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Lifelong Health and Wellbeing Phase 3

This call is now closed for applications and is only available for reference purposes.

Lifelong Health and Wellbeing (LLHW) is a major cross-council initiative supporting multi-disciplinary research addressing factors across the life course that influences healthy ageing and wellbeing in later life. The Research Councils in partnership with the UK Health Departments invite applications for phase 3 of LLHW.


Life expectancy in the UK has increased dramatically over the last century. People of sixty-five years of age and older have become the fastest growing segment of the UK population. Current trends suggest that by 2051, one in four people will be over 65. It is vital we understand the factors that underpin and promote healthy ageing and use the information to enable individuals and societies to take advantage of improved health and wellbeing as we age.


The LLHW programme builds on the Research Councils long standing commitment to funding research into ageing. Through its cross-cutting nature, LLHW is dedicated to supporting research that benefits from bringing together a range of research expertise to collectively address the issues related to ageing.


The strategic aims of the LLHW programme are to:

  • Target factors over the life course that may be major determinants of health and wellbeing in later life.
  • Identify and develop effective interventions that lead to improved health and quality of life in older age.
  • Inform policy and practice including the development of services and technologies to support independent living.
  • Increase capacity and capability in ageing-relevant research.


Funding partners

Research Councils


UK Health Departments


Focus of the call

LLHW has committed £16 million of joint funds so far in the first two phases of the programme, supporting three Centres, ten Collaborative Development Networks and three multi-disciplinary Collaboratives. In each phase, emphasis has been placed on supporting high quality multidisciplinary collaborative research, engaging with stakeholders and the public, building research capacity and promoting knowledge transfer.


The focus of the LLHW phase 3 call is to continue supporting high-quality innovative multidisciplinary research that addresses major ageing-related challenges faced by the UK in the 21st Century. We welcome applications which build on UK research strengths including use of existing data and resources.


Applications are particularly encouraged in areas where there is a need to build the evidence base, including, but not restricted to the following cross-cutting areas:

  • Mental Health and Wellbeing including quality of life, preserving cognitive function and exploiting mental capital.
  • Resilience for successful ageing: from cell to society including life course influences, health inequalities, markers for ageing and processes of ageing.
  • Age-related conditions, including frailty and interventions to promote independence in later life.


The following are examples of the type of research areas that would fit the remit of the call. They are intended to be illustrative and are not prescriptive or exclusive:

  • Development or evaluation of interventions to promote mental health and wellbeing.
  • Promoting physical health in older age.
  • Enhancing mobility and independence in later life.
  • Understanding the development and impact of age-related conditions.
  • Implications of employment and work in later life.
  • Development and validation of methods and measures to integrate biological, physical, psychological, cultural and socio-economic markers or indicators of health and wellbeing in later life.


Applications must add value to the ageing-related research field or be of strategic importance in informing policy and practice. Successful proposals will be truly multi-disciplinary and have clearly articulated and robust methodology and design.


The Research Councils have worked closely with the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) to ensure that this call and the new call under the TSB Assisted Living Innovation Platform (ALIP) are complementary.


Available funds and types of awards

Proposals will be welcomed from multidisciplinary teams in areas that would not usually be supported through existing funding schemes of individual Research Councils or Health Departments and must cover the remit of more than one Research Council.


Funds will be available through two modes of support:

LLHW Research Grants

Funds of up to £10 million (80 per cent FEC) will be available to support research grants ranging from £300K up to £2.5 million, over a two to five year period. LLHW Research Grants will fund high quality innovative research conducted by multidisciplinary teams addressing major challenges in ageing and adding value to the overall strategic objectives of the LLHW initiative.

For further details see LLHW Research Grants guidance.


LLHW Pilot Studies

A total of £2.5 million (80 per cent FEC) will be available to fund up to 10 pilot studies for a maximum of two years. LLHW pilot studies will support pilot or feasibility studies aimed at informing the development of future cross-disciplinary research projects.

Proposals will be hypothesis-driven or developing methodologies aimed at answering a research question or testing and developing an idea based on supporting evidence from existing literature or previous studies. Proposals must demonstrate that they are original, novel or may potentially lead to high impact outcomes. Descriptive studies are outside the scope of the LLHW pilots call.

For further details see LLHW Pilot Studies guidance.


Application process

The following general criteria will be used in the assessment of both types of proposals:

  • Research excellence.
  • Impact - importance, innovation and timeliness of the research and its added value including its likely contribution to improved health and wellbeing in later life.
  • Multidisciplinary approach, including covering the remit of more than one Research Council (proposals that could be funded by a single Research Council or Health Department through standard funding mechanisms will be rejected).


The LLHW Research Grants will follow an outline stage and only successful proposals will be invited to submit full applications.

The LLHW pilot studies will be submitted as full applications.

LLHW Pilot Studies applications and LLHW Research Grant full applications will be internationally peer-reviewed, followed by assessment by the LLHW Research Advisory Panel. The panel will make funding recommendations to the funding partners. The decision of the funding partners will be final.


Application assessment

The MRC is administering and managing the call on behalf of the LLHW funding partners. Awards funded under the LLHW call will follow standard MRC terms and conditions.


Applications must be submitted via MRC’s Electronic Application and Assessment (EAA). Applications are submitted to MRC by your research organisation’s administrative department after they have completed their section of your EAA application form. All eligible lead research organisations must be registered with MRC to apply for funding via the MRC EAA. Please check if you organisation is registered with EAA as the registration process may take up to 10 days. Please contact EAA Helpdesk for the necessary forms.


Queries relating to the EAA should be directed to the EAA Helpdesk

Contact: EAA
Telephone: 020 7670 5207


Applicants will be required to submit a case for support pro-forma for LLHW Research Grant applications and LLHW Pilot Studies applications. Specific instructions for ‘how to apply’ to this call can be found in the specific guidance and evaluation notes for the LLHW Research Grants or for LLHW Pilot Studies. In your submission, within the scientific classification page, for ‘MRC Office Scientific Contact for your Application’, you must select ‘Dr Ghada Zoubiane’ from the drop down list.


Eligibility criteria

This call follows standard RCUK eligibility criteria with respect to individual applicants and is open to UK-based researchers who can demonstrate that they will direct the proposed research and be actively engaged in carrying it through. Joint proposals from people in the same or different institutions including non-academic organisations are encouraged, but one person will be identified as the lead contact for review and administration purposes and is known as the Principal Investigator.


Eligible institutions include UK higher education institutions, Research Council institutes, and eligible Independent Research Organisations (IROs). All IROs listed on the RCUK web page are eligible to apply. For this call only, eligibility is extended to government departments and their agencies.


Frequently Asked Questions

LLHW Phase 3 FAQ - Questions and answers on the lifelong health and wellbeing (phase 3) initiative regarding eligibility, funding, preparing an application, assessment, ethics and governance.


The key dates are listed below

LLHW Research Grants  



Launch call

12 May 2010

Outline stage deadline

30 June 2010

Research Advisory Panel to assess outlines

July – August 2010

Research Advisory Panel meeting to assess the outlines

2 September 2010

Successful outlines invited for full applications

13 September 2010

Deadline for full applications

24 November 2010

Peer review (external)

Dec 2010 – Jan 2011

Applicants’ response

18 February 2011

Research Advisory Panel meeting

16-17 March 2011

Funding partners make funding decisions

24 March 2011

Awards announced

April 2011

LLHW Pilot Studies 



Launch call

12 May 2010

Deadline for Applications

15 September 2010

Peer review (external)

Dec 2010 – Jan 2011

Research Advisory Panel meeting

16-17 March 2011

Funding partners make funding decisions

24 March 2011

Awards announced

April 2011

For further information about the call, consult LLHW3 frequently asked questions. If you have a further query contact


Research advisory panel

  • Professor David Armstrong (Chairman), King’s College London
  • Professor John Baldock, University of Kent
  • Dr Lyndal Bond, Southampton medical school
  • Mr David Calder, TWI Ltd
  • Professor Zhengming Chen, University of Oxford
  • Professor Peter Coleman, University of Southampton
  • Ms Angela Donkin, Department of Work and Pensions
  • Mr Andrew Harrop, Age UK
  • Professor Malcolm Jackson, University of Liverpool
  • Professor Peter Lansley, University of Reading
  • Professor Janet Lord, University of Birmingham
  • Professor John Mathers, Newcastle University
  • Professor Brendan McCormack, University of Ulster
  • Professor Gail Mountain, University of Sheffield
  • Professor Jeremy Myerson, Royal College of Art
  • Professor James Nazroo, University of Manchester
  • Dr Marcus Richards, MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing
  • Professor John Starr, University of Edinburgh
  • Ms Emma Stone, Joseph Rowntree foundation
  • Professor Bill Vennart, Pfizer Ltd


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