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19/130 Bipolar disorder




The aim of the HTA Programme is to ensure that high quality research information on the effectiveness, costs and broader impact of health technology is produced in the most efficient way for those who use, manage, provide care in or develop policy for the NHS. Topics for research are identified and prioritised to meet the needs of the NHS. Health technology assessment forms a substantial portfolio of work within the National Institute for Health Research and each year about fifty new studies are commissioned to help answer questions of direct importance to the NHS. The studies include both primary research and evidence synthesis.

Applicants should note that this is a parallel call with the EME programme, and applicants wishing to submit proposals to evaluate the efficacy of interventions, and/or for hypothesis-driven research into the underlying mechanisms of action of interventions, should refer to the EME call which is due to open on or before 28th November 2019. Further details of this call can be found here

This is a brief of broader scope from which the programme is interested in potentially funding more than one proposal.

We are interested in proposals for the evaluation of interventions to improve the detection, management or treatment of people across the whole age range with symptoms of bipolar disorder, a diagnosis of bipolar disorder or at risk of bipolar disorder.  

Applicants should clearly define and justify their choice of patient group, study design and outcome measures, and explain how the research will fit into the remit of the HTA programme. Epidemiology or exploratory studies are not eligible for the HTA programme but primary research including randomised and observational studies and evidence syntheses will be considered.

Examples of topics of interest include, but are NOT limited to:

• Maintenance treatment/relapse prevention of bipolar disorder.
• Manualised psychological interventions for young people.
• Evaluating psychotropics as mood stabilisers in young people.
• Psychological interventions for people with more severe forms of bipolar disorder.
• Effective management for ongoing mood instability.
• Improving the diagnosis of bipolar disorder.
• Interventions in areas such as self-care, paid/voluntary work and leisure activities.
• Management of bipolar disorder in the perinatal period.
• Effectiveness of self-management interventions.
• Use of digital technologies to improve outcomes in early onset bipolar disorder.
• Integrated interventions to address multiple comorbidity in bipolar disorder (e.g. anxiety, substance misuse).
• Interventions to support the role of social networks in supporting recovery.


Bipolar disorder affects approximately 1-2% of the UK population.  People with bipolar disorder can experience recurrent manic, hypomanic, depressive and mixed episodes.  It is a lifelong condition and is associated with considerable impairment to personal, social and occupational functioning. 

A James Lind Alliance Priority Setting Partnership and recent systematic reviews show that there are a number of ongoing uncertainties about the management of bipolar disorder across the whole age range.

Therefore, the HTA programme wishes to commission research evaluating interventions to improve the detection, treatment or management of bipolar disorder, taking into account published and ongoing research in the field.  Interventions should be defined and justified by applicants and are NOT limited to the examples given above. 

Note: The HS&DR programme also has an interest in this area and applications which fall into the HS&DR programme’s remit should be made to the HS&DR researcher-led workstream.

Additional commissioning brief background information

A background document is available that provides further information to support applicants for this call. It is intended to summarise what prompted the call and the existing evidence base, including relevant work from the HTA and wider NIHR research portfolio. It was researched and written on the basis of information from a search of relevant sources and databases, and in consultation with a number of experts in the field. If you would like a copy please email

Making an application

If you wish to submit a Stage 1 application for this call, the online application form can be found on the Funding opportunities page.  To select this call, use the filters on the right of the screen or search using the call name and/or number.

Your application must be submitted on-line no later than 1pm on the 6th May 2020. Applications will be considered by the HTA Funding Committee at its meeting in July 2020.

Guidance notes and supporting information for HTA Programme applications are available by clicking the links.

IMPORTANT: Shortlisted Stage 1 applicants will be given eight weeks to submit a Stage 2 application. The Stage 2 application will be considered at the Funding Committee in November 2020.

Applications received electronically after 1300 hours on the due date will not be considered.

Should you have any queries please contact us:


General Funding Committee 02380 595630