Beta Cell Therapy Innovation Project Grant

Beta cells illustration

Beta Cell Therapy Innovation Project Grant

Purpose: To support high-risk high-reward ideas that have the potential to advance the development of beta cell therapies and to test these at pace

Amount: Applications led by an individual researcher from any discipline: up to £200k; Applications jointly led by two researchers, a type 1 diabetes researcher and an academic from another discipline: up to £400k

Duration: 18-months to 2-years

Career Stage: Senior postdoctoral researchers on track to run an independent research group (with approval from your current group leader); non-clinical and clinical group leaders

Skills: Multidisciplinary – open to those working in any discipline

Location: Principal Applicants must be based at an academic Host Institution in the UK

Process: Two stage process 1) Stage 1 application: 3-page proposal, plain English summary of your research, patient and public involvement plan, brief finance breakdown, and a 2-minute pitch video; 2) If shortlisted to Stage 2 application: a full financial breakdown and a virtual 30-minute interview with the Type 1 Diabetes Grand Challenge Innovation Panel

Deadline: 19 February 2024: Stage 1 Application Deadline; 20 May 2024: Stage 2 Application Deadline; and Virtual Interviews : w/c 3 June 2024


Our Beta Cell Therapy Translational Programme Grant call identified two themes that need to be addressed to move us closer to beta cell therapies being a viable treatment option for those living with type 1 diabetes.

Theme 1: Design of beta cells fit for transplantation.

Theme 2: Approaches to regenerate beta cells.

If your idea falls outside of these two themes, please justify within your proposal how your idea has the potential to advance beta cell therapy research. We do not want to limit creativity and therefore, encourage novel ideas to be submitted that could address any unmet aspect of beta cell therapy research. We are looking for outside of the box thinking and are comfortable to invest in risky ideas that would be transformative if successful.

As part of this call, the following areas are out of remit, and applications submitted in these areas will be rejected before review:

  • Identify/stratify those at risk of developing T1D
  • Prevent or improve the diagnosis of T1D
  • Address the complications of T1D
  • Fund capital buildings, refurbishment, or other infrastructure costs

Eligibility criteria

The call is open to academic and clinical researchers from any discipline with an emphasis on multidisciplinary approaches. This includes:

  • Senior post-doctoral researchers on track to run an independent research group (with approval from your current group leader).
  • Non-clinical and clinical group leaders who are continuing to build their research groups.
  • Established non-clinical and clinical group leaders.

Applications can be received from individual researchers or co-led by a type 1 diabetes researcher and a researcher not primarily focused on the condition. All Principal Applicants or Joint Lead Applicants must have a higher degree (PhD or equivalent), be based at an academic Host Institution within the UK, and in receipt of a salary for the duration of the Award, the exception being where Principal Applicants or Joint Lead Applicants are senior post-doctoral researchers and whose salaries are dependent on grant funding. Clinical researchers must be registered with the relevant regulatory body/council of their profession.

Applications may include other team members as required such as Co-Applicants and Collaborators who may be affiliated with a Host Institution within the UK or international. Co-Applicants should be involved in the development of the application and who, if funded, would have some responsibility for delivery of an aspect of the project. Collaborators provide specific expertise only and do not share in the responsibility for the delivery of the project. We will not accept applications led or co-led from industry but encourage industry involvement where it will add value to the project. Please refer to our Commercial Collaborations Policy which sets out our conditions when involving commercial entities in T1DGC grants and arrange a call with the Research Office to discuss your plans further.

Skills and expertise

We want to attract researchers:

  • Tackling type 1 diabetes research
  • Working on other conditions, you do not need to currently work on type 1 diabetes to apply as the Principal Applicant or a Co-Lead Applicant. We want to attract new thinking to the field.
  • With skills that could be applied to the Beta Cell Therapy Grand Challenge including but not limited to stem cell scientists, immunologists, analytical chemists, medicinal chemists, and bioengineers.
  • Who are creative thinkers, willing to embrace complex challenges and work across disciplines to devise novel solutions.

Application process

At Stage 1 application we ask that you submit a 3-page proposal, a plain English summary, a patient and public involvement plan, a brief finance breakdown and 2-minute pitch video via Diabetes UK’s Online Grants Management System – here you will find the instructions for completing the application form, including the format for the pitch video. To note at this stage, we will only require a top-level budget to be submitted that does not need to be approved by your Host Institution’s finance office. However, we ask that you notify them that you will be applying so that they can support with your Stage 2 application, if shortlisted. The Stage 2 application will only require a full financial breakdown, approved by the Host Institution. All shortlisted Stage 1 Applicants will be invited to attend a 30-minute virtual interview with the T1DGC Innovation Panel.

We encourage you to register to attend our webinar on 14 December 2023 at 14.00 GMT to hear more about this funding opportunity.


  • Stage 1 application deadline: 19 February 2024
  • Stage 1 shortlisting outcome: W/C 22 April 2024
  • Stage 2 application deadline: 20 May 2024
  • Virtual Interviews with the T1DGC Innovation Panel: W/C 3 June 2024

This funding is designed to allow innovative research ideas to rapidly progress from generation to testing. Therefore, we expect all awarded grants to commence no later than October 2024.

Assessment criteria

Stage 1 applications will be assessed by our specially convened T1DGC Innovation Panel that will include representatives from our Beta Cell Therapy Reviewer College in addition to co-opted experts with relevant perspectives.

The scientific reviewers will focus on:

  • Whether the proposal is high-risk, high-reward and has the potential to be transformative and advance the development and/or translation of beta cell therapies if successful.
  • The degree of novelty and innovation when compared to ongoing endeavours to tackle type 1 diabetes.
  • Scientific excellence including expertise of the team to undertake and deliver the described research.

Given the high-risk nature of this funding call, applicants are not expected to submit any preliminary data.

All applicants will be provided feedback from T1DGC Innovation Panel.

Shortlisted stage 1 applications will also be reviewed by the Grants Advisory Panel (GAP) of people living with and affected by type 1 diabetes. GAP will specifically review the plain English summary and patient and public involvement plan and ensure that the research is relevant and important to people living with diabetes.  We encourage Applicants to take an innovative approach to patient and public involvement and explore opportunities to involve and engage people living with and affected by type 1 diabetes in their project.  Feedback from GAP will be provided to shortlisted Applicants ahead of the virtual interviews, at which representatives of GAP will be present.

Financial support

Applications led by an individual researcher from any discipline can apply for funding up to £200k. Applications jointly led by two researchers, a type 1 diabetes researcher and an academic from another discipline can apply for funding up to £400k.

Financial leverage is essential to the T1DGC initiative as we can do more together. Therefore, we ask that Applicants discuss this opportunity with their Host Institution and explore how we can work in partnership such as making contributions to the direct and/or indirect costs of research. In addition to this we encourage Applicants to seek out support from teams at their Host Institution that could provide support to successfully deliver an innovative project.

For administrative purposes the funding will need to be issued to one Host Institution with funds sub-contracted to the others involved in the project as required.

The funds can be used to cover:

  • Materials, consumables and animal costs.
  • Project specific equipment costs. While there is no upper limit on this amount, Host Institutions are expected to contribute towards the cost of requested equipment that is proportionate to the total amount requested.
  • *Salary of the Senior Post-Doctoral Researcher leading the project if relevant.
  • *Named staff with specific expertise, such as nurses, economists, and statisticians, for their time on the project. If you are unsure if the salary of a post will be covered, please contact the office to clarify.
  • Travel and accommodation costs to visit collaborating institutes.
  • Patient and public involvement costs.

For more information about disallowed costs, please visit General Guidelines for Research Grant Applicants.

* Studentships are an ineligible cost for this funding call. Diabetes UK will also not pay salaries on a cost recovery basis and is, therefore, unwilling to meet the salary costs of staff currently funded by the Higher Education Funding Council, NHS or equivalent. In cases where Principal Applicants’, Joint Lead Applicants’, or Co-Applicants’ salaries are dependent on grant funding we require a letter from the Host Institute confirming their salaries are dependent on grant funding. Where a Principal Applicant is a senior postdoctoral researcher, who’s salary is dependent on funding:

  • We require a letter from the Host Institute confirming their salaries are dependent on grant funding
  • We require another Applicant on the project who holds a tenured post at the Host Institute. Please note their role is to guide and mentor, rather than leading and undertaking the research.

Costs for National Insurance contributions and any superannuation should be added to salary costs at the point of application. These costs will not be considered after an award has been made. Known salary increments may be included on the application form but national pay awards may not.

Guidelines and terms and conditions

Frequently Asked Questions
General Guidelines for Research Grant Applicants

Guidance on Patient and Public Involvement in Research
Commercial Collaborations Policy
Steve Morgan Foundation Type 1 Diabetes Grand Challenge Grant Conditions

View the Beta Cell Therapy Innovation Project Grants webinar


For any questions about the Grand Challenge, please contact the Type 1 Diabetes Grand Challenge Funding Team: