Skip to main content

Connect Immune Research: new research funding to tackle autoimmune diseases collaboratively

Through Connect Immune Research, an initiative that allows us to work with autoimmune disease charities, we are excited to announce a new funding scheme to further interdisciplinary research and work to improve the lives of the 4 million people living with an autoimmune disease in the UK.

Connect Immune Research and the Yuti and Lorna Chernajovsky Biomedical Research Foundation have launched a major funding call to encourage collaboration between researchers who focus on specific autoimmune diseases. This £1.3m initiative, called ‘Targeting shared mechanisms in immune-mediated inflammatory diseases’, will offer pilot grants of up to £100,000 to researchers working on projects that could benefit patients living with more than one autoimmune condition.


About the call

In May 2021, Connect Immune Research and the Chernajovsky Foundation held an expert meeting that brought together over 40 researchers and people living with multiple autoimmune conditions to discuss targeting shared mechanisms in immune-mediated inflammatory diseases and to catalyse new collaborations, research ideas and proposals for research. At this meeting, the participants explored and further defined priority topics in this area, as well as identifying gaps and opportunities for future research.

Applications are invited from research teams affiliated to a university, hospital or other recognised research institution worldwide, but the lead applicant must be based at a UK institution.


Proposals should be:

  • Highly innovative; potentially risky research ideas are encouraged
  • Translational research only, defined here as research that seeks to advance and apply discoveries from basic discovery research and/or clinical findings through preclinical studies and towards clinical studies and trials. Development of drugs, diagnostics and devices are welcome
  • Able to demonstrate how the outputs from the award could lead to benefit for patients living with more than one autoimmune condition

The funding will enable multidisciplinary groups of researchers to develop and progress innovative cross-disease research questions closer to benefits for people with autoimmune conditions. It is envisaged that successful candidates whose projects demonstrate the most promising outputs will be able to compete for further funding at a scale to quickly develop their research for patient benefit.

Involving people affected by medical conditions strengthens the quality and relevance of medical research. Applicants are encouraged to consider how the quality, feasibility or practicality of their proposal could be improved by involving people affected by immune conditions in its development or oversight.


How to apply

This call is being administered by Versus Arthritis on behalf of the Connect Immune Partners and the Chernajovsky Foundation. Full details of the scheme are available here.

Deadline: Wednesday 13 October 2021.


About Connect Immune Research

Connect Immune Research brings together researchers from multiple autoimmune conditions to uncover the commonalities in their work to benefit patients. Our aim is that this will lead to new treatments, faster. The BSI chairs Connect Immune Research meetings, and our growing partnership of leading organisations dedicated to tackling autoimmune conditions includes: the type 1 diabetes charity JDRF; Versus Arthritis; MS Society; Alopecia UK; Bowel Research UK; Coeliac UK; and the Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Alliance.

As our CEO Dr Doug Brown says: “Immunology is a vital branch of medical science in which the UK leads the world with new discoveries. Connect Immune Research exploits this UK strength by bringing together the best brains in immunology to study different autoimmune diseases together. This initiative is just the start of a brand-new approach to immunology research and will, with even more support, lead to us transforming the lives of people living with autoimmune conditions.”


Find out more

  • For more information about the grant scheme or the Connect Immune Research initiative, please email Ben Wilcock, BSI Research Partnerships Manager at


The Lorna and Yuti Chernajovsky Biomedical Research Foundation