FAPESP-MRC Call: Zika Rapid Response Initiative

Closing date: 22/02/2016 - 12:00


To better understand the nature of the risk posed by the Zika virus, the Medical Research Council (MRC) lauched a rapid response funding initiative (

Considering the RCUK/FAPESP memorandum of understanding, FAPESP is hereby announcing guidelines for researchers in the State of São Paulo who might be interested in partnering with colleagues from the UK.

1. Scope

Short term (12 – 18 month) proposals are sought that will provide novel, critical and timely insights into the nature of the risk posed by the Zika virus and/or potential avenues for its management or prevention.

1.1 Possible avenues of research include but are not limited to the following:

  • Epidemiological characteristics, e.g. vector transmission potential, geographical spread, interactions with other arboviruses, changing viral genotype, host susceptibility, incubation period, etc.

  • Development of more specific rapid diagnostic tests for Zika virus that can reduce misdiagnoses that may occur due to the presence of dengue or other viruses in a test sample.

  • Viral pathogenicity, association with and potential mechanistic links to neurodevelopment / microcephaly

  • Mechanisms of infection and host immune responses and potential therapeutics / vaccines

2. Funding available

In total up to £1m will be made available by the MRC for this initiative.

FAPESP is offering support envisaging that applications will be for a balanced partnership, not specifically in monetary terms but with equivalent research commitment and efforts from both sides (São Paulo and UK).

3. Eligibility

FAPESP funding will be through a Regular Research Award (“Auxílio à Pesquisa Regular”). The proposal must follow the guidelines and eligibility requirements applied for this scheme, described at

3.1 Interested researchers must previously consult FAPESP by email ( regarding their eligibility. Consultations will be accepted up to February 18, 2016 in order to accelerate the eligibility evaluation. The email must contain the following documents:

a) Summaries CV of the Principal Investigator (according to;

b) Project Title, containing the name and institution of the UK PI;

c) An estimative of the proponents´ weekly dedication in hours/week and the duration of the project (months).

d) Estimative of requested budget (please follow the guidelines for Regular Research Awards, available at

3.2 Important – Please note that the norm for FAPESP’s Regular Grants specifies ( item 2.1) that “FAPESP expects relevant time dedication by the PI to ythe research activities proposed. Thus, only in exceptional and very well justified conditions can proposals be accepted which have starting date before the end of another Regular Grant under the responsibility of the same PI.” The request for exceptional consideration must be submitted by the proposer.

4. How to Apply

Proposals must be submitted by the partner applicant in the UK in agreement to the full guidelines available at

4.1 All applications must be collaborative proposals involving the association of researchers working within higher education and research institutions located in the State of São Paulo and researchers eligible for RCUK funding. The following FAPESP documents must be annexed to the submission done by the UK partner PI:

5. Grant Start Date

Given that this opportunity is for timely proposals, grants are expected to start expeditiously.

6. Selection process

Proposals will be reviewed directly by an Expert Panel drawn from relevant MRC and FAPESP Board, Oversight Group and Panel membership, complemented where appropriate with additional expertise.

6.1 Key assessment criteria for the submissions will include:

  • Potential to provide valuable novel insights into the threat posed by Zika and/or options for its management/prevention

  • Need for rapid activation

  • Access to required resources

  • Applicant expertise and experience

  • Partnership: including strength and clarity of collaborations and opportunities provided

  • Design and feasibility of project plan

  • Value for money

7. Contacts and guidance

For general queries relating to the call please contact:

FAPESP – Bruna Musa:

MRC - Sandeep Sandhu:


Page updated on 02/15/2016 - Published on 02/14/2016