INSPIRE began in 2012, with £1million in funding from the Wellcome Trust. The scheme has been open to all medical schools since its induction and all dental and veterinary schools since 2016. In this time, we have awarded 89 small grants and a further nine special project grants. The grants, previously of up to £10,000, over 1-2 years were awarded in four rounds, reaching 31 schools in the first round in December 2012, 22 schools in December 2014, 8 in 2016 and 28 schools in October 2018. The nine special project grants were awarded in June 2014. For more information about the activities designed and implemented by each school, please scroll down to the 'Recent Awardees' section.
Schools have flexibility in how they use funds and, as a result, variation exists between the schools from developing events with broad engagement to supporting research projects for individual students. Many schools have chosen to collaborate on projects regionally with all schools delivering activities that have been designed and delivered with the input of students.
The aims of the scheme are:
- Inspire medical, dental and veterinary undergraduates to consider a research career.
- Stimulate schools to design and implement local, innovative approaches to building student interest in research.
- Encourage student involvement: the experiences and needs of local students should inform the development of the local INSPIRE programme.
- Promote high quality, collaborative partnerships between members of faculty and students, and between schools and other local/regional/national organisations.
- Strengthen local, regional and national student research networks, sharing experiences and resources.
- Foster a research culture in all clinicians entering the NHS, not just those with an interest in pursuing a career in academic medicine. Likewise, INSPIRE aims to foster a research culture in dentists and vets across the country.
The INSPIRE scheme is open to all UK veterinary schools and medical schools that are recognised by the General Medical Council. Dental schools cannot launch an independent application and must form part of the application by Medical schools with activities being made available to both Medical and Dental students.
The Academy offers grants of up to £20,000 to succesful applicants, who each then have the responsibility and ownership for deploying the funds locally for INSPIRE focused activities over a two year period. Such activities should focus on, but are not limited to:
- Workshops, lectures, events and discussions based around research and research careers.
- Opportunities to network and develop mentoring relationships.
- Introductions to practical research through workshops teaching topics such as methodology and laboratory techniques.
- Stipends for competitively awarded, short-term vacation studentships.
- Creation of teaching materials.
- Films, websites and multimedia projects.
For Universities that have both a medical and dental school, INSPIRE related activities should be made accessible to both types of student.
In carrying out the INSPIRE Project, selected Schools nominate a faculty member to be the INSPIRE lead. They are the lead contact for the Academy and for anyone interested in INSPIRE activities delivered in their School. The Academic leads work closely with student representatives to plan activities, apply for funding and lead delivery, in most cases, with administrative support.
The role of the Academy of Medical Sciences
In carrying out the scheme, the Academy will:
- Administer and manage the grant scheme.
- Link INSPIRE activities to other national initiatives.
- Facilitate contact between INSPIRE leads.
- Host a sharing conference which was held on 24 June 2019 at the Academy's office, London.
The members of the selection panel for Round 5 of INSPIRE will consist of:
- Professor Jonathan Seckl FRSE FMedSci (Chair), Vice Principal (Planning, Resources and Research Policy); Professor of Molecular Medicine, University of Edinburgh.
- Professor Tamsin Ford, Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Exeter.
- Dr Michael Mather, Academic Foundation Doctor, Newcastle University.
- Professor Julian Sampson FMedSci, Director, Division of Cancer and Genetics, Professor of Medical Genetics, Cardiff University.
- Professor Debbie Sharp, Professor of Primary Health Care, University of Bristol
- Professor Khamlesh Khunti, FRCGP, FMedSci, Professor of Primary Care Diabetes and Vascular Medicine, University of Leicester
- Professor Elizabeth Simpson OBE FRS FMedSci, Emeritus Professor of Transplantation Biology, Imperial College London.
- Professor Phil Quirke FMedSci, Section Head of Pathology and Tumour Biology and Sub-Dean for Postgraduate Academic Training. University of Leeds.
- Dr Rupert Austin, Clinical Lecturer in Prosthodontics, King's College London Dental Institute.
- Alex Bald, Medical Student, Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Leeds.
Applicants should not approach panel members to discuss their application. All queries should be directed to the Panel secretariat on INSPIRE@acmedsci.ac.uk.
Medical and veterinary schools will need to provide the Academy with an end of grant report after the two year period has come to an end. Please see the Grant Terms and Conditions for further details. We encourage leads to maintain close contact with the Academy to facilitate the sharing of good practice and interim progress updates about the scheme.
In the case of other organisations providing ‘in kind’ resources to schools to support the local INSPIRE programme, letters of support should be uploaded via FlexiGrant as part of the application.