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The Professor Michael Nicholson Awards

In honour of Professor Mike Nicholson’s dedication to developing new and innovative approaches to kidney transplantation, and in recognition of the urgent need to decrease waiting times and improve the outcomes for those who need a donor kidney, we are launching the Kidney Research UK-Stoneygate jointly funded Professor Michael Nicholson Awards.

Applications are open until 16 October 2024 for this second year of funding, we welcome UK-based proposals aiming to improve outcomes for the kidney patient community and build expertise in renal transplantation. 

Transforming transplantation research 

It is an exciting time for transplantation research with significant breakthroughs taking place, and we are now seeking applications from UK-based researchers who can help us achieve even greater impact by escalating research progress and innovation  and strengthen collaboration across all transplant research centres. 

We wish to increase the number of researchers by: 

  • attracting and retaining young surgeons to pursue an academic transplant research career in renal transplantation  
  • attracting new and diverse people into kidney transplant research, including early career researchers, who have potential to be the leaders of future developments. 

We are seeking applications that will help our ambitions to: 

  • accelerate discoveries and develop outstanding leaders in kidney transplant research  
  • make kidney transplants last longer and build stronger defences against infections and other diseases that can lead to transplant failure 
  • increase the availability of kidneys for transplantation and reduce the wait. 
  • develop novel machine perfusion techniques that have the capacity to increase organ utilisation rates and deliver pre-transplant regenerative therapies that prolong transplant survival. 

We aim to build on our ongoing investment in Cambridge through part of this programme of investment, although we are actively seeking applications from researchers based UK-wide. 

Types of grants available

We welcome applications for the following grant types: 

Research project grants: funds stand-alone research projects that will advance our knowledge in kidney transplantation.

  • Grant available: up to £250,000
  • Funding period: maximum of three years, may be spread over a two or three-year period. 

Start-up grants: funds stand-alone research studies to investigate innovative new hypotheses around kidney transplantation that lack any significant existing research evidence. 

  • Grant available: up to £40,000
  • Funding period: maximum of two years, may be spread over a one or two-year period. 

Transplant surgeon PhD fellowship: supports medical graduates who are specialising in surgery to expand the levels of expertise in kidney transplantation research.

  • Training Fellowship: The Fellow’s salary, higher degree tuition fees and a consumables allowance of £15,000 per annum. 
  • Funding period: for up to three years.

PhD studentship: PhD Studentships are available for research leading to PhD, focusing on kidney transplantation research.

  • PhD Studentship: The student’s stipend is based on the Medical Research Council Scale. Higher degree tuition fees and a consumables allowance of £3,500 per annum up to a total of £10,500. 
  • Funding period: for up to three and a half years.

Submitting an application

All submissions to this call will be subject to peer review involving members of our Research Grants Committee and Lay Advisory Group and both scientific and lay external reviewers. Information about the peer review process 

All lead applicants must be resident in the United Kingdom and the research must be led from a UK establishment.  

Funding decisions will be made February 2025.

If you have a question or would like further information contact:

We urgently need more scientific research to help reduce waiting times, to make transplants last longer and to create better post-surgery experiences for our patients. These transplant-science focused grants will build the expertise and support the research to make this happen and I’m honoured these awards are being made in my name.” Professor Mike Nicholson.


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