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Global Health Research Centres - Guidance for Funding Committee Applicants

 

Contents

The NIHR is seeking to appoint a range of individuals to join its Funding Committee for the NIHR Global Health Research Centres programme. The first call focuses on research and institutional capacity strengthening in non-communicable diseases. This document outlines what's involved in being a member of an NIHR global health research Funding Committee, the person specification and how to apply to join the NIHR Global Health Research Centres committee.

About the NIHR Global Health Research Centres programme

The NIHR Global Health Research Centres programme funds ambitious, transformative, innovative and collaborative consortia of research institutions in the UK and in low and middle income countries (LMICs) that are eligible for Official Development Assistance (ODA). High quality research and research capacity strengthening in LMICs are equally essential components of the programme. 

Each funding call addresses an area where there is a need for coordinated, high quality research in LMICs to increase the global evidence base. The NIHR Global Health Research Centres funds ambitious, transformative, innovative and collaborative consortia of research institutions in the UK and ODA eligible countries.

These awards provide funding to support not only the delivery of research that will improve health outcomes for people living in LMICs, but also to strengthen crucial research capability and capacity in resource-poor settings, including training and capacity-building in both academic research and programme support functions. Together these provide a vital and sustainable platform for future research in those countries. 

NIHR Global Health Research Centres aim to provide a sustainable platform for high-quality applied health research in LMIC institutions to address local needs and improve health outcomes in response to the growing global burden of disease.

To achieve this aim, the NIHR Global Health Research Centres programme has the following objectives:

  • Strengthen LMIC institutional capacity to undertake, manage and disseminate high quality applied health research
  • Strengthen research career pathways across partner institutions
  • Engage with local and national stakeholders to develop priorities and increase research uptake to inform policy and practice
  • Deliver quality research to increase global evidence base in non communicable disease

In the first call, the NIHR is seeking applications for Global Health Research Centres that will support research capacity strengthening across participating LMIC institutions to aid the delivery of high-quality applied health research in non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and provide a platform for sustainable growth of the LMIC research ecosystem. 

About NIHR Global Health Research Funding Committees

Who makes up the NIHR Global Health Research Centres Funding Committees?

The Committees are made up of individuals with skills and knowledge relevant to a particular funding call. They will bring with them a broad spectrum of experience that will contribute to well-rounded collective decision-making on research needs and quality of applications. 

The Funding Committee will have an independent Chair and up to 10 further members. A member may be co-opted to serve as co-Chair. Broadly, input is provided by two kinds of member:

  • Subject matter and academic members, who have previous experience at a senior level and a significant record in applied health research and publication, usually in LMIC settings. For this call, the NIHR is seeking individuals with specific expertise on NCDs in low resource settings, and/or demonstrable experience of research capacity strengthening programmes. Applications from social scientists are also welcomed.
  • Community engagement and involvement members, who bring valuable knowledge, experience and expertise of how to involve people with lived experience of a health condition and communities in the full spectrum of the research process in LMICs at both the local, national, regional and global levels. Members also bring an understanding and experience of developing and delivering community engagement strategies to reach the most marginalised and vulnerable populations so that no one is left behind.

How are Funding Committee Members appointed? 

Funding Committee members will be 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 Programme. 

Membership is open to all with the necessary experience. NIHR embraces diversity and is committed to equality of opportunity. For Global Health Research Centres 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.

What do Funding Committee Members do? 

The main role of the Funding Committee is to collectively discuss and recommend which applications received to a call for research should be recommended for funding. As a guide, each application will consist of: 

Stage 1:

  • Outline of Proposed Research Strategy
  • Research Capacity Strengthening Plan
  • Description of the Centre structure and expertise
  • Letters of Support
  • Finance Summary Form outlining the proposed budget
  • References

Plus a further optional upload.

Stage 2:

Documentation to be decided but will consist of fewer, more detailed application forms including: 

  • Detailed Research Strategy 
  • Detailed Plans for Research Capacity Strengthening
  • Detailed Plan for Community Engagement and Involvement
  • Detailed Plan for Programme Management and Governance
  • Approach to Impact and Theory of Change for the Centre
  • Detailed budget breakdown

Plus some further optional uploads. Additionally, interviews will be held for Stage 2.

Prior to a meeting, Committee members will review applications against the advertised call specification and funding criteria, and will critically assess whether proposed research is high quality, scientifically robust, represents good value for money, and is ODA-eligible. Each member will be assigned a sub-set of applications to review in-depth which they will need to present at the meeting, however they will also be required to read all other applications in order to be able to contribute to discussions and vote.

Members are required to hold at least one full day for advance preparation per day of the Committee meeting days attended to undertake in depth reviews for their assigned applications, and to review all other applications. In addition there can be a need for additional input in advance of the meeting for triage, if a high volume of applications are received.  

After discussion and scoring of applications, the Committee will make their final recommendations to the Department of Health and Social Care on which applications should be funded.

After the Committee meeting, members may be asked to review final feedback to applicants and/or applicant’s responses, where necessary, to confirm any conditional funding requirements have been addressed. 

During the lifetime of the active awards, members may be approached by NIHR to review and make recommendations to the Department of Health and Social Care regarding significant proposed changes and/or extensions to the active awards.

Throughout the review process, all Funding Committee members are required to adhere to the Terms of Reference.

When do the Funding Committees meet?

Funding Committee meetings are scheduled to take place as follows:

  • Stage 1 Funding Committee: 16 and 17 June 2021
  • Stage 2 Funding Committee:  9 and 10 March 2022

Meetings are usually held face-to-face in London, UK, but dependent on the current status of the COVID-19 pandemic may be delivered virtually.

Person specification 

Subject matter experts and academics

Essential 

  • Professional knowledge and a significant track record of experience in applied global health research ideally in LMICs relevant to the remit of the programme.
  • Relevant global health research, public health and/or global health systems research background in NCDs.
  • Current or recent experience of working in or with global health research sectors including experience in research capacity strengthening 
  • A demonstrated track record of research achievement and leadership.
  • Experience of assimilating a large volume of written information and condensing it into a succinct critical appraisal. 
  • Experience of participating in formal meetings clearly conveying views on complex information, and actively contributing to large group discussion.
  • Computer literate, and willing to use a computer-based management information system. 
  • Discretion in handling confidential information. 

Desirable 

  • Previous membership of other major global health funder committees.
  • Direct experience in the peer review processes of large scale proposals for national or international global health research funders.

Community engagement and involvement specialists

Essential

  • Extensive technical expertise in developing and delivering community engagement strategies to involve people with lived experience and communities in health-related research, services or policy design in LMICs, with demonstrated evidence of reaching the most marginalised and vulnerable populations so that no one is left behind. 
  • Experience and knowledge of the universal health coverage (UHC) movement and the role Civil Society groups and networks play in connecting the movement to the most marginalised and disadvantaged communities at local, national, regional and global levels.
  • Knowledge or experience of global health issues and in particular an understanding of the global burden of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and its impact on health and health systems in low-resource settings, and the importance of meaningful involvement of people living with NCDs in tackling NCDs at the local, national, regional and global levels.
  • Good understanding of health system strengthening approaches and the challenges of translating health research into policy in under resourced LMIC contexts.
  • Experience of developing successful co-created approaches to capturing the impact of community engagement in LMICs.  
  • Current or recent experience of working in or with global health research sectors,  UN agencies or INGO/NGOs.
  • Passion for amplifying the voices of people who are often marginalised and under represented.
  • Experience of assimilating a large volume of written information and condensing it into a succinct critical appraisal. 
  • Experience of participating in formal meetings, clearly conveying views on complex information, and actively contributing to large group discussion.
  • Computer literate, and willing to use a computer-based management information system. 
  • Discretion in handling confidential information.

Terms and conditions 

Duration of role

Membership will be for the duration of the NIHR Global Health Research Centres Funding Committee meetings in 2021 and 2022 inclusive of all required pre and post-meeting activities. 

Payment

The Chair, Deputy Chair and Subject Matter Experts/Academic members of the NIHR Global Health Centres Funding Committees are not remunerated for undertaking these roles. However, these members can claim reasonable expenses associated with attendance of meetings, such as travel and subsistence. 

A separate payment policy exists for CEI specialist Committee members. 

Committee members are normally expected to travel standard class by rail and economy class by air. First class travel is not permitted. Staff at NIHR will liaise with members to arrange travel. Full details can be found in the NIHR Global Health Research programme committee member policy on expenses.

For face-to-face meetings, hotel accommodation will be provided by NIHR at the allocated meeting venue.  Bookings will be made for members by the NIHR team.

Continued Professional Development (CPD)

In discussion with the relevant professional body, members may be able to claim CPD points. Where appropriate, CCF will provide written confirmation of a member’s contribution. 

How to apply

  1. Review the vacancy advert alongside this guidance for applicants
  2. Complete the online application form, and the equal opportunities monitoring form (optional).
  3. In addition to your application form, upload an up to date and relevant curriculum vitae (2-4 pages) and any additional relevant information such as a summary publications list.
  4. Submit your application by the close date stated on the website and please provisionally hold the committee dates in your diary.
  5. Once your application has been submitted, you will receive an on-screen message confirming receipt of your application. If you have any queries regarding your application please contact GHRCentres@nihr.ac.uk in the first instance.
  6. After the closing date, NIHR will assess all applications received against the criteria set out in the person specification. Applicants will be notified of the final outcomes within four to six weeks of the advertised closing date.