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20/34 NIHR Evidence Synthesis Programme Grants Scheme: 2020 - Supporting documents

 

Contents

Introduction

This paper sets out arrangements for the 2020 NIHR Evidence Synthesis Programme Grant Scheme. The scheme advances the NHS R&D strategy, Best Research for Best Health.

The scheme will operate in parallel with current arrangements through which the NIHR makes a contribution to the ‘infrastructure costs’ of NHS organisations and Universities that host the editorial bases of Cochrane Review Groups and the UK Cochrane Centre. The scheme is also open to the Campbell Collaboration, to which NIHR makes no financial contribution to the infrastructure.

Background

The NIHR Evidence Synthesis Programme Grants provide funding to support the production and updating of Cochrane and Campbell reviews in areas of priority or need for the NHS and social care. 

Grants will be up to a maximum of £100,000 over an eighteen month period including full economic costs at 80%. Grants will be awarded to support a coherent programme of work that includes both new Cochrane and Campbell reviews and updating of existing reviews. In either case, a dissemination plan must be included for completed reviews.

In order to ensure that the Cochrane and Campbell reviews undertaken are relevant, and driven by the needs of the NHS and social care, with a demonstrable chance of uptake, one of the co-applicants on the grant application is expected to be an NHS clinician or service manager with responsibility for clinical or care service planning or delivery1. It is also expected that the prioritisation of the research topics has, or will have, input from clinicians, senior practitioners, patients and service users, commissioners, clients, carers and policy makers.  It is also a requirement that all completed reviews will state clear research recommendations, or that no further research is required.

The programme provides an opportunity to link those involved in the production of reviews with NHS and social care arrangements for promoting clinically and cost effective services, and proposals should indicate how such links would be developed around the programme of work.

In order to ensure that the work of the programme has a strong link to existing Cochrane and Campbell Collaboration infrastructure, another co-applicant on the grant application is expected to be a Coordinating Editor of a Cochrane Review Group (CRG) or Co-Chair of a Campbell Coordinating Group (CCG). Where the Coordinating Editor/Co-Chair is outside of England, an active England-based Editor/Chair of the relevant CRG/CCG must be included as an applicant. Where appropriate, and in particular to demonstrate collaborative working to improve efficiency, applications could involve more than one CRG/CCG or Coordinating Editor/Co-Chair of a CRG/CCG.

* This person could be based, for example, in an NHS provider, a Clinical Commissioning Group or national group responsible for developing guidelines or policy.

Review priorities and needs

Co-ordinating Editors/Co-Chairs of CRGs/CCG, in close liaison with their NHS or social care clinician/manager co-applicant(s), are expected to propose the theme of the programme and selection of reviews. Justifying this choice in terms of their expected impact on the Health and Social care services, patients and service users, carers, clients or society, will be essential criteria against which applications will be judged.  Prioritisation of reviews on the strength of ‘gaps in research’ alone will not be sufficient. You may find it useful to consult recognised prioritisation processes to assist with prioritisation of topics, for example The James Lind Alliance. 

Adding Value Framework

Applicants will be expected to adhere to the Adding Value framework to maximize the potential impact of research through ensuring that NIHR funded research:

  • answers questions relevant to clinicians, patients and service users, clients, carers and the public
  • using iterative processes for the identification and prioritisation of research questions
  • systematic processes to ensure that outcomes are clinically relevant and important to patients and service users and/or carers
  • involvement of clinicians, service providers, health service managers, patients and service users, clients, carers and members of the public
  • uses appropriate and proportionate design and methods
  • the research methodology is rigorous and fit for purpose
  • is delivered efficiently and in a timely manner
  • reviews are completed to the timetable set out in the proposal, with efficiencies such as sharing resources between grant-holders considered
  • results in accessible full publication, and
  • reviews produced by CRGs will be published immediately on the NIHR Journal’s Library website to conform with the NIHR Open Access Policy.  They will also appear in The Cochrane Library and be removed from the NIHR website as they become open access. No costs for this should be included in your grant costings.
  • reviews produced by CCGs will appear on Campbell Systematic Reviews as open access.
  • produces unbiased and usable reports.
  • The Cochrane Library and Campbell Systematic Reviews publishes the protocols for reviews and these, and the final review is peer-reviewed.
  • Cochrane and Campbell reviews include a plain English summary.

 

Adding Value in Research is the positive response to the work of Sir Iain Chalmers and Professor Paul Glasziou in 2009*. We have used the stages in the research cycle from their framework to identify where we can add value in research.  NIHR Programmes regularly assess their research management processes against the Chalmers and Glasziou framework to identify opportunities for quality improvements.

We also participate in the NIHR-wide activities aimed at taking the Adding Value in Research agenda forward across the NIHR.

* 'Avoidable waste in the production and reporting of research evidence', The Lancet, Volume 374, Issue 9683, Pages 86 - 89, 4 July 2009, doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(09)60329-9

Eligibility to apply

In order to ensure that the work of the programme has a strong link to existing Cochrane and Campbell Collaboration infrastructure, another co-applicant on the grant application is expected to be a Coordinating Editor of a Cochrane Review Group (CRG) or Co-Chair of a Campbell Coordinating Group (CCG). Where the Coordinating Editor/Co-Chair is outside of England, an active England-based Editor/Chair of the relevant CRG/CCG must be included as an applicant. Where appropriate, and in particular to demonstrate collaborative working to improve efficiency, applications could involve more than one CRG/CCG or Coordinating Editor/Co-Chair of a CRG/CCG.

All NHS organisations, councils with social services responsibilities and Universities in England are eligible to propose programmes, in collaboration with an appropriate Cochrane Co-ordinating Editor/Editor or Campbell Collaboration Co-Chair/Chair based in England. Where appropriate, bids may be submitted by consortia including more than one NHS/social care organisation and/or more than one academic institution that hosts the editorial base of a CRG/CCG.  No CRG/CCG editorial base would be eligible to be party to more than one application.

Where there is a successful bid from a consortium, a lead organisation with whom the NIHR could contract will need to be nominated. Where there is a joint application from the NHS or social care and a University, funding will normally be awarded to the NHS or social care partner. A case should be made if there is a requirement to the contrary.

Funding available

Around 10 awards are likely to be funded. Individual awards will be for a maximum of £100,000 over 18 months including full economic costs at 80%.  In all cases, the value for money of the proposal will be an important selection criterion. 

Eligible costs to which the grant may be applied include:

  • Research staff.
  • Other direct research costs essential to delivering the programme.
  • A contribution to the costs of relevant CRG/CCG editorial base(s), where these are in England, up to a maximum of 25% of the total grant. Where the CRG/CCG editorial base is outside of England,  consideration will be given to requests for such a contribution being made to the department of an England-based active editor/chair of the CRG/CCG who is playing a role in the programme of work.

NHS/Social Care Service and Treatment Costs and NHS/Social Care Institutional overheads will not be covered by this scheme.

The requested funding should include relevant salary costs of all staff to be employed working on the programme of work, with names included where possible.

Funding awarded through the NIHR Evidence Synthesis Programme Grant Scheme will be separate from any other NIHR R&D funding received by the NHS or social care organisation. Applicants for awards will be required to declare any proposed work that has been included in an application for other NIHR programme grants or any other grant application.

Criteria for funding

Full applications will be evaluated for competitiveness by the NIHR Evidence Synthesis Programme Grant Commissioning Committee. All full applications will be reviewed by the Cochrane/Campbell Editor-in-Chief to verify capacity and capability of applicants to deliver to time and target.

The selection criteria against which applications will be assessed are:

  • A clear explanation why the suggested topic is important.
  • The detailed expected impact of reviews on health and social care services, patients and service users, carers, clients or society.
  • Addressing questions relevant to clinicians, commissioners, practitioners, policy makers, patients and service users, clients and the public through appropriate prioritization methods.
  • A co-applicant must be a NHS Clinician or a social care professional with responsibility for clinical or care service planning or delivery.
  • Use of appropriate and proportionate design and methods.
  • Delivery in an efficient and timely manner and value for money.
  • Results in accessible full publication.
  • Production of usable and useful reports, with a clear dissemination plan.

Other consideration will be given to:

  • Integration between the NHS and social care services
  • Evidence of the applicants and relevant CRGs/CCG working with an academic institution or trusted organisation in producing and updating high quality Cochrane/Campbell reviews.
  • A suite of methodologically complex reviews. e.g. DTA, IPD, Network Analysis etc. where the team has appropriate skills and experience to complete such reviews
  • The quality of the proposal, including its innovative potential for strengthening engagement with the NHS/social care organisations and promoting a culture of evidence based practice.
  • Evidence of close collaboration with NHS/social care organisations and, where appropriate, other CRGs/CCG to improve efficiency.
  • The value for money provided by the proposal may be influenced by co-funding by a charity or other organisation, or by resource sharing between groups or programmes

Please note, third party organisations are not eligible to apply for Evidence Synthesis Programme Grants.

The NIHR contract and management

Successful full applications will be given a contract between the Department of Health and Social Care and the host institution.

Professor Ken Stein, Director of the Evidence Synthesis Programme, will direct the Programme. He will be assisted by a scientific committee in assessing peer reviewed proposals and making recommendations to the Department of Health and Social Care, and in monitoring the progress and performance of awards.

The NIHR are looking for Evidence Synthesis Grants that run for a maximum of 18 months, running to the model below:

0-3 months: scoping of reviews to be completed and any staff recruitment needs, funded by 1/6 of full project payment with the final project scope to be signed off by the Programme Director. If agreed the project will commence and if rejected the Programme Director will discuss potential ways forward whilst further payments are put on hold.

4-15 months: Reviews production

16-18 months: Finalising editorial, publication and dissemination

Deadlines for applications

The deadline date for full applications is 1pm on 12th October 2020. The NIHR Evidence Synthesis Programme Grant Commissioning Committee will meet early-January 2021 with the expected start of projects to be between March/April 2021.

How to apply

Interested NHS/Social care organisations or Universities working with relevant Cochrane Coordinating Editors/Campbell Co-Chairs or, where the Coordinating Editor/Co-Chair is not based in England, relevant CRG/CCG Editor(s)/Chair(s) within England, should complete the stage two application form on the NETSCC MIS system 

Procedures and timetable

NIHR Evidence Synthesis Programme Grants will be awarded by open competition

The timetable for applications is:

  • 15th June 2020 – Full applications call open
  • 12th October 2020 – Full application deadline
  • Early January 2021 – Committee meeting in London
  • Late January 2021 – informing applicants and gaining award acceptance
  • March – April 2021 projects to start

Any queries relating to this invitation for applications should be directed to ESPinfo@nihr.ac.uk.

Glossary

Carer – this term includes ‘informal’ carers that are providing unpaid support e.g. a family member.

Third party organisation – a private care provider offering support services to people regardless of if they are under contract to a council.