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General criteria used by advisory committees when assessing applications


Published: 05 June 2019

Version: 1.0 - May 2019

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NIHR research programmes managed by the NIHR Evaluations, Trials and Studies Coordinating Centre at the University of Southampton are needs led and science added. This means that research funded by the programmes has been assessed as addressing an important and enduring research gap identified by evidence users as well as being scientifically sound.

The following are general criteria used by advisory committees when assessing the merits of individual applications. However applicants should note there may be additional criteria tailored to the remits of the individual NIHR research programmes. It is essential that applicants consider these as well as other information and guidance provided at individual programme level when submitting to programmes.

Need for the Evidence

Proposals will first be assessed for the following:

  • The importance or burden of the health or care problem to those who would use the evidence generated by the proposed study
  • What the proposed study would add to the existing body of knowledge
  • Whether the study is likely to lead to improved health and care and effect practice change
  • Whether the study would have a high impact on patients, the public and people working in health and care.

Value for Money

Once the need for the evidence has been established, the matter of value for money the particular proposal represents will be considered:

  • The proposed costs of the research are reasonable and commensurate with the proposed work involved
  • The costs to health and care services in supporting the research are reasonable in relation to the likely benefits of the research to decision-makers, patients and the public

Scientific Rigour

Once both sets of the above criteria have been established, applications will then be judged on the following:

  • The study design would answer the research question proposed
  • The proposed study would be feasible and deliverable
  • The team has the necessary skill mix and experience and project management of the study is sound