Latest Events from NHS and NIHR

Latest Events from NHS and NIHR

NIHR i4i Mental Health Challenge Awards reopen
Following a successful 2017 competition, the NIHR i4i Mental Health Challenge Awards will re-launch on 1 Feb at the 2018 MQ Mental Health Science Meeting. Find out more about the event and the Challenge.

NHS Digital Innovation Workshop
As part of the Research Advisory Group, NHS Digital is hosting an Innovation Workshop on Thursday 25 January 2018. Read more


NIHR – Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation (EME) Programme – Call and Webinars

To support academics in applying to either the researcher-led or commissioned workstream of the Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation Programme, NIHR are offering two webinars (12 and 16 January 2017). These will provide you with an outline of the programme, tips for a successful application and allow you the opportunity to ask questions of the team.

Researcher-led funding opportunities Proposals on topics or research questions identified by researchers, which are within the programme’s remit, can be submitted through our researcher-led workstream.

The deadline for applications is 1pm, 14 March 2017. For more information about this funding opportunity, visit the NIHR website, or to discuss your application contact Commissioned workstream We currently have funding opportunities open in a variety of topic areas.

  • Epilepsy
  • Improving Safety and Efficacy Through Targeted Drug Delivery
  • Novel Interventions for Treatment Resistant Depression
  • Mechanisms of action of health interventions

Full details including guidance are available on the NIHR website. The deadline for applying is 1pm, 14 March 2017.

Proposed research areas The below topics are likely to be commissioned during the next year. Individual commissioning briefs will be published when the call opens and will define the call details.

  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
  • Interventions to Slow the Progression of Chronic Kidney Disease
  • Intraoperative Imaging for Oncological Surgery
  • Virtual and Augmented Reality Technologies for Treating Psychological Disorders



Round 17 of NIHR’s Programme Development Grants Scheme Now Open

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) maintains a health-related research system in which the NHS supports outstanding researchers, based in world-class facilities, engaged in cutting edge research focussing on the needs of patients and the public.

The seventeenth round of the NIHR Programme Development Grant scheme has now opened for applications.

Programme Development Grants are designed to address the observation that promising applications to the NIHR Programme Grants for Applied Research (PGfAR) scheme are sometimes unsuccessful because certain aspects appear too insecure, and therefore too risky to be awarded three to five year funding. They allow for the completion of necessary preparatory work, enabling applicants to address weaknesses in prospective proposals that would be identified at Stage Two of a PGfAR application.

Activities eligible for funding include:

  • Evidence synthesis, potentially including modelling.
  • Selection or development of interventions or measures of outcome.
  • Pilot/feasibility studies to establish recruitment and participant retention rates, provide evidence for sample size calculations, optimise delivery of the intervention, etc.
  • Demonstration of practical ability to undertake elements of the future programme, such as when complex data linkage is required.
  • Strengthening of existing collaborations with methodological experts required to deliver the proposed research programme.

NHS organisations and providers of NHS services in England can apply, in collaboration with an appropriate academic partner or partners. Bids may be made by research consortia including more than one NHS organisation. Academic partners may be located outside of England, on the provision that a convincing case is made that the chosen partner is best placed to provide academic input.

Awards range from £20,000 to £100,000, over periods of six to eighteen months, and allow proposals to progress directly to Stage Two of any subsequent PGfAR application.

Details are available on the NIHR website.

The deadline for Round 17 of the NIHR Programme Development Grants scheme is 17 November 2016.


Become a National Institute of Health Services Research (NIHR) Reviewer

peer reviewNIHR are inviting applications from academics, clinicians, practitioners, public health professionals and also from members of the public, patients and carers to become an NIHR reviewer.

The NIHR reviewer community plays a vital part in maintaining and improving the quality of programmes’ projects and outputs. As a reviewer you can make a significant contribution to the NHS and public health by shaping research and improving practice.

Becoming a reviewer can provide insight into the funding process, as well as allowing you to see and comment on research fundings ahead of publication.

To join the NIHR pool of external reviewers register online. If you are accepted as a reviewer, please could you inform Sam King, Research Funding & Policy Manager, RBS.

Opportunities also arise, around once a year, to join the panels and boards who identify topics and select applications. See our previous blog post on becoming a Panel or Board member.


NHS patient data – research resource or ethics minefield?

There has been an interesting development in relation to research data this week, specifically health data, which potentially has far-reaching implications for research ethics.  Addressing the inaugural meeting of the Global Health Policy Summit in London on 1st August, the Prime Minister stated that the government is carrying out a consultation on changing the NHS constitution ‘so that the default setting is for patients’ data to be used for research unless the patient opts out’.  The intention is to harness ‘the incredible data’ held in the NHS, to make the UK a world leader in making anonymised health service data available to researchers, and therefore make the UK ‘the best place in the world to carry out cutting edge research’.

This development could have significant benefits for research and for future healthcare, but seems likely to raise  significant challenges regarding the management of data, data protection and research ethics, issues that already exercise the research community.   The Information Commissioner’s Office has fined healthcare trusts in London and Wales in recent months for breaching data protection rules, for example.  More fundamentally, it will be very interesting to see how this proposed change in policy might address an issue such as informed consent when the default is to be opted-in to consent.  This seems especially problematic given that David Cameron explicitly referred in his speech to ‘long-neglected areas like dementia where the burden of the disease is immense but the obstacles to prevention and cure are equally large’.  Considering the legislative and practical complexities involved already when  establishing consent with such patients, it seems reasonable to assume that this consultation will find research ethics is one of the major obstacle it faces.