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Connect Immune Research lab placement grants

A message from the Connect Immune Research partners - JDRF, MS Society, Versus Arthritis, British Society for Immunology

In light of the current SARS-CoV-2 virus outbreak, the Connect Immune Research partners have decided to pause this grant scheme and not accept any new applications until such a time when travel restrictions are lifted.  This scheme is an important part of our work to bring the autoimmune research community together; however, after carefully reviewing the situation, we feel that pausing this scheme is the responsible option at this time. We encourage researchers to use this time to connect virtually if possible and we are currently looking into options for how we can facilitate this.

Connect Immune Research is a partnership between JDRF, the MS Society, Versus Arthritis and the British Society for Immunology to bring about a joined-up approach to autoimmune research.  Our lab placement grants provide financial support to undertake a formal placement at a selected laboratory to learn a new skill/technique or to carry out experiments essential to a project. All placements must demonstrate cross-condition relevance in the field of autoimmune research. Placements can be 2–8 weeks in length.

This grant scheme is open to early career researchers working in the field of autoimmunity. The grants will fund researchers from year 2 of their PhD up to and including those with 5 years’ postdoctoral experience.


Depending on location, the grant is capped at the following amounts:

  • Placement overseas – up to £1,500 per grant
  • UK placement (outside host institution/hometown) – up to £1,000 per grant

Application deadlines

Applications for this grant scheme are now open.  Application forms can be downloaded by clicking on the boxes below. Completed forms should be returned to

Download application form (PDF)

Download application form (Word)

Applications will be reviewed twice per year. The deadlines for submitting applications are:

  • 31 March
  • 30 September

We recommend you apply for the award with the review deadline at least 8 weeks ahead of your placement. Please note the outcomes of the applications will be sent via email within four weeks of the application deadline date.

Judging criteria

The marking panel will consist of three representatives: one from the BSI grants panel, one from a Connect Immune Research partner (Versus Arthritis, MS Society or JDRF team member) and one lay person. The applications will be judged on the following criteria:

  • Quality of scientific statement: relevance of the proposed scientific project to autoimmune research, in particular how the project feeds into the aims of Connect Immune Research to promote cross-disease autoimmunity research or examine the underlying mechanisms of autoimmunity; quality of project; the feasibility of the project in the proposed timescale.
  • Quality of personal statement: career grade and path of the applicant when judging any past experience, how grant will help them develop their career in the autoimmune space and help build links between researchers working on different autoimmune conditions.

Award requirements:

  • Applicants must be BSI members and based in the UK
  • Planned placements must be between 2–8 weeks in duration
  • The placement must have cross-condition relevance to the field of autoimmunity – either working on a different autoimmune disease to your usual field of study or examining the underlying causes of autoimmunity.
  • As part of the submission, the applicant will be required to describe the planned placement in detail, how it will help their career and how it will build links between research on different autoimmune conditions
  • The application process will require the formal support from the applicant’s current supervisor and their placement supervisors – in the form of supporting letters.
  • Any successful applicants will be required to provide a short, written report of their activities. The report should be submitted within 4 weeks of completing the placement.
  • All applicants must be willing to contribute/engage to lay communications around their placement. Please note that a lay person will also be part of the marking panel for the grants.
  • Grants cannot be awarded retrospectively