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Global Health Research Centres - Finance Guidance

 

Contents

About this Guidance Document

The NIHR Global Health Research Portfolio supports applied health research for the direct and primary benefit of people in low and middle-income countries (LMICs) on the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC) list, using UK Aid from the UK government.

The NIHR Global Health Research Centres programme will provide funding awards of a maximum of £10m funding per application, for a period of up to 5 years. This award will be for institutional partnerships to be led by two Joint Lead Applicants: one from an institution in a country eligible for Official Development Assistance (i.e. the low or middle income [LMIC] institution where the Centre will be based - this Joint Lead Applicant will be the Centre Director), and one from a UK institution.

This Finance Guidance for Applicants covers the key principles supported by the first funding call for the NIHR Global Health Research Centres programme (Research and Institutional Capacity Strengthening in Non-Communicable Diseases). It should be read in conjunction with the Call Remit and Guidance and the Stage 1 Guidance for Applicants.

However, specific, reasonable costs that Centre applicants are eligible to apply for are as follows, with detailed guidance included in the relevant sections of this guidance: 

  1. Costs associated with developing a suitable research environment in LMIC partner institutions to enable the effective delivery of the planned research and research capacity strengthening (RCS) activities
  2. Costs associated with formal certification for Good Financial Grants Practice (GFGP) (if successful at Stage 2)
  3. A ringfenced fund to support career development through a variety of internal, competitive opportunities eg. completion of training modules, researcher exchange or enabling early career researchers to lead on work packages
  4. Costs associated with the monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL) of the Centre’s progress against its stated objectives

Official Development Assistance Eligibility

The research must be for the direct and primary benefit of people in ODA-eligible countries. In order to be eligible to receive NIHR Global Health Research 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 the application is 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?

In situations where some 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. 

Applicants should ensure they have considered existing advice on ODA eligibility and that information on how the application for funding will be ODA-compliant is included in the application. Any queries about the ODA eligibility of programmes should be raised with the NIHR Central Commissioning Facility as early as possible.

Further information can be found at:

General Information

Stage 1 Submission 

At Stage 1 of this 2-stage application process, applicants should provide a total figure for costs required to undertake the proposed institutional-level research on the application form, as well as further details of the cost breakdown (in particular the anticipated split of funds between the UK, ODA-eligible countries and any other international parties), by uploading a completed Global Health Research Centres Stage 1 Finance Summary Form (FSF). This is available for download from the funding opportunity page for the centres funding call.

It is in the applicant’s best interest to undertake a thorough, realistic and accurate costing.

Eligible costs for Centres’ awards are described in the direct costs section below.

Principles for Preparing the FSF at Stage 1; to be Assessed at Stage 2

The principles below should be considered in preparing the FSF, as they will be validated in the full proposal at Stage 2 and any significant material increase in costs from the Stage 1 application will need to be justified:

  • All funds must be requested at current price at the time of the submission and inflation must not be included. Annual inflationary uplifts may be awarded to successful applicants by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), depending on available resources.
  • The information included within the application will be used to assess value for money. It is in the applicant’s best interest to undertake a thorough, realistic and accurate costing. Applicants must provide a clear and full justification for all costs within the finance template at Stage 2. Further itemisation of costs and methods of calculation should be noted, as these will be required at Stage 2. Failure to provide a sound justification for expenditure will result in costs not being funded. 
  • At Stage 2, applicants must provide a clear justification for all costs, including costs required to secure risk management and assurance appropriate to ODA funding. Guidance on how to complete the form will also be embedded within that template.
  • Programme years should be calculated beginning with the anticipated start date of the proposed institutional-level research. The start date should be on the first of the month, e.g. 1st September 2022. 
  • All costs must be reasonable, justifiable and compliant with the principles of robust financial management. Once the contract starts, expenditure must be identifiable, verifiable and recorded in accounts with applicable accounting standards. NIHR reserves the right to inspect the accounting records at any time.
  • Payments will be made to the contracted organisation only and the contracted organisation will be responsible for passing on any money due to their collaborating organisation(s) including those in LMICs.
  • Applicants should ensure that all costs are converted and presented as GB £ in the application. The exchange rate used, as well as date / source of exchange rate should also be provided. 
  • Appropriate sub-contracts or collaboration agreements must be put in place for any element of the research which is to be paid to another organisation.
  • All applications are expected to have appropriate input from Joint Lead institutions, Co-applicant institutions and other relevant collaborating organisations into the completion of the Centres Stage 1 FSF, and subsequently the Stage 2 form. 
  • Once an award has been made, NIHR, on behalf of the DHSC, will require Contractors to provide regular financial statements regarding the actual use of funds. As this funding must be ODA compliant, Contractors will also be required to forecast their expenditure on a quarterly basis on both cash and resource bases. 

The submission quarters are:

  • 1st Apr - 30th June
  • 1st Jul – 30th Sep
  • 1st Oct – 31st Dec
  • 1st Jan – 31st Mar

The financial reports are due one month after the quarter end.

  • The DHSC reserves the right to send independent auditors to the contracted organisation and to collaborating organisations involved in the Centre, to confirm the actual use of funds
  • Organisations that are unable to reclaim Value-Added Tax (VAT) should provide costs inclusive of VAT. Otherwise, VAT must be excluded. Seek the advice of your VAT expert to determine the VAT status of your organisation. 

Information About Different Types of Organisations

UK Higher Education Institutions (HEIs)

UK Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) should determine the Full Economic Costing (FEC) of their research using Transparent Approach to Costing (TRAC) methodology. For HEIs in the UK, NIHR will fund 80% of their FEC, provided the TRAC methodology has been used. 

NHS Organisations

For Global Health Research Centre applications that include NHS organisations as Collaborators, up to 100% of direct costs will be paid. No indirect costs will be funded.

Other UK-based Organisations

For Centre applications that include other types of organisations based in the UK (e.g. charities, research institutes, commercial organisations etc.) as Collaborators, up to 100% of direct costs will be paid. Indirect costs can be requested and should be charged in proportion to the amount of staff effort requested on the funding application. The NIHR reserves the right to set limits to indirect costs charged.

Collaborating Organisations Based in LMICs

For Global Health Research Centre applications that include collaborating organisations based in LMICs (as listed on the OECD DAC list), 100% of direct and indirect costs will be funded.

Commercial and Other Collaborating Organisations not Based in LMICs or the UK

For commercial organisations, consultancies and other collaborating organisations not based in ODA-eligible LMICs or the UK, up to 100% of direct costs will be paid but no indirect costs will be supported for these organisations. 

Please see the sections below for further details of the types of costs that can be claimed. At Stage 1, these costs are required in summary form as shown in the FSF (but at Stage 2, the Finance Application Form will describe and request additional detailed information needed). 

Direct Costs

Direct costs are those ODA-eligible costs that will be incurred by the Contractor (and any Joint Lead Applicant/Co-applicants/Collaborators)’s institution in carrying out the proposed plans. These should be charged as the amount actually incurred and should be supported by an audit record.  

Eligible direct costs are listed in the sub-headings below.

Direct Staff Costs

Reasonable and proportionate staff costs can be requested. These should include relevant on-costs, such as employer’s contributions towards national insurance (or equivalent), pension and apprenticeship levy. Applicants must provide information supporting the rates applied for each type of employer contribution.

Staff costs should be based on current salary scales and include estimated increments. Once the programme is contracted, retrospective pay awards cannot be claimed. Estimated uplifts for inflation should not be included. However, agreed multi-year pay awards may be included.

Salaries may be sought at a level appropriate to the skills, responsibilities and expertise necessary to carry out the role required.

Salaries that are already being fully or in-part funded by the NIHR must be declared in the justification of costs section and cannot be claimed for again.

There are specific and detailed requirements for monitoring, reporting and financial assurance relating to the distribution and use of ODA funds. Applicants are, therefore, strongly encouraged to include appropriate resources across all collaborating Centre institutions, for programme management, monitoring and evaluation, and financial management, to support these requirements. 

Student stipend costs, if applicable, should be included within the salary section (however, guidance on stipend cost is provided within the “Training Development Costs”). 

Student fees should be included within Training Development Costs.  

Travel, Subsistence and Conference Costs

Travel and subsistence costs for collaborative working visits and engagement with potential stakeholders can be requested. Applicants may also request travel and subsistence costs for their programme advisory groups, steering committees, data monitoring and ethics committees. Travel and subsistence in relation to programme meetings, training and dissemination activities can also be claimed. 

Where costs are amalgamated, a comprehensive breakdown of all costs should be provided.

Applicants are required to consider value for money and environmental impact and consider whether a trip is necessary and whether alternative options (e.g. teleconferencing or video conferencing) offer a viable alternative.    

Travel costs

All journeys by rail or air should be budgeted by a class of travel that is no higher than standard economy, unless higher-class travel is required to comply with specific legislation. NIHR funding schemes do not fund first class travel.

For UK travel only: If travel is by car, apply your institution’s mileage rates. However, they should not exceed HMRC approved mileage allowances (currently 45p per mile for the first 10,000 business miles and 25p per mile thereafter).

For international travel: all journeys must be charged according to the most appropriate (basic or standard) local rate.

Costs of visas required for travel specifically related to the programme, should be included within this section. If a visa covers travel across multiple projects, the cost of the visa should be shared across all projects where possible but if not, then it should only be claimed once.

Subsistence

Subsistence covers accommodation (if necessary) and meals associated with travel. All costs must be based on actual receipted expenditure. Alcohol and tobacco are not allowable subsistence items. Per diem payments for subsistence are not permitted.

Conferences

Where costs for attending national or international conference (fees, associated travel and subsistence) are requested, a statement naming the conference or purpose of travel and the benefit to the programme must be included. Failure to adequately justify the attendance at a conference will result in these costs not being funded.

Equipment

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.

UK HEIs that claim FEC cannot request equipment items that are included within the estates element of FEC.

Equipment purchase for use in UK contracting organisations would not normally be supported. If equipment is required for use in the UK, a clear justification must be provided, including how the purchase will be of direct and principal benefit to the LMIC community. Applicants should note that equipment purchased and owned by the NHS cannot be funded by the NIHR. No NHS equipment costs should be included in the Centre application.

Costs of computers and laptops are normally restricted to a maximum of £1000 each, including associated software and VAT and a statement of justification must be included in the ‘Justification of Costs’ section for any purchase above this limit. 

Items of equipment valued at £250 or more (or equivalent in local currency) must be itemised separately. However, grouping of the same type of equipment is permitted.

NIHR considers any equipment and/or supplies purchased in part or fully from ODA funds as programme assets if they have a useful life of more than one year; and either: 

  1. The purchase price or development cost of the asset is in excess of £500 or equivalent in local currency; or  
  2. Is in a group of lower value items (e.g. pharmaceutical products, food, relief packs, etc.) where the combined value is in excess of £500 or equivalent in local currency; or 
  3. Can be considered an attractive item regardless of cost (e.g. mobile phones, cameras, laptops, tablets, satellite phones, vehicles, etc.).

NIHR Contractors are expected to keep an up-to-date asset register and report this to the NIHR on an annual basis.

At the end of the Global Health Research Centres programme, the equipment will remain the property of the relevant Joint Lead Applicant/Co-applicant institution and must continue to be used for ODA-eligible activities. As part of the project closure documentation, NIHR Contractors will be requested to submit an Asset Disposal Plan (ADP) clearly outlining the final intention for assets. 

Consumables

This section includes items specific to the programme. Applicants should itemise and describe the requirements fully (e.g. printing of leaflets, postage, etc.). These items should be specific to the research and research capacity strengthening requirements of the Centre, not just general office costs.

Community Engagement and Involvement

Applicants should include realistic costs for Community Engagement and Involvement (CEI), considering the UNICEF Minimum Standards for Community Engagement. Involving people in the programme requires resources in terms of time and monetary payments. It is really important to account for the costs of involvement at an early stage. These are likely to include:

  • Payments in recognition of time, skills and expertise
  • Out of pocket expenses such as travel and subsistence
  • Training and learning costs – training and induction for members of the public may be required for many involvement activities, payment for time for policy makers and other stakeholders and any relevant support costs. All costs should be itemised and described.

NIHR INVOLVE has produced a number of useful resources in relation to CEI, which can be found following the links: 

Dissemination

Costs associated with publication, presentation of findings can be requested as part of the application. All costs should be calculated on the basis of the lowest possible estimates. 

Breakdown of all costs and activities must be provided. 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.

Outputs funded by NIHR must be shared on open access platforms. Articles submitted to an open access publisher may be subject to an Article Processing Charge (APC). If applicable, applicants should include the costs of APCs. APC rates vary but are usually within the range of £300 and £3000. Open access publishers usually list their APC rates on their websites. Read the NIHR open access policy.

Risk Management and Assurance

Costs associated with proportionate risk management and assurance may be requested as part of this Centre application for funding. There are specific requirements for monitoring and financial assurance relating to the distribution and use of ODA funds. 

To make effective arrangements for risk management and assurance, applicants should consider the financial systems and financial management capacity of Joint Lead / Co-applicants / Collaborators’ institutions and the level of risk within their countries, and tailor the assurance and monitoring processes appropriately.

The Good Financial Grants Practice (GFGP) is useful for identifying gaps in financial capacity, governance, systems etc. GFGP audits and accreditation costs are therefore expected to be included in the budget for Global Health Research Centre applications (if not already completed by the institutions involved). Please consider that these costs can only be requested once per organisation and should not be claimed across multiple NIHR programmes/calls. 

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 GFGP international standards, 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 NIHR awardees who have undergone NIHR due diligence checks and have active projects, will not need to undertake a GFGP self-assessment.

The NIHR, via the DHSC, will provide free licences to eligible applicant institutions to undertake such self-assessments. The UK and LMIC Joint Lead Institutions will be expected to achieve at least a silver level of compliance when they self-assess. This will be verified by the NIHR before contracts are signed. 

Costs specific to safeguarding activities are also permitted.

Breakdown of all costs and activities must be provided. Any large costs should be further detailed with a breakdown of constituent parts or a timescale profile of the costs. (e.g. due diligence cost would be expected to be profiled within the early stages of the programme).

UK statutory audit costs are not eligible direct costs.

Audits conducted in LMICs may be eligible direct costs, provided these are project audits (PA) / formal Project Expenditure Verifications (PEV). Where a PA/PEV is done as part of a statutory audit, the cost can be claimed if there are substantial project specific audits (PSA) which are referenced or embedded in statutory accounts, or as a stand-alone PEV report.     

Training and Development Costs 

For Global Health Research Centre applications, funds can be requested for a range of activities, for example:

  • full, partial formal training posts (including but not limited to BSc, MSc, MPhil, MRes, PhD, Postdoctoral researchers),
  • training in technical research skills and personal development skills such as, but not limited to, grant writing, writing for publication, communication and influencing skills, time management, team working etc., 
  • other wider institutional capacity strengthening activities such as finance management, research management, data management, legal compliance and assurance training,
  • institutional systems for coaching, mentoring and/or peer-mentorship.

These activities can be delivered through a range of mechanisms, such as through courses, workshops, exchanges and other relevant capacity strengthening activities. The fund could also support exchange programmes between institutions in the consortium, or even across a cohort of NIHR funded Global Health Research Centres, and include training in science communication, research writing, presentation and/or conference attendance, etc.

Events to share best practice and training workshops such as sending out colleagues to provide specific training to their counterparts in ODA eligible countries can be requested within this section. English language training in the context of all studentships is an eligible cost, provided clear justification and a strong value for money argument are given.

Student Fees

NIHR will fund full studentship costs of formal academic training courses for students from ODA-eligible countries, who are registered to attend a LMIC or 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 LMIC 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.  

Stipends

NIHR understands that it is common practice to provide stipends to PhD, and Post-Doctoral students, however for NIHR Global Health Research funded programmes they also apply to all other academic formal training courses, so long as support or salary is not received from another source during the period of the training course

It is expected that stipends are only claimed where students are enrolled in a course of a minimum duration of 12 months, unless there is a clear justification for providing stipend for shorter durations.

Stipends can be claimed by students from ODA-eligible countries, regardless of whether they are registered at a HEI in an ODA-eligible country or HIC.

Students from ODA eligible countries undertaking formal training course delivered via distance/remote learning registered at a UK or other HIC HEI may have to attend residential training in the HIC as part of their course.  Where this is the case, stipend costs can be claimed only for the time spent in the HIC as part of the course as follows:

  • UK HEIs: pro rata stipend, calculated as a proportion of the annual UK stipend figure may apply. Applicants must provide a full justification.
  • Other HIC HEIs: the stipend policy of the sponsoring organisation will apply. Pro rata stipend, calculated as a proportion of the annual stipend figure may apply. A copy of the policy should be submitted to NIHR and applicants must provide full justification.

Students from ODA eligible countries undertaking courses in ODA eligible country or non-UK HIC HEIs, will be expected to adhere to the stipend policy of the sponsoring organisation, and a copy of the policy should be submitted to NIHR.

The proposed NIHR minimum annual stipend figure applicable in the UK is set at £15,285 for 2020/21, and increased each year in line with UK inflation. Minimum stipend rates will be published on the NIHR website. Applicants offering more than the minimum stipend will be expected to provide justification.

Stipends are expected to cover living costs such as subsistence, routine travel and accommodation. Additional costs such as conference attendance, research expenses and international travel are not covered by the stipend, and should be included in the relevant section of the proposed project/programme costing, where applicable.

Please note, Student stipend costs, if applicable, should be included within the salary section of the Finance Form.

Please note: HIC HEI student fees or associated stipend costs are eligible only for students from ODA eligible countries. Student fees or stipends for students from HICs would not be eligible, regardless of the programme and location of study.

External Intervention Costs

If the proposed research requires an intervention to be delivered in the LMIC you are permitted to claim for External Intervention Costs (EIC) that are in excess of standard care provided in that local setting. 

For comparison, these would be interventions classified as NHS support or excess treatment activities in the UK and the costs would not be funded through the research award if the research was taking place in the UK. 

Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning 

Costs associated with monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL) can be requested as part of the Centre application. The costs should be proportionate to the proposed MEL activities and may include but are not limited to:

  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Local evaluations
  • Impact case study development
  • Theory of Change development

Training costs to support MEL should be included as a Training and Development cost. They should not be included as a cost for MEL. 

Other Direct Costs

These are costs, not identified elsewhere, that are specifically attributed to the Global Health Research Centre award. For example, external consultancy costs, software licensing, and trial advertising costs. 

Please note that external consultants must not be people who are already employed by the contracting institution or any other Joint Lead Applicants/Co-applicants involved in the programme. All employees must be shown under staff costs. Any consultancy costs must be justified and the number of days and a daily rate must be stated.

Translation costs of programme specific documents can also be claimed, as long as these can be supported by an audit record.

Applicants may include costs for the refurbishment of existing spaces provided it is proportionate to the funding and use of the space, and meets a clearly identified need; the cost must adhere to organisational policy on maintenance of buildings. Capital costs for new buildings are ineligible.

Ethical and other regulatory approvals specific to the proposed research can also be requested as part of “Other Direct Costs”.

Indirect Costs / Overheads

Indirect costs may include but are not limited to: 

  • General office and basic laboratory consumables
  • Premises costs
  • Library services/learning resources
  • Typing/secretarial
  • Finance (including audit), 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
  • Insurance
  • Statutory audits 

Reasonable amounts of funding can be requested if required to support the Centre’s research environment and enable the effective delivery of the planned research and Research Capacity Strengthening (RCS) activities in LMIC institutions (e.g. renting office or laboratory space, payment for use of other major research facilities, provision of library facilities, etc.).

UK HEIs

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. 

LMIC Organisations

ODA-eligible LMIC 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. 

UK NHS Organisations

NHS organisations cannot claim any indirect costs through NIHR Global Health Research programmes. 

Other Organisations

Indirect costs of other collaborating organisations based in ODA-eligible countries or the UK can be claimed and should be charged in proportion to the amount of staff effort requested on the funding application form. 

Indirect costs for collaborating institutions based in HICs (other than the UK) cannot be claimed.

All indirect costs requested as part of the Global Health Research Centres application must be fully justified as to why these costs are being requested and how they will contribute to the delivery of the objectives of the programme.

Ineligible costs

The following costs are not eligible under the Global Health Research Centres programme:

  • Any costs that cannot be classed as ODA-eligible as defined by the OECD
  • Cost associated with lobbying or any other political or exclusively religious activities
  • First and Business class travel
  • Per diem costs for travel and subsistence for all staff employed on the programme
  • Alcohol and tobacco
  • Entertainment
  • UK NHS support and treatment costs
  • Establishing and running new bio-banks
  • Fines and penalties
  • Costs already funded by NIHR or any other public organisations
  • Payments reimbursed or to be reimbursed by other funding
  • Contributions in kind (i.e. contributions in goods or services as opposed to money)
  • VAT reclaimable from HMRC
  • Contingency
  • Interest payments
  • Inflation or foreign exchange rate contingency
  • Funding will not be provided to meet the costs of basic research 
  • NHS Equipment costs will not be funded by NIHR Global Health Research Centres funding
  • Capital investments in new buildings.

Organisations claiming indirect costs as part of Full Economic Costing (FEC) are not permitted to claim costs such as staff recruitment (including advertising), redundancy costs, general training (e.g. common IT packages) and general office costs (e.g. non-programme specific printing and photocopying) as these are covered by the indirect costs envelope. 

Justification of Costs

Justification for all resources requested should be provided in the appropriate part of the NIHR finance template submitted with the application. 

Please ensure that it is clear as to how exactly the costs have been calculated and allocated. For example, if you plan to spend £100k on consumables please ensure you provide further information as to the price, type and numbers of items that will be purchased. 

Please provide a full justification for indirect costs requested clearly stating the methodology used to calculate these costs and how they represent a good value for money. 

The NIHR requires evidence of good value for money within the justification of costs and considers this to be the optimal use of resources to achieve the intended outcomes. ‘Optimal’ being considered as ‘the most desirable possible given expressed or implied restrictions or constraints’. Value for money goes beyond achieving the lowest initial price and includes consideration of Economy, Efficiency, Effectiveness, and Equity (as appropriate) and what these mean in the context of a research proposal: 

Economy: Are we buying inputs of the appropriate quality at the right price? (Inputs are things such as staff, consultants, raw materials and capital that are used to produce outputs) 

Efficiency: How well do we convert inputs into outputs? (Outputs are results delivered by us or our agents to an external party. We exercise strong control over the quality and quantity of outputs) 

Effectiveness: How well are the outputs from an intervention achieving the desired outcome? (Note that in contrast to outputs, we do not exercise direct control over outcomes) 

Equity: the extent to which the outputs of our interventions are equitably distributed.

The following reference resources may be useful:

Please contact the NIHR Central Commissioning Facility at ghrcentres@nihr.ac.uk, if you have any queries when completing the FSF.