The Therapeutic Target Validation in Mental Health (TTV-MH) Call will support programmatic, collaborative awards that accelerate research and development in order to provide much-needed and more effective therapies and early, preventative interventions for mental health problems. TTV-MH awards will require collaborative approaches that can draw on expertise from multiple disciplines, including mental health, cognitive neuroscience, psychiatry, psychology, pharmacology, drug discovery, chemistry, genomics, medical imaging and/or biomarker development. Awards in this call will be made in the range from £1 million to £1.5 million (MRC contribution) for a duration of up to five years. The MRC will make up to £5 million available for this call and expects to support around four to five awards. This call has an initial Expression of Interest stage followed by the invited submission of full applications.
TTV-MH awards will complement the wide range of mental health research supported by the MRC and will build on the UK’s excellent discovery research in mental health. This call will support multidisciplinary collaborations to develop innovative approaches and enable more effective biomarker development and target validation, leading towards the development of new therapeutic options in mental health.
The MRC has made up to £5 million available for TTV-MH awards. Each award will provide an MRC contribution typically in the range of £1 million to £1.5 million over a duration of up to five years. Funded projects will be expected to network and share experience and best practice in therapeutic target discovery, identification, engagement, validation and exploitation.
TTV-MH awards can be used to fund the costs of multidisciplinary collaboration and research in the space between discovery science and the later stages of the development pipeline, and would include target development, qualification and validation, experimental medicine studies, and development of biomarkers. Awards will support research to prepare the way to applications for MRC’s Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme (DPFS), industry or other funding schemes. Applications to this call should not be suitable for funding through other MRC schemes.
Awards will be made at MRC’s standard FEC rate of 80%.
Proposals should aim to address one or more of the following challenges:
- developing potential human targets for psychological or pharmacological intervention; including experimental medicine studies involving humans or preclinical studies utilising human tissue or human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). This could include building on recent developments in genetics, immunology, psychology and cognitive neuroscience in mental health research.
- advancing knowledge of causative biological pathways and mechanisms; improving mechanistic understanding of new targets, increasing knowledge of the pathway or mechanistic context of a target
- establishing or refining strategies for development of known targets, pathways and mechanisms, for example platform technologies for validation, data mining, genetics, brain banks, and back translation from clinical findings
- stratification, resulting in better diagnosis or prescribing of therapeutic options, and a focus on symptom dimensions rather than diagnostic categories
- target engagement; developing or validating reliable markers/biomarkers of target engagement that provide direct evidence that the targeted pathway was affected.