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Child Development - Research


GENERAL Information for applicants



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!



All application deadlines are at midnight on a Sunday. We aim to make the final decision at our Trustees’ meeting around five months later. Please see our current research deadlines here.



Levels of funding are typically between £40,000 and £65,000 per research project. A special exception is for projects with unavoidable directly incurred high-cost materials, where we can accept projects up to £80,000, with justification of costs. 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 match-funder, and we might support an entire research project. We appreciate cost-effectiveness, and occasions where a small contribution from us yields much. Please see our FAQs page for more information on the type of projects we tend to fund.


How to apply

Please email your application to us at as an attachment. Please see below for more details about our awards and visit our applications guidelines page for more details on what we ask you to include in your application.


The application / review process

Since 2019 , we have introduced a new initial application process which we hope will reduce time for both applicants and ourselves. Whilst we do highlight areas or particular interest within each research call, we also want to ensure that we do not miss out on any new or emerging lines of research or more broader research questions and therefore we hope a shorter initial application stage will enable us to keep each research call as broad as possible. These shorter applications will be initially assessed according to The Waterloo Foundation’s scientific strategy and interests as laid out here. Applicants successful at this stage will then be asked to submit a full detailed proposal which will be assessed for scientific quality internally at TWF. Those that are deemed of satisfactory quality will be externally peer reviewed. Applicants unsuccessful at this stage will be notified promptly.

Our peer-review process involves external reviewers and internal reviewers. External reviews 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. Consultation will be taken where necessary, and top applications will be recommended to our Trustees where final funding decisions will be made.

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 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.



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.