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Adaptation and assessment of digital technologies for social care guidance notes


Published: 22 November 2022

Version: 1.0

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These are the guidance notes for applicants submitting an application via the REsearch Awards Lifecycle Management System (REALMS) for the Adaptation and assessment of digital technologies for social care call.

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 - 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.

For Social Care Acceleration Award applications, please make best endeavours to complete all sections as appropriately as possible, whilst noting any text which specifies targeted advice for part 1 of this call.

Summary information

Contracting 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’. New organisations need to be approved by the REALMS team prior to submission of your application. Please contact us if this request is being made within 2 weeks of the call close date. 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)

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

Research type

Select the appropriate research type. If your proposed project includes any element of primary research, please select ‘Primary Research’. If you are carrying out new analysis/synthesis of existing data, select ‘Secondary Research’ or ‘Evidence Synthesis’ as appropriate. If you are not sure which category to select, choose the closest match to your project as this can be adjusted later.

Start month

Note this will be from the first of the month, regardless of whether this is a working day or not. Please be realistic about your possible start date, taking account of the necessary contracting and staff recruitment prior to starting your project.

For Social Care Acceleration Award applications, consideration should be given to having a team established and ready to start work, as there may not be much time for recruitment within the 12 month timeframe.

Start year

Please be realistic about your possible start date, taking account of the necessary contracting and staff recruitment prior to starting your project.

Research duration (months)

Ensure you include sufficient time to complete all aspects of the research, including applications for regulatory approvals (where required) and the final report. This will be a maximum of 12 months for Social Care Acceleration Award applications. 

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.

Total National Health Service (NHS) support costs

This section may not be applicable to Social Care Acceleration Award applications.

These figures are automatically populated from detailed budget section. 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.

Total NHS excess treatment costs

This section may not be applicable to Social Care Acceleration Award applications.

These figures are automatically populated from detailed budget section. 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 assess excess treatment costs.

Total Non-NHS Excess Treatment costs

This section may not be applicable to Social Care Acceleration Award applications.

These figures are automatically populated from detailed budget section. 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 costs included are the additional costs compared with 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 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 HSDR 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.

Previous submission

Has this application, or a similar application previously been submitted to this or any other funding body within the last 3 years?

We are keen to know if the application has been submitted to this or another NIHR programme or elsewhere and you must be as open about this as possible. This includes, but is not limited to, any facts that, should they come to light at a future date, would embarrass either the programme or the individual who withheld the fact (e.g. if a member of the team holds a patent or has a financial interest within the research area).

Failure to disclose accurately or fully will be considered by the programme as academic misconduct and treated accordingly. You should also include in this section information on whether this or a similar application has been submitted to any programme previously, or to any other funder including other NIHR programmes. You should name and provide dates and outcomes of these. Please indicate whether you hold or have ever held an NIHR programme contract, which has been terminated prior to completion, extended in time or in terms of funding.

Select ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to indicate whether this or a similar application has previously been submitted to this or any other funding body.

If yes:

Use the ‘Previous Submissions’ button to select any relevant submissions from the list. If a previous submission was made to another funder or is not listed use the ‘+’ button under the Other Previous Submissions section to record the details of that submission.

For more information about resubmission of a research/trainee funding application or joint funding, please contact the appropriate NIHR research funding programme.

NIHR will not accept the same or substantially similar applications to more than 1 NIHR programme. If 2 similar applications are submitted, once the overlap is identified, the application that is most advanced through the funding process will continue and the second will not be taken further.

Similar applications will only be considered by 2 programmes concurrently if:

  • the aims and research proposals are substantially different
  • if successful, NIHR would be prepared to fund both proposals
  • the successful delivery of one project is not dependent on the other

Research team

Please note, you should detail in this section the team involved in this application. 

Lead Applicant

Information on your name, main and other affiliated organisations and contact details will be automatically populated from your contact profile. Degrees and professional qualifications can be added to your contact profile. Update your contact profile to complete any missing mandatory 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. Your contact profile will need to be validated prior to your application submission. 


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 - the requirement for an ORCiD ID is mandatory for all applicants except PPI Co-Applicants. However, if a PPI Co-Applicant has an ORCiD account and wishes to add this to their REALMS contact profile they can. 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 terms and conditions, 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. 

If additional publications and grants need to be added to an application, and you would like these available to select for other applications, you will need to update your ORCiD account first and then click ‘Re-Import ORCiD Data’ on your REALMS ‘My Profile’.

Equality and diversity reporting system (EDRS)

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 section lists any applicants who have been added to this application. Please 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 (if not already invited and accepted at Stage 1). 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).

Once ORCiD accounts have been linked up, the Lead, Joint Lead and Co-Applicants need to select which publications and grants are relevant for this application within the Applicant Details Form. This form can be found in the Action Items on each person’s home page once the Lead Applicant has added them. 

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

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.

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.

% 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.

Application research background

Recent relevant publications

Provide details of a maximum of 6 of your most recent/relevant publications (in the last `0 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 5 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 manually added research grant entry you should state the registration number, name of registry and the DOI of the main related publication. 

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

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.


For Social Care Acceleration Award applications, consideration should be given to having a team established and ready to start work, as there may not be much time for recruitment within the 12 month timeframe.

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 (PPI) 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'). PPI 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 research proposal is recommended for funding you will be required to add the relevant signatories and shortly after receiving your funding recommendation outcome letter as part of the project start-up and contracting process (approximately 2-3 weeks after the funding assessment committee date).

Applicants must follow their host organisation's application review and sign off procedures before submitting an application. Failure to do this may result in any agreement to fund being withdrawn. 

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/Methods, with a character limit of 3,500 characters (1 side of A4 maximum). The following is a list of potential elements/headings that might be included depending on the proposed research partnership:

  • an explanation of how you will build a sustainable partnership between research and practice
  • an explanation of how you will prepare for submission of high-quality adaptation and assessment of digital technologies for social care research applications (part 2 of this call)
  • how meaningful patient and public involvement will be included in the research team

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

A plain English summary is a clear explanation of your research partnership. 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 proposal
  • inform others about your research partnership 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. 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 first stage (limit: 6,000 characters)

Please note, this section is not applicable for part 1 of this Social Care Acceleration Award - adaptation of digital technologies of social care call. Please write ‘NA’ in the box.

Patient and public involvement (PPI)

For Social Care Acceleration Award applications, please note the requirements for Patient and Public Involvement in the commissioning brief and the general guidance in this section. 

Please describe how patients/service users, carers and the public have been involved in developing this proposal (limit: 3,500 characters)

You should describe who has been involved and why this is appropriate, what role(s) they have they played, and what influence or change has happened as result of their 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)

PPI 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.

PPI lead

The role of the PPI lead can be undertaken by any of the Co-Applicants within the research partnership 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 PPI activities

Please provide a summary of the proposed PPI activities embedded throughout the research partnership project lifecycle. Please clearly signpost to other sections of the 'Detailed Research Plan' where the PPI 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.

Management and governance

Is Clinical Trials Authorisation required?

Select Yes/No as appropriate.

Does your project require ethics approval?

Select Yes/No as appropriate.

If yes, has ethics approval already been obtained?

Select Yes/No as appropriate.

Detailed budget

Please note, not all of these sections will be applicable to part 1 of the call Accelerated Award - adaptation and assessment of digital technologies for social care.  However, they will be required for part 2 of the call.  

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. 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 research management.
  • 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 example, if your research is expected to start on 1 June 2020 then its second year starts 1 June 2021.
  • 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.
  • NHS Support Costs, including costs for social care research are funded via Clinical Research Networks. Researchers should contact their local NHS R&D Department initially and, if they are unable to help directly or if there is no local NHS Research and Design Service (R&D) Department, contact the Local Clinical Research Network (LCRN) Senior Manager for advice on NHS Support Costs. Further details about LCRN contacts are available.
  • All applications are expected to have appropriate NHS, higher education institutions (HEIs), commercial and other partner organisation input into the finance section of the application form.
  • 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 1 unnamed individual, it is important to name them as ‘TBA 1’, ‘TBA 2’ etc. not just ‘TBA’, 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 get in touch to discuss this.

Information on different types of organisations

Higher education institutions (HEIs)

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 research, which will be charged as the amount actually spent and can be supported by an audit record. They should comprise:

Posts and salaries

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

Please include all members of staff working on the project 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 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 appropriate NIHR research funding programme.

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

The annual costs of each applicant contributing to the project 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.

Travel, subsistence and dissemination costs

This section includes journey costs, subsistence and dissemination costs, including conference fees. Where applicable, you will need to include the travel and subsistence costs of your Project 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 5 years, the programme will usually fund up to a maximum of 2 individuals to attend 1 international conference attendance, or 1 individual to attend 2 international conferences. For research beyond 5 years, the programme will usually fund up to a maximum of 2 international conference attendances per 5 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 1 June 2022, all eligible awards contracts issued across NIHR ProgrammesNIHR 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. Open access funding guidance is available.  

  • 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.


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 versus 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.


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

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.

Other direct costs

These are costs, not identified elsewhere, that are specifically attributed to the research partnership. 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 1 HEI are working on the research there may be different indirect/estates charges for each 1. 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 partnership 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.

NHS support and treatment costs (including excess treatment costs/savings)

Within the finance section, researchers are asked to provide an estimate of the patient care costs associated with the research (if applicable). An explanation of why these costs are being incurred and the basis on which the estimations have been made should be fully detailed under the relevant ‘Justification of Costs’ section.

The committee/panel will take NHS support and treatment costs into account when considering the value for money of the research. It is important that you consider these costs and discuss them with the NHS bodies or providers of NHS services involved in order to avoid any delay in commencing the research partnership.

Please be aware that the research partnership award does not include NHS support and/or treatment costs.

Please note, as part of the work to address the issues surrounding the way in which excess treatment costs are funded, new arrangements have now been implemented. To underpin the new arrangements, a cost attribution tool has been created by the Health Research Authority (HRA) in partnership with charity funders and research sponsors.

This tool provides a standardised approach across England, ensuring that the attribution of study activities complies with the Department of Health and Social Care Guidance on Attributing the Costs of Health and Social Care Research and Development (AcoRD). As part of their funding applications, researchers are required to complete this new tool, known as a Schedule of Events Cost Attribution Tool (SoECAT) for clinical research, which has been developed from the current HRA Schedule of Events. This tool is designed to capture the different costs associated with clinical research and attribute them accordingly. The totals for excess treatment costs and NHS support costs calculated by using the SoECAT can be entered directly into the application form.

Researchers and/or their study teams and Research Sponsor/Lead NHS Provider (e.g. R&D office/Clinical Trial Unit) are supported by AcoRD Specialists in the Local CRN to verify the accuracy of the SoECAT. For more information please see the Study Support Service webpages.

Under the new arrangements, sign off via the LCRN AcoRD Specialist is required to confirm the study attribution complies with the Department of Health and Social Care AcoRD guidance. This early attribution support will underpin the excess treatment cost management process by providing formal sign off, supporting the role of the research sponsor and lead R&D office or Clinical Trial Unit. Completion of the Schedule of Events Cost Attribution Tool will be required for studies eligible for the NIHR portfolio and the support this provides, which will include access to excess treatment cost payments under the new arrangements. This ETC value, alongside recruitment activity in the NIHR Central Portfolio Management System, will then be utilised to inform the payments to NHS providers.

Please note, social care studies are eligible for Clinical Research Network (CRN) support, it does not just apply to NHS based research, and researchers should speak to the CRN and include support costs where relevant. For the purposes of social care studies ‘treatment costs’ should be interpreted as ‘intervention costs’ and should be included in the proposal when needed.

If a project is to be registered with the NIHR portfolio, a completed Schedule of Events Cost Attribution Tool (SoECAT) is required to be uploaded and submitted as part of the application submission. Please note most evidence synthesis projects will not be required to submit a SoECAT. 

More information on the Schedule of Events Cost Attribution Tool (SoECAT), guidance and a link to the tool can be found on this page; Excess Treatment Costs.

NHS support costs

These are the additional patient care costs associated with the research, which would end once the R&D activity in question has stopped, even if the patient care service involved continues to be provided. These might cover items such as extra patient tests, extra in-patient days and extra nursing attention. Researchers should contact their local NHS R&D Department initially and, if they are unable to help directly or if there is no local NHS R&D Department, contact the Local Clinical Research Network Senior Manager for advice on NHS Support Costs. Further details about LCRN contacts is available.

Excess treatment costs

Please read the following guidance on the funding of excess treatment costs prior to completing your application. These are the patient care costs that would continue to be incurred if the patient care service in question continued to be provided after the R&D activity has stopped. In determining excess treatment costs, you must assume that the patient care service being assessed will continue even though there may be no plans for it to do so. Where patient care is being provided which differs from the normal, standard, treatment for that condition (either an experimental treatment or a service in a different location from where it would normally be given), the difference between the total treatment costs and the costs of the “usual standard care" (if any) constitutes excess treatment cost/saving, but is nonetheless part of the treatment cost, not an NHS support or research cost. These costs should be determined in conjunction with your NHS body or provider of NHS services and their commissioners.

Please note that if the patient care intervention under investigation incurs either a higher or lower cost compared to usual care, the excess cost needs to be entered as an 'Excess Treatment Cost'. The excess cost (or saving) is the difference between the total cost of treating the participants outside of the trial via usual care and the total cost of treating all participants during the trial. The value to be entered here should be taken from your completed Schedule of Events Costing Attribution Tool (SoECAT) and can be either a cost or a saving. Please enter savings as a negative value. For further information, please see attributing the costs of health and social care research and development (AcoRD)

Justification of costs (limit: 8,000 characters)

For the Social Care Acceleration Award call, the budget should be up to £200,000.

  • Please provide a breakdown of research costs associated with undertaking the research partnership 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 the NIHR Payments Guidance for researchers and professionals.
  • When justifying staff costs you should also provide the % 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 indicate here how this research partnership will potentially benefit the NHS and/or public health. For example, where appropriate, describe the likely cost savings or benefits in terms of numbers of patients treated, treatment times, service users or carers supported etc.
  • You should describe the value for money of the conduct of the proposed research.
  • Please provide a breakdown of the NHS costs associated with undertaking the research partnership and provide justification for the resources required. If there are no NHS Support or Excess Treatment Costs associated with the research partnership, you must explain why you think this is the case.
  • Please provide a breakdown of any non-NHS intervention excess treatment costs and provide justification for the resources required. Non-NHS intervention excess treatment costs should include costs incurred in delivering the intervention which would continue to be incurred after the trial, should the intervention become standard care. Please note that NIHR have no provision to cover non-NHS intervention excess treatment costs, and it is the responsibility of the applicant to secure these costs if they are needed.


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

Attachment 1: Detailed Research Plan 

Mandatory for submission.

It is mandatory to upload and submit a Detailed Research Plan (DRP), which is a full account of the proposed project. Broadly, the detailed research plan should follow the following format:

  • use Arial font size 11
  • not exceed 6 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


Applicants should refer to the call specification document for assessment criteria and demonstrate in this section how they intend to meet the requirements of the call. Applicants should demonstrate how they plan to develop a high-quality research proposal and project. Research development activity should be described in full and should demonstrate meaningful PPI throughout the project. The following sections provide a guide for information you may wish to include.

Patients/service users/carers/public as research participants (if appropriate)

Please note, this section may not be applicable to Social Care Acceleration Award applications. However this will be required for part 2 of the call.

The successful recruitment and retention of study participants is strategically important for the NIHR. If your proposed study involves patients/service users/carers/public as research participants, please use the following bullet points to summarise their characteristics and what would be expected of them throughout the research partnership lifecycle. The potential burden on study participants can then be understood as well as whether or not the proposed strategies are practical, inclusive and feasible. Please also signpost to where further information on these points can be found in the detailed research plan and application. Points to cover:

  • inclusion and exclusion criteria to help ensure that certain groups were not being excluded without justification
  • recruitment method and consent process to ensure it is practical and fair
  • type and content of participant information materials
  • overview of research methods to capture data from participants and their frequency e.g. questionnaires/tests/intervention/focus groups/interviews
  • study participant support to consider how drop-out and issues of participation would be handled/helplines/other access arrangements required
  • methods for sharing study progress and findings with study participants
  • payments, rewards and recognition for study participants.

Please justify the proposed sampling frame and sample size for each element of the study. A justification for the assumptions underlying the sample size calculations must be provided. Please provide the source or some sensitivity analysis around assumed values.

Outcome measures

Please state and justify the primary and secondary outcome measures. Validated surrogate markers are acceptable where appropriate. Details should include justification of the use of outcome measures where a legitimate choice exists between alternatives, the proposed duration of the intervention and frequency and duration of follow up.

Methods for data collection

For each outcome, process or economic measure proposed, please state the method of data collection, including qualitative methods where appropriate.

Data and statistical analysis

Please provide details of how each study data set will be analysed. Clearly state the purpose of any statistical analysis. The proposed type and frequency of analyses must be stated including the selection of participants to be included in the analyses. Describe any planned interim and sub-group analyses, sensitivity analysis and how missing data will be handled.

Health economic evaluation

To inform affordability and return on investment a health economic evaluation should be included in your study. If you do not intend to include a health economic evaluation, justification for why this is not appropriate should be provided.

Assessment and follow up

A period of follow up should be considered and undertaken which is sufficient to ensure that a wider range of effects are identified other than those which are evident immediately after the intervention. Please provide details of how/when outcomes will be assessed including:

Assessment of efficacy/effectiveness

Please describe the methods and timing for assessing, recording, and analysing of efficacy/effectiveness parameters.

Assessment of unanticipated outcomes

Please describe the:

  • methods and timing for assessing, recording, and analyzing parameters of harm.
  • procedures for eliciting reports of and for recording and reporting adverse events and other harms.
  • the type and duration of the follow-up of subjects after adverse events.
Scalability and translation

A summary of any issues regarding the scalability and translation of the intervention into wider contexts if proven to be effective should be provided. This could be reflected in the study logic model. Applicants may like to consider following consulting published frameworks for scalability or intervention contextualisation (examples include; WHO (.PDF), PHRP (.PDF), CICI Framework.)

Socioeconomic position and inequalities

A summary of how your proposal will take into account the socioeconomic position of the research participants and potential participants should be included, as well as a description of how the research will attempt to address inequalities. Please detail if and how the study will measure the distributional impacts of the intervention. You may like to refer to PROGRESS-Plus characteristics.

Guidance for applicants on equality, diversity and inclusion for study participants

Please note, this section may not be applicable to Social Care Acceleration Award applications. However this will be required for part 2 of the call.

Every person eligible to take part in research should be offered the same opportunity of taking part in that research regardless of:

All NIHR applications are expected to include information about how this data will be collected. In addition, applicants should demonstrate how these factors have been considered and addressed in their proposal, including steps taken to ensure the research sample is representative of the population the study is targeted at. Applicants need to explain who they are planning to recruit to ensure inclusivity of study participants and justify and explain any exclusions, for example by completing an Equality Impact Assessment. Costs associated with inclusivity, which may include, but are not limited to justified translation of research participant material into other relevant languages, would be expected and where appropriate should be included in the detailed budget section under ‘Other Direct Costs’. Additionally, applicants should demonstrate that all potential recruiting locations have been considered and the research is deliverable to those areas.

Please see the NIHR INCLUDE Guidance (General), or NIHR INCLUDE Guidance (COVID-19 specific) for more information about how to include under-served groups effectively.

The NIHR supports the Researcher Development Concordat which recognises the critical role of research and innovation in delivering the UK’s ambitious economic and industrial strategies, and aims to set the gold standard in researcher development and use it as a competitive advantage. NIHR research applicants should understand the concordat and consider this when completing their application.

Further information on Promoting equality, diversity and inclusion in research is available.

Applicants should demonstrate how these factors have been considered and addressed in their proposal, including steps taken to ensure the research sample is representative of the population the study is targeted at.

Dissemination, outputs and anticipated impact

The purpose of this section is for the applicant to describe the planned outputs of the Social Care Acceleration Award, how these will be communicated and to whom, and how the research may lead to short and longer-term impacts. NIHR understands that the impact of any research may take time to be realised and will likely involve other funders, institutions and sustained efforts in practice. NIHR also recognises it may be difficult to provide definitive answers or guarantees on longer-term impacts. However, applicants are invited to consider various aspects of pathways below and how the likelihood of impact can be maximised. This includes considering what outputs are produced, how these can be best connected to the health and/or social care environment, what efforts and investment are likely to be needed beyond the project, what barriers are likely to be encountered and what impacts the research is seeking to achieve.

How will you inform and engage patients/service user, carers, NHS, social care organisations and the wider population about your work? 

Describe who you need to communicate with within this research partnership, and your plans for engaging relevant audiences. For impact, it is unlikely that simply making outputs available will be sufficient. 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.

What further funding or support will be required if this research is successful (e.g. from NIHR, other Government departments, charity or industry)? 

Consider what investment or support may be needed at the end of this project to maximise impact. Not all projects will require this but if so, plans should be linked to the responses in points above.

How will you share with study participants the progress and findings of your research? 

What strategies will you use to keep your research partnership participants informed of the progress of your project and the findings? Consider the ethical implications of informing study participants and also what the most accessible methods could be, such as newsletters, leaflets, webpages, social media and where relevant different languages and formats. The Health Research Authority provide guidance on the information participants of trials should receive at the end of the study.

Project/research timetable

Please give careful consideration to timelines for Social Care Accelerated Award applications. These are standalone projects for a maximum of 12 months and applications for extensions beyond this will not be approved. Thought should be given to the start time for a full study in part 2 of the call to minimise the gap between both studies as bridging funds will not be approved.

Please provide a concise summary here of the project plan of investigation, preferably in the form of a monthly project timetable showing the scheduling of all key stages in the project, their expected durations, and the timing of key milestones throughout the project including the production of outputs.

Please ensure your timings (e.g. time allowed for securing ethics/governance approval, for undertaking data collection and analysis, and for reporting and writing up, as required) are realistic.

Project management

If activities include conducting research then applicants should consider the need for a study steering committee (SCC).

All project proposals should include details of how the project 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 time-frame. You should set out how joint applicants in different institutions will communicate and monitor progress of the project.

It is expected that all primary studies have a study steering committee (SSC). Please state in this section if you are going to have an SSC or, if not, you must explain your reasons for not doing so. Please note that if an SSC is not proposed, that decision will be reviewed by referees and the Research Funding Board and it is possible the programme may require that an SSC is established.

Depending on the study design and questions being asked, a separate Data Management Executive Committee (DMEC) may be required. Applicants should indicate if they require a DEMEC. Where a DMEC is established it should be independent of the applicants and of the Study Steering Committee (SSC), while reporting to the SSC and (via the SSC) to the Programme. Detailed arrangements may need to vary according to the nature of the study and the contacting institution(s) involved. The Programme is keen that the arrangements for each proposed study are proportionate to the type, size and duration of the study involved. We do not require proposed SSC/DMEC membership lists at this stage, but an indication of members who are likely to be proposed (including overseas members) should be included.


Depending on the activities proposed, Social Care Accelerated Award applications may still be required to have approvals in place and consideration should be given to this when establishing timelines.

Outline any ethical and/or other regulatory issues, and arrangements for handling them. The Programme expects applicants to follow ethical guidelines appropriate to the study and setting proposed. We will scrutinise ethics arrangements as part of the assessment of applications. Applicants must either comply with the Economic and Social Research Council’s (ESRC) research ethics framework (.PDF) or obtain approval via the National Research Ethics Service.

Please note that work outlined in your application/protocol must adhere to the UK Framework for Health and Social Care research.

Project/research expertise

Outline the particular contribution each member of the team will make to the project and the particular contribution that collaborators are intended to make. In addition, please give details of supervision arrangements for junior staff involved.

You should outline staff numbers and grades, timescales, equipment purchases, etc. that you are requesting funding for. If you propose to purchase expensive medical or other equipment, justify fully why you are not proposing to lease it, since this is the DHSC preferred option.

Please also provide details of collaborators and how they have aided the development of the proposal. Letters of support from collaborators should be provided as uploads. Where appropriate this should include a letter from the provider of the intervention costs.

If applicable, you must also provide an explanation and justification of the NHS Support Costs and Excess Treatment Costs, or non-NHS support costs associated with this proposal including, if applicable, an explanation of the basis on which these costs have been estimated.

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.

Attachment 2: CTU support letter

Not mandatory for submission.

If appropriate to the study, please supply and upload a Clinical Trials Unit (CTU) letter of support. 

Attachment 3: flow diagram

Not mandatory for submission.

The diagram should illustrate the partnership design and the flow of participants (if appropriate). If the project consists of more than one work package, consider a diagram that conveys the sequence and timing of research packages as well as how the work packages are linked.

Please ensure diagrams are large and clear enough for them to be projected as a slide at the funding committee meeting.

Attachment 4: Logic model

Not mandatory for submission.

Where appropriate, please supply a logic model or equivalent.

Attachment 5: References (maximum 3 pages of A4)

Mandatory for submission.

List all references cited in the full project description, using either the Vancouver or Harvard referencing conventions, and include the DOI of the main related publication.

Attachment 6: letters of support

Not mandatory for submission.

Please upload any letters of support from study collaborators or partners. Where applicable a letter from the provider of the intervention costs for the purposes of the study should be provided.

Attachment 7: Papers in press

Not mandatory for submission.

Supporting research papers not yet published or publically available should be provided.

Attachment 8: Schedule of Events Cost Attribution Tool (SoECAT)

Not mandatory for submission.

A completed Schedule of Events Cost Attribution Tool (SoECAT) is now required to be uploaded and submitted for projects that are to be registered with the NIHR portfolio. 

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 partnership, 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.

Checklist of information to include when submitting a NIHR Stage 2 research application

As a guide, applicants should ensure they have included the necessary information prior to submitting their application.

  • appropriate and relevant involvement of patients/service user, carers and the public
  • a good quality plain English summary
  • a clear description of team member roles and contribution
  • a clear scientific abstract
  • a flow diagram (where appropriate) illustrating the study design/flow of participants (document upload)
  • a full and accurate detailed budget breakdown
  • a clear justification of costs/value for money
  • references (maximum 3 pages of A4 - document upload)
  • a clear Detailed Research Plan (document upload)
  • a CTU letter of support if required (document upload)
  • logic model or equivalent (document upload)
  • letter of support (document upload)
  • the support and agreement from the necessary supporting roles/signatories
  • a completed and approved SoECAT (document upload – where relevant)