NIHR Programmes – Hint and Tips

Here are some notes from an event organised by the Research Design Service  with some hints and tips on applying to NIHR Programmes.

Research Design Service – NIHR Research Programmes Update – 29 November 2016

Introduction from Mark Walker – Director, NIHR Clinical Research Facility

Sarah Puddicombe & Suzy Hopper, NETSCC NIHR Programmes

NIHR Programmes cover applied research, anything that improves public and patient outcomes (or services). NIHR does not fund discovery science, this is the remit of MRC.

Programmes are delivered through Commissioned Research calls which are usually 2-stage such as the EME, HTA, HSDR, i4i and PHR programmes.

All programmes also have a researcher led stream – there are 3 calls per year.

There are also Themed Calls in areas such as obesity, dementia. Even if you see a themed call that is closed it is worth getting in touch with NIHR as they may still be interested in funding work in this area.

NIHR will fund international based research however the NIHR money has to stay in the UK (NIHR money does not cross borders). They have joint funded work with international partners, they use multiple income sources in order to recollect this money, now a days the ease of getting money online keluaran hk lottery prediction  is even higher the chance to make money, people can even make money by gambling with slotzo games.

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Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation (EME): funds ‘science driven’ studies with an expectation of substantial health gain, and aims to support excellent clinical science, with an ultimate view to improving health or patient care. This programme is jointly funded by the MRC. It is aimed at early stage, however proof of concept in humans must already have been shown.

Health Technology Assessment (HTA): funds independent research about the effectiveness, costs and broader impact of healthcare treatments and tests for those who plan, provide or receive care in the NHS. This programme is aimed at looking at more established interventions and looking at the best approaches. The average duration of HTA projects is 4 years.

Health Services and Delivery Research (HSDR): aims to produce rigorous and relevant evidence to improve the quality, accessibility and organisation of health services. This is aimed at NHS Managers, CRNs, clinicians and researchers, carers, service users and the public.

Public Health Research (PHR): funds research to evaluate non-NHS interventions intended to improve the health of the public and reduce inequalities in health. The scope of the PHR Programme is multi-disciplinary and broad, covering a wide range of interventions delivered outside the NHS in the community or schools for example. PHR cannot cover the intervention costs, these need to be found from another source, for example a charity, industry or local authority.

Global Health Research Fund: money from Overseas Development Assistance for infrastructure development in low and middle income countries. This funding is for established Centres (up to £7m over 4 years) or for Academic Specialist Units (up to £2m over 3 years). The closing date is 26 January 2017.

The application process

If it is a two stage application, at the initial stage there will be an initial check for:

Competitiveness Team fit Remit fit

The proposal will then be sent to Panel to prioritise, at this stage you will get feedback.

At full application stage the proposal will be sent out to external review. Comments will then be sent back to the applicant with a chance to respond before the Board Meeting. The Board Meeting will decide which programmes to fund, and once they have made their decision, applications will need to be signed off by the Department of Health.

Which Programme?

Look at the newly developed NIHR Journals Library to see what has previously been funded under each programme.

Discuss with Research Design Service, INVOLVE and the Clinical Trials Unit.

For success you will need to address the following:

  • Have a good question that you can clearly define and justify. You need to say why it is important to patients, why is this important now and can it be delivered by the NHS. You need to be able to simply explain this, the Board will be experts but not necessarily in your particular area, also there will be lay Board members (patients).
  • The study design needs to be appropriate to the question. It needs to be optimised to support answering the question and where appropriate you need to explain the dosage and side effects.
  • The team needs to be appropriate. Where there is junior researcher as lead, there should be an appropriate mentor on the team (with a relevant contribution). Roles should be clearly designed and defined. PPI should be clearly demonstrated at all stages from research design to delivery.
  • The project should be deliverable. All programmes fund feasibility work but not completely from scratch. The project should be both feasible and credible. Particular attention should be paid to recruitment and how you will handle drop-out rates.
  • The application needs to demonstrate value for money and should be proportionate to the number of people it will benefit. You need to include everything that you need in order to deliver the project in line with AcoRD guidance.
  • You need to clearly demonstrate a dissemination and impact plan. Impact in increasingly important and NIHR are keen to reduce the time ‘from bench to bedside’ wherever possible. Stakeholders should be included at both the design and delivery stage to maximise impact.

Common pitfalls:

  • Deviation from call/brief
  • Lack of knowledge of current or related work in train
  • Gap in team expertise
  • Insufficient PPI
  • Acronyms or assumptions – use plain English
  • Poor presentation – leave time for proof reading
  • Insufficient justification of the need or importance
  • Unrealistic or inaccurate costings – consult your Research Office early on in the application process


Luke Vale – Co-Director Research Design Service NE Hints and tips from Board Members

Things to include/consider:

  • How large is the problem?
  • What’s been done already?
  • What is the cost to the NHS?
  • How will the intervention make a difference?
  • What is your evidence for the above?
  • What will be your intervention compared with…eg what is standard care, is it different across other areas?
  • The outcome should link to patient benefit, health or resource savings for better service/health outcomes.
  • Don’t over-burden the participants.
  • Sample size – the calculation must be reproducible and replicable.
  • Justify the number of the sample size and the effect size needs to be credible.
  • Need a strategy for managing the drop-out rate.
  • Can you recruit to time and target?
  • Justify your costs (eg what is the cost per patient recruited)
  • Be professional when responding to reviewer comments, do not ignore them.
  • If you do want to disregard reviewer’s comments/advice you need to justify why this is.


Martin Lodemore – INVOLVE Why involve patients?

  • It offers a different perspective.
  • There is potential to increase/improve the recruitment numbers.
  • Increases the potential impact of your project.

The public are already involved in:

  • Priority setting
  • Reviewing
  • Research ethics committees

Bear in mind that the average reading age in the UK is 11 years so make sure that you use plain English when writing your lay summary.

NIHR are looking for the difference that PPI has made in the development of the research question and research design, they will expect to see this in an application. PPI needs to be woven through the research application and embedded in the research process.

You can ask for funds to support PPI for expenses, training, mentoring and feedback for example.

You can use the People in Research website to ask for participants for your study. The website also has a cost calculator for PPI budgeting.

Claire Whayman – Research Design Service (PPI)

Research Design Service can meet with you to discuss PPI and signpost you. RDS also have a small Public Involvement Fund which you can apply to access funds.

Public Involvement, for the RDS, means the active involvement of the public in the design of health and social care research projects. The Public Involvement Consumer Panel is a partnership between health and social care professionals and interested members of the public. You can arrange to come along and pitch your ideas to the Panel and get feedback prior to submission to NIHR.


Lee Allen – Senior Programme Manager Intellectual Property

Any NIHR research may produce ‘foreground’ IP which is generated during the research. You will need to consider how you will manage IP during and after the project.

NIHR have a IP Policy which enables them to monitor research usage and benefit resulting from NIHR funded projects. They want to monitor the translation of funded research into patient benefit.

You will need to justify in an application if you say that you will not produce IP. IP can be anything from producing a local guide, questionnaire or guidance to a software tool or medical device.

Most NIHR funding will not produce commercial outputs BUT the outputs will include patient benefit or money savings.

You will need to consider your dissemination plan and how you plan to realise the benefits of your research. This can be discussed with the Academic Health Research Networks whose role it is to draw through Innovations into the NHS through adoption and dissemination.

NIHR will expect to see a standard contract which has a robust approach to IP, and expect to see a reasonable amount of due diligence around background checks. Speak to your organisation IP Manager early on in the application process. It would be easier for your manager to do this advanced background check.

NIHR will expect to see collaboration agreements between the partners and especially to ensure that you are not giving away IP for free to large companies with no payback to NIHR or the NHS (to protect UK tax-payers money and also to ensure a route to patient benefit).