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Information for applicants

Why do we fund research?

We do this because we are passionately interested. We care for the plight of those affected, and we are insatiably curious about these topics.

We really like to be kept abreast of developments with our research projects. This includes being invited to conferences and being sent publications in advance. We really encourage grant-holders to do this, and find that it keeps the relationships between us running in a positive and happy way. Please address this in your proposal, and remember it when you get going!



In the first instance, please email your application to us at as an attachment. Please see below for what we ask you to include in this.

Applications are initially assessed according to general scientific quality and in terms of The Waterloo Foundation’s scientific strategy and interests as laid out here. Applications successful at this stage are then peer reviewed. Applicants unsuccessful at this stage will be notified promptly. Please see below for the annual submission schedule for the different topics.

Our peer-review process involves external reviewers and internal reviewers. External reviewers are carried out by practising scientists or clinicians, who are expert in the area. Our internal reviews are carried out by our Chair of Trustees and Child Development Fund Manager, both of whom have backgrounds in scientific research. Applicants will have the opportunity to respond to points raised by reviewers, which reviewers can then comment on. Consultation will be taken where necessary, and then recommendations will be made to our Trustees about which projects to fund. In parallel, applicants complete a monitoring framework ready for use if we decide to fund a project.



All application deadlines are at midnight on a Sunday. We aim to make the final decision at our Trustees’ meeting around four months later.



Trustees’ meeting /  Decision

Rolandic Epilepsy
Studies focusing on: 1) the co-occurrence of Rolandic Epilepsy with other neurodevelopmental disorders; or 2) interactions with sleep patterns; or 3) the profile of on-going deficits in adulthood would be particularly welcomed.

Sunday 29th  October, 2017

March, 2018

Studies will be particularly welcomed that: 1) consider the movement aspects of ADHD; or 2) attempt to move our understanding of ADHD away from correlational studies to those which allow direction of effects to be considered or 3) include EEG measures of brain activity.

Developmental Trauma
 Studies focusing on risk, resilience and/or protective factors for early psychological trauma related to Adverse Childhood Experiences (e.g. neglect) will be particularly welcomed.

Sunday 4th March, 2018

July, 2018

Sleep and/or Exercise
Studies will be particularly welcomed that consider the effect of sleep (or lack of it) and/or exercise on a range of child behavioural, psychological or neurodevelopmental outcomes.

Motor Impairments
We would be interested in any research proposal that considers impairment in the motor domain across any child neurodevelopmental disorder.  In relation to Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) specifically, we would particularly welcome proposals that: 1) use neurological studies to understand brain development in DCD and its overlap with other disorders; or 2) will lead to strong practical interventions.

Sunday 1st July, 2018

November, 2018

Diet and/or Microbiome
Studies will be particularly welcomed that consider the effect of diet and/or the microbiome on a range of child behavioural, psychological or neurodevelopmental outcomes.

As a result of the high number of quality applications we have received in past calls relating to factors under parents’ influence, we are delighted to announce the extending of this fund into two separate calls; (1) sleep and exercise, and (2) diet and the microbiome. We are particularly interested in how these factors effect normal child development and how they impact on other conditions.

Following our recent five-year review we are welcoming applications where Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is the co-occurring rather than primary condition. Research into ASD currently attracts far more research funding than research into the other conditions we are interested in and so we are no longer supporting applications where it is the primary interest. Click here for information about other organisations which particularly support ASD research.

Similarly, we have made the difficult decision to remove a specific call for research into Dyslexia. We do, however, remain very much interested in the co-occurrence of Dyslexia with the conditions in our key topic areas and strongly encourage applications relating to this to apply to the relevant call.



Levels of funding are typically between £40,000 and £60,000 per research project. We support a wide range of projects, differing by research question, methodology, and existing funding. For example, we might support pilot data collection, to help you strengthen later proposals for substantial research grants from other, larger research funders, and clear pipelines for future work strengthen such proposals. We might support studentships, although generally do so as a matched-funder, and we might support an entire research project. We appreciate cost-effectiveness, and occasions where a small contribution from us yields much.


Publication, conferences and dissemination

Knowledge is only knowledge when it is known. We expect you to disseminate your findings within the scientific community, to allied professionals, to individuals affected by the condition, and also to the public community at large. Many professions have membership organisations which regularly communicate with their membership, and are very keen to receive articles about relevant science. We strongly encourage you to disseminate your work in this way. We expect to see information about such activities and events involved in monitoring reports, and where possible would like invitations to conferences and presentations! How effective you have been, and intend to be in this, can influence our funding decisions.

We encourage open access publishing and would like you to consider publishing in open access publications. Where possible, we will consider paying for one such article per project.



Linking with other researchers in different fields benefits children with these conditions, and therefore your willing collaboration is a condition of our grant-giving. We expect you to come to meetings and/or conferences with us, and especially to link up with other researchers when we suggest this.

We see research funding as a collaborative process, with you as our partner scientist.  We ask you as a research partner to keep us up to date with your progress and aware of findings as they emerge.  Sometimes we are able to assist researchers in matters beyond the financial. 

We encourage our research partners to affiliate with peer organisations.  We are an NIHR non-commercial partner following self-declaration, and encourage researchers to seek adoption of their project into the relevant portfolio. 


Other costings

As a UK registered charity, our policy is to pay only for the direct costs involved in any research programme and not to pay for indirect overheads. Indirect overheads include, but are not limited to, building and premises costs, basic services and utilities, and general administration costs such as personnel, finance, and library. We also prefer not to cover the costs of an already permanent member of staff (i.e. salary costs for a research assistant/post doc position is fine but not for time commitments of already existing members of staff). This policy is in common with the long-established policies of many other charity research funders and the precedent advocated for by the Association of Medical Research Charities. Thus, we expect 100% of our grants to go towards direct costs, with 0% going towards overheads or other indirect costs. Inflation may not be included in costing.

Of the total budget, a maximum of 5% can be used for conference attendance. The purpose of any conference attendance should be to disseminate data generated through our grant. You must have written approval in advance about which conference you hope to present at.




Scientists benefit from being around other scientists, and so the research we fund is generally university-based. In general, we expect all ethical approvals and other permissions to be in place before the period of funding begins. We are very happy for the set-up period to be of sufficient duration for this to happen prior to the financial component of the grant becoming active.




Do we accept applications from researchers based outside of the UK?

Yes – we are absolutely interested in any proposed project that fits our main research interests and accept (and encourage) applications from researchers based at any university.

As a slight caveat, it should be noted, that when judging applications we take into consideration how well the proposed project fits with our key themes, the track record of the researchers and institutions at which the research is based and the value for money the proposal offers. Applications from within the UK can recover the capital costs of research elsewhere and therefore this cost does not make up part of the proposed grant budget. With all other things being equal, this can have the effect of making UK based applications appear more attractive through better cost efficiency (although this is certainly not always the case).



To apply for a research grant


We suggest that you aim the application at a scientist from a different discipline. It can be up to 6 pages long, and must include the following.  

  1. Please head it with the:

    1. Name of your university.
    2. Name of the project.

  2. Information about who you are:

    1. The name of the Principal Investigator.
    2. Contact details of the person to reply to:

      1. Email.
      2. Phone number.
      3. Postal address.

    3. A link to your individual, project, and / or team website.
    4. A contact in the university’s central Research Management, Research and Development, or Development Office department.
    5. The name and email address of all collaborating researchers, with their university’s name.
    6. For each investigator, please state the amount of time (s)he will commit to the project throughout its duration, along with other work commitments such as clinical, teaching, supervision, and administrative responsibilities.

  3. Information about your project:

    1. Scientific abstract of the project.
    2. Lay summary of the project.
    3. Theoretical and scientific rationale (i.e. a literature review).
    4. Practical impact of the project: who will benefit, and the likely timescale of benefit.
    5. Research design. This should include: control procedures, proposed sample with power calculation, recruitment channels, proposed outcome measures and method of analysis. We are interested in whether the design you have chosen is the most appropriate for the topic, so do give an explanation of why your proposed method is most appropriate.
    6. How ethical issues have been addressed:

      1. What ethics and institutional approvals are needed for this project? Which are already in place? Please specify the further approvals required and the estimated date of securing these (with and without amendments). Please note that all such approvals must be in place prior to the period of active funding beginning, and we must have copies.
      2. If the application includes any animal research, it must demonstrate how it follows the 3Rs and ARRIVE guidelines.

    7. Service user involvement: (See here for more information.) Please describe fully how you have involved, and plan to involve, service users throughout the project. This could be through consultation, where service users are consulted with no sharing of power in decision-making, through collaboration, which involves an active on-going partnership with service users in the research process, or through leadership, where service users design, undertake and disseminate results of a research project. In particular, comment on service user involvement in the following stages of the project:

      1. Study development
      2. Conduct of study
      3. Dissemination of study findings

    8. Sources of advice you have used during the development of your proposed project.
    9. Costings:  

      1. One open access publication can be included, we do not support FEC and prefer not to cover the costs of an already permanent member of staff (i.e. salary costs for a research assistant/post doc position is fine but not for time commitments of already existing members of staff). A maximum of 5% can be for conference attendance.
      2. Please supply a budget in table format as an appendix, with one row for each spend. By all means group items through using additional columns, but each item must be listed in a separate row. Furthermore, for projects spanning more than one year, the budget must indicate which funding is required in each year.

    10. Timescale, in calendar months. This should include a plan with key milestones, and can be presented as a Gannt chart.
    11. Viability, including track record of recruitment with such samples.
    12. A summary of job descriptions for any posts included in the application.
    13. Any other sources of funding involved.
    14. What will happen if your application to partner with us is unsuccessful.

  4. Information about the expected impact of your project

    1. The key beneficiaries of the project – who they are and how many there are.
    2. How you will disseminate this to the relevant patient, family, and professional groups.
    3. How you will disseminate this to the public community at large.
    4. Where you expect to disseminate this academically.
    5. Which open access publication you will consider submitting to.

  5. CVs, including publication and citation metrics, which must include the h-index

    1. The cv of the Principal Investigator, as an attachment.
    2. Brief cvs of all collaborators, as attachments.

  6. References. A reference list should be sent as an appendix. Please enclose 3 key articles with your application.

  7. Suggested external reviewers.

    1. Please suggest three independent reviewers who would be suitable to review your project. They must be from a different institution to you, and not have worked with you for a minimum of two years. Please give their names, institutions, and email addresses.
    2. If there is anyone you would like NOT to review your application, please also provide their name and institution (maximum of two).
    3. Please provide reviewer information in the email and NOT in the main application document.

The application must be in Word and page numbered. Please use 12-point Times New Roman font with at least 1” margins.

This may seem a prescriptive list of guidelines! However we have been asked all of these questions, and this is our full answer to save you time. We are far more friendly than this sounds!