AI and Racial and Ethnic Inequalities in Health and Care - Guidance for Applicants
A new national competition is being launched by NHSX’s AI Lab in partnership with the Health Foundation, and enabled by the NIHR, to harness AI addressing racial and ethnic inequalities faced in health and care in the UK. This one stage competition is open to UK-based Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), third sector organisations, NHS organisations or other providers of NHS or social care services, and not for profit organisations.
There are two categories to this call, outlined in detail below, against which applicants are invited to respond:
- Understanding and enabling opportunities to use AI to address racial health inequalities which focuses on leveraging opportunities to use AI to improve the health outcomes of minority ethnic communities in the UK.
- Optimising datasets, and improving AI development, testing, and deployment which focuses on creating the conditions to facilitate the adoption of AI that serves the health needs of minority ethnic communities, including through mitigating the risks of perpetuating and entrenching racial health inequalities.
Sub-Category 1: Understanding and enabling the opportunities to use AI to address inequalities
Innovation in AI may not benefit minority ethnic communities to the extent that it benefits the white majority population because of a lack of diversity at a strategic level and within research teams, as well as weak incentives to develop products for smaller markets. Despite significant investment in the field, there has been limited exploration of if and how AI might be utilised to address disparities and improve the health of minority ethnic communities. A core challenge here is how to better inform the research and development of AI solutions in order to enable innovation in AI that benefits the health needs of minority ethnic communities and/or can reduce disparities in health outcomes.
The focus of this category will be on encouraging approaches to innovation that are informed by the health needs of underserved communities and/or are bottom-up in nature, as well as better understanding the opportunities for AI to respond to the health needs of different minority ethnic groups. Potential projects might entail, but are not limited to, qualitative and quantitative evidence synthesis or exemplar development to examine if/how AI could be employed to address disparities, or how existing solutions could be adapted to improve accuracy for minority ethnic patients. Projects could also entail trialling initiatives that incentivise bottom-up innovation in AI in health and care from the perspective of minority ethnic communities, including patient and public involvement (PPI) or ethnographic studies to further an understanding of the specific challenges these communities face and/or their interactions with data-driven technology, in order to shape health outcomes.
The following are some examples of possible outputs of value, but this is far from an exhaustive list. We will consider other outputs that meet the stated objectives of focus for this category.
- An identification of health needs that are amenable to AI solutions, and innovations that could be adapted to work for minority ethnic communities.
- Transferable learnings from exemplar tech development.
- Engagement and involvement of minority communities and stakeholders in technology development.
Sub-Category 2: Optimising datasets, and improving AI development, testing and deployment
Issues of bias can influence the datasets integral to model development, resulting in AI solutions that do not work effectively or accurately for minority ethnic groups. Potential problems may relate to the under-representation of minority ethnic groups in training datasets, but could also pertain to issues of structural bias, such as the unjustified inclusion of factors that correlate with race. There is a clear need for interventions that prevent or address complex issues of bias in datasets.
In addition to addressing bias within datasets, it is necessary to target potential bias during the development, testing and deployment stages of the AI pipeline. The performance of algorithms for minority ethnic groups must also be effectively evaluated and monitored to ensure that these algorithms continue to work as intended for these populations and/or that they do not perpetuate inequalities.
This element of the research call will seek to support approaches that can aid in improving the quality and availability of datasets and their appropriate application for minority ethnic groups, as well as focusing on research that can support improvements in the development, performance, testing, and monitoring of AI models across patient populations. Projects could entail, but are not limited to, work that helps to improve the quality and representativeness of datasets for ‘training’ AI; approaches to facilitate the discoverability of diverse datasets and their appropriate application; research to improve or inform the use of different types of data for building AI models, including interdisciplinary analyses on how to model the complex intersection between the different determinants of health; computational approaches and technical analyses to prevent racial bias in modelling; and research that can help to inform guidelines, evaluation, and practice to address bias and promote equity in the stages of AI development, testing and deployment.
The following are some examples of possible outputs and their value, but this is far from an exhaustive list. We will consider other outputs that meet the stated objectives of focus for this category.
- Resources and improved understanding to enhance the quality and utilisation of datasets for training AI models.
- Novel understanding from research or techniques, e.g. computational approaches to avoid perpetuating inequalities by design and/or approaches to promote equity by design.
- New findings to inform best practice, guidance, and evaluation frameworks for AI development, testing and/or deployment.
Finally, while the focus on the research call is on optimising AI for minority ethnic groups, the call does not preclude projects whose activities and findings have applicability across different population groups in addition to minority ethnic populations. We are interested in learning how the findings of the proposed research activities could be applicable to other underserved groups.
Applicant and portal guidance
This guidance complements the application form and the Challenge Brief and is designed to help you complete your application to the AI and Racial and Ethnic Inequalities in Health and Care competition.
Application and Assessment process
The competition entails a single stage application form. The table below illustrates the individual steps which will support the process.
Screening for eligibility
Submitted applications will be screened against the eligibility criteria for the following sections:
Shortlisting of applications
Peer and Public review
Shortlisted applications will undergo independent expert peer and public review. Applicants will have access to the anonymised reviewers’ comments prior to the Panel meeting.
Panel assessment of shortlisted applications
Shortlisted applicants will be invited to present their project at the Panel meeting (10 minutes), followed by a Q&A session (15 minutes).
Panel outcomes will be ratified by NHSX and the Health Foundation. All applicants will be notified of the outcome and feedback will be provided.
Applications will be assessed against the following criteria:
- Ability to address health inequalities among minority ethnic populations
How well does the proposal address the challenge outlined in the brief? How strongly will the proposed research contribute to address inequalities in health among minority ethnic populations and/or circumvent well-documented challenges with the development, design and implementation of AI and data-driven algorithms which could amplify bias and risk exacerbating existing inequalities for minority groups?
- The proposed solution and level of innovation
Will the solution have a competitive advantage over standard of care and existing alternative solutions? How innovative is the proposal? Are the arrangements surrounding the use and development of Intellectual Property appropriate?
- Quality of the work plan
Are the project plan, deliverables and risk mitigation strategy appropriate?
- Patient and public involvement
Is involvement of patients, the public and end users appropriate and relevant?
- Strength of the project team
To what extent does the team have the right skills and experience to deliver the project?
- Value for money
Is the overall budget realistic and justified in terms of the aims and methods proposed? Does the funding amount present value for money with regard to potential impact?
- Equality, diversity and inclusion and Net Zero policies
Does the proposal consider equality, diversity and inclusion in its design? Does it align with the NHS target of net-zero emission by 2040?
The table below highlights the key application dates. Please note that we reserve the right to alter these dates if deemed required.
AI Ethics launch webinar including call-specific Q & A for applicants to address queries regarding the AI and Racial and Ethnic Inequalities in Health and Care application process (recorded webinars will be available on the NHS AI Virtual hub)
10 March 2021
Additional webinars/Q&A TBC
Panel meetings (including applicant presentation and Q&A)
Outcomes communicated to applicants (subject to Authority ratification)
01 October 2021
Proposals are expected to show:
- A commitment to involving members of the public and patients in the design and management of the research, evaluation or study.
- A commitment to actively engage in tackling healthcare inequalities, and in supporting diversity and inclusion, by including communities where the proposed innovation will make the biggest impact.
- Ability to demonstrate rights to access and use the data as required to deliver the proposed project, including but not limited to any clinical/patient data needed to train or validate any models or algorithms.
- A commitment to relevant standards. Where appropriate this might include: the AI Code of Conduct for data-driven health and care technology (for artificial intelligence systems used by the NHS), the NICE Evidence Standards Framework for digital health technologies, the NHS Digital Standards for commissioning or developing Personal Health Records
- Ability to demonstrate interoperability with existing NHS systems or a commitment to work towards and fund any relevant product development required to achieve interoperability. This includes ensuring the AI solution is vendor neutral.
What we do not fund
The following activities will not be considered for funding under this competition:
- Basic science (TRL1 space)
- Clinical or drug efficacy research, discovery, development and clinical trials
- Research which does not address one of the two subcategory areas.
Guidance for completing your application on the Programme Management Office Research Management System (PMO RMS) Portal
These notes should be read alongside your application, as they are designed to help you provide the information required.
Please keep the use of acronyms to a minimum. Only use acronyms where a term is mentioned frequently throughout the proposal. If you do choose to use an acronym, do not assume that the reader knows what it means, and be sure to define it, bearing in mind that individual sections of the application may be read separately during the selection process.
In order for your application to be accepted you must submit the minimum required information. This information includes all mandatory fields from the application form (as indicated with a red asterisk next to questions). If you do not complete this information, you will not be able to submit your application.
If you do not have all the answers you need to fully complete the application, you may save your progress using the ‘Save and Close’ button and return to the application process at a later date.
Guidance on the individual sections of the application form is provided in the following sections:
Section 1: Application Summary Information
Information entered into this section provides a summary of your application.
Please give details of the organisation which will be responsible if the project is funded. This may be a UK-based Higher Education Institution (HEI), third sector organisation, NHS organisation or provider of NHS or social care services, or not for profit organisation. Please note international organisations are not eligible to be the Host organisation. In order to be able to act as Host organisation, your organisation must be registered as a legal entity.
Please provide the title for the project. This should be descriptive, concise and contain keywords relevant to the project.
Please ensure that the correct category of the competition has been selected from the drop-down list.
Project start date
The envisaged project start date is 01 October 2021, subject to Authority ratification. The start date is provisional and will be confirmed by the Programme Management Office (PMO).
Research duration (months)
Projects should be between 12 and 24 months in duration.
Proposals under Sub-category 1 (funded by the Health Foundation) - ‘Understanding and enabling the opportunities to use AI to address inequalities’ can apply for between £175,000 and £275,000.
Please note, as a charity, the Health Foundation will fund only the full directly incurred costs of the research. They do not fund overheads. Furthermore, the research will be supported as a charitable award and as such is not liable for VAT. Where an award-holder requires sub-contracting an activity to a third party then VAT on the stated sub-contract is allowed and should be included within the budget for the award.
Proposals under Sub-category 2 (funded by NHSX’s AI Lab) - ‘Optimising datasets, and improving AI development, testing and deployment’ can apply for between £200,000 and £500,000.
Please note that indirect costs are eligible.
NHS support & treatment costs or external (not NHS) intervention costs
NHS support and treatment costs will not be funded by the Award but the funding panel will take these costs into account when considering the value for money of the proposed project.
Section 2: Lead Applicant Details
Information in this section is auto-populated from the ‘Manage my Details’ section within the Lead Applicant’s Programme Management Office RMS portal account, which should be updated and edited prior to submission. Visit the ORCID website to create an ORCID iD.
Section 3: The Project Team
Please note that all co-applicants should be invited to the application under this section. They will then need to confirm and approve their involvement.
Specify the role of the lead applicant as well as all co-applicants, providing a summary of their expertise and how it will be leveraged in this project. State clearly the particular contribution that each of the applicants will make towards the project as well as any patient and public leads. Time allocated to the project should be expressed as an FTE percentage (the time allocated during the period of the project indicated as a proportion of the working hours for a Full Time Equivalent position).
If, for any reason, salary costs of members of the team are not going to be sought via this application, it should be made clear how their contribution will be supported.
Joint Lead Applicant
Where appropriate, it is acceptable for the application to be led by Joint Lead Applicants. Justification should be given to demonstrate why more than one person would be required to lead this project and how the additional lead’s relevant expertise and track record adds value.
NOTE: For application/contracting purposes, the joint lead applicant will be counted as a co-applicant.
Co-applicants are individuals with responsibility for the day-to-day management and delivery of the project and should be added here. Where appropriate, co-applicants may come from other Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), third sector organisations, NHS organisations or providers of NHS or social care services, not for profit organisations or industry. Please note that co-applicants from industry will not be able to claim costs, it is expected that industry provides in-kind contribution (such as expertise, access to facilities, etc) to the project. Co-applicants may be based abroad but their inclusion must be justified.
Collaborators and subcontractors normally provide specific expertise on particular aspects of the project but do not share in the responsibility for the delivery of the project. Industry subcontractors are eligible but their inclusion must be justified. Please do not include collaborators in this section. Where necessary, collaborators should be described under ‘Section 5: Research Plan’.
Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) Co-applicants
We recognise and value the varied perspectives that patients/service users and carers bring to a project as applicants. In this section, please provide a summary of any relevant knowledge, skills and experience that you will draw upon to contribute to this project. We particularly encourage the inclusion of co-applicants with experience of working on equality and diversity initiatives in relation to health or social care.
For further information please access the 'Public Co-Applicants in Research' guidance.
There should be a named person with appropriate skills and experience who is responsible for leading the PPI element within the project. This role should be an adequately costed and resourced team member who is able to manage the PPI plans and related activities, as well as provide strategic leadership for involving communities across the full spectrum of the research study. Please see our guidance on definition and role of the designated PPI lead in a research team for examples of the activities a PPI lead might undertake..
IMPORTANT: All team members will need to register on the PMO RMS portal to participate as co-applicants on the application, after which they must both confirm and approve their participation; the application cannot be submitted without doing so.
A maximum of 10 co-applicants is permitted (which includes the joint lead applicant if listed).
Section 4: Plain English Summary
A plain English summary (max 450 words) is a clear explanation of your project. The plain English summary may be used to inform reviewers, including experts who might not have specialist knowledge of your field as well as members of the public of your funding application. If your application for funding is successful, the summary may be used on websites including the NHS AI Lab, the Health Foundation, NIHR or other websites.
Please make sure your summary is free of jargon and easy to read and provides an overview of your proposal.
It is helpful to involve patients / carers / service users / practitioners / members of the public in developing a plain English summary.
When writing your summary consider including the following information where appropriate:
- aim(s) of the project
- background to the project
- design and methods used
- patient and public involvement
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.
For further support and advice on writing a plain English summary, please contact your local Research Design Service (where applicable).
Section 5: Research Plan
Research Proposal (max 750 words)
Please clearly describe your proposed research, addressing all the headings in the application form. Avoid use of technical jargon, or where needed, provide definitions.
- Please describe the problem you are addressing, the research proposed and how it will help to improve the stated challenges. Please clearly specify why this research is important in terms of improving the health and/or wellbeing of the public and/or patients and health and social care services
- Please clearly explain how the proposed research will contribute to addressing inequalities in health among UK minority ethnic populations and circumvent well-documented challenges with the development, design and implementation of AI and data-driven algorithms which could amplify bias and risk exacerbating existing inequalities for minority groups
- Please state the current development status (your entry point) of the proposed solution
- Please summarise existing evidence and reference published literature in support of this proposal
2. Aims and Objectives
- Please articulate the aims of the project
- Please state the expected measurable outcomes of the project and how the research will benefit patients, the NHS and/or the Social Care sector and the wider population, realising safe, effective, and beneficial development of AI for minority groups
Research plan and methods (max 2000 words)
Please describe the individual work packages within your project, including key measurable deliverables, how these will be delivered, and by whom.
Describe the key risks associated with the project alongside mitigation plans. Ensure that these risks are considered when defining the milestones.
Please also attach a Gantt Chart under Section 7: Uploads.
Please list key milestones for the project along with timings for completion.
The milestones should be comprehensive, apply objective success criteria (e.g. ‘all tests delivered to 99% accuracy’ or ‘for statistical significance 2000 samples must be processed’). Appropriate record keeping and reporting are essential, but reports are not in themselves the main goal of the project.
Intellectual property (IP) and exploitation strategy
The definition of Intellectual Property (IP) includes patents, trademarks, designs, copyright (such as new software, checklists, scales, protocols, questionnaires, toolkits, guidelines or similar), research tools (such as data analysis techniques, assays, biomarkers, materials or equipment and devices) and (clinical) data.
Please provide details of any relevant existing background IP that will be utilised during the project and the current ownership arrangements, including patents or patent applications.
Please provide details of any expected foreground IP which will be produced or improved during the project and how this IP will be captured and managed.
Provide details of any Freedom to Operate (FTO) search that has been conducted to date.
Please provide details of any competitor technologies or market alternatives and the relative benefits of your proposed technology that fits the defined area of development. Define and clearly articulate your technology/service unique selling points.
Where possible, consider how your solution will be exploited outside of your organisation and articulate the strategy to achieve implementation and adoption in the longer term, including but not limited to investment that is likely to be needed beyond the project.
Dissemination, outputs and anticipated impact (max 750 words)
This competition aims to fund research that has the potential to be of significant benefit to the NHS, social care, patients, care users, carers and the public. To support this, applicants should consider how they will achieve impact from the outset. This helps to identify potential impact and beneficiaries, and plan processes by which the project can directly, or incrementally over time, lead to change. Please provide an overview of your plans to disseminate your research including:
- How you will inform and engage patients, the NHS, social care systems, and the wider population about your work.
- How your outputs will enter our health and care system or society as a whole.
- What further funding or support will be required if this research is successful (e.g. from NIHR, other government departments, charity or industry).
- The possible barriers for further research, development, adoption and implementation.
- What you think the impact of your research will be and for whom.
Patient and public involvement (max 500 words)
Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) is an accepted and recommended working practice within healthcare research ensuring that solutions are co-produced with patients, meet patient needs and ensure that there is an acceptability among end-users. Applicants are expected to develop a thorough PPI plan that demonstrates how patients, service users and/or the wider public/communities will be actively involved as equal partners in research activities during the project and how their perspectives will be included in the design, Governance and management of the project so the end result will be acceptable to them.
Applicants should actively demonstrate they are engaging with the relevant patient/user group(s), particularly those from underserved communities and include robust and impactful plans for involving patients and communities, particularly those who face the most health inequalities.
For further guidance please visit:
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and Net Zero Policy (max 200 words)
The NHS aims to provide health and high quality care for all, now and for future generations. The target for the emissions we control directly (the NHS Carbon Footprint), is to be net zero by 2040, with an ambition to reach an 80% reduction by 2028 to 2032. For the emissions we can influence (our NHS Carbon Footprint Plus), the target is to be net zero by 2045, with an ambition to reach an 80% reduction by 2036 to 2039. Read the NHS England report Delivering a ‘Net Zero’ National Health Service.
Please explain how the proposed technology enhances equity of access (e.g. takes account of underserved ethnic or economic groups) along with the steps to understand and alleviate potential negative impacts, and how it will contribute to net-zero emission by 2040.
Section 6 – Detailed Budget
Please note the funding limits and guidance for each sub-category:
For Sub-Category 1 - ‘Understanding and enabling the opportunities to use AI to address inequalities’: funded by the Health Foundation, funding available per project £175,000 to £275,000 maximum.
For Sub-category 2 - ‘Optimising datasets, and improving AI development, testing and deployment’: funded by NHSX’s AI Lab, funding available per project £200,000 to £500,000 maximum.
The AI and Racial and Ethnic Inequalities in Health and Care finance form should be completed and attached to the application.
For applications involving the recruitment, consenting and/or treatment of patient participants, you are required to upload a Schedule of Events Cost Attribution Template (SoECAT) with your application. Contact your LCRN as soon as possible to discuss NHS Support and Treatment costs. Further information can be found in the finance guidance and on the excess treatment costs webpage.
Section 7 – Uploads
A single-sided A4 page should be attached listing all references used in the application.
A Gantt Chart detailing the schedule for the completion of work, including key milestones and deliverables should be attached here.
If required, an additional supporting document can be submitted with your application form (1 A4 page, e.g. a flow diagram illustrating the study design and the flow of participants, diagrams, pictures etc.). If submitting a flow diagram, applicants should also describe complex interventions and controls as accurately and fully as possible within their diagram.
Please note that uploads must be provided as a Word or PDF document.
Section 8 – Administrative contact details
Please provide the details of an administrative lead as a secondary point of contact for any queries relating to this application.
Section 9 – Research and Development office contact details
Please provide the details of someone in the R&D office (or equivalent) to notify of the outcome of this application and any feedback.
Section 10 – Acknowledgement, review and submit
Please declare any conflicts or potential conflicts of interest that you or your co-applicants may have in undertaking this research, including any relevant personal, non-personal and commercial interest that could be perceived as a conflict of interest.
Director of Finance
The assigned Director of Finance (or equivalent) must review the financial information and confirm that the host organisation is prepared to carry out the research at the stated costs. The access controlled box must be checked before the application can be submitted.
Agreement to terms and conditions
The lead applicant is required to confirm that the information given on the form is complete and correct and that they will be actively engaged in this research and responsible for its overall management.
Ensure all information listed in the checklist in included in the application
Section 11 - Validation Summary
Please follow the steps on the screen in order to validate and submit your application.
Once you have completed the validation requirements and invited co-applicants have confirmed and approved their participation, you may be ready to submit the application. To do so, 'Save and Close' the application and then click ‘Submit’.
Please note that your submission will not be considered complete until all applicants have both confirmed and approved the application and the ‘Submit’ button becomes available and is then used.
Once submitted, you will receive an automated email containing the acknowledgment that we have received your application. The completed application can be viewed or downloaded from the PMO RMS Portal, however, you will no longer have the ability to edit the application.
The application deadline is 1pm 28 April 2021. Only those applications received before the competition deadline will be accepted. PLEASE DO NOT SEND COMPLETED APPLICATIONS BY POST OR BY ANY OTHER MEANS THAN THROUGH THE PORTAL.
For more information please see ‘Racial and Ethnic Inequalities’ tab on the artificial intelligence webpage. Questions on the challenges and scope of this AI and Racial and Ethnic Inequalities in Health and Care competition should be addressed to the Programme Management Office via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Further guidance on using the PMO RMS
Applications must be made through the PMO RMS online application portal.
Register as a new user
Only registered users of the PMO RMS application portal can apply. Applicants new to using the application portal should register as a new user. Once logged into your account the application portal home page is the starting point to create applications, access co-applications and to update contact information and professional details.
- As a new user, on the right-hand side of the homepage, select “Register”
- Enter your organisation email address and confirm. Your email address will become your sign-in username. Please use your organisational (NOT personal) email address for this. Select “Next”
- Enter your details in all fields and select ‘Next’. Note: red dot denotes a mandatory field which must be completed.
- Ensure the Consent question entitled “Communication Preferences” at the bottom of the page is answered.
- Select the “Terms and Conditions” and, once read, tick the confirmation box.
- Click “Submit”
- An email containing a link to create your password to subsequently gain access to the system will be sent to the previously entered email address once your registration details have been approved by a grant administrator. Please allow two working days for the registration to be completed.
- Please add email@example.com to your trusted senders as these emails are prone to Spam or Junk folders.
In order to register successfully, please comply with the following:
- We insist on institutional emails if available – This is a double check that the contact is who they say they are and represent the organisation registered with (anyone can create a Gmail/Hotmail account and claim to be someone).
- We do not accept generic / group emails – The RMS is used for conflict checks and will flag these. If numerous people are using one email conflicts aren’t picked up and we will not know who is using the system.
- We do not accept multiple accounts – Again to ensure conflict checking is effective.
- Registered Organisations – The UK associated organisation must be registered / available on Companies house, Charity Commissions, UK Register of Learning Providers or Organisations Data Service. Funding will only be given to organisations which are suitably credit checked using these.
- Sole Traders – The PMO does not fund sole traders as they will not pass financial checks.
Access the PMO RMS
- Enter your email address and password and click “log in”. If you are accessing the system for the first time, the Basic Information page will display. Once the relevant fields have been completed, press Save button
- The account home page will now display indicating access to the system.
- From the PMO home page click the “Forgotten Password?” hyperlink.
- Enter the email address with which you registered and click submit
- An email containing instructions for resetting your password will be sent to the registered email address.
Please note, persistent use (>3 attempts) of an incorrect password will lock your account; this is to protect you from attempts to access your data by a third party. If this happens you can request a new password via the forgotten password function.
The RMS Home Page
Managing my details
Select “Manage My Details” from the left-hand menu
Lead applicants and project partners (team members, clinical partners or sub-contractors) can manage their basic contact information and curriculum vitae (CV) through the ‘Manage my Details’ link on their application portal home page. Lead applicant and project partners’ contact information is integrated by the application portal into the relevant fields during the application process.
Creating and completing an online application
The lead applicant must initially create the new application.
- Select “My Applications” from the left-hand menu and click the “New Application” button
- A list of open funding rounds will display along with further information about the competition.
- Selecting “Apply” will open an application form for completion. Red dot denotes a mandatory field
From the application summary page, the application can be edited by clicking on the ‘Edit’ button. The different sections of the application form can then be accessed via the list of hyperlinked buttons on the left-hand side of the application portal webpage. You can move from page to page either by using the ‘Previous’ and ‘Next’ buttons, or using the list on the left-hand side of the web page.
Most questions are associated with contextual help buttons and clicking on them will open up pop-up windows containing brief guidance notes that supplement the published guidance for applicants. It is strongly advised that applicants refer to the published guidance first and then use contextual help as they complete and review each question, as contextual help is not designed to replace it. Mandatory questions are flagged with a red dot.
The research team can collaborate with the lead applicant to edit the content in the application by being invited to be a team member or a clinical partner through the Team section (section 5) of the application form.
The lead applicant can use the search tool to find project partners and then to invite them to join the application. The application portal will automatically dispatch an email inviting the project partners to confirm their participation in the application. The invited project partners can then decide whether to accept the invitation and consent to the application being submitted jointly in their name. They will need to log into the application portal and follow the links to ‘Confirm’ their involvement on the co-application summary page. Once confirmed, the project partner will be granted access to edit the online application form.
All project partners must not only ‘Confirm’ but also ‘Approve’ their invitation to participate in the application electronically on the co-application summary page in advance of the submission deadline.
The system will prevent your project partners accessing your application at the same time as you. This stops applicants and co-applicants inadvertently making changes to the same part of the application at the same time and overwriting each other’s work.
Remember to save your work
You will be prompted to save your work if you leave the browser in application editing mode. We recommend you save your work regularly to minimise the risk posed by any local computer or internet problems. You can save and return to the application form as often as you like prior to submission.
Exiting and returning to work on your form
Should you wish to exit your form, you can return at any time; simply log in using your username and password and select ‘My Applications’ from the menu. You will then be presented with a list of all the applications you are currently involved with as well as providing details as to their stage in the submission process.
Validation and submission of the form
The lead applicant can review the progress of their application at any time by selecting the ‘View/Print’ option on the application summary page to generate the application as a PDF File.
When the application form is complete, it must be validated prior to submission. The validation step is a check run by the application portal to assess whether all the mandatory questions contain information. It will provide a list of links to any parts of the form where corrections or additional content are needed.
Once the application has been validated successfully and no further corrections are needed, the lead applicant can submit the application by clicking on the ‘Submit’ button on the lower right-hand side of the application summary page.
A programme specific reference number will be assigned to the application once it has been submitted. After the relevant competition round closes, the application will automatically enter the process of being considered for funding.
If you have any questions regarding your application, please email firstname.lastname@example.org