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22/126 HSDR Rapid Service Evaluation Team stage 1 guidance notes


Published: 18 August 2022

Version: 1.2- September 2022

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These are the Health and Social Care Delivery Research (HSDR) Programme, guidance notes for applicants submitting a Stage 1 Expression of Interest (EoI) application to the 22/126 HSDR Rapid Service Evaluation Team call via the REsearch Awards Lifecycle Management System (REALMS).

The ‘Add New Ticket’ button towards the top of the screen can be used to raise a support ticket if you have any questions relating to the call or completion of the online application form.

Please regularly press the ‘Save Draft’ button, found towards the bottom of the screen to save your progress.

Summary information

Contracting organisation

Please give details of the organisation who will be the contractor if the project is funded. Your primary organisation will be shown by default. If this is not the contracting organisation search for the correct contracting organisation by typing the name of the organisation in the search box. If the organisation you require does not appear in the search box, you can request to add a new contracting organisation’.

Research title (limit: 300 characters)

The project title should state clearly and concisely the proposed research. Any abbreviations should be spelled out in full.

Research type

Select Primary Research.

Start month

For this call, the start date is expected to be 1 August 2023.  Note this will be from first of the month regardless of whether this is a working day or not.

Start year

Please enter 2023.

Research duration (months)

This will be 60 months for this call. 

End date

This field will automatically populate once you have saved the research duration information.

Estimated research costs

Enter the total amount of research costs requested (not including NHS Support and Treatment costs). Please ensure that any costs attributable to higher education institutions (HEIs) are included here at 80% of the full economic cost, which is the rate at which these costs will be awarded.

Estimated NHS support costs

We suggest that £0 is entered here - any costs required will be managed during the contract. 

NHS support costs are the participant care costs which will not continue after the end of the study and can usually be claimed in connection with NHS and non-NHS research.

Estimated NHS excess treatment costs

We suggest that £0 is entered here - any costs required will be managed during the contract. 

NHS excess treatment costs are the additional costs or savings associated with the treatment of the participants during the research. The costs included are the additional costs compared with the current cost of standard care, which would continue to be incurred after the research, should the treatment become standard care in the future.

Information is available on how to access excess treatment costs.

Estimated non-NHS excess treatment costs

We suggest that £0 is entered here - any costs required will be managed during the contract. 

Non-NHS excess treatment costs include costs incurred in delivering the treatment, or intervention, which would continue to be incurred after the trial, should the intervention become standard care. The figure that should be entered here is the difference between the cost of the intervention and the cost of current standard care. Please note that NIHR have no provision to cover non-NHS excess treatment costs, and it is the responsibility of the applicant to secure these costs if they are needed. Where applicable a letter from the provider of the excess treatment costs for the purposes of the study should be supplied.

These are similar to NHS excess treatment costs, but they mainly apply to Public Health and Social Care Research. They are unlikely to be applicable to HTA unless the intervention is being delivered outside the NHS (e.g. in school or by a local authority etc.).

Further information is available with the AcoRD guidance on how to allocate the costs of your proposal to each of the above categories.

Research team

Lead applicant research background details

Information on your name, degrees and professional qualifications, other affiliated organisations and contact details will be automatically populated from your contact profile. Update your contact profile to complete any missing information or make any updates here.


Please note: You (and joint lead applicant – if included) are required to obtain a free unique ORCiD ID number and update your REALMS user contact profile with this before you can submit your application. By clicking the link ‘Create or connect your ORCiD ID’ within the ‘ORCID’ section of your user profile you will be taken to the ORCiD website where you will need to register or sign in. Once logged in to ORCiD and following acceptance of T&Cs, you will need to click on the ‘Continue to import your ORCID Data’ button which will update your profile with your ORCiD ID number and other associated data (e.g. publications and grants) which can be used to populate your application. The ORCiD ID number is a mandatory requirement.

Equality and diversity monitoring information

NIHR is committed to promoting equality, diversity and inclusion in research and asks applicants to provide equality and diversity monitoring information (age, sex, ethnicity and race, and disability). By answering these equality and diversity monitoring information questions, you will help us to better understand the different groups of people that apply to us for funding and their experiences of the funding process – particularly the groups protected by UK equality legislation. Although it is mandatory to answer these questions, it is possible to select “prefer not to say” as a response. However, the more information you provide, the more effective our monitoring will be. This information will not be used to make decisions about funding.

Research team

The research team table will update automatically as joint lead applicants and co-applicants are added. Use the update button to enter the following information:

  • Role (Limit 200 characters) – Explain the role that the applicants will be undertaking in the research, e.g co-ordination and project management, analysis, methodological input etc.
  • Commitment – percentage of the applicant’s time that will be committed to this project (%FTE).
  • Organisation – Your main organisation and any other affiliated organisations that you have already added will be listed by default. Select your primary organisation for the purpose of this application. If the correct organisation is not listed, this can be added by using the ‘Update contact profile’ button and adding a new organisation (to do this click on ‘Other Organisation’ in the left hand selection bar. Department – Select the primary department affiliated with.

Joint lead applicant

Where appropriate use the envelope button to add and then invite a Joint Lead applicant to your application.

Please note that due to the rapid nature of the research expected from the successful team, a Joint Lead Applicant would be expected to be a senior researcher with similar experience to the Lead Applicant.

The usual opportunity for development through mentorship for less experienced joint lead applicants is not available for this call, although career development opportunities will arise from the potential to lead individual evaluations under the contract.

Once the Joint Lead Applicant has accepted their invitation they will appear in the Research Team table. Use the Update button to enter the information regarding their role on the project, %FTE, Organisation.


Use the ‘Add / Edit Co-Applicants' button to add any co-applicants and provide the necessary information, including contact details, organisation, role and commitment (%FTE). You should consult with co-applicants before adding them to the application. Do not include collaborators, who should be mentioned (if necessary) in the 'Research Plan' section of the on-line application form.

Co-applicants are those individuals with responsibility for the day-to-day management and delivery of the project. Co-applicants are considered part of the project team and are expected to share responsibility for its successful delivery. Collaborators normally provide specific expertise on particular aspects of the project but do not share the responsibility for delivery of the project.

We encourage the inclusion of public co-applicants where appropriate. For further information please access the 'Public Co-Applicants in Research' guidance.

PPI lead

The role of the PPI lead can be undertaken by any of the co-applicants within the research team (or a named member of the team), who has the relevant skills, experience and authority to be accountable, represent, manage and embed patient and public involvement in all aspects of the research study. This role should be a budgeted and resourced research team member. For examples of the activities a PPI lead might be accountable for, more information is available in the 'Public Co-Applicants in Research' guidance, linked to from the Co-applicants section above.

Add administrative contact

This facility allows you to provide an alternative contact(s) who will also have access to the application but will not be able to submit it when complete. The lead applicant must submit the completed application and will still receive all emails automatically generated through the system.

Use the envelope icon below to enter the administrative contact's details and invite them to participate in this application.

Application details

Plain English summary of research (limit: 3,500 characters)

The importance of a plain English summary

A plain English summary is a clear explanation of your research.

Many reviewers use this summary to inform their review of your funding application. They include health and care services practitioners and researchers who do not have specialist knowledge of your field as well as members of the public. If your application for funding is successful, the summary will be used on NIHR and other websites.

A good quality plain English summary providing an easy-to-read overview of your whole study will help:

  • Those carrying out the review (reviewers and funding committee members) to have a better understanding of your research proposal.
  • Inform others about your research such as members of the public, health and social care professionals, policy makers and the media.
  • The research funders to publicise the research that they fund.

If it is felt that your plain English summary is not clear and of a good quality then you may be required to amend it prior to final funding approval.

It is helpful to involve patients / carers/ service users/ practitioners and members of the public in developing a plain English summary.


When writing your summary consider including the following information where appropriate:

  • Aim(s) of the research
  • Background to the research
  • Design and methods used
  • Patient and public involvement
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Dissemination

The plain English summary is not the same as a scientific abstract - please do not cut and paste from other sections of your application form to create the plain English summary.

Further guidance on writing a plain English summary is available on the NIHR website.

For further support and advice on writing a plain English summary, please contact your local Research Design Service (where applicable).

Research plan (limit: 20,000 characters)

In this section you should outline how the proposed team meets the call criteria as described in the call specification document:

  • Expertise in evaluation of health and social care services organisation and delivery
  • A track record in:
    • carrying out research in collaboration with evidence users
    • partnership working with the health and care frontline, and have
    • well established expertise in co-production methods of research and in formative ways of working
  • Evidence of access to networks of evidence users who are innovating in health and care services, experts in various health service delivery and organisational disciplines (content expertise)
  • Familiarity with service issues (essential), as well as a deep understanding of the tensions and sensitivities which might arise when evaluating new initiatives in health and care in real time
  • Ability to undertake evaluations that meet the needs of the 'customer', i.e. the NHS
  • Novel approaches to getting fast uptake of research findings
  • Explain your understanding of 'service innovation'

You should also include the following information.  We recommend that you use each of these points as a sub-heading to organise your response:

  • A statement of the general approach to be adopted
  • A description of the centre or team; its overall capacity and ability to recruit/supervise/direct resources as needed
  • A description of the team's networks and partnerships
  • Arrangements for project management of the work and contract
  • Details of the resources required to undertake the work over the life of the contract (this refers to the researchers and staff who will be involved in the team, rather than the costs required to support the team)


Applicants should only include uploads specified in the call details/commissioning brief:

Attachment 1: One-page CVs

One-page CVs for the Lead and two Co-applicants - please use the 'collaborator letter of support' upload type for these.  The roles of these individuals and their level of input must also be stated on each CV.

Please upload each CV as a PDF file.

Attachment 2: references

One single-side A4 page, listing references used throughout your proposal is also a mandatory PDF upload. Please use either the Vancouver or Harvard referencing conventions and include the DOI of the main related publication.

Acknowledgements and conflicts

Potential conflicts

Please declare any conflicts or potential conflicts of interest that you or your co-applicants may have in undertaking this research, including any relevant, non-personal and commercial interest that could be perceived as a conflict of interest. If in doubt, you should err on the side of disclosure.

Agreement to terms and conditions

I have read and understood the terms and conditions on which I have been nominated as Lead Applicant for this proposal along with the associated documentation and accept this role.