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Global Health Research Centres Call - Frequently Asked Questions

 

Contents

Eligibility

1. Do applications to the Global Health Research Centres call have to fulfil Official Development Assistance (ODA) eligibility?

All applications to Global Health Research Centres call must fulfil ODA eligibility. In order to be eligible to receive ODA funding, applications must demonstrate how they meet ODA compliance criteria and outline:

  • Which country or countries on the OECD DAC list of ODA-eligible countries will directly benefit?
  • How is the application directly and primarily relevant to the development challenges of those countries?
  • How the outcomes will promote the health and welfare of a country or countries on the DAC list?

Where all or part of the research is not undertaken in an ODA-eligible country during the course of the award (including where a country graduates from the DAC list during the lifetime of the award or there is a need for specialist expertise) the application must clearly state the reasons for this with due consideration to the benefit of the research to ODA-eligible countries.

2. Are Upper Middle Income Countries eligible to be part of the Centres consortium?

All countries on the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) list of ODA-eligible countries are eligible for Global Health Research Centres funding. All applications should provide clear details of how the research will meet ODA eligibility criteria.

We define Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs) as those countries and territories eligible for ODA, as defined by  the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) list.

For questions about specific partner countries/organisations, please contact us directly at ghrcentres@nihr.ac.uk.

3. The call text specifically mentioned Africa; will applications involving African countries be prioritised?

Global Health Research Centres awards will be made on an open, competitive basis, and no particular region or country is being prioritised beyond ODA eligibility.

4. Can you clarify the different eligibility criteria for Lead Institutions, Co-applicant institutions and Collaborators?

Our expectation is that UK and Low and Middle income countries (LMICs) Lead Institutions will be higher education institutions (HEIs), research institutes, of significant national and international standing, legally registered in their country of operation, and with sufficient research capacity to manage and deliver research. 

NHS organisations, commercial organisations or governmental agencies cannot be Joint-lead Applicant or Co-applicant Institutions on Global Health Research Centres applications.

In addition to the requirements outlined in the call remit and guidance, Lead Institutions will likely possess the following additional characteristics to be successful in an application to this scheme:

  • Demonstration of a significant track record in obtaining funding for research through competitive processes, and delivering successful outcomes from this funding
  • Demonstration of a track record in building and strengthening research capacity; this would likely include supporting individuals through a range of formal training positions (i.e. Masters, PhD, postdoctoral, etc.)
  • Demonstration of the ability to manage large awards supporting research and/or research capacity strengthening, through established research support functions (e.g. finance, intellectual property etc)
  • UK and Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs) Lead Institutions (and their representative Joint-lead Applicants) have strong capability in the NCD thematic area, and the underpinning facilities to perform high-quality research and support research capacity strengthening in Co-applicant institutions.

Applicants should note that we reserve the right to undertake extensive due diligence of all organisations included within a consortium prior to award.  In particular, organisations acting as the contracting institution (i.e. UK Lead Applicant) must be able to clearly demonstrate their suitability to receive and coordinate an award of this scale. Organisations that cannot demonstrate this capability will not be awarded funding.

As described in the guidance, Co-applicant institutions are expected to be less research-intensive than those acting as lead applicants. In line with the research capacity strengthening objectives of the call,  “Less research-intensive” in this context means that these institutions have identified a need to strengthen their research capacity and capability, and their competitiveness in applying for research funding, in the NCDs that are being targeted within the application eg:

  • HEIs/research institutes that have research experience in other areas other than the NCDs targeted within the application;
  • HEIs/research institutes that do not possess research experience in NCDs more generally;
  • HEIs/research institutes that are relatively new to research but are developing the means to undertake and support research of high quality.
  • HEIs/research institutes that have research experience in NCDs and want to develop a training offer in this area

Collaborators are those who provide specific expertise on particular aspects of the project and would form part of your wider research team but do not share in the responsibility for the delivery of the project. Collaborating organisations can be from any relevant sector or country however, applications should very clearly outline the added value of the inclusion of all collaborators and how this meets ODA eligibility. 

All potential applicants should carefully consider their position within the consortium being formed.  In particular, we remind all interested parties that the contractual responsibility for these awards sits with the UK Joint-lead Institution, and that responsibility for delivering the research and research capacity strengthening programmes outlined in the application sits with both Joint-lead Applicants and the Co-applicants. 

5. Can research teams that were unsuccessful in other NIHR Global Health calls re-apply?

Yes, Research Teams that have applied unsuccessfully for other NIHR Global Health Research calls can apply so long as they are in remit of the Global Health Research Centres call. Applicants should note that extensive overlap checks will be undertaken with other NIHR Global Health funding schemes to identify applications that are duplicative or overlapping, and NIHR reserves the right to remove these from consideration. 

Funding is allocated on an open, competitive basis and there is no requirement to have previously had NIHR funding - applicants new to the NIHR are encouraged.

6. Well established research intensive centres in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs) often have an NGO status or are registered as NGO. Should research institutions always be part of an academic entity or do you also accept NGO research institutions?

No, the Low and Middle Income Country (LMIC) Joint-lead Institution does not have to be part of an academic entity. Joint Lead Institutions must be legally registered in an ODA-eligible country and will need to be Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) or Research Institutes. In addition, these institutions must have a track record of excellence in collaborative research partnerships.

For further information on eligibility, see Q8. 

7. Is it a requirement to have a prior record of collaboration between applicants?

No, it is not a requirement to have a record of prior collaboration between applicants. The Global Health Research Centres programme is designed to create and nurture new or existing partnerships between Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) or research institutes and across Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs) where applicable.

8. Would Low and Middle Income Country based institutions that are affiliated with institutions based in the UK or other High Income Countries be classed as eligible to apply to this call as Low and Middle Income Country Lead Institutions or Co-applicant Institutions?
Would international research institutes based in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs), be eligible to apply as low and middle income country Joint Lead or Co-applicant?

Low and Middle Income Country-based HEIs or research institutes affiliated with a UK HEI or research institute are eligible to apply as Joint Lead, provided that the low and middle income country institution maintains its scientific independence from the UK HEI, and is considered an entity of its own. These institutions are expected to have strong local research governance and research support services; have a legal framework in place locally for conducting research, training and be appropriately integrated into the local health system. It is expected that these organisations are fully operational in the low and middle income country, with capacity to employ staff, own assets, manage finances and take ownership of contractual obligations.

Furthermore, Low and Middle Income Countries and UK Lead Applicants are normally researchers with appropriate reputation and standing within their employing organisations and have demonstrable ability to lead and manage a substantial large-scale programme of global health research.

Please see Q4 for more information on eligibility criteria for a Joint Lead Institution or Co-applicant Institution.

9. Would international organisations not based in the UK or a Low and Middle Income Country be eligible as Co-applicants or Collaborators? 

Co-applicant Institutions must be Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) or Research Institutes legally registered in an ODA-eligible country. Please see QX above for further detail on eligibility criteria.

Applications proposing non-low and middle income country Collaborators are eligible provided ODA eligibility criteria are met and there is clear justification for their involvement and that this resource/expertise cannot be found within an ODA-eligible country.

Where some elements of the research are not undertaken in an ODA-eligible country during the course of the award e.g. where there is a need for specialist expertise, the application must clearly state the reasons for this with due consideration to the benefit of the research to the ODA-eligible countries. We remind applicants that high income country institutions cannot act as Co-applicants.

10. Are research institutions defined in the Centres scheme as singular entities or could different faculties/departments within one institution qualify as two Co-applicants?

Different faculties or departments within one Higher Education Institution (HEI) or Research institute cannot be classed as different Co-applicant Institutions.

11. Can there be more than 3 low and middle income country collaborating institutions?

The Global Health Research Centre application may include up to three Co-applicant institutions in the core consortium however there is no limit to the number of collaborating partners who will support delivery of the Centres aims and objectives. Please refer to section 3 of the call remit and guidance.

12. What is NIHR’s expectation of the geographical focus or reach of a Centre consortium?

The structure of the Global Health Research Centres consortium has been left flexible in terms of geographic coverage. This flexibility is to allow Centres to define and design what is best suited to their specific research questions and research capacity strengthening plans for the NCDs of interest. A Centre consortium may consist of a Joint-lead and Co-applicant institutions from one or more ODA-eligible countries, regions or continents. Applications should make clear how the chosen geographic approach will address the key criteria for funding and deliver the aims and objectives of the proposed research plan to address local needs and improve health outcomes in response to the growing global burden of NCDs.  

Structure of Global Health Research Centre Consortium: LMIC Lead Director, UK Co-Director, Co-applicants and Collaborators

13. Are researchers from Upper Middle Income Countries eligible to be Director or only those from Low and Middle Income Countries?

Researchers from all ODA eligible countries are eligible to apply to be Director (Low and Middle Income Country Joint Lead Applicant).

14. What is the difference between Co-applicants and Collaborators in terms of their roles and funding?

The UK and Low and Middle Income country Joint Lead Institutions, together with up to three Low and Middle Income Country Co-applicant Institutions make up the core Centre consortium. 

Co-applicant Institutions are based in low and middle income countries and are directly involved in the research and capacity strengthening aims of the call and will receive funding to support this. Named Co-applicants are those individuals with responsibility for the day-to-day management and delivery of the project, and are based at the Co-applicant institutions. Co-applicants are expected to share responsibility for successful delivery of the Centre.

Collaborators are those who provide specific expertise on particular aspects of the project and would form part of your wider research team but do not share in the responsibility for the delivery of the project. Collaborators can be from any relevant sector or country however, applications should very clearly outline the added value of the inclusion of all collaborators and how this meets ODA eligibility.  Collaborators may be eligible to receive funding, where their direct contribution towards the aims and objectives of the call is evident.

15. Can one Low and Middle Income Country institution be Co-applicant on more than one application?

Yes; however applicants should consider carefully the number of applications on which they act as a Co-applicant, as involvement in too many applications may affect the ability of institutions to fully deliver multiple programmes.  Please note, low and middle income country Joint-lead Institutions can be Co-applicant Institutions on only one other Centre application.

16. Can individual scientists be Co-applicants?

This call operates at an institutional level. For each Centre application, there can be up to three Co-applicant institutions, each of which is represented by a Co-applicant researcher/scientist/principal investigator. The individual scientist should therefore be based at an eligible Co-applicant Higher Education Institution (HEI) or a Research Institute as explained in the guidance. We remind applicants that appropriate institutional support will be critical in both assessment and delivery of your application. 

17. Can applications have a co-Director from a UK institution and in addition have other UK institutions as collaborators?

Yes, however only one UK institution (i.e. the UK Joint Lead Institution) can be part of the core Centre consortium (i.e. Lead and Co-applicant Institutions). There are no limits placed on the number of Collaborators involved, regardless of location, so long as they are necessary to effectively deliver the Centre’s aims and objectives.

18. Can there be co-directorship / two leads from Low and Middle Income Country (LMIC) participants, to share the lead in two institutions?

Under this Global Health Research Centres Call, the Director position cannot be shared between two low and middle income country institutions.

19. Can the Low and Middle Income Country (LMIC) Director (LMIC Joint Lead) and/or UK co-lead Director (UK Joint Lead) serve on more than one centre application?

Under this Global Health Research Centres Call, an individual cannot be named as a Joint Lead Applicant on more than one application. They can however be a named Co-applicant on one other application and a Collaborator on up to two other Centre applications with justification for how their time will be allocated.

20. Can the Low and Middle Income Country Joint Lead Institution and/or UK Joint Lead Institution serve on more than one centre application?

Under this Global Health Research Centres Call, the NIHR will only accept a maximum of two applications from a UK or low and middle income country (LMIC) Joint Lead Institution. Where two applications are submitted from the same institution, each Centre must be distinct in its aims, objectives and geographical area. LMIC Joint Lead Institutions can be Co-applicant Institutions on one other Centre application. 

21. What level of seniority is required for Co-applicants? Can early investigators with promising track records be Co-applicants?

There is no prescribed level of seniority for Co-applicants.

22. What is the ideal size for the consortium in terms of number of partners/collaborators?

The size of the network and number of partners is dependent on the number of individuals you consider that is required to carry out the research, but should also be manageable, particularly if there are a number of new partners. We remind applicants that the core consortium of the Global Health Research Centre should consist of one UK Joint Lead Institution, one Low and Middle Income Country Joint Lead Institution, and up to three Low and Middle Income Co-applicant institutions.

In their applications, Centres would need to clearly demonstrate how their structure, location and size (including the pool of NCD researchers, resources, early career researchers to be supported and supervisors) are robust enough to achieve their (and the NIHR’s) aims and objectives for advancing research into the NCDs chosen by the Centres themselves, without introducing undue complexity in the management and set up arrangements within the available time frame.

23. Is there an organogram representing the structure of the Global Health Research Centres partnership model?

The structure of the partnership model is described in the Webinar slides and is also available on the NIHR website.

24. Should the Low and Middle Income Country Lead have previous NIHR or equally large grant experience?

No, there is no requirement that the low and middle income country lead has previous NIHR experience or experience of handling awards of this size, although we would expect the low and middle income country Lead Institution to be able to demonstrate a track record in obtaining funding for research through competitive processes and appropriate capacity to manage awards of this scale.

25. What is the role of the training lead? Who can be the training lead – a Collaborator or Co-applicant?

Funded Global Health Research Centres Awards will be expected to have a named Training Lead who will develop and lead a training plan for the NIHR Award. This individual will coordinate and lead career development activities across the consortium and act as the liaison point on training with the NIHR Academy. They would also be expected to be an active member of the NIHR Global Health Training Forum to coordinate and maximise training opportunities within the funded NIHR Centres cohort. 

Training Leads are an integral part of the Centre structure and would most likely be based in one of the core Centre consortium institutions (Joint Lead Institution or a Co-applicant Institution).

Non-communicable diseases - Scope

26. How are NCDs defined and does it include certain types of cancer, mental health, injuries, eye diseases and epilepsy

Under this call, Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) are defined as diseases that are not passed directly from person to person and are of long duration and generally of slow progression. This is based on guidance by the Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases (GACD).

Cancers, mental health conditions, epilepsy and sickle cell are considered as examples of non-communicable diseases, but the Centres call is not limited to these.

This Global Health Research Centres Call also supports scalable approaches to the prevention, treatment, management and care of NCDs and that integrate the management of NCDs with other diseases and multiple long-term conditions / co-morbidities (including infectious / communicable diseases and mental health) in LMICs. 

27. Are physical activity interventions within eligibility for the Global Health Research Centres call?

As a stand-alone topic, physical activity interventions are not classed as NCDs and therefore ineligible in terms of the scope of this call.  These interventions would be permitted within focus areas on NCDs where physical inactivity may be a risk factor (e.g. cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes). 

28. How many NCDs should the application address?

There is no upper limit on the number of NCDs to be addressed - applications should demonstrate that the proposed research and research capacity strengthening fills a significant gap, addresses unmet NCD needs and priorities in ODA-eligible countries and aligns fully with the scope of this call. Applicants are reminded that the research proposal should focus on more than one NCD in Low and Middle  Income Country (LMIC) populations, across the participating institutions.

29. Would breast cancer, head neck and stomach cancer (they have separate aetiologies, patient characteristics and treatment approaches) be considered separate NCDs or would be grouped as a single NCD?

For this Global Health Research Centres Call, these cancers although having separate aetiologies are classified as belonging to one class/group of non-communicable diseases.

30. Would a cluster of mental health diseases be in scope and classified as one NCD?

 A cluster of mental health diseases would be classified as one NCD and is in scope.

31. Is cerebral palsy within the remit?

Cerebral palsy is within remit if it forms part of a wider cluster of non-communicable diseases. Applications with a sole focus on cerebral palsy as a single condition would not be in remit.

32. Can proposals focus on risk factors for multiple NCDs?

The research proposal can focus on risk factors for multiple NCDs as long as this responds to Low and Middle Income Country (LMIC) needs and priorities. Applicants should note that applications that limit their focus to observational research, secondary research or health policy implementation are not eligible for this call. 

33. Does each application have to focus on a full life course or full range of prevention, diagnosis and treatment? Would an application focussed on NCD prevention and population level policy be eligible or would it be required to include NCD treatment?

Each application does not need to focus on the entire life course but can select based on issues that need to be addressed as related to the chosen NCDs and Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs). Our expectation is that applications focus on applied health research which can inform policy, rather than policy based research. 

34. Is developing a clinical trial e.g. cancer clinical trial within Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs) eligible for the Global Health Research call?

Funding for clinical trials is permitted as part of a wider programme of work. Applications should not focus on clinical trials alone. Please note that the proposed research should address more than one NCD.

35. Does the scope of this call permit applicants to undertake clinical trials? Is the research focus specifically on clinical services? How much emphasis is given to prevention of NCDs in communities where people are yet to demand services, or do not as yet perceive themselves as needing health care?

Yes, clinical trials may be included as part of a research programme. The research focus should be on applied health research and may include prevention based approaches as described. Applicants are reminded that applications that limit their focus to observational research, secondary research or health policy implementation are not eligible for this call.

36. What is the meaning of multimorbidity with regards to this Global Health Research Centres call? Does this mean multiple diseases or can it include conditions with multiple morbidity?

The definition of multimorbidity for this call is the co-existence of two or more chronic conditions, each one of which is either:

  • a physical non-communicable disease of long duration, such as a cardiovascular disease or cancer
  • a mental health condition of long duration, such as a mood disorder or dementia an infectious disease of long duration, such as HIV or hepatitis

General Research Scope

 37. How does NIHR define “Applied Health Research” for the purposes of this call?

Applied health research covers a wide range of research, including research into the prevention, detection and diagnosis of disease and the development of interventions; the evaluation of interventions; the management of disease; and the provision of health and care services.

It is driven by the desire to answer a specific health-related question, need or desire to improve services or care. This may also include implementation science in health and care to study the methods to promote the systematic uptake of proven clinical treatments, practices, organisational, and management interventions into routine practice, and hence to improve health and care, and research to support and improve implementation of research findings.

38. Can you clarify what is expected in terms of the project delivering patient benefit?

Applications to Global Health Research Centres call must demonstrate a clear trajectory to patient benefit in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs). Benefit to the most vulnerable individuals living in LMICs is an important element of Global Health Research Centres applications. In all applications to this Global Health Research Centres call, it is expected that the research will demonstrate realisable and quantifiable benefits to LMICs and that the route to that benefit is clearly set out in the proposal.

39. Will this Global Health Research Centres call support basic science research?

No. Basic/discovery science research is not supported under the Global Health Research Call. NIHR Global Health Research Centres supports applied global health research in non-communicable diseases which directly benefits people in low and middle income countries.

Please refer to question 37 for more details, also please see the call specific remit and guidance for further information.

40. Can NIHR support us in finding potential partners (Joint Leads/Co-applicants) for our application?    

No. The NIHR does not facilitate the forming of partnerships between Low and Middle Income Country (LMIC) institutions and UK institutions to develop an application.

41. Must all Co-applicant institutions be less research intensive?

Only one Low and Middle Income Country (LMIC)-based research-intensive institution is permitted, the LMIC Joint Lead Institution. The LMIC Joint-lead Applicant / Centre Director will be based in this organisation. In support of the research capacity strengthening objectives of the call, it is expected that Co-applicant institutions will fit our definition of “less research-intensive” (see Q42). 

42. What is the definition of a ‘less research intensive’ institution for the purposes of this call?

“Less research-intensive” in this context means that these institutions have identified a need to strengthen their research capacity and capability, and their competitiveness in applying for research funding, in the NCDs that are being targeted within the application e.g.:

  • HEIs/Research institutes that have research experience in other areas other than the NCDs targeted within the application;
  • HEIs/Research institutes that do not possess research experience in NCDs more generally;
  • HEIs/Research institutes that are relatively new to research but are developing the means to undertake and support research of high quality.
  • HEIs/Research institutes that have research experience in NCDs and want to develop a training offer in this area.

43. Can I apply for research that will be hosted in the UK but have field work done in a Low and Middle Income Country (LMIC) without a presence in any LMIC institution?

No, this would be ineligible for funding under this Global Health Research Centres call.

Research Capacity Strengthening

44. Is it required that to strengthen research career pathways properly, the Low and Middle Income country (LMIC) institutes would create these pathways, so that researchers can evolve their careers?

Yes, this is what is required. The Global Health Research Centres programme supports strengthening research career pathways across partner institutions for researchers, masters and Ph.D. students, post-doctoral candidates and academic fellowships.  Applicants should identify the specific nature of the opportunities being offered within their applications.

45. Does the definition of capacity building include scholarships, academic training (e.g. Master’s degree, fellowships). Can studentships be included in the application?

Yes, capacity building/strengthening activities can include scholarships and academic training. Studentships may be included in the application. Please refer to section 12 in the call remit and guidance.

46. Can funding be used to support early career development of researchers based in the UK?

Global Health Research Centres will provide a sustainable platform for high-quality applied health research in Low and Middle Income Country (LMIC) institutions to address local needs and improve health outcomes in response to the growing global burden of disease. Applications should be focused around investment in research capacity strengthening in LMICs. Funding research capacity strengthening programmes in the UK for the benefit of UK participants would not be in scope for this call.

Funding

47. How many Global Health Research Centres awards will be made?

All NIHR Global Health Research funding is awarded on a competitive basis and based on quality and resource availability. We expect to make a limited number of Global Health Research Centres awards in this call.

48. Will the selection of projects be based on geographical coverage (e.g. could more than one research institute be based in the same Low and Middle Income country (LMIC) or region)

Applications will be assessed based on the selection criteria provided and the strongest applications as chosen by the panel will be funded, within the available resources. 

49. Can collaborators be included in the budget along with the budget for Co-applicants?

Yes, costs associated with collaborators should be included in the budget. 

50. In terms of sustainability, is there likely to be any opportunity for successfully funded Centres to apply for longer term support from NIHR?

Individual Global Health Research Centres may have the possibility to extend their funding for an additional two years, subject to funding and resource availability, as well as the successful completion of NIHR’s mid-contract review. We also expect that this investment in high quality research and research capacity strengthening will lead to Centres successfully competing for funding from other sources

51. How much money is available to applicants in the Global Health Research Centres call?

NIHR will provide funding for a limited number of individual awards of up to £10million per award over a five-year period.

 52. Is GFGP certification mandatory for Lead Institutions and Co-applicant Institutions and collaborators?

If a Global Health Research Centre application is shortlisted at Stage 1 to progress to Stage 2, then each institution in that consortium will need to undergo a pre-certification self-assessment against the Good Financial Grants Practice (GFGP) international standard, to confirm their baseline level, before submitting their Stage 2 application. 

Exemptions: Institutions that have already self-assessed for GFGP in the 12 months prior (and can share their results with NIHR), and/or institutions who have undergone NIHR due diligence checks in the last 3 years and have active NIHR projects, will not need to undertake a GFGP self-assessment. Please refer to the Finance Guidance for more information.

53. Can funding be disbursed to Low and Middle Income Country (LMIC) institutions? Are there any guidelines on how the funding should be split between the UK Lead Institution and any LMIC organisation?

NIHR encourages equitable funding distribution within the partnership. As per the guidance, all funds will be provided to the contracted UK Joint Lead Institution. The contracted institution will be responsible for disbursing funds to the Low and Middle Income Country (LMIC) Joint Lead Institution and Co-applicant Institutions and other organisations. Appropriate due diligence and assurance should be undertaken and Collaboration Agreements signed with all Co-applicants and Collaborators before payments are made.

There are no set guidelines as to the percentage breakdown of funding between collaborating organisations. However, the proposed research must be ODA-eligible (directly and primarily of benefit to the LMIC) and it should be made clear in the application how funds will flow to the LMIC Co-applicant and Collaborator organisations. All costs must be fully justified and reflect the principles of equitable partnerships. The NIHR and the Funding Committee will carefully review the proposal costing to ensure it meets the need of the research programme and remit of the Call.

Where some elements of the research are not undertaken in an ODA-eligible country during the course of the award (including where a country graduates from the DAC list during the lifetime of the award or there is a need for specialist expertise) the application must clearly state the reasons for this with due consideration to the benefit of the research to ODA-eligible countries.

If a larger proportion of research funding is held with the UK institution and plans to be directed to the LMIC/s via a non-monetary form (i.e. the purchasing of equipment on behalf of the LMIC partner/s) this information needs to be clearly stated in the application form to ensure NIHR and the Funding Committee are aware of the plans.

You will need to provide detailed justification of resources in your stage 2 application.

54. What is the definition of onward disbursements? Can a collaborating Low and Middle Income Institution reimburse other collaborating institutions in the same country?

This is allowed. The flow of funds is from DHSC to the UK Joint Lead Applicant’s institution (Contracting Institution). The contracting institution will be responsible for disbursing funds to core consortium institutions and collaborating organisation(s) including those in LMICs.

The contracted organisation in the UK is responsible for ensuring appropriate due diligence and risk management throughout the delivery chain.

Please refer to the section on general information in the finance guidance.

55. Are UK and Low and Middle Income Country (LMIC) overheads/indirect costs eligible costs in a Global Health Research Centre application? Is there a ceiling on overhead costs?

Examples of permissible indirect costs/overheads can be found in the finance guidance.  

UK HEIs may request indirect costs and estates that form part of Full Economic Costing (FEC). These are calculated on the number of full-time equivalent researchers/staff working on the programme. 80% of these costs will be funded. Indirect costs will be scrutinised as part of Value for Money assessment and therefore these costs must be fully justified as to why they are being requested and how they will contribute to the overall research. UK HEI indirect costs cannot be claimed on shared or support staff costs.

ODA-eligible Low and Middle Income Country institutions may include actual and real costs of undertaking the research in low-resource settings. Indirect costs can be claimed and should be charged in proportion to the total amount of staff effort (research and support staff) requested on the application for funding.

56. In terms of eligible costs, are diagnostic facilities, laboratory equipment and devices allowed?

Essential items of equipment (lease or purchase costs) including maintenance and other related costs can be requested. The proposed cost of all equipment to be purchased needs to be fully justified and all proposed costs should be good value for money. NIHR may challenge proposed costs that it does not consider appropriate, or that do not offer value for money. Full details are in the finance guidance.

57. Is the cost of UK-based project managers / supervisors which will be involved in project management and project monitoring and evaluation an eligible cost?

Yes, costs for programme management resources are eligible and should be included to ensure successful project delivery. NIHR encourages close collaboration with your Low and Middle Income Country partners to establish where these support positions are best located.

58. Can you clarify eligible costs for PhD students for this Global Health Research Centres call?  

NIHR will fund full studentship costs of formal academic training courses for students from ODA-eligible countries, who are registered to attend a Low and Middle Income Country (LMIC) or High Income Country (HIC) institution. All studentships will be considered, including but not limited to MScs and PhDs provided they are co-terminus with the award. The course may be taught via distance/remote learning or in person, or a combination of both.

In cases where the application includes LMIC student fees at a HIC institution (often charged at higher rates for international students), it is expected that the relevant (Joint) Lead Applicant will negotiate with the HIC institution for reduced fees for the Low and Middle Country candidate to bring them in line with those paid by nationals. Application for funding should show evidence of fees being reduced. NIHR would require justification where only partial or no LMIC student fee reductions have been achieved.

It is expected that studentships are co-terminus with the award. Therefore, where PhDs are being included as part of formal training plans, funding awards should be for a minimum of 48 months, to allow time for recruitment and completion of training within the funded award period.

59. Is it possible to include costs for an external evaluation of the project?

Yes, these costs are permitted. However, the applicant must explain and justify the value of the proposed evaluation in the context of the project’s aims and the intended impact. Applicants must also carefully consider the timescale for evaluation against the timescale for the project. If you are requesting external evaluation cost and are uncertain whether the cost is eligible, please contact ghrcentres@nihr.ac.uk.

Other Related Issues

60. Who is the chair of the Global Health Research Centres funding committee?

The Chair of the Global Health Research Centres Funding Committee is Professor Faith Osier.

61. How will the Funding Committee members be selected? Will the committee include Low and Middle Income Country (LMIC) representation?

Funding Committee members are appointed via an openly advertised recruitment process. Where particular areas of knowledge, skills or contextual experience in LMIC countries are required to support the work of a particular committee, some members may be directly approached and appointed by the NIHR. 

Membership is open to all with the necessary experience. NIHR embraces diversity and is committed to equality of opportunity. For Global Health Research Centre’s Funding Committees, we are particularly interested in recruiting members with experience from a wide range of geographical locations and contexts, particularly from applicants from countries listed on the OECD DAC-list.  In line with the International Development (Gender Equality) Act 2014 and the Equalities Act 2010, as well as NIHR principles, NIHR is committed to equality of opportunity.

The names of Funding Committee members will be published on the NIHR website.

62. Would the funding cuts to UK aid recently announced in the spending review affect this NIHR Global Health Research Centres call?

All final funding decisions, whether for UK or ODA schemes, are subject to availability of resources. The recent UK government spending review announcement relates to funding for the year 2021/22. Longer term spending plans are yet to be decided.

63. Are the slides available after the webinar?

Yes, slides are available here.

64. Can you please expand on Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning?

Applications should demonstrate a considered and embedded approach to monitoring evaluation and learning. As part of this, the Global Health Research Centres will be expected to develop frameworks for the monitoring and evaluation of their plans for NCD research and research capacity strengthening. We will hold an impact workshop for successful stage 1 applicants to further advice on this during the stage 2 application window. 

Please refer to section 12 in the call remit and guidance.

65. What is considered to be appropriate community engagement and involvement in a Global Health Research Centres application?

In order to ensure that the research is appropriate as well as scientifically and ethically sound, relevant community groups and organisations from Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs) must be involved in a meaningful process that will help guide the research from its design to the dissemination of results.

There is no standard model for appropriate community engagement and involvement as Global Health Research Centres applications vary immensely. However, please refer to section 12 of the core guidance for full information on NIHR’s expectations for Community Engagement and Involvement, including how applicants should demonstrate how they will engage and involve communities utilising the draft UNICEF Minimum Standards for Community Engagement.   

In the application, there should be evidence of active engagement with research participants and the general public within communities with a particular focus on vulnerable and/or high risk groups as well as engagement with selected relevant policy stakeholders. It is expected that CEI plans will outline plans for meaningful and sustained engagement.

Please note that while you should consider Community Engagement and Involvement at stage 1, it is not a selection criterion, and additional guidance will be provided for stage 2 applicants.

66. What is the key difference between the Global Health Research Units, Global Health Research Groups and the Global Health Research Centres programmes? Can applications be submitted to multiple NIHR Global Health Research Calls?

Whilst there are similarities in some of the core aims for the NIHR Global Health Research funding calls (high quality programmes of research, responsive to Low and Middle Income country (LMIC)-led needs, embedded plans for capacity and capability-strengthening), there are also fundamental differences. When considering where to apply, applicants need to take into account the specific remit of each funding call and decide which opportunity to apply for, according to their own aims and goals. 

NIHR will not accept the same or substantially similar applications across multiple NIHR Global Health Research calls

NIHR will accept applications from the same or similar teams across more than one NIHR Global Health Research call where the aims and research proposals are substantially different. If a team is submitting applications to more than one call, each application should be clearly distinct. Although proposals may be complementary, the successful delivery of one proposal must not depend on the other. Where multiple applications across calls are submitted, any applications proposing similar research themes and geographies will be carefully scrutinised to ensure there is no overlap.  

Other points for applicants to note:

  • NIHR strongly encourages diversifying leadership models, but will accept applications where there is a strong rationale for the same leadership team, and where there is clarity the Joint Leads will have capacity to successfully run two large scale programmes of research concurrently. 
  • Contracts will be awarded and managed separately and independently of each other. 
  • This guidance applies to existing NIHR award holders and new applicants.
  • NIHR reserves the right to reject an application if it is deemed too similar to another received in another NIHR Global Health Research call.
  • NIHR Global Research Professorship award holders are eligible to be part of applications to multiple calls, provided there is no duplication of requests for costs.

Application process

67. Does a stage 1 proposal submission have to be completed by the UK Joint Lead Applicant only or can it also be submitted by the Low and Middle Income Country (LMIC) Joint-lead Applicant?

The stage 1 application can be edited by the LMIC Joint Lead Applicant. However, the submission of the application will need to be done by the UK Joint Lead Applicant. Please consult our Research Management System guidance for assistance.

68. Is the term “outline application” the same thing as Stage 1 application?

Yes, the outline application refers to the requirement for the stage 1 application.

69. Are institutional letters of support needed from both the Low and Middle Income Country (LMIC) lead and UK joint Lead Institutions?

Letters of support are required from all participating institutions in the core Centres consortium i.e. the Joint Lead and Co-applicant institutions. The letters are a mandatory upload. The letters of support should be from the Vice Chancellor (or equivalent) and describe how the Centre will support the institution’s strategy, as well as any staff and resources that will be available to the Centre.

 70. Is it possible to save draft applications on the RMS online system before submitting the final version?

Yes, it is possible to save draft versions of the application on the RMS online system prior to the finalised version.

 71. Is there an opportunity to re-apply if an application is not shortlisted in Stage 1 and how much time is provided to shortlisted stage 1 applicants to submit stage 2 applications?

The deadline for receipt of Stage 1 applications is 31 March 2020. The Funding Committee will review the applications in June 2021 and applicants will be notified of the outcome for Stage 1 in July 2021. Stage 2 then opens for successful stage 1 applicants only in July 2021 with a deadline for stage 2 applications in November 2021. Applicants will be notified of stage 2 outcomes in April 2022.

Applicants will not be able to re-apply to Global Health Research Centres Call 1 if they are unsuccessful at Stage 1.

72. How much of the research plan needs to have been developed prior to the submission for Stage 1 application?

Our expectation is that applications at stage 1 will be sufficiently well developed to provide the funding committee with a clear understanding of the proposed programme of research at a relatively high level (given the word limits in this section of the application form).  We would not expect that major changes will be made to the research plan for the more detailed stage 2 application, unless mandated through the committee’s stage 1 feedback. We understand that some changes may be necessary and applicants will have the opportunity to explain these in the stage 2 submission.