Programme Development Grants

Participant questionnaire

Programme Development Grants are designed to increase the rate and number of successful applications for a full Programme Grant.

They are a response to an observation that some otherwise very promising applications had been unsuccessful because parts of the proposed programme were considered to be too insecure and hence would be too risky for a substantial programme grant.

Programme Development Grants provide a mechanism to address and rectify such weaknesses by supporting the completion of the necessary preparatory work to suitably position the research team to submit a competitive Stage 2 Programme Grant application. 

Programme Development Grants may include the following:

  • Selection or development of interventions or outcome measures.
  • Pilot/feasibility studies to determine recruitment and participation retention rates, inform sample size calculations, optimise delivery of the intervention, etc.
  • Strengthening existing collaborations with methodological experts necessary to deliver the proposed programme. 

Individual awards are for a maximum of £100k over a period of six to eighteen months. The amount of funding awarded, however, is determined by the scale and nature of the research activity to be conducted.

Applications must:

  • Describe the research to be undertaken should a Programme Grant be awarded.
  • Identify the fundamental limitations that need to be addessed before a full programme could be undertaken, and
  • Detail the preparatory work to be undertaken, indicating how this would eliminate the limitations and thus enable the research team to develop a credible application for a full Programme Grant.

Successful applicants, on completion of their development work, proceed straight to a Stage 2 Programme Grant application.

A Programme Development Grant will not support:

  • Basic science work underpinning a future programme of exploratory research.
  • Stand alone projects of any type. All constituent projects should be designed solely to inform and strengthen a future Programme Grant for Applied Research application.
  • Work to enhance future programmes at highly formative stages of development.
  • Endeavours to formulate teams from initial conception.  

Long-term Conditions in Children and Young People Themed Call

The NIHR is issuing a call for evaluative research for long-term conditions in children and young people. The research should aim to provide the evidence base to improve the health outcomes for children and young people that result from long-term conditions. The call is in support of the annual report of the Chief Medical Officer 2012 entitled “Our Children Deserve Better: Prevention Pays”.

This call is a key component of the NIHR response to the need for further research-based evidence for long-term conditions in children and young people up to the age of 25 through:

• supporting capacity building across a wide range of disciplines working with childrens’ health and disabilities;

• increasing the volume of high-quality research on the efficacy, effectiveness, delivery and organisation of interventions and services for children and young people.

For further information please visit the themed call website.

Applications for PDG can be submitted through Competition 12 which is now open – please see our How to apply page for more information.

Final funding decisions will be made March 2015.

Antimicrobial Resistance Themed Call

The NIHR Antimicrobial Resistance themed call is for research into the evaluation of public health measures, health care interventions and health services to reduce the development and spread of antimicrobial resistance and consequent morbidity.

This call for research is part of a coordinated response by the NIHR to the publication of the 2nd volume of the 2011 Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer: Infections and the rise of antimicrobial resistance.

The PDG Programme participated in this call for research. Although this initial call has now closed, the participating programmes continue to be interested in receiving proposals addressing antimicrobial resistance in areas not otherwise well covered in their portfolios. 

To apply you must first register on our secure research management system (RMS). Once registered, you can login via the login page using the username and password specified during your registration.

Further information on this call is available online at