Oliver Bird Fund for research into musculoskeletal conditions

Over the next 10 years the Nuffield Foundation will dedicate up to £12.5m for research into musculoskeletal conditions, with up to £6.25m to be awarded over the first five years.

Musculoskeletal conditions affect the joints, bones and muscles including arthritis, back and neck pain, as well as rare autoimmune diseases. Together, these conditions affect 17.8 million people in the UK and are are the single biggest cause of pain and disability. One in five people consult a GP about a musculoskeletal condition and musculoskeletal conditions account for the third largest area of NHS England programme spending at £4.7 billion in 2013-14.

The Nuffield Foundation aims to improve the lives of people living with musculoskeletal conditions by funding interrelated policy, practice and research activities. Here it is calling for interdisciplinary proposals to improve understanding of those living with MSK conditions, including their health and social well-being outcomes. Funding will be awarded across three programmes:

  • Research to exploit existing national-level longitudinal and administrative data on the bio/social/economic determinants and outcomes of musculoskeletal conditions through secondary analysis of existing data;

  • Research to integrate and exploit local health, social care and other data sources in the UK at a local-level through funding one or more local data integration pilot sites. It is anticipated that this programme will be funded in partnership with Versus Arthritis;

  • Interdisciplinary research into musculoskeletal conditions that will generate new knowledge on health and social wellbeing for those living with musculoskeletal conditions.

Funding for the call comes from the Foundation’s Olivier Bird Fund, bequeathed by Captain Oliver Bird, of Bird’s Custard Fame, in 1948.

Guide for applicants 

Full application

Application process

Applications for the current round are closed. Applications that have progressed to the full application stage will be decided upon at the November 2019 Nuffield Foundation Trustee meeting.

Any questions relating to applications to the Nuffield Foundation’s Oliver Bird Fund should be sent to oliverbird@nuffieldfoundation.org