with researchers and healthcare professionals. They give people living with diabetes a platform to tell us what matters most to them and where not enough is being done to improve their lives.  

The DRSGs then plan how to change this by getting research off the ground that will address the priorities of people living with diabetes. In this way, we can be confident we’re funding the most relevant, impactful and life-changing research.  

At the same time, we work to make sure the DRSGs’ priorities are shared far and wide with scientists and other research funders – so that the entire diabetes research ecosystem is pulling in the same direction.  

We have seven DRSGs that each focus on a different specialist area of diabetes, from its root causes to its complications.  

Thanks to their insights, we’ve already been able to fund urgently needed research on topics that we’ve heard matter most to people with diabetes. This includes new research to:

Read more about other research gaps the DRSGs are working to fill right now here

We won’t stop until all the DRSGs research priorities have been filled. And you could play an important role. 

The DRSGs want to hear from you. Find out how you can get involved in shaping the future of diabetes research here.

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