Scientific Strategy

THE LISTER INSTITUTE’S SCIENTIFIC STRATEGY

1. Charitable Objective

“To further understanding and progress in preventive medicine by promoting excellence in biomedical research in the UK and Republic of Ireland”

The Lister Institute will support research in any area of biomedicine, or related discipline; there are no priority areas or diseases.  The Lister would hope that the knowledge gained from the research activity might lead to a better understanding of the disease state, its diagnosis, treatment or prevention.

2. Our Heritage

From its Victorian roots to today’s prestigious annual Prize Awards, the Lister Institute has supported top scientists in their research to prevent and cure disease. Its contribution to global medical advances over the past 125 years is truly impressive.

3. Principle of the Strategy

The Lister Institute believes that research is driven forward by high quality individuals and their supporting staff.   Identifying such key researchers and providing them with appropriate support at crucial stages in their careers is, therefore, critical to the maintenance and development of a high quality and internationally competitive research community in the UK and the Republic of Ireland.  Consequently, the Lister will target its funding to the support of individual researchers.

The Lister operates a single funding scheme with a defined financial commitment and the following principles:

  • the support of high quality individuals at a crucial stage in their careers
  • generous and flexible funding
  • available to both science and medically trained individuals
  • available within any appropriate UK and the Republic of Ireland research environment/establishment
  • available across all disease types and research disciplines

research which has the potential for the prevention or treatment of disease

4. What We Do

The Lister Institute of Preventive Medicine is a UK medical research charity which supports young researchers by the award of Lister Prize Fellowships.  The awards are aimed at younger, rather than established, researchers who might be in their early years of running their own groups and for whom receipt of the Prize would ‘make a real difference’.

They may work in any field of biomedical research and may be either medically or scientifically trained.  We currently award up to six Prize Fellowships per year, each worth £250,000.  The Prize money may be used to support any aspect of the winner’s research activities, other than to provide his or her personal salary (although the money may be used to ’buy out’ the individual from teaching or administrative duties).  The Prize money is awarded as a single lump-sum to the winner’s host institution at the commencement of the award and may be spent over a five-year period.

Our strong community is an important component of the Fellowships. The Institute holds an annual residential scientific meeting for all its current and former Fellows and Members where presentations are made by new, current and former Fellows on their research activities.  The meeting includes an informal poster session that gives Fellows and Members the opportunity to discuss their research activities and actively help our Fellows forge new connections and collaborations. We also provide informal mentoring opportunities to enable our fellows to gain advice from more experienced researchers.

The Lister Institute also runs a Summer Studentship scheme for its current and former Fellows.

5. Who The Lister Institute Funds

The Lister Institute Research Prize Fellowships will be available to any tenured or non-tenured researcher (scientist or clinician) working in an eligible UK institution provided that their personal salary is secure, from another source, for a minimum of three years from receipt of the award.  The recipient need not be a UK national but must have a position in a UK or Republic of Ireland institution for the duration of the award.  There are no age restrictions, but the individual must, at the time of taking up the award, have a minimum of three and a maximum of ten year’s research experience, allowance will be made for career breaks. The individual may also concurrently hold awards such as a fellowship or programme/ project grant (s) from other organisations/agencies or be employed by them.

6. Where The Lister Institute will Fund Research

The Lister Institute Research Prize Fellowships may be held by individuals holding positions in any UK or Republic of Ireland research institution, which is deemed ‘not-for-profit’, (this might be a university, a hospital clinical department, MRC Unit or Research Institute, whether independent or charity-funded). Where the research dictates, a period of the award may be spent working abroad (but not more than six months in any consecutive 12-month period and in total no more than one year over the course of the three years).

7. Our Operating Principles

The Lister Institute will select its Research Prize Fellows by assessment of written application and interview of short-listed candidates by members of its Scientific Advisory Committee. Members of the SAC will initially score all applications to generate a long-list of candidates whose applications will then be sent to national and international experts for detailed review. The selection of short-listed candidates by SAC members will be based on these reviews and their own assessments.  Short-listed candidates, usually no more than twelve, will be interviewed by the SAC and, as a part of this process, will make a brief presentation.

Applications are normally submitted in November for possible interview in the following May and commencement of any award in October.  The Lister does allow re-application provided a candidate remains within the eligibility criteria. Further information about the charity and the application process can be found on the Lister’s website www.lister-institute.org.uk.

The number of Prize Fellowships awarded annually and their value will be considered each year and may be adjusted to match the Lister Institute’s financial situation. 

As a medical research charity in the UK the Institute does not work alone, we are a member of the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) and, as such, follow their advice and guidance on such matters as peer review, conflicts of interest and animal experimentation.  In 2015 the AMRC audited the peer review process of its member charities and the Institute received an AMRC Certificate confirming approval of its review process.