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£3m+ research package announced to combat kidney disease

02 August 2023

Kidney Research UK has announced a major package of research funding aimed at tackling some of the most prominent issues surrounding kidney disease. Totalling £3m+, the charity’s latest rounds incorporate research grants focused on driving innovations in transplantation, mental health, Alport syndrome and other key areas of science relating to kidney disease. And further investment has been secured over the next three years to sustain the momentum in advancing transplantation research. 

In June, Kidney Research UK released a major report into the economic impact of kidney disease, including stark projections of the potential scale of growth of the disease without significant government intervention, including greater research investment. The funding announcement by the charity is a further example of its commitment to finding research solutions. 

The grants have been made possible through collaboration between Kidney Research UK, the Stoneygate Trust, the Andy Cole Fund and the ongoing generosity of our loyal supporters, and will accelerate research and change the lives of kidney patients.  

Amongst the total investment, two specific grant calls pay homage to individuals who are looking to push the boundaries of kidney research in entirely different ways. 

Professor Mike Nicholson, University of Cambridge

The Professor Michael Nicholson Awards have been created in collaboration with the Stoneygate Trust, who want to recognise the significant contribution Professor Nicholson has made to kidney research. He recently made the headlines when his Kidney Research UK-funded project successfully changed the blood type of human kidneys. The project findings have the potential to open up greater opportunities for people from minority ethnic groups (who are more likely to have the rarer, harder to match B blood type) to receive a life-changing transplant. 

This year’s awards will be the first of a £4.33m investment by Stoneygate and Kidney Research UK over three years. 

Looking to build on ongoing investment in Cambridge while also seeking scientists based UK-wide, the awards are designed to drive innovation in transplant science and find novel techniques to improve patient experiences and outcomes following transplant surgery. The programme will additionally support career development, giving young researchers a platform to discover new and innovative methods of transplantation.  

The Andy Cole Fund Grant Awards have also been announced within the total grants package. The Manchester United footballing legend launched his fund with Kidney Research UK after his own kidney journey saw him receive a life-saving transplant from his nephew in 2017. His experiences of transplantation and challenges with his own mental health encouraged him to set up the fund.

The first set of grants from the fund totalling £250,000 will look at transforming transplantation with the aim of enhancing the patient experience and tackling issues around mental health – something that Andy is incredibly passionate about.  

Sandra Currie, chief executive at Kidney Research UK, said: “These awards are particularly special as they celebrate two individuals who have had a positive impact on improving the lives of kidney patients and show how much can be achieved through collaboration. Working with the Stoneygate Trust, Professor Mike Nicholson and Andy Cole has given us the opportunity to fund many more projects than we could as an individual organisation and ultimately develop new innovations and practices that will benefit patients. We are hugely grateful for their support and excited to see applications showing what difference projects could make to patients’ lives.”  

Andy Cole
Andy Cole

Funding innovative research

Kidney Research UK is looking to attract talented researchers, scientists, clinicians and innovators from across the UK to apply for funding through a number of grants, ranging from standalone research projects and startup grants to senior and PhD fellowships. The charity is offering grants to people working in disciplines including transplantation, mental health, multiple health conditions, health inequalities and many more. 

Applications for the awards are now open. Expressions of interest in the Andy Cole Fund Grant Awards and our hybrid grants round must be received by Tuesday 29 August. The Professor Michael Nicholson Awards will close on Wednesday 18 October. All submissions will be subject to peer review involving members of the Kidney Research UK Research Grants Committee and Lay Advisory Group and both scientific and lay external reviewers.  

Find out more information on the grants and to find out how to apply.

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