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Pump Priming Award

The British Nutrition Foundation Drummond Pump Priming Award is an annual scheme run by the British Nutrition Foundation awarding a grant of £5000 to help a university lecturer or research fellow in human nutrition to undertake the pilot work needed to generate data that can be used as the basis of a more substantial grant application.


The Award is made possible through the British Nutrition Foundation's management of the Drummond Memorial Fund, established in memory of the work and contribution of Sir Jack Drummond.

Pump Priming Award 2024

The award


We know that it is often a struggle to get that first big research grant. The Pump Priming award is to help a university lecturer, postdoctoral researcher/research fellow/research associate working in human nutrition to undertake the pilot work needed to generate data that can be used as the basis of a more substantial grant application.


Should the grant be awarded, the successful applicant will be invited to our British Nutrition Foundation's Annual Conference in November 2024 where they will be presented with a certificate (attendance is optional). The winner will also be invited to write an article for the British Nutrition Foundation’s peer reviewed journal Nutrition Bulletin at a later date, detailing how the award supported their research.


Eligibility criteria


The applicant must be a UK-based postdoctoral researcher/research fellow/research associate or lecturer working in the field of human nutrition and within 5 years of their first academic appointment following completion of their PhD.


Those who are beyond 5 years of their first academic appointment following completion of their PhD but took formal time out during this period for personal reasons (e.g. maternity/paternity/adoption leave; long-term ill-health) may still be eligible. Such instances will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis and you should contact Emma Rowley to discuss eligibility.


As the award is for early-stage researchers, individuals who have been a principal investigator or co-principal investigator on a successful UK Research Council or EU funded grant are not eligible to apply.


The public health relevance and potential impact of the proposed work will be considered, and preference will be given to studies involving humans (in vivo and ex vivo work) and those focussing on whole foods or diets rather than just supplements. It is a requirement that the funding should be used to obtain pilot data that will lead to the applicant’s first major grant application. The source of funding (British Nutrition Foundation Drummond Memorial Fund) should be acknowledged in the subsequent grant application and in any publications arising from the work.


The British Nutrition Foundation Drummond Pump Priming grant may be used to fund equipment and consumables required for laboratory work and human studies including test foods, scientific or clinical assays/reagents/equipment (providing quotes for these alongside your application is useful), travel (where this is necessary for data collection) or human subject honoraria.


Applications requesting funding towards salaries, generic IT equipment (e.g. laptops, statistical software) or conference attendance will not be considered.


Funding must not have already been received from elsewhere for the proposed work. In the event that a funding application has been submitted elsewhere (for a UK Research Council, EU funded grant or other funding source) for the proposed work, please state this within the application along with an estimated date by which you will know the outcome.


Selection process


Applications will be reviewed both internally by the British Nutrition Foundation and externally by selected members of our Trustees and Committees (applications will be blinded for judging).


To apply


Please complete the application form below which requires the following information to be detailed: a summary and justification of the planned work, including the background (scientific rationale and public health relevance), study aims and objectives, a description of study methods, timeline, a cost breakdown and an explanation of how the work would feed into a major grant application including information on the proposed funding agency and the grant type (maximum 1500 words for these sections). Applications should be adequately referenced. Alongside this please submit a short CV (maximum 1 page) which will be reviewed for verification of eligibility only. Please also provide a letter of support from your Head of Department.


Completed applications should be sent to Emma Rowley



  • The closing date for applications is midnight on 5 May 2024.
  • Applicants will be notified of the outcome by the end of July 2024.
  • The award will be presented at an awards ceremony at British Nutrition Foundation Annual Conference on 12 November 2024 in central London.

2024 Pump Priming Award Application Form

The 2023 Pump Priming Award: Dr Noshin Daud

The Rowett Institute, University of Aberdeen

Exploiting β-glucan derived from barley, oats and shiitake to potentially improve tumour and normal tissue responses to radiotherapy


Pelvic cancer is a major public health problem among older adults worldwide and conventional treatments include surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. However, these treatments are associated with serious adverse effects including toxicity to normal tissues, so there is a need to find radiosensitizing agents which pose minimal toxicity to normal tissues for such patients.


The potential for improving health by modulation of the human gut microbiota through dietary manipulation has gained a lot of public attention over the last 10–15 years and dietary fibre is a major energy source for the human gut microbiota. The utilisation of some types of dietary fibre by human gut microbiota results in the production of metabolites that are thought to be health promoting, including short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) which may reduce normal tissue toxicity following radiation treatment.


Dietary fibre and mixed link β-glucans found within oats and barley may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and colorectal cancer. Previous studies have indicated potentially beneficial effects of β-glucan derived from maitake and shiitake mushrooms. In China and Japan, these mushrooms are clinically used as an adjuvant to cancer chemotherapy, but their availability is limited to certain areas of the world. In contrast, cereals are staple foods throughout the world, and some are a rich source of β-glucan, however, barley and oats β-glucans may have different biological effects, since their chemical composition is not the same. Dr Daud and colleagues therefore plan to test β-glucans derived from oats and barley to determine their cytotoxic and radiosensitizing effects in vitro.

Previous winners