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22/5 Evidence Synthesis Groups 2023-2028 Stage 2 application guidance notes


27 April 2022


1.0 April 2022


ESP 22/5 Evidence Synthesis Groups 2023-2028

Stage 2 Application Guidance Notes

Please use these guidance notes when completing your Stage 2 application, as essential information has been included which is specific to this call.


These are the guidance notes, for applicants submitting a Stage 2 application 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.

We would like to draw your attention to the 'Info still required' button at the bottom of the application page. We encourage you to click this well before submitting as it will bring up a list of all the sections that still need completing and any errors the system has detected (if any) - these can then be corrected in good time before the submission date.

We acknowledge that some fields being inputted into the Stage 2 application form will be the same as in your Stage 1 form. Where applicable, we are happy for you to copy and paste this information over, rather than creating new content.

Summary information

Contracting (Host) organisation

Please give details of the organisation who will be the contractor if the project is funded. Please note that we expect the CI’s contracting organisation (substantive employer) to act as the contractor. 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 New Contracting Organisation’.

Please also bear in mind that:

  • Thought must be given to the most appropriate institution to act as the contractor as part of the application process, as changes are unlikely to be agreed once a funding decision has been made
  • The contractor is expected to respond to annual financial reconciliation exercises, provide the final financial reconciliation statement for the project and to provide ad hoc requests for financial information during the lifetime of the project. In the unlikely event that a request is made for the contractor to differ from the CI’s contracting (host) institution, the suggested contractor must be able to fulfil these expectations and to do so in the usual timeframes
  • In the same way, the contractor is expected to respond to any queries relating to Intellectual Property, commercialisation and benefit realisation

If you have any queries, please contact before submitting your application.

Research title (Limit: 300 characters)

Please use the title ‘Production of Evidence Syntheses for the Evidence Synthesis Programme’.

Research type

Please select ‘Evidence Synthesis'.

Start month

Note this will be from the first of the month regardless of whether this is a working day or not.
This is expected to be 1 April.

Start year

Please enter 2023.

Research duration (months)

This is a 60-month (five-year) research contract.

End date

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

Total research costs

These figures are automatically populated from the detailed budget section.

Research team - Lead applicant research background

The NIHR is looking for applicant teams to demonstrate they have a well-integrated network of expertise and partnerships that would enable them to identify and conduct reviews on any topic area, using any research methodology during the lifecycle of the contract.

Information on your name, degrees and professional qualifications, main and 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 – you can do this via the ‘My Profile’ icon on your home page whilst in the application form by first clicking the ‘Update’ button alongside your details in the Research Team section and then clicking on the ‘Update Contact Profile’ button.


Please note: You and your Joint Lead / co-applicants 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 contact 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 reporting system (EDRS)

The 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.

Role (limit: 200 characters)

Specify Applicant's role in research. Enter the role that you will be undertaking in the research e.g. co-ordination and project management, analysis, methodological input etc.

Research team – lead applicant ‘update’

Click the ‘Update’ button to the right of your Lead Applicant information to add the information regarding your role on the application.

% Full-time equivalent (FTE) commitment

This refers to the percentage of your time that you will commit to this project.


Select your primary organisation for the purpose of this application. 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 towards the top of the page 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.

Department (Limit: 100 characters)

Select your department for the purpose of this application.

Recent relevant publications

Provide details of a maximum of six of your most recent/relevant publications (in the last ten years) relevant to this application.

To add relevant publications, click on the ‘Open’ button and either select the relevant listed publications pulled in from your ORCiD record, and/or add any other new relevant publications. Once complete click ‘Save selected Publications’.

Research grants held

This should include research grants held (as a named applicant) currently or in the last five years – as well as any additional previous grants, relevant to this application. Please include who the grant is with and the amount of each grant.

To add relevant research grants, click on the ‘Open’ button and either select the relevant listed research grant pulled in from your ORCiD record, and/or add any other relevant research grants. Once complete click ‘Save selected Publications’.

For each entry you should state the registration number, name of registry and the DOI of the main related publication. Where the study is still ongoing or final results have not yet been published, please provide an estimated publication date. This is in-line with the NIHR policy on clinical trial registration and disclosure of results.

Once all information has been entered and saved, click the ‘Complete’ button.

Research team

The Research Team section lists any applicants who have been added to this application. NOTE the Joint Lead Applicant, Co-applicants and Administrative contacts are all required to be invited and accept their participation in a Stage 2 application. The ‘Update’ button can be used to access the Applicant Details Form for each applicant and update the details of each user's involvement in this application. Different types of applicants can be added (e.g. Co-applicant/Co-applicant PPI).

The Applicant Details Form for all applicants must be in Submitted status in order to submit your application.

Joint lead applicant

Select ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to indicate whether this application involves a joint lead applicant, and where appropriate use the envelope icon to add a Joint Lead applicant to your application and complete the necessary information. Once complete click the ‘Invite’ button. Once the joint lead applicant has accepted their invitation they will appear in the 'Research Team' list, and their information can be edited as necessary. The joint lead applicant will need to complete their publications and grants information.


Use the ‘Add/Edit Co-Applicants’ button to add a co-applicant(s) to your application and complete the necessary information. Once complete click the ‘Invite’ button. Once a co-applicant has accepted their invitation they will appear in the 'Research Team' list, and their information can be edited as necessary. Where appropriate co-applicants will need to complete their publications and grants information.

Do not include collaborators, who should be mentioned (if necessary) in the 'Detailed Research Plan' (upload document).

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 who do not share in the responsibility for the delivery of the project.

Patient and public involvement co-applicants

We recognise and value the varied perspectives that members of the public, patients, service users and carers bring to a project as applicants and encourage their inclusion where appropriate. They are not required to provide a full curriculum vitae (CV) (i.e. N/A may be appropriate for 'Publication Record and Research Grants held'). Patient and Public Involvement co-applicants should provide a summary of any relevant knowledge, skills and experience that they will draw upon to contribute to this project.

This could include information about:

  • Previous or present work (paid or unpaid) with any relevant organisations
  • Links with any relevant groups, committees, networks or organisations
  • Experience of particular health conditions, treatments, use of services, being a carer - or as a member of a particular community
  • Knowledge and experience of research including previous research undertaken
  • Knowledge and experience of patient and public involvement including previous involvement activities
  • Skills from any other roles that are transferable
  • Relevant qualifications, training and learning

For further information please access the 'Public Co-Applicants in Research' guidance.


Please note that signatories are no longer a requirement of a Stage 2 application submission. However, if your application is recommended for funding, you will be required to add the relevant signatories and obtain their approvals shortly after receiving your funding recommendation outcome letter as part of the project start-up and contracting process.

Administrative contact details

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.

If you wish to include an administrative contact, use the envelope icon below to enter the administrative contact's details, and invite them to participate in this application.

Application details

Scientific abstract (Limit: 3,500 characters)

The scientific abstract should be a clear and concise scientific summary of the 'Detailed Research Plan, with a character limit of 3,500 characters. Please use this section to demonstrate your understanding of the Evidence Synthesis Programme’s need for this type of research.

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

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 service practitioners, other 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 the NIHR website and others.

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 a successful Evidence Synthesis Group
  • The general approach that will be adopted
  • Patient and public involvement
  • Dissemination

The plain English summary is not the same as a scientific abstract - please do not cut and paste this or 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).

Changes from Stage 1 (Limit: 6,000 characters)

Please list the feedback received at Stage 1 and under separate headings, indicate what has changed as a result.

Please describe and explain any additional changes that have been made to this proposal since the Stage 1 application was submitted.

Patient and public involvement

Please describe the ways in which patients/service users, carers and the public will be actively involved throughout the proposed research, including any training and support provided (Limit: 3,500 characters)
For this call, you should demonstrate that you have the relevant and ‘ready-made’ connections in place (such as a public and patient involvement group) whom you can go to/work with, from the start of the contract.

The purpose of this group might be to advise/agree on aspects of the topic being reviewed, as well as be part of the co-creation of the research and its tailored outputs. This infrastructure will demonstrate the team’s ability to access quickly patient and public consultation and input on the review in hand. Applicants will need to show that patients and the public will be involved in shaping the research agenda of the contract as well as demonstrating an understanding of the importance of harnessing the patient and public voice when looking at innovations.

Public and patient involvement approach, management and support

  • Explain why your approach to patient and public involvement is appropriate for this proposal. In your description you will need to say who will be involved and why
  • Please use this opportunity to describe how you plan to manage and coordinate the patient and public involvement activities in your project
  • Describe how you will support and enable patients/service users, carers, the public and members of relevant communities to contribute to your research (e.g. access, payments, training)
  • We would also encourage you to outline plans for the capturing, evaluating and reporting the impact of patient and public involvement activities

Patients, carers, service users and the public can be involved in every stage of a research project, from developing a proposal through to dissemination and evaluation. You can find further resources to support the design of your PPI.

Public and patient involvement lead

The role of the patient and public involvement 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/programme. This role should be a budgeted and resourced research team member. View examples of activities a PPI lead might undertake.

A summary of patient and public involvement activities

Please provide a summary of the proposed patient and public involvement activities embedded throughout the research project lifecycle. Please clearly signpost to other sections of the 'Detailed Research Plan' where the patient and public involvement is described further in relation to the relevant project stage e.g. dissemination, intervention design, data collection, analysis.

In rare cases where proposals do not involve patients/service users, carers and the public, clear justification must be provided. (limit 3,500 characters)

Complete/justify as necessary.

Detailed budget

Organisations for budget

Use the ‘Add Organisations’ and ‘+’ button to select and add the organisations who will be responsible for budget items and add them to your application.

Application budget

This section should provide a breakdown of costs associated with undertaking the research as described in the proposal.

The information entered in this section should provide an analysis of the total funds requested to undertake the research proposed and should be based on current prices. These costs will be used to assess value for money.

  • It is in the best interest to undertake a thorough, realistic and accurate costing. Where a Stage 1 application has been produced and this is the Stage 2 application, the Committee will pay close attention to any material increase in costs. You must provide a clear and full justification for all costs including NHS costs. You must also ensure that you include all costs including those required to secure good management and governance
  • Costs must be provided at current prices. An adjustment for inflation will be made annually thereafter at rates set by the Department of Health and Social Care. Whilst allowances for incremental increases should be included on the form, nationally or locally agreed pay increases should be excluded
  • Years should be calculated starting from the anticipated start date of the proposed research. For Evidence Synthesis Groups, the start date is anticipated to be 1 April 2023 and the second year is 1 April 2024 etc.
  • When costs have been entered for year 1, it is possible to copy these costs to subsequent years, and they can then be edited if needed
  • Further itemisation of costs and methods of calculation may be requested to support the application at a later date
  • Payments will be made to the contracted organisation only and the contracted organisation will be responsible for passing on any money due to their partner organisation(s)
  • Payments are not able to made in advance of need and, if funded, your payments will be made in accordance with your application budget. Please therefore ensure that your planned costs are included in the budget year in which they are most likely to be incurred
  • Appropriate sub-contracts must be put in place for any element of the research which is to be paid to another organisation
  • All applications are expected to have appropriate NHS, higher education institutions, commercial and other partner organisation input into the finance section of the application form as relevant
  • Please note that whilst the applicable percentages will be used to calculate the maximum grant payable, the programme reserves the right to award a grant for less than this maximum where it is considered appropriate

Costs for un-named co-applicants

If you need to provide costs for more than one unnamed individual it is important to name them as ‘TBA 1’, ‘TBA 2’ etc. not just ‘TBA’, or use the expected job title, otherwise their costs will not appear in the PDF version of the form.

Contributions and joint funding

Contributions from other organisations and proposals for joint funding with another organisation can be recorded as such in the ‘Contributions’ tab. If you are considering applying for a joint funding arrangement please contact to discuss this.

Information on different types of organisations

Higher education institutions

Higher education institutions (HEIs) should determine the full economic cost (FEC) of their research using the transparent approach to costing (TRAC) methodology. For HEIs, up to 80% of FEC will be paid, provided that TRAC methodology has been used.

NHS bodies and other providers of NHS services in England

For applications where the contractor is an NHS body or provider of NHS services in England, up to 100% of direct costs will be paid.

Other partner organisations

If you are a commercial organisation/consultancy, please fill in direct costs and commercial indirect costs. Indirect costs should be charged in proportion to the amount of research staff effort requested on the funding application form. Up to 100% of costs will be paid.

If you are an ‘other partner’ organisation (e.g. charity or NGO), please fill in direct costs and other partner organisations indirect costs. Indirect costs should be charged in proportion to the amount of research staff effort requested on the funding application form. Up to 100% of costs will be paid.

Direct costs

These are costs that are specific to the Evidence Synthesis Group infrastructure costs, which will be charged as the amount actually spent and can be supported by an audit record. They should comprise:

I) Posts and salaries

This section presents an overview of salary and associated on-costs for the applicant(s) contributing to the research, including normal salary increments broken down individually.

Please include all members of staff working on the research by clicking ‘add a new staff member’ salaries’ or editing a current one. If there are any applicant(s) whose costs are not being claimed you should still include their details within this section, but don’t include any actual costs. Where applicants are already in receipt of NIHR funding for any part of their salaries (e.g. NIHR Fellowships), these should not be additionally charged to the project. Where applicants are already receiving salaries funded by the NIHR, these should be declared in the application by selecting ‘Yes’ in the ‘Other NIHR Salary’ drop-down list - please note that the NIHR will not fund more than 100% of an applicant’s time across multiple NIHR projects/awards and this fact will be checked prior to contracting. If you are unsure about this requirement or have any questions please contact the Evidence Synthesis Programme via

The Apprenticeship Levy can be included in the salary costs where relevant.

The annual costs of each team member contributing to the Evidence Synthesis Group needs to be calculated by specifying the %FTE and number of months. Use current rates of pay and build in any known annual increments (again at current rates). You will not be able to claim for pay awards retrospectively, once your research is underway.

Please ensure that you check that the ‘Cost Type’ box reflects the organisation which correctly describes the employing organisation for a member of staff (e.g. HEI, NHS, Commercial, Other), as this impacts on the level of funding provided. Staff employed by a Higher Education Institution (HEI) are funded at 80% of cost and staff employed by NHS, commercial or other partner organisation at up to 100% of cost.

II) Travel, subsistence and dissemination costs

This section includes journey costs, subsistence and dissemination costs, and conference fees. Where applicable, you will need to include the travel and subsistence costs of your Advisory Group, Steering Committee and/or Data Monitoring and Ethics Committee. Travel and subsistence costs relating to dissemination should also be included here, as should costs relating to overseas travel.

Journey costs - Enter the total cost of transport for all journeys for destination/purpose. If travel is by car, apply your institution’s mileage rates (however this should not exceed HMRC approved mileage allowance payments, which is 45p per mile for the first 10,000 miles and 25p thereafter). Travel by the most economic means possible is encouraged. NIHR Programmes do not usually fund first class travel.

Subsistence - Subsistence covers accommodation (if necessary) and meals associated with the travel, excluding any alcoholic beverages.

Dissemination costs

  • Conferences - Where national or international conference costs are included, a statement naming the conference or purpose of travel and the benefit to the research must also be made; failure to adequately justify your attendance at a conference, will mean the programme will not fund this cost. For research of up to five years, the programme will usually fund up to a maximum of two individuals to attend one international conference attendance, or one individual to attend two international conferences. For research beyond five years, the programme will usually fund up to a maximum of two international conference attendances per five year or part of five-year research period
  • Open Access Costs - Applicants should no longer include open access costs as part of their Stage 2 application Detailed Budget Costs. From the 1 June 2022, all eligible contracts issued across NIHR Programmes, NIHR Personal Awards and NIHR Global Health Research Portfolio will have an Open Access Envelope allocated to them on top of the award value, which is ring-fenced for open access costs of peer reviewed research articles that arise directly from the research funded by the award in question
  • Other Dissemination Costs - Any large costs should be further detailed with a breakdown of constituent parts or a timescale profile of the costs. Meetings to share best practice, training events and events to disseminate research findings must be run at the lowest possible cost with minimal catering. ‘Conferences’ which are described as such are not eligible for funding

III) Equipment

Essential items of equipment plus maintenance and related costs not included as part of estates should be input in this section. These can be lease or purchase costs. The purchase cost of pieces of equipment, valued up to £5,000 excluding VAT, will be considered.

Pieces of equipment costing more than £5,000 to purchase will usually need to be leased. Where applicants are leasing equipment with a purchase price of more than £5,000, a comparison of leasing verses purchasing costs must be provided in the ‘Justification of Costs’ section.

Items of equipment valued at £250 or more must be itemised separately; however, grouping same type equipment is permitted. Costs of computers are normally restricted to a maximum of £1,000 each to include VAT and any associated software. If the purchasing organisation is unable to reclaim/ recover the VAT on any piece of equipment, then it should be included in the stated cost. A statement of justification must be included, in the relevant ‘Justification of Costs’ section for any purchase above this limit.

IV) Consumables

This section includes non-reusable items specific to the Evidence Synthesis Group. Please itemise and describe the requirements fully (e.g. postage, stationery, photocopying). These items should be Evidence Synthesis Group specific, not just general office costs which should be covered by indirect costs.

V) Patient and public involvement

Please itemise and describe fully the costs associated with Patient and Public Involvement. These are likely to include individual travel, out of pocket expenses, payment for time and any relevant training and support costs. Costs related to study participants should not be itemised here.

If voluntary, charity or community groups are supporting the research via activities such as facilitating contact with potential participants, contracting research activities or providing advice, an adequate budget must be included to compensate for their time and resources.

For more information on budgeting for involvement, please read the NIHR Payments Guidance for researchers and professionals.

VI) Other direct costs

These are costs, not identified elsewhere, that are specifically attributed to the Evidence Synthesis Group. For example, costs associated with the use of research facilities, external consultancy costs, costs associated with inclusivity (which may include, but are not limited to justified translation of research participant material into other relevant languages), computer licensing, recruitment and advertising costs. Please note that for organisations claiming indirect/overhead costs, costs such as recruitment of staff, and general training (e.g. in common IT packages) are costs that should be covered by the indirect costs element of the award being sought and should not appear in this section.

If external consultancy costs are included in this section they must be fully justified in the ‘Justification of Costs’ section. Please specify the hourly rate and the number of hours and note that consultants must not be people who are already employed by the applicant’s institution. If they are, any costs should be entered as direct costs in ‘Posts and Salaries’ section.

Indirect costs/overheads

Indirect costs will be charged in proportion to the amount of research staff effort requested on the award. Commercial/Other Partner Organisations should calculate them, using their own cost rates.
They comprise:

  • General office and basic laboratory consumables
  • Premises costs
  • Library services/learning resources
  • Typing/secretarial
  • Finance, personnel, public relations and departmental services
  • Usage costs of major research facilities
  • Central and distributed computing
  • Charge out rates for shared equipment
  • Cost of capital employed

NHS bodies or other providers of NHS services indirect costs

NHS indirect costs cannot be claimed through NIHR/DHSC programme funding. NHS Bodies or other providers of NHS services have been allocated NIHR Research Capability Funding (RCF) to contribute to the cost of hosting NIHR/DHSC-supported research.

HEI indirect costs

Total HEI indirect costs must be fully justified. HEIs are permitted to claim estate and other indirect costs. These costs are calculated on the basis of TRAC methodology. Proposals from other types of institutions/organisations should leave this section blank.

HEI indirect costs are based on the number of full-time equivalent research staff working on the research and the indirect/estates charges set by an institution. Please note HEI indirect costs cannot be claimed on shared staff costs. Where staff from more than one HEI are working on the research there may be different indirect/estates charges for each one. Please list each institution on a separate line.
The applicant(s) should consult their HEI Finance Departments for the appropriate figures to include in the estate charges and other indirect cost sections.

Other partner organisation indirect costs

Other Partner Organisations can claim indirect costs which are the costs of resources used by the research that are shared by other activities. Please seek advice from your finance department about the appropriate cost for this section.

Other Partner Organisation indirect costs must be fully justified.

Justification of costs (Limit: 8,000 characters)

  • Please provide a breakdown of costs associated with establishing and delivering the Evidence Synthesis Group and provide justification for the resources requested. This should include the following costs: staff costs, travel and subsistence, dissemination costs, equipment (including lease versus purchase costs), consumables, patient and public involvement (PPI) and any other direct costs. For help with estimating PPI costs please see Payment guidance for members of the public considering involvement in research
  • When justifying staff costs, you should also provide the percentage amount of time input of each member of staff and link this to the specific area/work package of the proposed study where this input will be taking place
  • You should describe the value for money of the conduct of the proposed research


Any additional, non-requested, documents will not be considered by the funding committee during its review.

To upload a document, click on the icon next to the relevant upload type. All required uploads must be added for you to be able to submit your application.

Only the following document types can be uploaded: .doc, .docx & .pdf. If you upload a Word document the system will create a PDF version of it and both versions will be displayed below. Any other document types will need to be converted to PDF format before uploading. If you wish to remove or replace any specific documents all versions of that document will need to be deleted.

Upload 1: Detailed Research Plan

It is mandatory to upload and submit a Detailed Research Plan, which is a full account of the proposed Evidence Synthesis Group contract. Broadly, the Detailed Research Plan should follow the below format:

  • Use Arial font size 11
  • Not exceed 20 A4 pages
  • Have a header containing your allocated project reference number if known
  • Have a footer showing your page numbers
  • Be converted to a .pdf version before uploading it

In this upload, you are asked to describe in detail how your team would deliver an Evidence Synthesis Group as described in the call specification document, providing supporting references to relevant work where possible.

Please provide the information as requested in each section, using the sub-titles provided below.


Full title of project

Please provide the title of the contract. This should be the same title as above.

Research Team (ability to meet the call criteria)

We would like you to expand on the information that you provided at Stage 1, to demonstrate in greater detail how your team would meet the specified criteria and deliver reviews on any topic area and review methodology. Therefore, we request that you provide detail under each of the headings given below (in bold).

Projects should have a research team with the right skills to undertake the research. It is important that the team has the necessary expertise but is not so large that project management will be difficult. Projects are likely to use a team with significant input from diverse disciplines appropriate to the content and methods of the project. All applicants need to show that they will commit appropriate time and effort to the project, and the use of large teams of applicants with little time commitment to the contract is discouraged. At Stage 2, applications should make it clear what responsibilities and roles will be fulfilled by each team member.

The lead applicant should generally be the person who has contributed most to the intellectual and practical development of the application, and who will take lead responsibility for its implementation. This is not necessarily the most senior investigator in the research team. Where the lead applicant has a limited track record in holding grants, we will look for evidence that they will be supported and mentored by more experienced co-applicants.

Outline the particular contribution each member of the team will make to the project and the particular contribution that collaborators are intended to make. Applicants might not be able to do so at this stage. The important element at this stage is for the NIHR to understand the contribution of the co-applicants, their responsibilities in this commission and what they will deliver and what this represents in the way of costs. In addition, please give details of supervision arrangements for junior staff involved.

You should outline staff numbers and grades, where possible.

Team expertise and knowledge

Please describe the core research team members’ expertise in evidence synthesis production and related supporting activities.

Please demonstrate the team’s capabilities and capacity to produce evidence syntheses in a wide range of research topics, relevant across healthcare, public health and social care. Key skills should include information science and retrieval expertise, critical appraisal, health economics and economic modelling, epidemiology and statistics and knowledge/understanding of evidence sources.

Please evidence the team’s understanding of policy stakeholders across all four nations and acknowledge the differences in social care delivery models.

Previous experience

Please demonstrate the team’s previous experience in carrying out evidence syntheses in a wide range of research topics, using a variety of review methodologies. In addition, please include details of partnership-working with the health, social care and public health frontline and using well-established expertise in co-production methods of research and informative ways of working.


Please provide evidence of the team’s access to a network of experts who can support evidence synthesis production and interpretation in an advisory capacity, including academic, social care, healthcare and public health.

Patient and public involvement

There should be a named person with appropriate skills and experience who is responsible for leading the patient and public involvement element within the project. This role should be an adequately costed and resourced research team member who is able to manage the public and patient involvement plans and related activities. See examples of the activities a PPI lead might undertake.

In the case of this call, we expect a co-creative approach which will include with patients and the public.

Research Design/Methods

Advancements in methodology and methodological improvements, such as a study within a review, are encouraged alongside the research topic being synthesised where appropriate. Please confirm that you understand this requirement and will include it within your work.

Resourcing and Project management

A description of the Evidence Synthesis Group should be provided; its overall capacity and ability to recruit/supervise/direct resources as needed i.e. 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).

A statement of the general approach to be adopted should be included and applications should include details of how the work and contract will be managed. For projects involving a number of institutions or component parts, effective project management is essential to ensure the work is completed within the planned timeframe. You should set out how joint applicants in different institutions will communicate and monitor progress of the project.

For this call we would suggest that an advisory group could:

  • contribute to the work planning
  • help to ensure the contract is on schedule

Project/research timetable

A work plan will be developed with the successful team. We would also expect applicants to show that there would be capacity to work on more than one review at a time and how this would be organised.

This timetable will be an important aspect of the monitoring framework during the life of the project, once the initial workplan is agreed it will also inform the annual review of that workplan.

If your application is successful, you will be required to submit progress reports, to help all parties manage the contract appropriately.

Dissemination, outputs and anticipated impact

Applicants will need to demonstrate innovative approaches to the dissemination of research findings. Please set out how you would maximize the impact of each of the evaluations you undertake, how you would go about doing this and the novelty of the methods you would employ.

Please consider and outline the active approach you will take to engaging key parties or identify the process you will use to identify them and formulate an engagement plan. Link to NIHR Dissemination guidance: How to disseminate your research: Getting your message heard - and used.

Success criteria and barriers to proposed work

Please set out the measurements of success you intend to use, the risks to the proposed research and how you intend to mitigate against them.


We realise this is not likely to be possible at this stage. However, individual evaluations may well give rise to ethical issues. Please set out your experience in this respect including how issues were resolved and what was learned from the situation.

We are also aware that during the course of the contract, you will probably have to use patient information from an existing database.

Outline any ethical and/or other regulatory issues, and arrangements for handling them. If there are no plans to obtain ethical review, this must be clearly justified. (Note that work outlined in your application/protocol must adhere to the UK Framework for Health and Social Care research).

Equality, diversity and inclusion

The NIHR is committed to actively and openly supporting and promoting equality, diversity and inclusion in research. This is, in part, achieved by diversifying research participants in the studies we support and the voices of those who shape our research agenda, by redesigning our processes, introducing targeted interventions and the effective monitoring and evaluation of impact.

We invite you to consider how equality, diversity and inclusion can be incorporated into the work of an Evidence Synthesis Group and in developing innovative methodological design.

Upload 2: Team structure/organogram (called 'Flow Diagram' on the application form)

Please attach a diagram or organogram (single-side of A4) illustrating your proposed team structure.

Please ensure that your diagram is large and clear enough to be projected as a slide at the commissioning committee meeting to provide committee members with a visual aid of your proposed team.

Upload 3: References (maximum 3 pages of A4)

List all references cited in the Detailed Research Plan, using 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 & 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 on which I have been nominated as lead applicant for this proposal along with the associated documentation and accept this role.

A list of terms and conditions can be found here: terms and conditions (PDF).