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NIHR Programme Grants for Applied Research and Programme Development Grants Sub-Committee Chair

Closing date

12 October 2023

We are pleased to announce an exciting opportunity to participate in NIHR Programme Grants for Applied Research and Programme Development Grants assessment committees as a Sub-Committee Chair. This prestigious appointment offers senior applied health, public health and social care researchers the chance to lead the sub-committees that formally assess applications and subsequently make funding recommendations for large scale, high quality programmes of research for the benefit of patients, service users, carers and the NHS. 

NIHR is taking action for diversity and inclusion. We particularly welcome applications for those from an ethnic minority background, different ages, and disabled people as they are currently under-represented on our committees.

New for 2023

As PGfAR will shortly be accepting research applications from organisations based in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales we are especially keen to broaden our committee membership to include members from all UK nations and would strongly encourage senior academics to apply. 

Background to the Programme

The NIHR PGfAR funding scheme makes significant awards of flexible funding budget and duration. Since the Programme was established in 2006, 36 rounds have been completed, leading to over 290 awards. 

Research programmes are undertaken by collaborative groups based in England, with co-applicants from the health and social care sectors and academia working together. A typical programme grant supports strong teams of researchers to undertake a number of clearly inter-related and inter-dependent workstreams drawing on a range of methods. The research is applied and relatively ‘near-term’, with an expectation of clear benefits to patients, service users, carers, and the health and social care systems.  There are three competitions each year (announced in February, June and October). Further information can be found by visiting the Programme Grants for Applied Research website.

PGfAR applications undergo a two-stage assessment process. Applicants to the first stage, whose proposals are judged to have a high chance of success, are provided with detailed feedback and invited to submit a Stage 2 (full) application.

In each round, a single sub-committee meets to assess Stage 1 proposals. Meetings are held in May, September and January, typically virtually (usually via Zoom), and last the whole day.

Two sub-committees assess stage 2 applications (however, this depends on the number of Stage 2 applications received: we may not convene both sub-committees every competition). From March 2023, it is envisaged that all stage 2 meetings will be held face-to-face in a central London location. These meetings are typically held in February, July and November.

A typical second stage sub-committee comprises:

  • The Programme Director
  • The Sub-Committee Chairs
  • Methodology experts: including statisticians, health economists, behavioural scientists and qualitative experts 
  • General methodology experts: a number of general applied health and social care researchers with a range of backgrounds such as health services research, clinical epidemiology, pragmatic trials, primary care, public health and social care
  • Experienced public members.

Once all sub-committees have met, their funding recommendations are reviewed by the Main Selection Committee. This comprises:

  • The Programme Director
  • Each of the Sub-Committee Chairs
  • One representative from each sub-committee
  • Two public members

Further information on what we fund and the scoring criteria for stage 1 and stage 2 applications can be found on the website, under “What We Fund” 

In parallel, the programme offers seed funding and follow-on funding for those researchers seeking to strengthen their research activities.  Please refer to the NIHR Programme Development Grants web pages for more details.

The Vacancy

The Programme Grants for Applied Research and Programme Development Grants programme has five sub-committee chairs, one of which is now available. 

Candidate Profile

Applicants are expected to be recognised nationally and internationally as leaders in applied health and social care research, as judged by high quality publications, major research funding, demonstrable impact of their research on patients, service users, carers and the health and social care systems, and other measures of peer esteem. Mental health expertise would be desirable but not essential.

The successful candidate is likely to have been a member of a grants committee responsible for making decisions about applied health and social care research and to have had significant experience of chairing relevant decision-making groups. 

We do advise applicants to have permission and support from their host institution prior to applying. No individual should be a standing member of more than one NIHR Research Programme Funding Committee at one time, other than in very exceptional circumstances when no other person is available to cover the role. Those people who are involved in awarding NIHR Research Training and Leadership Programme funding (NIHR Academy Programmes) can also be a member of an NIHR Research Programme Funding Committee so that they have insight into the research pathway.


Tenure is for three years.  Extensions may be made for an additional two years up to a maximum of five years at the discretion of the Programme Director. Reapplication is only permissible after a two-year period has elapsed.

Over the three/fiveyear period, along with the Programme Director, the post holder is expected to attend:

  • All three Stage 1 short listing meetings, acting as Chair for these on a pro-rata basis
  • All three designated Stage 2 sub-committee meetings, acting as Chair for each of     these
  • Up to three Programme Development Grant (PDG) selection meetings, acting as a Chair on a rotational basis
  • All three Main Selection Committee meetings

An honorarium is payable and all out of pocket expenses, including travel and overnight accommodation, are reimbursed where appropriate


Sub-Committee Chairs are responsible for:

  • Chairing designated Stage 2 sub-committee meetings and, on occasion, Stage 1 committee and PDG selection meetings, steering their constituent members to decisions whether or not to recommend funding or short listing, respectively, against the pre-defined assessment criteria 
  • Acting as a member of the Main Selection Committee, reviewing the funding recommendations made across all full stage sub-committees and assisting the Programme Director with key strategic initiatives 
  • Ensuring that feedback to applicants drafted by the Programme’s secretariat is accurate
  • Approving post-feedback changes made to applications before they are funded 
  • Reviewing requests for additional time and/or money or supplementary work requests from funded programmes
  • Reviewing checkpoint reports with funded award holders
  • Reviewing pre-submission enquiries
  • Attending occasional stakeholder meetings with funded award holders facing significant issues or requesting substantial extensions.

Interviews will take place on Friday 27 October at our London Victoria office. The successful applicant will be expected to observe a meeting taking place in early January 2024. Please ensure you are available at these times.

How to Apply?

Please download and complete an application form. Submit this by email to with the subject CH/2023 by 1pm Thursday 12 October 2023.

If you have any queries or would like more information, please e-mail or call 020 8843 8056.

We strive to host inclusive and accessible events that enable all individuals to engage fully. We will do everything we can to meet individual committee member’s needs. To make a request or for inquiries about accessibility, please contact Zaynab Manea (020 3692 7879).