The LifeArc Philanthropic Fund provides grants and funding to researchers working to advance new treatments and diagnostics for rare diseases.

We would like to hear from you if you have a project focused on research into therapeutics, diagnostics or devices that could support people living with a rare disease. Please review our FAQs below, or contact us.

What are the criteria for rare disease funding?

LifeArc’s rare disease fund aims to progress promising medical research by academics working is a rare disease. Projects must have a strong scientific rationale. For further details, please visit our

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What is the LifeArc Philanthropic Fund looking for?

For applications to be funded they must:

  • address a rare disease medical need
  • have a strong scientific rationale
  • be target-driven projects with milestones and a credible delivery plan
  • have a route to patient
  • have, or will have, Intellectual Property to secure the route to patient
I have a project to take forward – how can LifeArc help me?

If you have a discovery, technology (e.g. prototype device, potential therapeutics, novel drug targets) or materials that you think might have a commercial application, please contact us with non-confidential information about your project. If successful, you can access the expertise, facilities and resources needed to develop your research in a commercial environment.

Do you provide financial support for drug screening?

LifeArc can provide funding and support for academics as well as for early-stage spin out companies with strong intellectual property positions and a market-driven proposition. Please contact us and provide some non-confidential details about your project.

Can you help fund early phase clinical trials?

We may be able to help you if you are an academic institution or nascent spin-out. Please see our information and our criteria for funding or get in touch if you would like to talk to us.

I would like to conduct research into a surgical procedure. Can LifeArc provide funding?

We are not able to support research into various disciplines of surgery. We refer you to the Surgery Research Society (SRS) for sources of funding.

Can LifeArc fund my PhD?

LifeArc does not directly fund students. However, through our collaboration with the Research Council UK, we provide support for some PhDs in disease areas relevant to our charitable objectives. When available, these programmes are usually advertised on the relevant academic notice boards, university websites and on online PhD databases.

Can LifeArc fund my academic research project?

We award grants to academic institutions, either directly from LifeArc or in combination with funds from one of our charity partners.

How do you assess projects for funding?

Academics need to submit a non-confidential proposal for initial review. A funding panel, made up of translational scientists and clinicians from academia and from industry evaluate, projects for funding twice a year. Find out more about the application process.

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Can you help me get onto a medical trial?

Unfortunately, we are not in a position to recruit people to clinical trials. Please ask your doctor or a patient organisation if they know of any clinical trials that you may be eligible to join.

How do I license your technology?

We have a wide range of life science licensing opportunities and technologies available. We are also responsible for the technology transfer of patented and protected technologies from the MRC and other academic and charitable organisations. Find out about the licenses available or find a contact within our Technology Transfer team to talk to.

What is the assessment process?

Decisions on which applications will be funded will be reached via a competitive process comprising an expert scientific panel made up of translational scientists and clinicians from academia and from industry who will, in turn, be supported by peer review. As the Fund-supported projects progress LifeArc will continue to support the research group.

What happens if I am unsuccessful the first time? Can I apply again? 

Feedback is provided with all funding decisions. In the event that the funding panel would welcome the resubmission, this will be outlined.

Can I apply with a co-funder?

Yes, co-funded applications are welcome with the appropriate collaboration terms outlined. Funding support will be awarded to the academic institution.

Does LifeArc expect a revenue share?

LifeArc will not ask for any financial return or intellectual property from projects supported by the Philanthropic Fund, allowing researchers to focus purely on delivering a result that benefits patients.

What are the terms and conditions of funding?

Please take a look at the terms and conditions of funding for a successful award. These only apply where LifeArc is the sole funder for an award – different terms and conditions may apply where LifeArc is not the sole funder.

What are the reporting requirements?

Awardees are required to provide an update report on a quarterly basis from the project commencement date.

What happens in the event of delays in progressing and completing the project?

The Philanthropic Fund team works closely with funded projects throughout the project term to ensure the project commences as planned and all milestone objectives are met. The Philanthropic Team will work with the awardee to address any issues.