Open

The Ronald Furlong Fund

Funding amount: Up to £100K.

Application deadline: 24th June for initial expression of interest.

We are investing in our future movement

As one of the few registered charities devoted to addressing the most important funding gaps in musculoskeletal (MSK) health research, we must always keep investing in our future movement. The need we serve is ever-worsening: more than 20 million people in the UK suffer from MSK problems, resulting in ever-lengthening NHS waiting lists, and the loss of 30 million working days to the UK economy.  The cost to the NHS England was estimated at around £6.3 billion in 2022-23, which was the 3rd largest area of NHS spend.

We want to use our funding to drive breakthrough research and reduce the burden on individuals, on workplaces, and our health system. We aim to support research capable of being translated into meaningful benefits for society by investing in early career researchers interested in pursuing research within the following  activity areas, as defined in UKCRC Health Research Analysis 2022:

  • Underpinning: understanding biological, psychological and socioeconomic processes.
  • Aetiology: risks, causes and development of health conditions.
  • Prevention: interventions to prevent disease, promote wellbeing and reduce risks of ill health.
  • Detection and Diagnosis: population screening, using new diagnostic technologies and biomarker discovery and development.
  • Treatment Development: translating basic research into experimental medicine in preclinical settings and/or model systems.
  • Treatment Evaluation: testing and evaluating interventions in human clinical/applied settings.
  • Disease Management: understanding patient needs and practitioner experiences.
  • Health Services: examining healthcare at an organisational level, such as service provision and economic and policy issues.

Research with patients at its heart

The research we fund should be aimed at enhancing the quality of life for those affected by MSK conditions across joints, bones, muscles or multiple body areas. The ultimate goal is to work towards turning research ideas into practice and supporting people and projects which have potential to transform work of clinicians and the lives of patients at scale and at speed, either: through improvement to clinical practices and processes, or the creation of new products and services.

The breadth of possible research topics include:

  • AI / Big data / Digital technology / Computational modelling
  • Cell, bone and soft tissue biology
  • Biomaterials, biomechanics, prosthetic and surgical devices
  • Hip
  • Knee
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Pain
  • Bone fractures
  • Spine / Back
  • Paediatric care
  • Co-morbidity
  • Foot & Ankle
  • Shoulder
  • Trauma and orthopaedic surgery
  • Bone cancer
  • Rehabilitation & Exercise
  • Hand & Wrist
  • Rheumatic Arthritis
  • Infection
  • Fibromyalgia
  • General MSK health awareness

The purpose of the fund

  • Investment of up to £100K in startups and supporting entrepreneurs accelerate innovative and commercially viable ideas to solve the unmet needs of society around bone, joint and muscle wellbeing.
  • ORUK will ask for equity in the company and the amount will be negotiated at the final stage depending on various business factors, e.g., size, stage of development, nature of the activity, etc.

Application

Who can apply?

Startups with passionate and driven individuals with game-changing ideas are invited to apply.

  • Must be backed by evidence-based research or developing evidence
  • Must be a UK-based startup and registered with Companies House
  • Must have a clear business and financial plan.

Stage 1: Research Committee Review – Expression of Interest

The short expression of interest (EoI) form is designed to make the selection process at the early stage easier. The online form will allow researchers to convey the societal need for their research as clearly as possible.

No specific feedback will be generated at the end of this stage to either successful or rejected proposals other than confirming the decision of the Research Committee.

Please note that there will not be an appeal process in place to reverse the decision of the Research Committee. The completed EoI form must be submitted online.

Stage 2: Initial Review – Full Application

The full application form will be emailed to the successful applicants after 24th June 2024.

 All applicants are required to use scientific language and include images where appropriate, in addition to providing the necessary references to support their claims. If these references are based on their previous work, they would also need to be blinded.

Accompanying their full application, the applicants are required to enclose CVs for all the stakeholders involved. The format of the files can be in both PDF (.pdf) or Word (.docx). For CVs, all files should be titled as following: “Name of researcher_CV.pdf”.

The Investment Review Panel, consisting of the Finance, Investment and Audit Committee and Research Committee of ORUK will assess the applications, including their full business and financial plans at this stage.  

Stage 3: Investment Review Panel

The Investment Review Panel normally meets up once a year to assess and conduct due diligence work and make investment recommendations to the Board of Trustees.

Applicants are required to appear before this committee, give a short presentation and take part in a Q&A session.

Stage 4: ORUK Board of Trustees

The Board receives the recommendations of the Investment Review Panel by report and/or meeting, and depending on the budget and additional information received, awards research grants.

Assessment criteria

Applicants will be assessed on the following criteria:

  • Validity of science behind the technology.
  • Benefits to MSK patients and society.
  • Business model, market analysis, roadmap and financial projections.
  • The team’s profile.
  • Expectation of equity dilution and full cost breakdown.
  • Outreach and engagement.

What are the key dates?

23 May 2024

Expressions of Interest (EoI) submissions open

24 June 2024 (12:00 PM)

Expressions of Interest (EoI) submissions close

24 June – 18 July 2024

Research Committee Review

22 July 2024

Expressions of Interest results announced and full application submission opens.

30 August 2024

Full application submission close

30 August – 11 October 2024

Investment Review Panel (Research committee and Finance Investment and Audit Committee.)

November/December 2024

Interview with Investment Review Panel

December 2024

Final decisions by the Board of Trustees

  • Progress report: Presentations every 3 months.
  • Engagement: It is expected that the successful investees will support ORUK with public engagement, annual reports and publications, as well as fundraising campaigns (if any).

How many startups will be funded?

One (depending on the quality and requested budget).

Application process

  • Expression of Interest (EoI) online application form.
  • Guidelines for researchers.

When is the deadline?

The expression of interest form must be submitted by no later than 24 June 2024 at 12:00 PM.

Previous Furlong Fund winners

Application

Deadline: at

We are accepting Expression of Interest until Monday 24 June 12:00 p.m.

Submit your expression of interest

Donate:

Help us continue funding research

The generosity of our donors will help us fund innovative research projects in the UK that expand knowledge, improve patient outcomes and pioneer new forms of orthopaedic treatment. Your support makes a real difference to the lives of millions of people suffering poor orthopaedic health, today and into the future.

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What our community has to say

Applying cutting-edge technology to improve the fit of prosthetics

We are also working through challenges such as data access and patient consent and our relationship with ORUK allows us to be actively involved in the debate.

Dr Josh Steer

Founder of Radii Devices

Redefining Medical Imaging and Therapeutics

ORUK has been instrumental in introducing us to people from very different backgrounds but with shared interests, whether that’s identifying clinicians who might be interested in our technology or putting us in touch with potential investors. ORUK has the credibility that eminent researchers, professors, doctors are more than happy to give me an hour or a couple of hours for a conversation around our subject area.

 

Steve Smith

CEO of Novara Therapeutics

Next generation regenerative medicine

Not only is ORUK providing funding to help us get to the next stage in our development, but it has also opened-up multiple links to industry professionals, clinicians and patient groups. This access has proven invaluable to help us understand the practical applications of our technology.

Dr Agnieszka Janeczek

Co-founder and CEO of Renovos