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Pain management for children and young people (0-19 years) - EME Programme


Published: 17 August 2022

Version: 1.0

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MRC-NIHR funding collaboration

Interventions to improve the management of pain in children and young people.

The Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation (EME) Programme is interested in applications to evaluate the efficacy of interventions for the management of pain in children and young people (0-19 years).

Pain affects children of all ages and can range from short-term acute pain, through to relapsing and long-term chronic pain. Pain can be experienced in relation to an injury, to disease, post-operatively or as part of a medical procedure. All forms of health technology with the potential to improve the management of all types of pain in children and young people aged between 0-19 years are included under this call.

Areas of interest for the EME Programme include, but are not limited to:

  • Pharmacological treatments used in short and long-term pain management.
  • Pharmacological management of neuropathic pain.
  • Repurposing treatments for cancer-related pain.
  • Management of migraine.
  • Pain management in children with life-limiting conditions.
  • Pain management in children with comorbidities and complex needs, including at the end of life.

Applications are expected to detail the scientific rationale and proof of concept for the interventions, which may include the proposed mechanism whereby the intervention may improve patient outcomes.

Applicants are encouraged to consider opportunities to embed the testing of mechanistic hypotheses within the main study and, if appropriate, subgroup by age to identify developmental influences on mechanisms of action.

Applicants may wish to consider whether efficient study designs could be applied to mitigate the burden of research on young participants and their families (e.g. use of routine data; opportunistic sample collection).

Applicants are also encouraged to embed PPI that is representative of the proposed patient group and their caregivers, where possible.

Call scope and relevant funding opportunities

Standalone studies of the mechanisms underpinning pain management interventions are also of interest, although these should refer to the Mechanistic Studies within the Efficacy and Mechanisms Evaluation Programme researcher-led call or Medical Research Council (MRC) funding opportunities.

This is a joint call with the Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Programme, and applicants wishing to submit studies focussed on the clinical and cost effectiveness of interventions for pain management for children and young people should refer to the HTA call. Applications for evaluations of interventions currently in common use in the NHS should also be made to the HTA Programme.