Sparks Funded researcher Emmannuelle Lecommandeur

Research strategy

Professor Lucy Wedderburn in her lab
At the start of 2015, we presented our research strategy for the next five years.

Since 1991 Sparks has been playing a vital role in improving the health and quality of life for children in the UK and worldwide by funding high quality cutting edge medical research.

To ensure that Sparks makes the greatest impact over the next 5 years, we have set our research focus with input from hundreds of clinicians and scientists working across all areas of child health.

Rare diseases and premature birth have been chosen as the two priority areas in our research strategy where a targeted investment of our funds will maximise the benefit for the health of children and pregnant women.

Studies that cover any combination of the following areas of rare disease research are particularly welcome:

  • Gene discovery to aid diagnosis and further define patient groups
  • Studies to aid diagnosis and improve understanding of disease
  • Development of treatments to improve quality and length of life of affected individuals

We also encourage grant applications that cover any combination of the following areas of research into premature birth:

  • Investigating the underlying causes
  • Prediction and monitoring of women at risk
  • Treatments and interventions that delay or prevent premature birth

David oscarWe believe every child matters – that’s why we will also continue to support research into a broad range of medical conditions affecting children’s health including pregnancy and birth, first months of life, as well as infancy and early childhood.

Between 2015 and 2020, dependent on available funds, Sparks aims to build capacity in children’s health research and support the researchers of the future by offering project and innovation grants, PhD studentships, clinical research training fellowships and programme grants.

We wish to foster and promote a culture of collaboration in children’s health research and will favour projects where there is a strong partnership of basic scientists with clinical academics/consultants and a clear route to potential clinical application.

Download the Research Strategy.