Applying for a grant

The Scottish Cot Death Trust is a registered charity which has three key objectives:

1. Through funding research, to increase knowledge and understanding as to why some babies die suddenly and unexpectedly, and for whom no cause of death can be found.

2. To increase awareness and understanding of cot death by educating the public and professionals about the risks of cot death and the role they can play in reducing the risks.

3. To provide comfort and support for those affected by the loss of a baby to cot death.

Since its inception 30 years ago the Trust has funded in excess of £3million in research.

Research Investment Strategy

Research funded, by the Trust, must be of the highest scientific merit, in terms of the importance of the investigation, excellence of the study, ability of the research team, and probability of success. Research proposals must demonstrate clear relevance to the issue of cot death and have potential for prevention or other clinical or public health benefit.

Research applications are assessed through a stringent, highly competitive peer review process.

The charity has limited funds with which to fund research grants. As a guideline, the majority of grants awarded in the past are in the region of £30,000 – £80,000 per project for up to three years, with a number of small grants of up to £5,000 per year also meeting success.

We are keen to support pilot studies, and to work in partnership with other research funders and/or professional associations but providing sole funding for large-scale projects is usually beyond our means.

The Trust is favourably disposed towards partnership funding generally within the requirements of a rigorous peer review process. The charity also encourages co-operative and collaborative research as a means of accelerating progress towards new knowledge and understanding of cot deaths.

All applications for funding undergo a rigorous peer review selection procedure, by the Trust’s Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC). Final decisions are made by the trustees on recommendation by the SAC.


Grant applications will be considered throughout the year, but can take several months depending on the schedule for SAC meetings.

Application Procedure

1. Preliminary Proposal

Please submit a 2 or 3 page preliminary proposal (by e-mail to [email protected] if possible) summarising the work you plan to do, the approximate amount of funding required and the duration of the project. This must include approximately ten lines explaining:

how the work described falls within the Trust’s research strategy
potential for clinical / public health benefit arising from this study
why you have chosen to apply to the Trust for funding for this particular project.
The SAC will decide whether to request a full application based on this submission according to whether it conforms to the charity’s objectives and research strategy, its feasibility and whether there is overlap with work already in progress.

2. Full Application

If your preliminary proposal is acceptable, we will send (by e-mail):

A Grant Application Form
Guidance for Applicants
Terms and Conditions of Grant Aid (for information)
The application form should be completed with reference to the other documents. The Trust’s willingness to consider an application does not imply that support will be forthcoming.


Full applications are assessed by the Trust’s Scientific Advisory Committee who then make a recommendation to the trustees for final approval. The trustees have the final decision making authority for all research grant awards. The Trust’s grants are highly competitive and are awarded primarily on the basis of clear relevance to the Charity’s aims and scientific merit. Even a scientifically sound application is likely to fail if the objectives are poorly described, it lacks experimental detail and necessary power calculations, or it does not address apparent overlap with other projects. Inexperienced applicants are encouraged to seek advice from senior members of their department on how best to prepare a grant application.

Assessment Criteria

1. Relevance
2. Clinical benefit
3. Design
4. Originality
5. Methodology
6. Ability of proposers to achieve objectives
7. Probability of completion within time frame
8. Ethical aspects
9. Realism of costings

Scientific Advisory Panel

Dr Tom Turner (Chairman)
Dr Una McFadyen
Mrs Lynsay Allan
Dr David Tappin
Dr Paul Brown
Dr Colin Smith


When we write to applicants to let them know the outcome of their applications, we summarise the conclusion reached by the SAC.

Please note that applicants should not, under any circumstances, directly approach members of the Trust’s Scientific Advisory Committee in connection with their (or another’s) research application. The Trust’s decisions are final and no subsequent correspondence will be entered into. Applications that are rejected will not be reconsidered unless re-submission is specifically invited or permitted.