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MRC (Medical Research Council)

In this section:

"MRC’s overarching aim for data sharing is to maximise the life-time value of research data assets for human health and to do so in a timely and responsible manner, with as few restrictions as possible, consistent with the law, regulation and recognised good practice."‌

MRC's policy on research data sharing does not prescribe when or how you should preserve and share data but requires you to make clear provision for doing so when planning and executing research.


Expectations of particular note

  • The MRC expects valuable data to be made available to the scientific community with as few restrictions as possible to maximize the value of the data for research and for eventual patient and public benefit.
  • Such data must be shared in a timely and responsible manner.
  • MRC-funded researchers have a responsibility to ensure that opportunities for data reuse are maximised, within the regulatory requirements of the law.
  • A data support service is under development to facilitate access and sharing of research data.
  • Data must be securely maintained for a minimum of 10 years after completion of the research.
  • Primary research data must also be retained in their original form within the research establishment that generated them for a minimum of 10 years.
  • A limited and defined period of exclusive data use is reasonable.
  • The MRC is willing to cover some of the costs associated with data sharing.
  • Data must be released with the appropriate high-quality metadata.

Data management plan

  • You should include your data management plan (DMP) with your application on J-eS.
  • The plan should be a maximum of three pages long.
  • A simple DMP could be fewer than 500 words long. However, where rich resources are to be created, the DMP should be between 1,000 and 1,500 words long.
  • Population- or patient-based studies must meet 21 additional requirements as detailed in the MRC Policy and Guidance on Sharing of Research Data from Population and Patient Studies.
  • Established population- or patient-based studies should already have a policy on data sharing, which can be referred to in your DMP.
  • If you are proposing new population- or patient-based studies, you should contact you School Research Business Development Manager before submitting your application.
  • Once research is funded, DMPs should be updated annually by a designated member of your study team.

Please note that in a DMP for MRC funding, you will be required to provide links to four separate policies. Below are the links to the institutional policies, but you can add any study specific policy:

  1. In the Data Management Policy & Procedures box, please use
  2. In the Data Security Policy box, please use:
  3. In Data Sharing Policy box, please use:
  4. In the Institutional Information Policy box, please use

For more details, check the MRC guidance on data management plan. MRC also provide guidance on assessment criteria for reviewers for all funding schemes, which includes guidance on assessing DMPs. 

You can write your data management plan by using a template for the MRC data management plan provided by DMPonline, an online tool that provides funders' templates and guidance. We can help you writing your plan or simply review it before submission; please, allow enough time for consultation.

If you receive an excellent overall assessment for your Data Management Plan, we would appreciate if you could share it with the Research Data Management team as a good example of an MRC Plan for use within the University. We will fully acknowledge your permission to share, and access will be restricted to University users.

Research data management costs

  • As with all UKRI Research Councils, all costs associated with research data management are eligible expenditure of research grant funds.
  • MRC will provide resources and funding for managing and sharing substantial data resources/collections. This could be for staff, equipment, infrastructure and tools to manage, store, analyse and provide access to data. Where the costs of managing and sharing data are substantial, funding proposals should differentiate between the costs of
    • collecting and "cleaning" new data,
    • own research on newly-acquired and legacy data,
    • ongoing data curation and preservation,
    • providing access and data sharing.

More information on costing research data management can be found in the section on costing of research data.


We can help you understand and meet the MRC requirements on research data, from writing the DMP to sharing your data. Simply contact us at any time, or come and see us during our open office hours, every Wednesday from 2pm to 4pm.    

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