Internet Explorer is no longer supported by Microsoft. To browse the NIHR site please use a modern, secure browser like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Microsoft Edge.

23/142 HSDR National Evaluation Teams 2023 - Supporting document


Published: 20 October 2023

Version: 1.0 - October 2023

Print this document

Call for Expressions of Interest (EoI): National Service Evaluation Research Teams

The Health and Social Care Delivery Research (HSDR) Programme wishes to commission up to three national evaluation teams, ready and prepared, to conduct, at short notice, substantive, in-depth assessments of large-scale, service changes.

Closing date

1pm on 14 December 2023

Assessment process and timetable

Please ensure you have read the supporting document and guidance notes provided to support this call.

Expressions of interest must include:

  • consideration of the criteria set out in this call
  • a statement of the general approach to be adopted
  • a description of the team which may be based across more than one institution; its overall capacity and ability to recruit/supervise/direct resources as needed
  • expertise and applied research skills of the core team
  • track record of the team or main applicants in carrying out high quality large-scale complex evaluations using mixed methods
  • a description of the team’s networks and partnerships
  • brief CVs of the likely lead applicant and two other likely to be named as co- applicants should a stage two application be invited. The roles of these individuals and their level of input must also be stated
  • arrangements for project management of the work and contract
  • details of the resources required to undertake the work over the life of the contract

The on-line expression of interest application form should be completed and submitted by 1pm on 14 December 2023.

Expressions of interest will be considered by the programme director and expert panel and a number of teams will be invited to submit a Stage 2 application form to the HSDR funding committee. Two to three representatives from each team submitting an application form are likely to be invited to interview by the committee.

The date of interviews is to be decided but will be confirmed to shortlisted teams nearer the time. In addition to the criteria set out in the call document, assessment will be looking to see that teams have:

  • ability to draw on wider range of skills and expertise, content knowledge, networks and support through existing institutions and research collaborations
  • robust partnership working with evidence users
  • ability to be flexible and agile in respect of organising their workplans and team

The successful applicants will have best demonstrated an understanding of the service requirement and the ability to meet the specified criteria.


We will be commissioning for core expertise in evaluating complex service changes or interventions, using a broad range of quantitative and qualitative research skills. Teams should have experience of working with general service networks, but subject matter experts might need to be co-opted for particular evaluations. As part of the scoping of individual evaluations, the contractors will have to demonstrate that the need for additional specific expertise has been considered and absorbed within the overall costs for this contract.

Likely minimum staffing requirements for a successful team are:

  • a director who will take overall responsibility for the quality assurance and timely delivery of reports and who has authority to re-deploy resources
  • dedicated senior staff time: to supervise, take responsibility for and quality assure each report; and be available to discuss key issues with members of the HSDR Programme secretariat
  • scientific staff with expertise in range of methods, from observational and qualitative research to large-scale analytics, modelling and health economics
  • access to appropriate networks of evidence users in the service and experience of engaging stakeholders well throughout research studies
  • senior project management/scientific administrator expertise

Each evaluation will require a detailed project timetable with milestones. As part of scoping an individual evaluation, the contractor will be asked to detail the project management arrangements in order to ensure quality and timeliness of delivery.

Contract management, monitoring and outputs

Contractors will have a designated research manager at the secretariat and the contract will monitored with agreed minimum reporting points and review points as well as an annual financial reconciliation. This will be the standard Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) contract with a fixed end date. The purpose of monitoring is to enable discussion on current and future work under the contract and on any difficulties which could arise during the lifetime of the contracts.

The standard DHSC research contract applies. Contractors will be required to work with:

  • the HSDR Programme Director and Deputy Programme Director
  • NIHR
  • users of the evidence generated through this contract

Successful contractors will help continue to develop thinking in terms of methodological approaches during the course of the contracts, which will inform the wider research community. Contractors will be expected to work with other teams commissioned by the HSDR Programme.

Outputs from each evaluation will be published primarily in the NIHR Journals Library.

Probity and handling conflicts of interest

A competing interest will include any financial or other relationship with, or interest in, an intervention or service to be evaluated.

Any competing interests will be adjudged against individual evaluations within the contract.

Any possible conflict of interest arising should be declared to the HSDR Programme at the time of scoping the evaluation.

Transparency agenda

In line with the government’s transparency agenda, any contract resulting from this tender may be published in its entirety to the public.