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Doctoral Local Authority Fellowship Scheme Applicant Guidance Notes 2021

 

Contents

Introduction

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is pleased to announce the launch of the NIHR Doctoral Local Authority Fellowship (DLAF) scheme, a pilot scheme designed to support the academic ambitions of individuals wishing to develop as health and/or social care researchers whilst remaining employed, or at least engaged, within local authorities or local authority supporting services.

This document provides full details of this pilot scheme, describes the means by which applications for DLAFs should be submitted, and details how they will be assessed.

Background

The NIHR Academy recently secured funds that, through its developing Local Authority Academic Fellowship (LAAF) Programme, will support local authorities and local authority supporting services to become more research active.

A growing body of evidence indicates that research active organisations deliver better services and outputs than those that are not. The LAAF Programme will, over time, increase the capacity for local authority settings to generate and support research by offering research training fellowships to individuals who intend to build careers within them. It is hoped that LAAF Programme awardees will identify and pursue topics of relevance and importance to their employers and services; only such activity has the potential to result in adoptable findings and drive the perpetuation of research activity beyond the terms of the fellowships themselves.

The LAAF Programme will pilot the Pre-doctoral Local Authority Fellowship scheme and this Doctoral Local Authority Fellowship scheme in 2021, and may offer complementary post-doctoral funding opportunities in the future. By offering this tiered suite of similarly focussed funding opportunities to researchers embedded within local authority settings, the LAAF programme will contribute to the development of a credible and valued ‘practitioner academic’ career pathway within local authorities and local authority supporting services.

The role of Practitioner Academics

Self-sustaining research activity within service providing or policy making organisations is dependent on the employment of practitioner academics. These individuals divide their time between university affiliated research and practice or policy roles.
Some practitioner academic roles, such as that undertaken by the medical Consultant Professor, are well established and understood, but many others are still emerging. As the benefits of a research active workforce become increasingly appreciated, practitioner academic roles are becoming more widespread, and initiatives such as the LAAF Programme aim to accelerate this movement further.

The research questions formulated by practitioner academics are informed by experience and the reality of the practice or policy roles they undertake. As active researchers in fields of relevance to their own continued practice, practitioner academics are also well positioned to critically appraise and utilise research findings in the development of evidence based practice and service redesign. As such, practitioner academics are uniquely placed to make invaluable contributions to the development and maintenance of optimum and adaptive services, particularly when their work is informed by appropriately acknowledged organisational needs and supported by the organisations in question.

Investment in a practitioner academic career infrastructure has the potential to transform services, inspire staff to develop and innovate, attract and retain talent in a competitive market, and to address quality, governance and safety issues. Such developments benefit individual staff members and their organisations, and can ultimately play a role in accelerating improvements in services provision for users and the public.

The aim of the LAAF Programme, then, is to facilitate the realisation of these benefits for all concerned.

The NIHR Doctoral Local Authority Fellowship Scheme

The DLAF scheme supports the graduate employees of local authorities and non-NHS local authority supporting services to undertake research doctorates (PhDs) whilst remaining employed within, or at least salaried to work in support of, a local authority setting.

A DLAF supports the award holder to develop their research skills and their professional skillsets in parallel; the latter through dedicated time for practice and/or through other activities that support their development as a practitioner. The DLAF Scheme differs, therefore, from the separate NIHR Doctoral Fellowship Scheme, which is open to anyone wishing to develop health and/or social care research skills but does not support or place emphasis on parallel professional development.

Following completion of a DLAF, the awardee is expected to be able to show evidence of:

  • Completion of the research proposed in the application and funded through the fellowship
  • Award of a PhD by research
  • Completion of a substantial, robust and wide-ranging training and development programme
  • Enhanced research skills
  • An enhanced professional skillset
  • Publications and other written outputs arising from the fellowship
  • Involvement in collaborative relationships
  • Resultant impact, or a plan for realising resultant impact, on the matter addressed by the funded research

Evidence of the above will be sought by the NIHR Academy through interim and final reports.

Eligibility Requirements for the Doctoral Local Authority Fellowship Scheme

Applicants to the DLAF Scheme must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Applicants must hold a contract of employment* in England with either a:
    1. local authority
    2. non-NHS provider of local authority commissioned services; or a
    3. non-profit organisation (such as a charity) that provides services on behalf of a local authority, or that otherwise supports a local authority in meeting its objectives.
  • Applicants cannot be employed by an NHS organisation or by a provider of predominately NHS commissioned services (by monetary value)
  • Applicants cannot hold registration with the General Dental Council as a dentist, or with the General Medical Council as a doctor
  • Applicants must be intending to continue working in their current sector over the course of DLAF
  • Applicants are required to hold a First Class or Upper Second Class bachelor’s degree or equivalent. Applicants without a First Class or Upper Second Class bachelor’s degree or equivalent must instead hold a Masters degree
  • Applicants must have research experience and/or research training that prepares them to undertake a PhD (research doctorate)
  • Successful applicants must register for a PhD (research doctorate) at a recognised university or university college in England. Applicants who have already registered for a doctorate (professional or research), or for an MPhil with the expectation that this will progress to a PhD, are only eligible to apply if they will not have been registered for longer than 12 months Whole Time Equivalent by the proposed point of DLAF uptake.
  • Individuals who are already registered on a professional doctorate may apply for a DLAF but would be required to transfer their professional doctorate and register for a PhD. This scheme does not support the undertaking of professional doctorates
  • Applicants must propose research that lies within the remit of the NIHR (see below)

Only one application to the NIHR Local Authority Academic Fellowship Programme is permitted per round year. Multiple applications to one scheme or applications at more than one level (i.e. to the Pre-doctoral Local Authority Fellowship scheme and the Doctoral Local Authority Fellowship scheme) will not be accepted.

Applicants may not make concurrent applications for a DLAF and an ICA Programme Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowship. The second of the two applications to be submitted would be disregarded without consultation.

Prospective applicants unsure of their eligibility should contact the NIHR at academy-awards@nihr.ac.uk before embarking on the application process.
Individuals not eligible to apply to this scheme may be eligible for the separate NIHR Doctoral Fellowship Scheme.

*Fixed term contracts of any duration are acceptable, however, honorary contracts or bank work cannot be accepted. 

The NIHR Remit

Only research that lies within the remit of the NIHR is eligible for funding by the DLAF Scheme:

  • The overall remit of the NIHR is early translational (experimental medicine), clinical and applied health research, and social care research
  • For personal doctoral-level awards the proposal:
    • must be for clinical and applied health research, or social care research
    • must have clear potential for directly benefiting patients/service users, carers and the public (but recognising the training element of the research)
    • can involve: patients/service users and/or carers; samples or data from these groups; other people who are not patients/service users and/or carers; populations; health technology assessment; or health or care services research
  • At doctoral-level, early translational (experimental medicine) research is funded through the NIHR early translational (experimental medicine) infrastructure and particularly the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) training programmes
  • For post-doctoral awards, early translational (experimental medicine) research will be within remit. A clear and plausible path to patient/service user, carer or public benefit must, however, be demonstrable
  • NIHR does not support basic research or work involving animals or their tissue
  • Iftheworkinvolvesbiomarkers:
    • research that tests whether application of new knowledge can improve treatment or patient outcomes, and has obvious direct potential benefit, is within remit; this might include application of known biomarkers, or other prognostic factors, to refine and test novel therapeutic strategies
    • research that aims only to elucidate mechanisms underpinning disease, or identify risk factors for disease or prognosis (including search for biomarkers) is out of remit
  • The NIHR is also prepared to support high quality research into 'medical education' (defined broadly as education for healthcare providers) and methodological research. It is expected that the research will have the potential to have practical application and the potential impact on patients/service users, carers and the public must be made clear

Note: Research that pertains to the social care of children lies within remit, despite DHSC not holding responsibility for such care itself.

Further Information in the form of FAQs about the NIHR remit can be found in Annex A.

Professional Skills Development

A key feature of the DLAF Scheme is that awardees are supported and expected to develop as a practitioner and as a researcher in parallel.  Applicants must be able to demonstrate how they will develop their skills as a practitioner over the period of the fellowship.  Applicants are advised to take account of their current skillset and propose a professional development plan that is appropriate to their level of seniority.  Senior practitioners may choose to propose activities that will ensure the maintenance rather than the development of their professional skillsets.  Because this practice time is salaried through the fellowship, making the fellow supernumerary, applicants are expected to negotiate practice roles that meet their own needs as well as the needs of their employer.

A Doctoral Local Authority Fellow is required to spend approximately 20% of their fellowship hours undertaking clinical/professional practice and development.

The Host Organisation and Partner Organisation

The Host Organisation

The DLAF is a NIHR personal research training award.  As such, Fellowship proposals are written and submitted directly by the prospective award holder.  The NIHR cannot, however, contract with the Fellow directly and, therefore, all applicants require the support of a Host Organisation

Any organisation wishing to host a DLAF must be able to provide the applicant with a contract of employment for the hours and duration of the award.  The Host Organisation may or may not be the applicant’s current employer.

Examples of the contracts are available to download from the NIHR website.

The Host Organisation for a DLAF must be based in England and can be a:

  1. local authority
  2. non-NHS provider of local authority commissioned services
  3. non-profit organisation (such as a charity) that provides services on behalf of a local authority, or that otherwise supports a local authority in meeting its objectives
  4. Higher Education Institution (HEI)*

*The named HEI for a DLAF must be an English university or university college and employ the proposed primary academic supervisor.

The Partner Organisation

DLAF award holders, who are developing practitioner academic careers, require support from a local authority / local authority supporting organisation and a HEI, which will work together to support their Fellowship and their developing practitioner academic career.

If the proposed Host Organisation is not an English university or university college. (i.e. of type 1, 2 or 3 above), then the Partner Organisation must be an English university or university college.

If the proposed Host Organisation is an English university or university college, then the Partner Organisation must be an English:

  1. local authority
  2. non-NHS provider of local authority commissioned services
  3. non-profit organisation (such as a charity) that provides services on behalf of a local authority, or that otherwise supports a local authority in meeting its objectives
    Please note that if the applicant proposes a HEI Host Organisation then they may need to arrange an honorary contract with the Partner organisation for the hours and duration of the award

The Partnership

The Host Organisation and Partner Organisation are expected to show a commitment towards the objectives of the scheme.  Both organisations must ensure that the award holder is not expected to undertake any additional roles or work that would erode the time available to undertake the approved training and development as detailed in the DLAF application. 

As part of the application review, the DLAF Selection Committee will assess the support that the Host Organisation and Partner Organisation will provide to the applicant to develop their practitioner academic career.  Applicants are advised to consider this assessment criterion when identifying suitable organisations to support their DLAF.

Scope of Fellowship Employment Options

The Host Organisation must agree to provide the applicant with a substantive contract of employment for the hours and duration of the award in its entirety, and, ideally, be capable of fulfilling the role of research sponsor as set out in the UK Policy Framework for Health & Social Care Research.

Further guidance on the roles and responsibilities of a research sponsor can be found on the Health Research Authority’s (HRA) website. Only if the Host Organisation cannot act as research sponsor may the Partner Organisation do so.

Applicants must propose to commence the DLAF on the 1st April 2022, 1st May 2022, 1st June 2022, 1st July 2022, 1st August 2022 or the 1st September 2022. Fellowships cannot be deferred without very good reason and the consent of the NIHR.

Applicants must propose to undertake the DLAF either:

  1. Full-time (1.0 WTE) for 36 months
  2. Part-time (between 0.95 and 0.5 WTE at one of ten available 0.05 increments)
WTEDuration (months)
0.95 38
0.9 40
0.85 42
0.8 45
0.75 48
0.7 51
0.65 55
0.6 60
0.55 65
0.5 72

The scheme is unable to support awards of any other duration or profile.  Activities undertaken outside of the contracted fellowship hours are at the fellow’s discretion and are not funded by the fellowship.

A DLAF includes a requirement that practice be undertaken within it, and applicants planning a part-time fellowship purely in order to undertake additional (non-fellowship) practice should consider the impact of this on their future academic career trajectory and, thus, on the competitiveness of their application. Applicants are advised, therefore, to indicate if their proposal for a part-time fellowship has been driven, even in part, by the preference of their employer and the needs of their service.

This is not, obviously, a consideration that individuals proposing a part-time fellowship for any other reason need make. Applicants who, for personal reasons, already work part-time (or, indeed, anticipate working part-time in the near future) are more than welcome to propose a part-time fellowship.

Scope of Funding

  1. The Fellowship may be undertaken on a full-time or part-time basis. Activities undertaken outside of the Fellowship are at the fellow’s discretion and will not be funded by the Fellowship
  2. A DLAF is an individual training award and will only offer funding to cover the salary costs of the fellow, their PhD tuition fees, and the costs of an appropriate research project and training and development programme
  3. Whilst this personal award may support 'shared staff' (e.g. a statistician or software developer) to undertake specialist work that the fellow is unqualified to undertake, it does not fund generic ‘research assistant’ time
  4. DLAFs have been designed to support aspiring practitioner academics. A DLAF requires the fellow to undertake practice within the hours of the fellowship
  5. DLAFs are not project or programme grants, therefore, extensions to the duration of awards to allow for completion of research and/or training and development are not permitted. This does not affect suspensions of awards to allow for periods of parental, adoption or sickness leave
  6. If applicants are successful in being awarded an NIHR research training award whilst simultaneously holding another NIHR award, they will be asked to decide which award they would like to continue with, and will be withdrawn from the other
  7. The costs that will be met by a DLAF differ slightly depending on the type of employing Host Organisation that is chosen by the applicant. These costs are summarised in the table below.

Percentages of DLAF costs funded

DLAF CostsHigher Education InstitutionsAny local authority setting
Salaries 80% 100%
Travel, subsistence and conference fees 80% (excepting conference related costs paid at 100%) 100%
Equipment
Consumables
Public involvement and engagement
Other specific costs needed to support the research
80% 100%
Training and Development 100% 100%
HEI indirect costs (estates charges and other indirect costs) 80% 0

Additional Points to Consider When Preparing a DLAF Application

The NIHR Academy can advise applicants on their eligibility and on completing the application form. The NIHR Academy cannot, however, comment on the design and/or methodology of specific research projects. An applicant’s local NIHR Research Design Service may be able to provide advice on developing a suitable research proposal. It is highly recommended that applicants contact the Research Design Service at the earliest opportunity.

Irrespective of the research methods proposed, applicants should provide a full theory-based justification for their choice of methods, detail their experiences of utilising these methods, detail any training they hope to undertake in the use of the chosen methods and identify the relevant experiences of their proposed supervisory team.
Research projects undertaken as part of a DLAF may be eligible for inclusion on the NIHR Portfolio and, as a result, for associated NIHR CRN support. Applicants should speak to their proposed Host Organisation’s R&D Office about this in the first instance.

Applications for NIHR research training awards differ from applications to other NIHR funding streams, such as the HTA and RfPB Programmes. In applications for NIHR research training awards, the research project proposal does not stand alone, but is part of a package of elements expected to provide an excellent training experience that will allow the successful applicant to take his / her skills and experiences to a higher level. Thus, along with the research proposal, NIHR selection committees will assess the abilities, academic trajectory, existing experience, commitment to a career in health and/or social care research, ambition and aspirations of the applicant, the standards in the research training environment, and the plans for explicit training in research methods. The research proposal provides a framework for research experience so has to be of high quality, but a good research proposal will not be supported if other elements are weak.

NIHR will only support primary research* where the proposed research is informed by a review of the existing evidence.

If your application includes primary research then it should include reference to the existing evidence and explain how this evidence has informed the proposed research. Where a systematic review already exists that summarises the available evidence this should be referenced, as well as including reference to any relevant literature published subsequent to that systematic review. Where no such systematic review exists it is expected that the applicant will undertake an appropriate review of the currently available and relevant evidence (using as appropriate a predetermined and described methodology that systematically identifies, critically appraises and then synthesises the available evidence) and present a summary of the findings of this in their proposal. All applicants must also include reference to relevant on-going studies, e.g. from trial registries.

The selection committee’s expectations of the application, including prior work to support the research proposal, will vary with the seniority of the award. At early career stages (up to and including the first postdoctoral level), plans to perform or update a systematic review may be included as part of the training award, provided that the proposal is also informed by any existing evidence, and that existing systematic reviews are referenced. The rationale for this is that the systematic review provides a training experience in a research methodology – evidence synthesis. However, the review also needs to be justified within the context of the research proposal (and not be too ambitious or perfunctory e.g. where there are likely to be no studies to synthesise).

*Primary Research defined as: Original research conducted to collect new data to answer a research problem.

Application Procedure and Selection Process

Fellowships will be awarded following open competition. The selection process and subsequent administration of the fellowships will be managed by the NIHR.
All applications must be submitted via the NIHR Academy online Award Management System.

The NIHR LAAF Programme uses an adapted single stage version of the NIHR Standard Application Form (SAF), and application forms must be submitted by 1pm on the 15th June 2021.

Please give yourself sufficient time to obtain signatory approvals before the deadline. No extensions for signatory approval will be granted.

All components of a fully approved application, including supporting documents (e.g. references, CTU support letter), must be submitted by the deadline. No additional supporting documents will be accepted after the deadline.

All documents must be submitted in English.

The selection process and subsequent Fellowships will be managed by the NIHR Academy.

Following the submission deadline, the NIHR Academy will check applications for completeness and eligibility, and distribute eligible applications to members of the selection committee.

The selection committee will assess all eligible applications (using the Assessment Criteria listed in this document). Applications will only be sent for external peer review if deemed necessary by the reviewers.

Applicants will be informed of the outcome of selection committee meetings by email when all required processes are complete. No outcome indications will be given in advance.

Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed by selection committee members. Interviewees will be asked to give a 5 minute presentation, followed by 20 minutes of questioning.

The Selection Committee will make recommendations for funding that will be considered by the Director of the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) Science, Research and Evidence (SRE) Directorate.

If applicants are successful in being awarded a DLAF whilst simultaneously being assessed for another NIHR research training award, they will be required to choose between the two and to abandon one.

Fellowships cannot be deferred.

Key Dates

Application Submission Deadline: 1pm on the 15th June 2021

Shortlisting: September 2022

Applicant Interviews: November 2022

Earliest Uptake: 1st April 2022

Latest Uptake: 1st September 2022

Assessment Criteria

Applications are assessed by the Selection Committee using the following criteria:

When assessing the applicant

  • The quality and relevance of the applicant’s recent and overall experience as a practitioner
  • The quality and relevance of the applicant’s research experience and research outputs
  • The evidenced commitment and potential of the applicant to develop as a practitioner academic

When assessing the research proposal

  • The quality of the proposed research, its suitability as a PhD project, and its potential to make a positive and replicable impact on associated health and/or social care
  • The extent to which the Fellowship will support the development of the applicant’s skills as a practitioner and an academic
  • The quality, scope and relevance of the review of existing evidence
  • The appropriateness and level of public/community involvement and engagement
  • The appropriateness and level of professional/organisational involvement and engagement
  • The quality of the plain English summary

When assessing the proposed host site(s), training programme and supervision

  • The quality of the host research group, and their appropriateness to the development of the applicant’s academic career
  • The extent to which the local authority / local authority supporting partner will support the applicant to pursue and develop a practitioner academic career
  • The appropriateness of the proposed academic and practice based supervision
  • The feasibility and appropriateness of the management and support arrangements proposed by the hosts, including the arrangements for ensuring protected time for each of the fellowship’s requisite components
  • The quality of the proposed training and development programme
  • Evidence that the partnership of supporting organisations have a plan to support the applicant beyond the period of the fellowship as a practitioner academic

In addition to assessing the above, the Selection Committee will also take the appropriateness and value for money of the funds requested into consideration.

The NIHR strongly recommends that you remain mindful of these assessment criteria, and return to them, when developing your application.

Registering, Completing and Submitting an Application

All applications must be completed and submitted via the NIHR Academy online application system (ARAMIS).

Registering on ARAMIS

Before an application can be started, prospective applicants are required to create an account on ARAMIS. Applicants will be asked to supply a valid email address and to complete some basic information.  Once this has been submitted, applicants will receive an email confirming their registration and a temporary password.  Applicants should follow the instructions in the email to log on to the system.

Once signed into the system, applicants can update various details including their CV (in ‘Manage my Details’) and publication record (in ‘My Research Outputs’) and apply for any open competitions.

Applications can be started via selecting ‘My Applications’ and ‘New Application’. The application form for the scheme of interest can then be selected from the list provided.

Please note – there are three doctoral fellowship competitions open concurrently (an ICA Programme Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowship competition, an NIHR Fellowships Programme Doctoral Fellowship competition and this NIHR LAAF Programme Doctoral Local Authority Fellowship competition).  Please ensure that you are applying for the correct fellowship.

After answering all of the eligibility questions, applicants will be able to start completing the online form.  Applicants must ensure they have read all of the available guidance text including this document as well as any online instructions thoroughly before starting on the form. 

Completing the Application Form

After answering some high-level eligibility questions you will receive full access to the online application form.  Please make sure that you continue to refer to all available guidance, including this document, whilst completing the form.

The deadline for this call is 1pm on the 15th June 2021

All participants and signatories must have completed their sections and actions by the submission deadline.

Please note: In addition to the above guidance, information to support the completion of each section of the application form is provided below (“Application Form Specific Guidance”). 

Applicants should ensure they are referring to the relevant guidance when completing each question on the form.

You are advised to validate your application regularly, and between entering information into different sections. You will find a 'Validation Summary' option in the left-hand menu. This section will detail any points within your application that are incomplete or incorrectly presented. Failing to validate your answers may result in you being unable to submit your application by the required deadline.

If you are copying pre-prepared text into a free text box with a word limit, please be aware that different word counting programs may give different results. It is the word count in the application system that will be used. The validation system may advise you if you have exceeded a word limit.

ORCID Registration

The NIHR is an ORCID member and requires all its funded researchers to hold an ORCID iD; this persistent digital identifier distinguishes individual researchers. Applicants must include their own ORCID iD in their application. Without the applicant’s ORCID iD, an application cannot be validated and submitted.
 
The “personal details” section of your application (which includes the ORCID iD) is automatically populated from the “Basic Information” section of the 'Manage My Details' page of your ARAMIS account.
 
The application and all associated documents must be submitted in English.

Submitting the application form

Once the applicant has completed their sections of the form and the Participants and Signatories (see below) have made their contributions, the applicant is required to ‘Submit’ the application to the Signatories for final sign off before the closing date.

Applicants can only ‘Submit’ an application for final sign off by the signatories when:

  • all mandatory sections of the application form are complete
  • all participants have agreed to be part of your application
  • all signatories have agreed to their role and made their contributions

Individuals undertaking particular Signatory roles are required to complete certain sections of the application form.  It is strongly recommended that applicants complete their application well in advance of the deadline to allow these individuals enough time to complete the relevant sections and declarations.  Signatories who are required to complete part of the application form can do so at any time once they have agreed to participate.

Participants and Signatories

Applicants are required to supply the names and email addresses (if not already registered on the award management system) of the individuals who will be undertaking ‘Participant’ and ‘Signatory’ roles as part of the application. All Participants and Signatories must agree to be part of the application before it is submitted.

Participants and Signatories are required to review the declaration for their role before confirming participation. By confirming participation, Participants and Signatories are acknowledging their involvement and input into an application.  Applicants must ensure that all Participants and Signatories are happy for the application to be submitted before submitting it on the online system.

Please note it is often the case that one or more of the Participants are also named as Signatories. 

Participants   

You are required to supply the names and email addresses (if not already registered on the ARAMIS system) of your Primary Doctoral Supervisor, up to 2 additional Academic Supervisors, up to 3 Practice Supervisors, a Contract Officer, and if necessary, a Sponsor and NHS or Partner Facilities Representative. Everyone named in this section will be acting as a ‘participant’ to your application and will need to agree to be part of this application.

By confirming participation, participants are acknowledging their involvement and input into this application, and agreeing to be involved in the proposed fellowship. You must ensure all participants are happy for your application to be submitted before submitting it on the online system.

Participants must confirm their participation on your application before you will be able to select the ‘SUBMIT’ option. Please see the Submission Process Flow Diagram for further information. 

Participant types

Primary Doctoral Supervisor: The individual named as the primary supervisor of your PhD must agree to participate in the application and confirm that they will act as your Primary Academic Supervisor, support your career development and abide by the conditions under which an award may be granted. The Primary Supervisor must also confirm that the information provided by you describes the status of your current / proposed research doctorate studies and also confirm that any proposed part-time study arrangements have been agreed and meet University regulations.

Academic Supervisor(s): All supervisors detailed in the ‘Training and Development and Research Support’ section must agree to participate in the application and confirm that they will act as your supervisor for research and career development and agree to abide by the conditions under which an award may be granted.

Practice Supervisor(s): All supervisors detailed in the ‘Training and Development and Research Support’ section must agree to participate in the application and confirm that they will act as your supervisor for professional and career development and agree to abide by the conditions under which an award may be granted

Contract Officer: A Contract Officer at the Host Organisation must confirm that they have read the Applicant Guidance Notes for the relevant NIHR scheme and the standard NIHR contract and confirm that the Host Organisation would be willing to accept an award according to the published terms and conditions of the NIHR standard contract.

Sponsor: If the award includes a clinical trial then an authorised representative of the organisation that will sponsor the clinical trial outlined in this application must confirm that the organisation supports the application and has, where applicable, confirmed with the CTU named in this application that they support this application and the arrangements for managing the trial.

NHS or Partner Facilities: A representative of the NHS or other partner facilities must agree to participate in this application if any NHS or Social Care Support or Treatment costs are being incurred as part of the research. The representative of the body incurring any NHS or Social Care Support and Treatment Costs must confirm that they will ensure that all Support and Treatment Costs in the application are correct and the aforementioned organisation is prepared to meet these costs.

Signatories

You are required to supply the names and email addresses (if not already registered on the ARAMIS system) of the relevant Heads of Department/Senior Managers at your Host and Partner Organisations, and an Administrative Authority/Finance Officer at your Host Organisation. Once their contact details have been entered, these signatories will be invited to log in and confirm their participation on your application.

Once they have confirmed their participation, the Heads of Department/Senior Managers must collaborate to provide the required joint statement in the ‘Training & Development and Research Support’ section. This statement can be completed independently whilst you (the applicant) work on the rest of the application.

Once the Administrative Authority/Finance Officer at your Host Organisation has confirmed their participation they will have access to the Budget page, and their expertise should be drawn on when completing this section.

Signatories must confirm their participation and complete their joint statement before you will be able to select the ‘SUBMIT’ option.

The signatories must also approve the application after you have selected the ‘SUBMIT’ option but BEFORE the application submission deadline. Please see the Submission Process Flow Diagram for further information.

The final signatory approval will result in the application being fully submitted to the NIHR. All parties (applicant, participants and signatories) will be notified of this via an automated system generated email. NIHR will not accept any applications unless fully approved by your signatories prior to the 1pm deadline on the 15th June 2021.

Signatory types

Head of Department (Host Organisation): In agreeing to participate in this application, the Head of Department of the host organisation in which this award will be based must confirm that they support this application and that, if funded, the research and training will be supported and administrated in the named organisation and that the applicant for whom they are responsible will undertake this work.

Head of Department (Partner Organisation): In agreeing to participate in this application, the Head of Department of the partner organisation in which this award will be based must confirm that they support this application and that, if funded, the research and training will be supported in the named organisation and that the applicant for whom they are responsible will undertake this work.

Administrative Authority or Finance Officer: The Administrative Authority or Finance Officer for the employing Host Organisation must confirm that they will ensure the accuracy of the financial details of the application and that the Host Organisation is prepared to carry out this research at the stated costs and to administer the award if made.

It is permissible for a single individual to serve as both a signatory and a participant, but they will need to be added separately under each heading.
 
Participants and Signatories must complete actions in respect to your application prior to submission; signatories must, additionally, approve your application after submission. All actions / approvals must be completed by the application deadline.

Once the applicant is ready, they will be able to ‘Submit’ the application for final sign off by the signatories. At this point, the signatories will be prompted to log back in to the system and approve the finalised application.

The application will not be complete until all the required signatories have approved the final version. When the last signatory presses the ‘approve’ button, the application will be submitted to the NIHR Academy.

Annex B illustrates the submission process for the application form in the form of a flow diagram

Please note that all of the steps described here need to take place before the deadline of 1pm on the 15th June 2021. No exceptions will be made.

Should you require assistance in completing the online form, please contact the NIHR Academy on 0113 532 8444 or by emailing academy-awards@nihr.ac.uk.

Application Form Specific Guidance

Application Summary Information

Host Organisation

Please detail the organisation that will be the contractor if the project is funded. 

Please note that we expect the applicant’s proposed host organisation (substantive employer*) to act as the contractor.

The contractor must agree to provide the applicant with a substantive contract of employment for the hours and duration of the award in its entirety, and, if possible, fulfil the role of research sponsor as set out in the Research Governance Framework for Health & Social Care.

Please also bear in mind that:

  • The contractor is expected to respond to annual financial reconciliation exercises, provide the final financial reconciliation statement for the project and to provide responses to ad hoc requests for financial information during the lifetime of the project
  • In the same way, the contractor is expected to respond to any queries relating to Intellectual Property, commercialisation and benefit realisation

If the name of your host organisation does not appear in the pre-populated list, please email academy-awards@nihr.ac.uk.

*The Host Organisation acts as the Paymaster for the award and must provide the award holder with an employment contract for the hours and duration of the DLAF in its entirety.  The Host Organisation does not have to be the applicant’s current employer.

Partner Organisation

Please give details of the partner organisation that will support the fellowship if the project is funded. 

If the proposed Host Organisation is not an English university or university college, the proposed Partner Organisation must be an English university or university college.

If the proposed Host Organisation is an English university or university college, the proposed Partner Organisation must be an English:

  1. local authority
  2. non-NHS provider of local authority commissioned services
  3. non-profit organisation (such as a charity) that provides services on behalf of a local authority, or that otherwise supports a local authority in meeting its objectives

If the name of the Partner Organisation does not appear in the pre-populated list please email academy-awards@nihr.ac.uk

Research Title

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

Proposed WTE (including Duration)

Fellowships can only be undertaken at one of the Whole Time Equivalence (WTE) options offered. This choice dictates the duration of the fellowship being proposed.

These fellowships include a requirement that continued practice be undertaken within them. Applicants planning a part-time fellowship in order to undertake additional (non-fellowship) practice activity should consider the impact of this on their future academic career trajectory and, thus, on the competitiveness of their application. This is not, obviously, a consideration that individuals proposing a part-time fellowship for any other reason need make. Applicants who, for personal reasons, already work part-time (or, indeed, anticipate working part-time in the near future) are more than welcome to propose a part-time fellowship.

Proposed start date if grant awarded

Possible start dates are:

1st April 2022
1st May 2022
1st June 2022
1st July 2022
1st August 2022
1st September 2022

Fellowships can only begin on the 1st of a month, regardless of whether this is a working day or not. Please be realistic about your start date, taking account of any necessity for staff recruitment and contracting prior to starting your project.

Research Type

Select the appropriate research type. If you are not sure which category to select, choose the closest match to your project. Categorisations can be amended at a later date if this is required. Find out about NIHR definitions on our website.

Applicant CV

Please note: some of the responses to these questions are automatically imported from information entered in the ‘Manage My Details’ page of your ARAMIS account.
The Publication Record section of the form is automatically populated from publications added into the ‘My Research Outputs’ page of your ARAMIS account.

Please note: You must ensure that this section contains any information necessary to determine eligibility for the scheme (please refer to the eligibility criteria) or your application may be rejected.

Professional Bodies

Please provide details of any current registration you hold with a professional body.

Degrees and Professional Qualifications

Please include the full details of any completed degree(s) and, where relevant, the full details of any higher degree(s) you are currently undertaking.
Please ensure that your degree classification is included, if applicable.

Present and previous positions

When entering details of your current and previous positions please indicate at what percentage (WTE) in each post you were undertaking research.  For example, if you were a Clinical Lecturer and undertook research for 2.5 days a week and clinical work for 2.5 days per week; please enter 50% for that position. If you have worked part time at 60%, and undertook research for half of that time, please enter 30% for that position.

Research grants held

Details of all grants and project funding (research or otherwise) obtained in the last five years should be provided, including personal research training awards or fellowships, plus any additional previous grants (including travel grants and any other small funding awards) relevant to this application. Please indicate clearly any co-applicants and provide brief details of the nature and full extent of your involvement (e.g. project design, project management, day to day running, data collection, data analysis, writing papers for publication, etc.).

Please also include in the ‘Role in Research Grant’ box for each entry: registration number and name of registry and the DOI of the main related publication. Where the study is still ongoing or final results have not yet been published, please provide an estimated publication date. This is in line with the NIHR policy on clinical trial registration and disclosure of results.

It is not necessarily expected that applicants at the doctoral level will have been awarded research grant funding as a Principal Investigator (PI) or as a co-applicant, but please details any such achievements here.

Please note - your research grant record must be completed within the application form and not via the CV section on ARAMIS.

Publication Record

The publication record is automatically populated from the information added to the ‘Research Outputs’ section of your ARAMIS account. To update, please ‘save and close’ your application, return to the ‘home’ screen and select ‘Research Outputs’ from the left-hand menu.

When publications have been added, the applicant’s name can be edited to show in bold within application forms via the ‘Assign Grant Contacts’ option.

To ensure publications display correctly, with all of the required information, applicants are strongly advised to use the ‘import’ function and import their publications from Europe PMC.

Do not include publications in preparation.  If relevant, details of these may be included in the ‘Applicant Research Background’ section.

Do include relevant abstracts, conference proceedings and articles (peer-reviewed or otherwise) that have been published.

Depending on professional background and expertise, applicants are not necessarily expected to have an extensive list of publications.

Only publications relevant to your application should be included.

At the doctoral level, ‘relevance’ is not defined as pertaining to the same subject area. Any publication in a peer reviewed journal, for example, might serve to evidence a range of pertinent and applicable skills.

Relevant Prizes, Awards and other Academic Distinctions

Please provide details of any awards or distinctions that would be relevant to your application including details of what the award was for. Examples may include travel bursaries for a conference, presentation prizes, innovation awards etc.

ORCiD

The NIHR is an ORCID member and encourages all researchers to obtain this persistent digital identifier that distinguishes them from every other researcher. Applicants must include an ORCID iD in their application. Without it, your application will not be validated and you will not be able to submit. For more information and to register go to ORCID.

Applicant Research Background

Professional background

Select the option that best describes your professional group. This will determine the options that appear below. The selection of ‘nurse’ or ‘midwife’ will result in no further options. AHPs and Other Registered Health Professionals should select their specific profession from the lists provided.

Please describe your research career to date – 1000 word limit

Please use this question to describe your expertise and experience to date, and how this makes you suitable for this award.

Please also include the following:

  • research projects that you have led or made a significant contribution to (making clear what your role was)
  • the research methods you have experience of
  • the impact and outputs of the research you have been involved in (linking to details given in your CV)
  • any other relevant experience such as supervisory, management, teaching, public engagement or leadership experience
  • any experience of service user and public/community involvement and engagement activities in health/social care research
  • professional experience relevant to your development as a practitioner academic in your chosen field
  • other skills and experience that highlight your suitability for the fellowship you are applying for, and that demonstrate your potential as a future health/social care research leader

Have you already registered for a PhD?

Please answer these questions if you are currently undertaking a research doctorate.

If you are currently undertaking a Masters as the first phase of studying toward a PhD please also complete these research doctorate questions, prefixing the title of your research degree with ‘Masters – first phase of PhD study’.

If you have indicated that you are registered part-time for the doctorate, the NIHR will assume that you are studying for this degree 0.5 WTE. If this is not the case, please note this in Section 2 under ‘Degrees and Professional Qualifications’ and/or ‘Present and Previous Positions’.

Has this application, or a similar application, previously been submitted to this or any other funding body? – 500 word limit

Select ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to indicate whether this or a similar application has previously been submitted to this or any other funding body.  This must include any previous submissions for an NIHR research training award, even if the proposed research has changed.  Please detail the title of each previous submission, the funding body, scheme and outcome or the date that this is due if a decision is pending. If the application was unsuccessful please indicate why and detail how this application differs from previous submission(s) and how any feedback received has been used to inform this application.

Mitigating Factors – 500 word limit

Please use this question to detail any mitigating factors you wish to make the Selection Committee aware of. NIHR wants to know about any circumstances so that they may take them into consideration during the assessment of your application. Mitigating factors may include:

  • Career breaks due to parental leave, or periods of illness
  • Reduced time spent undertaking research due to a disability or caring responsibilities. This could include any physical or mental difficulty that may have impacted your research career. These are situations that have a significant impact on your ability to undertake research
  • Reduced opportunities to career support e.g. mentorship, and limited opportunities to undertake prior research and training.

Please also use this section to detail any other factors that may have impacted your research career not listed in the examples provided. The impact on your career to date will be specific to your particular circumstances but could include such impacts as limited opportunities to obtain grant funding, or fewer publications. In general terms, mitigating factors should be significant, and relevant.

NIHR acknowledges that you may be reluctant, or uncomfortable disclosing relevant information that is sensitive. However, you should bear in mind that that we are unable to take into account factors that you do not disclose. Please be assured that information provided by you is sensitive and will be treated confidentially and in line with General Data and Protection Regulations (GDPR).

Please also use this section to indicate any specific impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on your application.

Plain English Summary of Research – 600 word limit

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

Many reviewers use this summary to inform their review of your funding application. Reviewers include practitioner academics and researchers who do not have specialist knowledge of your field as well as members of the public. If your application for funding is successful, the summary will be used on the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and on 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 to have a better understanding of your research proposal
  • inform others about your research such as members of the public, health and social care professionals, policy makers and the media
  • 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 service users / carers / members of the public in developing a plain English summary.

Content

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

  • aim(s) of the research
  • background to the research
  • design and methods used
  • public involvement and engagement
  • dissemination

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

Further guidance on writing in plain English is available online at NIHR Make it Clear.

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

Scientific Abstract – 500 word limit

The scientific abstract should be a clear and concise scientific summary of the Detailed Research Plan / Methods.

The following is a list of potential elements / headings that might be included depending on the design of the proposed research, the setting and programme being applied to, and whether it is for primary research or evidence synthesis. It will be for researchers to decide the appropriate elements to be included in the scientific abstract and could include elements outside this list. Applicants may find the guidance on the EQUATOR Network website (www.equator-network.org) useful.

  • Background
  • Research question
  • Aims and objectives
  • Methods
  • Timelines for delivery
  • Anticipated impact and dissemination

Detailed Research Plan – 5000 word limit

Using all of the headings (in the order presented) and guidance below, please use this section to clearly explain your proposed research. As this is the main part of your application detailing your proposal which will be considered by the reviewing Panel you should ensure that the information is accurate, succinct and clearly laid out.

The NIHR expects appropriate and relevant involvement of patients/service users, carers and the public and other key stakeholders in the research it supports. It is essential to set out your plans to involve patients/service users and the public in this application. Your patient/service user, carer and public involvement plans will be assessed by the selection committee including patients/service users, carers and public members.

Information and resources to assist you can be found on the INVOLVE website (a detailed definition of public involvement in research, briefing notes for researchers on how to involve the public and an involvement cost calculator and budgeting guide).

In this section it is important that you identify all stakeholders who are relevant to your research proposal. For each stakeholder group you need to be clear about how they benefit from your proposed research and, where appropriate, how they have been involved in the development of the application, as well as the plans for their involvement in the proposed research.

Guidance for applicants on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion for study participants:

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.

Helpful links:

NIHR INVOLVE Diversity and Inclusion guidance

NIHR's equality, diversity and inclusion in research

If the research you are proposing includes a clinical trial, feasibility study or pilot study, or if your area of research is related to clinical trials, you are strongly encouraged to read the NIHR Clinical Trials Guide for Trainees before starting an application.

What is the problem being addressed?

Provide a clear explanation of the health and/or social care problem to be addressed, the impact on service users as well as health and/or social care services, and how this research would fill a demonstrable evidence gap.

Why is this research important in terms of improving the health and/or wellbeing of the public and/or to service users and health and social care services?

It is essential that you clearly identify the health and social care need your research meets or contributes to. Please outline the anticipated value or contribution the study will provide.

Review of existing evidence - How does the existing literature support this proposal?

Explain why this research is needed now, both in terms of time and relevance.  We will only fund primary research where the proposed research is informed by a review of the existing evidence.

What is the research question / aims and objectives?

Please summarise the research question / key aims and objectives.

Project Plan

Provide an expert description of the project plan of investigation plus any additional points required to support statements made in the previous sections, and include any key references required to justify the points made (e.g. in the use of particular outcome measures or methods of analysis). You should include where applicable; study design, justification of sample size, selection and exclusion criteria, methods of data collection and analysis, and justification for your choice of methodology.

Dissemination, Outputs and anticipated Impact

The purpose of this section is for the applicant to describe what the outputs of the research might be, how and who they will talk to and what impact there might be. NIHR understands that the impact of any research may take time to be realised and will likely involve other funders and institutions.  In many cases it may be difficult to provide definitive answers or any guarantees. However, addressing the below questions will allow you to describe what you hope or expect the pathway to impact to be, what might prevent impact and who else might be involved.

What do you intend to produce from your research? 

This could include but is not limited to:

  • Conference presentation or other workshop events
  • Publications (academic or otherwise)
  • Guidelines (clinical/care, service or otherwise)
  • Other copyright (e.g. questionnaires, training aids, toolkits, manuals, software, etc)
  • New or improved design of devices or instrumentation
  • New or improved diagnostic
  • Trial data that could be used to support a CE mark, market authorisation or equivalent
  • Trial data that could be used to shape or influence a healthcare market or government
  • Potential healthcare or social care intervention

Please provide brief details of each of the anticipated outputs.

How will you inform and engage service users, services and the wider population about your work?

Describe your plans for disseminating this research.  If you have not yet made plans, please outline at what stage in your project you intend to start formulating these.

How will your outputs enter our health and social care system or society as a whole?

Describe how any new or improved outputs generated through the proposed research will be recognised, captured, managed and used directly in the health and social care service or wider society.  This might be through commercial exploitation or other non-commercial routes or means.  If the output(s) from your research are likely to be commercial, describe the proposed route to market and by whom, or how you plan on developing this.

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

This should be linked to the responses to the questions above.

What are the possible barriers for further research, development, adoption and implementation? 

  • Will the proposed research use data, technology, materials or other inventions that are subject to any form of intellectual property protection (e.g. copyright, design rights, patents) or rights owned by another organisation(s)?  If yes, provide brief details including how such third party IP will be accessed (e.g. collaboration agreement, drug supply agreement)
  • What are the key current and future barriers to uptake of any likely output or innovation directly in the health and care service, through commercial exploitation or other means, e.g. potential regulatory hurdles?

What do you think the impact of your research will be and for whom? 

Describe the anticipated impact of the expected outputs on the health and social care of service users, the public/community, and on health and social care services in the short, medium and long term in terms of: service user benefit; changes in service (including efficiency savings); commercial return (which could contribute to economic growth).  Indicate the anticipated timescale for the benefits to reach service users, the public and services, providing a quantitative estimate of the scale of these potential benefits, if possible.

Project Management

Please outline the processes that will be put in place ensure the research described will be well managed.  This should complement your research timetable upload (see ’10. Uploads’ below) and include:

  • The management structure that will ensure that milestones are achieved in a timely manner
  • A description of how you intend to manage the project
  • The meetings schedule
  • The financial management of the award.

Ethics

Please describe any ethical issues your research project raises and how you intend to address these. Research requiring ethical approval must have the appropriate approvals in place before it can commence.  Further guidance on the approval process is available from the Health Research Authority (HRA). 

The MRC and the HRA have designed a tool to help you decide whether you need ethical approval, which you can find on the HRA website here. However, if you are unsure whether your research requires ethical approval please contact the HRA directly and they will be able to advise.  

Success Criteria

Please set out the measurements of success you intend to use and also the key risks to delivering this research and what contingencies you will put in place to deal with them. This section should identify appropriate actions that would reduce or eliminate each risk or its impact.

Patient and Public Involvement

Please describe how patients/service users, carers and the public have been involved in developing this proposal – 350 word limit

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 the proposed research, including any training and support provided – 350 word limit

INVOLVE has developed guidance both on how service users and the public/community can be involved and the processes, procedures and values necessary to support this involvement.

Service users and the public/community can be involved in every stage of a research project, from developing a proposal through to dissemination and evaluation.  
In your description you will need to say who will be involved and why.

Explain why your approach to involvement and engagement is appropriate for this proposal.

Describe how you will support and enable involvement and engagement in your research (e.g.: payments, training).

If it is considered not appropriate and meaningful to actively involve patients/service users, carers and the public in your proposed research, please justify why – 350 word limit

Complete / justify as necessary.

Training & Development and Research Support

Proposed training and development programme – 1000 word limit

Whilst the principal purpose of the training and development plan should be to afford the applicant with the skills needed to successfully undertake the proposed fellowship, it is permissible that limited elements of the plan serve primarily to support the applicant’s wider and longer-term career aspirations, as an academic, a practitioner and as a practitioner academic leader.

Please describe the following:

Proposed formal study

Detail the formal training that you will receive and how it will meet your training needs. This is most likely to be the formal taught element of a PhD programme.

Details of any academic training and development you wish to undertake in addition to the ‘Proposed formal study’ to support your personal development as a researcher and academic leader.

The training should include any specialist skills that may be required to undertake the proposed research and should also address research capacity development.

It is expected that the training will equip you with a detailed understanding of research governance and the principles that underpin research including: research design; a variety of research methods; statistics; data analysis/interpretation; and presentation of research findings. A timetable and milestones for the proposed training programme should be included.

Details of any training and development you wish to undertake to support your personal and professional development as a practitioner and practice leader.

A key feature of this fellowship is that successful applicants are supported to develop as practitioners and as researchers in parallel.  Applicants must be able to demonstrate how they will develop their professional skillsets over the period of the fellowship.  Applicants need to take into account their current skill level and need to propose a development plan that is appropriate for their level of seniority as a practitioner.  If applicants are senior practitioners they may choose to propose ways in which they will maintain rather than develop their professional skillsets.

Details of the practice that will be undertaken over the course of the fellowship.

It is expected that approximately 20% of salaried fellowship time will be spent undertaking practice, associated training and professional development. The majority of this time will, realistically, be spent in a supernumerary practice role, and this practice should be negotiated with a view to maximising the experience that it will afford the fellow. Fellows are not limited to practice within a single setting, and applicants are encouraged to negotiate as diverse a range of responsibilities as is appropriate with their appropriate host, perhaps through a range of secondments.

Supervision – 250 words per justification of participation
Primary Doctoral Supervisor

Give details of the proposed Primary Doctoral Supervisor.
Describe their experience of PhD supervision to date (how many PhDs they have supervised to completion) and how the proposed project aligns with their current research programme and expertise.

Careful thought should be given to the practicalities of effective continued supervision by this individual. The award will not cover any fees the supervisor may wish to charge the applicant.

The Primary Doctoral Supervisor must be employed by the English university acting as either Host Organisation or Partner Organisation on the application.

Additional Academic Supervisor

Give details of each proposed Additional Academic Supervisor (up to 2).
Describe their experience of PhD supervision to date (how many PhDs they have supervised to completion) and how the proposed project aligns with their current research programme and expertise.

Careful thought should be given to the practicalities of effective continued supervision by this individual. The award will not cover any fees the supervisor may wish to charge the applicant.

Practice Supervisor

Give details of each of the proposed Practice Supervisor(s) (up to 3) who will provide you with practice based supervision during your Fellowship. As well as supporting the development of your professional skillsets and your access to opportunities for wider experience, it would be advantageous for this/these individual(s) to be able to support and advise you on your broader professional development appropriate to your career stage. The award will not cover any fees the supervisor(s) may wish to charge the applicant.

All of the individuals you list here must be detailed within the ‘Participants and Signatories’ section of the application form. The award will not cover any fees the supervisors may wish to charge the applicant.

Collaborations – 600 word limit

Explain what collaborations you intend to establish to support your research and, if applicable, your training and development programme. This may involve short visiting placements (e.g. an Overseas Research Visit), or secondments in new (to the applicant) research environments.

The NIHR is particularly keen to enhance the cadre of researchers equipped to work at the university/public service/industry interface, translating ideas into new treatments and products from which service users can benefit. Therefore, where appropriate, you should consider any industry collaborations you may wish to establish during the course of your Fellowship. You should include; the training and development the collaboration will provide; the facilities and expertise you will have access to; and how the collaboration will strengthen links between academia, industry and public services.

Host Organisation support statement – 1000 words

This statement must be written and entered onto the application form by relevant Heads of Department/Senior Managers at the proposed Host Organisation and Partner Organisation, and should detail how these organisations are going to support the applicant, in partnership, to complete the DLAF if awarded. 

This statement should be specific and tailored to the applicant and their training needs, and describe how the organisations intend to support the applicant to develop their practitioner academic career in the long-term.  
The NIHR views Host and Partner Organisations as key contributors to the training and development of our next generation of research leaders. 

Therefore, information should also be provided that pertains to the organisations’ track records of, and approaches to, supporting early career researchers.

In addition, the Senior Manager at the local authority / local authority supporting organisation is required to detail the plans in place to support the continuation/evolution of the applicant’s professional role over the course of, and following the completion of, any subsequent award.

The statement should also describe the host organisation’s approach to creating and maintaining an inclusive and supportive research culture for all.

The statement should provide evidence of how the organisation values and supports equality, diversity and inclusion as well as acknowledging the organisation’s responsibilities with respect to research integrity. Statements may wish to refer to the principles and best practice outlined within relevant Charters and Concordats in these areas, such as the Researcher Development Concordat and Advance HE’s Equality Charters. It should be noted that being a signatory to Concordats or holding bronze/silver status from the Equality Charters isn’t a requirement of funding and evidence can be provided through other means.

Host Organisations are expected to comply with the relevant Principles and Obligations for clinical academic training and it is recommended Host Organisations read these documents, where relevant, before completing the statement of support.

NIHR expects that all commitments made to the applicant within this statement will be honoured for the lifetime of the award.

This section can only be accessed by the Heads of Department/Senior Managers once they have agreed participation and cannot be accessed, but can be viewed, by the applicant. Invitations to participate are sent by the applicant via the 'Participants and Signatories' section of the form.

Please note - The Host Organisation Statement of Support is a key element of the assessment process and applicants are advised to discuss the statement with their Heads of Department/Senior Managers well in advance of the competition deadline.

Managers well in advance of the competition deadline. 

Detailed Budget

Justification of Costs

Please provide a breakdown of research costs associated with undertaking the research 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, public involvement and engagement (PI&E) and any other direct costs. For help with estimating PI&E costs please see the INVOLVE cost calculator.

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 might benefit the NHS, public health and/or social care.  For example, where appropriate, describe the likely cost savings or benefits in terms of numbers of service users supported, wait times 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 and provide justification for the resources required.  If there are no NHS Support or Excess Treatment Costs associated with the research you must explain why you think this is the case.

Please provide a breakdown of any non-NHS intervention costs and provide justification for the resources required.  Non-NHS intervention costs should include costs incurred in delivering the intervention that would continue to be incurred after the trial, should the intervention become standard care.

Detailed Budget Breakdown

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

General Information

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 your 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 01 June 2022 then its second year starts 01 June 2023.

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).

Appropriate sub-contracts must be put in place for any element of the award that 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 R&D Department, contact their Local Clinical Research Network.

All applications are expected to have any appropriate NHS, HEI, commercial and other partner organisation input into the finance section of the application form.

There is no need to individually itemise costs (except equipment costs) where the total is below £1,000.

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 or social care services in England

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

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.

Other Organisations

If you are another 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.

STAFF DETAILS

Details of posts and salaries

This section presents an overview of salary costs for the applicant and other support/shared staff contributing to the research, including normal salary increments broken down individually. 

Please state the proposed salary point and scale at the start of the fellowship.  Please note immediate promotion to a higher grade as a result of securing a fellowship will not be funded. Please do not include any Clinical Excellence or Discretion/Merit awards or discretionary points.

Please include all members of staff working on the research by clicking ‘add staff details’ or editing a current one.  Where applicants are already receiving salaries funded by NIHR, these should be declared in the application.

The Apprenticeship Levy can be included in the salary costs from 1st April 2017 where relevant.

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:

Salary costs

This section specifies the annual costs of the applicant and other staff contributing to the research.  You should now allocate the individual staff member costs to each year of the research, allowing for increments.  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 note the salary figures need to be calculated using the current annual costs, WTE and number of months.  If the research lasts for several years and an individual’s involvement varies over the course, it may be necessary to explain fully in the justification of costs section the WTE and months per year for an individual staff member.

It is important to double check that the WTE, total months and yearly costs information are consistent with the information presented in ‘Details of Posts and Salaries’ (‘Details of Posts and Salaries’ should show the full current staff costs independent of WTE etc, whereas the yearly costs in ‘Salary Costs’ depend on WTE etc).

Please ensure that you check the ‘Type of Cost’ box which describes the employing organisation for a member of staff 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.

Please note that this section also includes ‘Shared Staff Costs’ which is located under directly allocated costs in some other funders’ applications. These are costs of an institution’s research resources which can be charged to the research on the basis of estimated use, rather than actual costs. These may include: IT technicians, laboratory staff, and costs of pooled staff efforts. HEI indirect costs cannot be claimed on these shared costs.

The NIHR reserves the right to question any costs deemed excessive, and will not fund:

  1. Contributions for individuals providing research support (previously referred to as mentors), supervisors and/or other collaborators involved in the research
  2. Administrative or secretarial support
  3. Whole or significant percentages of support posts over and above those permitted by the scheme
  4. Technical or research support staff whose costs are funded through institutional indirect costs (HEIs only)
Travel, subsistence and conference costs

This section includes journey costs, subsistence costs and 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 & Ethics Committee.  Travel and subsistence costs relating to dissemination should also be included here, as should costs relating to overseas travel.  Where applicable, you will need to include the travel and subsistence costs relating to meetings with individuals providing research support. Please note that mentors’ (including supervisors and individuals named as providing research support) expenses will not be funded.

If a cost relates to travel, subsistence or fees for a conference please select ‘conference’.  Costs relating to conference attendance will be funded at up to 100% for all employing/host organisation types, but support is capped at £3000.  Conference costs don’t need to be individually itemised for each conference.  The justification box should detail the conferences the costs will cover.

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.

Conference Fees

There is a £3000 limit on the amount that can be requested in support of conference attendance related costs (including all related travel and subsistence as well as conference fees).

Equipment

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

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

Items of equipment valued at £250 or more must be itemised separately; however grouping same type equipment is permitted. Costs of computers are normally restricted to a maximum of £1000 each excluding VAT and a statement of justification must be included, in the relevant ‘Justification of Costs’ section for any purchase above this limit. 

Equipment must exclude VAT, but if your organisation is unable to reclaim/recover the VAT on a piece of equipment, you should check the box ‘VAT cannot be reclaimed’.
You will need to seek expert advice from the organisation purchasing the equipment regarding its VAT status. If you check the ‘VAT cannot be reclaimed’ column, VAT at 20% will automatically be calculated into the overall cost of that item.

Consumables

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/service user, carer and community/public involvement and engagement. 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, hosting research activities, or providing advice, an adequate budget must be included to compensate for their time and resources.

INVOLVE have produced a number of useful payment-related resources.

Other Direct Costs

These are costs, not identified elsewhere, that are specifically attributed to the research. 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 the ‘Details of Posts and Salaries’ and ‘Annual Costs of Posts’ sections.

Note on CTU costs in Personal Training Awards

Costs claimed should be for the additional support from the CTU for the necessary expertise that the trainee cannot provide themselves.  For example, part time support from a trial manager, database manager, and statistician are all costs that could potentially be included. The level of support and input from the CTU will likely vary depending on the level of fellowship and experience of the applicant.  For example, doctoral applicants will be expected to be undertaking the majority of the day-to-day tasks involved in running a trial, with oversight from a more senior member of CTU staff (though specialist input in database programming may be needed).  For more senior post-doctoral awards it may be more appropriate for other members of staff to be undertaking some of the day-to-day tasks. 

This also very much depends on the experience and expertise of the applicant and the applicant’s training needs and should be agreed with the CTU before submitting an application.  These costs should all be agreed with the CTU and budgeted for.  Staff costs should be detailed under the ‘other direct costs’ section.  Staff costs should include basic salary and on-costs for each member of staff involved and it should be made clear within the justification section what role each member of staff has within the context of the personal award application and the time they will spend on the award.  Please note that because NIHR Fellowships and other research training awards are personal awards and not project or programme grants we can’t fund whole or significant portions of posts other than that of the applicant themselves and their support staff member (where applicable). 

We would not normally expect the time commitment of any individual costed into the application other than the applicant to exceed 0.3 WTE.  In total we wouldn’t normally expect the total WTE of all staff costed into the application to support clinical trial activities to exceed 1 WTE (excluding the applicant).  The level of additional staff input will obviously depend on the type and scope of the trial and the experience of the applicant.  Full justification should be provided for all staff costs requested. Overheads (estates and indirect costs) can be included for CTU staff costed into the application. The justification section should split out the overheads from the salary costs and overheads shouldn’t exceed 40% of the total CTU staff cost. 

Any costs must be realistic in order to deliver the trial but must also represent value for money.  Applicants can also include non-staff costs for the CTU for example; randomisation service, and license fees for clinical data management software.

Note on dissemination costs (in addition to conference costs)
Open Access Costs

During the course of your project and throughout review and publishing phase you may choose to submit an article based on your research to an Open Access publication.  Depending on the publication you may be subject to an article processing charge (APC).  APC rates vary but are usually within the range of £300 and £3000.  Open Access publications usually list their APC rates on their websites.

Where possible you should include an estimate for any APC in your funding application, since NIHR expects that APCs will be covered by the funding award.

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.

Training and Development

All costs in this section will be funded at up to 100% for HEI, NHS and Commercial/Other Partner organisations. Please itemise and describe fully the costs associated with training and development. Please provide estimates if exact costs are not available at the time of application. Any travel and subsistence associated with training and development including overseas research visits should not be included here and should be included in the travel section of the form. 

Applicant PhD Tuition Fees

NIHR will make an estimated maximum contribution of £4,500 per year, based on the Research Council UK indicative fee level for 2021/22.

Training programme, short courses and workshops

These are costs relating to the applicant’s training programme.

Overseas Research Visits.

Please provide costs for any overseas research visits that the applicant wishes to undertake during the course of the award. The NIHR will consider overseas research visits on an individual basis and reserves the right to limit expenditure.  Overseas visits (excluding conference attendance) are normally restricted to one visit per Fellowship and a maximum duration of 3 months.

INDIRECT COSTS/OVERHEADS

HEI Indirect Costs

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

HEI indirect costs are based on the number of full-time equivalent research staff working on the research and the indirect/estates charges set by an institution. Please note HEI indirect costs cannot be claimed on shared staff costs. Where staff from more than one HEI are working on the research there may be different indirect/estates charges for each one.  Please list each institution on a separate line.

The applicant should consult their HEI Finance Departments for the appropriate figures to include in the estate charges and other indirect cost sections.

Commercial/Other Partner Organisation Indirect Costs

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

Total Commercial/Other Partner Organisation indirect costs must be fully justified.

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 AND SOCIAL CARE SUPPORT AND TREATMENT COSTS (incl. Excess Treatment Costs/Savings)

The finance section includes a section that asks researchers to provide an estimate of the service user 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 Selection Committee will take NHS and Social Care 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 or social care services involved in order to avoid any delay in commencing the research.   

Please be aware that the research award does NOT include NHS and Social Care Support and/or Treatment Costs.  NHS and Social Care Support Costs will be funded via the Clinical Research Networks.  NHS Treatment Costs, including any Excess Treatment Costs/Savings, will be met by the NHS through normal patient care commissioning arrangements.

A representative of the NHS body or provider of NHS or social care services incurring any NHS and Social Care Support and Treatment Costs must sign off the application. The ‘Declarations and Signatures’ page is intended to ensure that the aforementioned organisation is satisfied that all NHS and Social Care Support and Treatment Costs in the application are correct and is prepared to meet these costs.

Please note that as part of the work to address the issues surrounding the way in which Excess Treatment Costs are funded, new arrangements are now being implemented as part of a pilot. 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 NIHR CRN Routemap.

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.

A completed Schedule of Events Cost Attribution Tool (SoECAT) is now required to be uploaded and submitted as part of the application submission for all applications. The SoECAT must be signed off by an AcoRD Specialist even where there are no excess treatment costs.

NHS and Social Care Support Costs

These are the additional patient/service user/carer care costs associated with the research, which would end once the R&D activity in question has stopped, even if the service involved continues to be provided. These might cover items such as extra patient tests, extra in-patient days and extra nursing attention.  Applicants 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 their Local Clinical Research Network (LCRN) for advice on NHS Support Costs.

NHS Treatment Costs

Please read the NHS guidance on 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 NHS 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.

If the patient care intervention under investigation is in addition to usual care there is no need to complete the ‘Usual Treatment Costs’ section however this will need to be justified in the relevant ‘Justification of Costs’ section. If the patient care intervention under investigation either wholly or partially replaces usual care, the ‘Usual Treatment Costs’ section must be completed.

Applicability Of The Above To Social Care Research Proposals 

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. Further information can be found on the NIHR website.

For further information, please see:

Attributing the costs of health and social care research and development (AcoRD)

HSG(97)32: Responsibilities for meeting patient care costs associated with research and development in the NHS

SUMMARY OF COSTS

NIHR programmes currently fund HEIs at a maximum of 80% of full economic cost, NHS bodies and other providers of NHS and social care services in England 100% and commercial/other partner organisations at 100%.

Please note that whilst these 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.

Management and Governance

Please complete the check boxes as appropriate.

Uploads

To support your research plan you are able to upload the following documents in the ‘uploads’ section of the form:

Optional Upload:

Figures/Tables

1 A4 page of figures/tables may be included to supplement your research plan. All submitted figures should be referred to within your research plan (e.g. see figure 1; see figure 2). These figures are restricted to tables/diagrams/images/illustrations; figures that contain only text will not be considered. Each figure should be accompanied by a short descriptive legend.

Mandatory Uploads:

References

1 A4 page listing all references cited in the application.

Research timetable

1 A4 page detailing specific milestone and deliverables. Please only upload a single image of a table or Gantt chart.

CTU letter of support (if applicable)

If a CTU has supported the application and/or will support the proposed fellowship, please include a supporting letter from that CTU. The letter should describe the input of the CTU to the proposal and the continuing support they will provide over the course of the Fellowship.

Schedule of Events Cost Attribution Tool

A completed Schedule of Events Cost Attribution Tool (SoECAT) is now required to be uploaded and submitted as part of the submission for all applications. Further details can be found under NHS SUPPORT AND TREATMENT COSTS (incl. Excess Treatment Costs/Savings) below.

If any upload (other than the SoECAT) is longer than a single page, only the 1st page of that upload will be considered.

All uploads (other than the SoECAT) must be made in Adobe PDF format.

Participants and Signatories

A number of participants and signatories are required to be added to your application and, where applicable, to complete sections of it.  Details of the required individuals are provided on the online application form.  The flow diagram in Annex B details the actions required of participants, signatories and the applicant.

Acknowledge, review and submit

Conflict checks – 300 word limit

Please declare any conflicts or potential conflicts of interest that you may have in undertaking this research, including any relevant, non-personal & commercial interest that could be perceived as a conflict of interest.

Agreement to terms and conditions

Please click the check box to confirm you agree to the Terms and Conditions of submission as detailed on the application form.

Additional Supporting Information

NIHR Research Design Service

The NIHR Research Design Service (RDS) supports prospective applicants to make high quality applications for research funding from the NIHR and from other national research funders.  Assistance is primarily focused around refinement of research questions, research design and methodological support. Complementing the advice applicants receive from supervisors and/or mentors.  The RDS also assists prospective applicants to understand the scope of the NIHR’s various funding streams and to develop public involvement and engagement strategies. This includes involvement of service users, carers and/or practitioners in social care. The RDS may be able to support applicants with small grants to work up public involvement and engagement plans with, for example, service user groups.

The RDS has regional offices and links with local networks.  Further information regarding support that the RDS can provide and contact information for each regional office is available via the NIHR website.

CRN support

The NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) supports researchers and the life sciences industry in planning, setting up and delivering high quality research to the agreed timelines and study recruitment target, for the benefit of the NHS and social care and patients/service users/carers in England.

In partnership with your university’s R&D office, we encourage you to involve your local CRN team in discussions as early as possible when planning your study to fully benefit from the support the NIHR CRN offers as outlined in their Study Support Service.

NIHR INVOLVE

INVOLVE is funded by the National Institute for Health Research, to support active public involvement and engagement in NHS, public health and social care research.
As a national advisory group, its role is to bring together expertise, insight and experience in the field of public involvement and engagement in research, with the aim of advancing it as an essential part of the process by which research is identified, prioritised, designed, conducted and disseminated.

INVOLVE can support prospective applicants and existing awardees to incorporate effective public involvement and engagement into their work.  Support includes; help with calculating appropriate costs for involving the public, help with developing potential strategies for involvement, case studies of involvement activities including the impact they have had, and help with writing plain English summaries.

Full details of the support INVOLVE can provide and contact information is available via the INVOLVE website.

NIHR Applied Research Collaborations

NIHR Applied Research Collaborations (ARCs) support applied health and care research that responds to, and meets, the needs of local populations and local health and care systems.

These 15 local partnerships between NHS providers, universities, charities, local authorities, Academic Health Science Networks and other organisations also undertake implementation research to increase the rate at which research findings are implemented into practice.

The ARCs, announced in July 2019, aim to improve outcomes for patients and the public; improve the quality, delivery and efficiency of health and care services; and increase the sustainability of the health and care system both locally and nationally.

The ARCs undertake research on a number of areas of need highlighted by the NIHR Futures of Health report, including: the challenges of an ageing society; multimorbidity; and the increasing demands placed on our health and care system.

The £135 million five-year funding also aims to deliver national-level impact through significant collaboration between the ARCs, with individual ARCs providing national leadership within their fields of expertise.

The 15 ARCs are:

NIHR Applied Research Collaboration East of England

NIHR Applied Research Collaboration East Midlands

NIHR Applied Research Collaboration Greater Manchester

NIHR Applied Research Collaboration Kent, Surrey and Sussex

NIHR Applied Research Collaboration North East and North Cumbria

NIHR Applied Research Collaboration North Thames

NIHR Applied Research Collaboration Northwest London

NIHR Applied Research Collaboration North West Coast

NIHR Applied Research Collaboration Oxford and Thames Valley

NIHR Applied Research Collaboration South London

NIHR Applied Research Collaboration South West Peninsula

NIHR Applied Research Collaboration Wessex

NIHR Applied Research Collaboration West

NIHR Applied Research Collaboration West Midlands

NIHR Applied Research Collaboration Yorkshire and Humber

Clinical Trials Unit (CTU) support

Applicants thinking of including a clinical trial, feasibility or pilot study as part of their application, or are undertaking a research and/or training related to clinical trials are encouraged to consider working with a CTU where appropriate.  Further guidance for trainees and applicants is available in the NIHR Clinical Trials Guide for Trainees. This includes guidance on how to go about approaching a suitable CTU to support your application.

MRC Complex Intervention Guidance

Where appropriate applicants are encouraged to read the MRC complex interventions guidance.

Ethics / Regulatory Approvals

Guidance on the application process for ethical and other approvals should be sought from the supporting university in the first instance, but can be found on the HRA website. Please note that if your study is led from England and involves the NHS in England you should apply for HRA approval.

If you are using service user information from an existing database, you should check whether the service users have given their consent for their data to be included in that database for research purposes, or if not whether the database is exempt under Section 251 of the NHS Act 2006. Where exemptions are not already in place, approval to use confidential service user information without consent must be requested from the HRA who make decisions with advice from the Confidentiality Advisory Group (CAG).

NOTE: NIHR is interested in taking advantage of the growing utility of routine data (such as HES, GP records etc.), and would like investigators, where appropriate, to ask study participants to consent to long term follow up (e.g. beyond the outcomes to be collected in the funded trial) using routinely collected data, and appropriate linkage to allow this data to be best used.

Plagiarism in NIHR funding applications

NIHR expects all content within applications for funding to be original material of the applicant's own work, with the exception of sections that other participants are required to complete. Whilst we anticipate and expect that applicants will get help and advice from various sources when putting together an application, including on occasion input from those previously awarded funding, care must be taken to ensure this does not lead to plagiarism of either published work or other previous applications. If an allegation of plagiarism is raised against an application this will be investigated in accordance with the NIHR Academy’s policy on plagiarism, a copy of which is available on request from academy-awards@nihr.ac.uk.

NIHR Privacy Policy

Our purpose for collecting information is to communicate with you about your application and have the necessary information to evaluate you for a fellowship. The data we collect here is collected in the public interest. Information provided here may be subject to Freedom of Information requests.  
The NIHR Academy is part of the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC), National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The contracting agent for the NIHR Academy is the Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust (LTHT). The DHSC is the Data Controller and LTHT is the Data Processor under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) EC 2016/679. DHSC NIHR respects the privacy of individuals who share their data and processes it in a manner that meets the requirements of GDPR. The DHSC Data Protection Officer can be contacted by email at data_protection@dhsc.gov.uk)

The NIHR privacy policy includes further information including ways we may use your data, our contact details and details on your individual rights regarding how your data is used. Your data may be shared across the NIHR, including with other coordinating centres, to allow the application to be managed and for statistical analysis, and with external grant reviewers as part of the process for managing the allocation of a grant. Information collected from you will not be shared outside the EEA without your consent.
This notice is under constant review and will be updated and / or revised based on that review as appropriate. 

Requirements for systematic reviews to be registered with PROSPERO

Applicants undertaking systematic reviews should note the commitment of NIHR to publication in the database. PROSPERO was developed by the NIHR’s Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (CRD), and is the first online facility to register systematic reviews for research about health and social care from all around the world. Access is completely free and open to the public. PROSPERO registration is a condition of NIHR funding for eligible systematic reviews.

International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial Number (ISRCTN)

All primary research studies need to be assigned an ISRCTN. Please note that the remit of this database has been widened to include all primary research projects, even those that are not randomised controlled trials. There is no registration fee for NIHR funded trials.

Existing data resources

Applicants are encouraged to consider whether existing data resources may be able to provide suitable data for their study. We do not want to discourage establishment of new collections of participants and their data where this is necessary to address the research questions under consideration, but to avoid applications for funding to set up cohorts where the use of existing data would prevent wasteful duplication of effort and activity.

The UK Data Service provides a unified point of access to an extensive range of high quality social and economic data, including UK census data, government funded surveys, longitudinal studies, international macrodata, qualitative data and business microdata.

NIHR Carbon Reduction Guidelines

Researchers applying for NIHR funding are asked to consider the carbon footprint of their research and take steps to reduce carbon emissions where appropriate. Advice on how to do this can be obtained from the NIHR Carbon Reduction Guidelines.

Transparency Agenda

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

Contractual Arrangements

Financial support under an NIHR Fellowship is subject to a contract between the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and the host organisation.
Once funding for a Fellowship has been discussed and agreed, NIHR will confirm the financial arrangements with the host organisation.  NIHR will provide the host organisation with a contract setting out the details of these arrangements.

The host organisation will be expected to issue the individual with an employment contract commensurate with their experience and seniority.
Government procurement transparency regulations require publication of details of all contracts made with the DHSC on their Website. Confidential information including research proposals (Plain English Summaries will be published), detailed finance information, bank details, and departmental staff names (other than the award holder’s name) will be removed from the published versions.

Freedom of Information Act

The NIHR Academy manages the NIHR Fellowship Programme on behalf of the DHSC.  As such the findings of researchers funded by the programme are incorporated in to the Department of Health and Social Care Freedom of Information Publication Scheme.

Equal Opportunities and Diversity

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.

Guidance and Advice

Please read these Guidance Notes carefully. If you require any further information, advice or guidance please contact the NIHR Academy:

Phone: 0113 532 8444  

Email: academy-awards@nihr.ac.uk

Annex A: NIHR Remit frequently asked questions (FAQs)

The following FAQs are designed to help applicants decide whether the research they are proposing as part of a Fellowship or other research training application falls within the remit of the NIHR. Please bear in mind that in these applications, the research project proposal does not stand alone, but is part of a package of elements expected to provide an excellent training experience that will allow the successful applicant to take his/her skills and experiences to a still higher level.

Therefore, along with the research proposal, NIHR selection committees will assess the abilities, academic trajectory, existing experience, commitment to a career in health and/or social care research, ambition and aspirations of the applicant, the standards in the research training environment, and the plans for explicit training in research methods. The research proposal provides a framework for research experience so has to be of high quality, but a good research proposal will not be supported if other elements are weak. If you have queries over whether the research you are proposing as part of a research training application falls within the NIHR remit you are strongly advised to speak to a Programme Manager for the award you are applying for before submitting an application.

Do you fund the evaluation of education and/or training schemes?

Yes. Proposed studies should be within the overall remit of the NIHR and outcomes measured should be health or social care related, or there should be good evidence for a link between the outcome measured and a health or care outcome.

Do you fund the development and/or evaluation of decision aids for patients?

The development or updating of a decision aid will be considered as part of a larger project or programme.

Do you fund the development of interventions, devices, technologies or services?

The development or adaptation of interventions can be considered as part of a larger project or programme of work. We will not fund standalone developmental studies.

Do you fund the development and/or evaluation of outcome measures, questionnaires or surveys (e.g. Patient Reported Experience/Outcome Measures)?

The development, adaptation or updating of outcome measures questionnaires or surveys can be considered as part of a larger project or programme of work.

Do you fund the development, evaluation and/or validation of models (e.g. risk factor models, health economic models etc)?

Yes – we will consider funding the development of models where there is a case for service need or patient/public benefit. There should also be an evaluation or validation aspect to the study.

Do you fund research requiring observational/applied epidemiological methods?

We fund research according to the potential for patient/public benefit rather than according to specific methodologies. We therefore fund research using a wide range of study designs including observational and applied epidemiological methods. Any study that uses observational and applied epidemiological methods should be an evaluation of an intervention itself, or have a clear, credible and articulated trajectory to further research within NIHR remits. An applied epidemiological component can also be considered as part of a larger project or programme of work.

Do you fund research that is relevant to, or takes place outside the NHS? 

We fund research aimed at improving health, public health and health related social care in a broad sense; we therefore fund research to meet the needs of health services, the NHS, public health and health related social care. Proposed studies should be within the overall remit of the NIHR and outcomes measured should be health related, or there should be good evidence for a link between the outcome measured and a health outcome.

Do you fund research into workforce?

Yes. Proposed studies should be within the overall remit of the NIHR and should concern the impact on health and well-being, whether of patients, the public, or of the workforce itself.

Annex B: Application Submission Process Flow Diagram

This flow diagram shows the steps for submitting an application. The applicant starts the application and adds participant and signatory details. The participants and signatories can then log in and confirm their participation and signatories can complete the relevant sections of the form while the applicant continues entering data and completes all relevant sections of the form (step 3). The applicant then ‘Validates’ and presses the ‘Submit’ button. Once the applicant submits, signatories will receive automated emails to approve the application. However, automated ‘out of office’ replies to these emails will not be relayed to the applicant. Signatories must log in and approve the application - rejection of the application by any individual at this stage will return the application to step 3. Once approved the application is then fully submitted to NIHR for consideration.