Global Health Research Centres - Stage 1 Guidance for Applicants
Applying for funding from the NIHR Global Health Research Centres programme involves a two-stage assessment process. For Stage 1, applicants must complete an online application via the Research Management System (RMS). This guidance outlines the information required in each section of the online Stage 1 application form. A word template of the Stage 1 application form is available for reference only.
The closing date for applications to the first NIHR Global Health Research Centres funding call is Wednesday, 31 March 2021 at 13:00 UK time.
- Applications will not be accepted if submitted after the exact closing date and time. The system will automatically prevent this from happening.
- It is the applicants’ responsibility to allow sufficient time to submit an application.
- Applicants must contact the NIHR Global Health Research Centres team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org if they encounter a system problem while attempting to submit their application before the deadline.
ORCiD: It is mandatory for all applicants to register for an ORCiD identifier and to include this in their RMS user profile.
In November we held a webinar. You can access the recording about the Centres Call 1 on our Youtube channel.
Section 1: Application Summary Information
NIHR Global Health Research Centre Contracting Institution
Please provide details of the UK institution that will be the contractor (i.e. the organisation that will sign the contract with the UK’s Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC)) if the Centre is funded. This will be the UK Joint Lead Applicant’s organisation (i.e. substantive employer). The contracting organisation must be selected from our current list. If your institution does not appear on the list, please contact the NIHR Central Commissioning Facility: email@example.com.
Note: For the NIHR Global Health Research Centres, it is mandatory for applications to have two Joint Lead Applicants (one from an ODA-eligible country and one UK-based). The NIHR contract requires the Contracting Institution to be a UK based institution (i.e. where the UK Joint Lead Applicant is based).
NIHR Global Health Research Centre Name
Applicants should state clearly and concisely the proposed name or title of the Centre, which should reflect the research and research capacity strengthening activities to be conducted by the Centre in the chosen non communicable diseases (NCDs). Titles need to follow a set format starting with ‘NIHR Global Health Research Centre…’ and should be no more than 100 characters including spaces. Any abbreviations should be defined in full.
Select the appropriate research type to be conducted by the Centre. If your proposed NCD research programme will include any element of primary research, please select ‘Primary Research’. If you will carry out new analysis of existing data alongside primary research, select ‘Primary and Secondary Research’. If you are not sure which category to select, choose the closest match to your project, as this can be adjusted later.
Please note this is not independent of research capacity strengthening (RCS). It is expected that the research programme will be strengthened through ongoing RCS activities.
Proposed Start Date
Note: This should be from the 1st of the month, regardless of whether this is a working day or not. Please be realistic about your possible start date, taking account of the necessary contracting and staff recruitment prior to starting your project.
Applicants should refer to the NIHR Global Health Research Centres Call Remit and Guidance to know when the Centre would be required to start, if successful.
Research Duration (Months)
Ensure you include sufficient time to complete all aspects of the NCD research and research capacity strengthening activities, including application approvals (where required) and the final report. This can be a maximum of 60 months.
This field will automatically populate once you enter the start date and information about the research duration.
Estimated Research Costs
Enter the total amount of research costs to be requested, below (see the NIHR Global Health Research Centres Finance Guidance for Applicants).
NIHR Global Health Research Centres Stage 1 applicants are also required to provide further details about the cost breakdown of direct and indirect costs between institutions in the UK, in ODA eligible countries and other international countries (if applicable, e.g. for collaborating organisations) by uploading a completed Stage 1 Financial Summary Form (FSF). Applicants should refer to the Finance Guidance for Applicants for additional information.
Section 2 : The Global Health Research Centre Team
NIHR Global Health Research Centre applications must be led by two Joint Lead Applicants – one based in an ODA-eligible LMIC institution (Centre Director) and the other in a UK institution (Co-Director/ Deputy Director). Please complete the name, contact details and other information requested for both Joint Lead Applicants.
In this section, the names of all LMIC-based Co-applicants (one each, per Co-applicant Institution) will also need to be added to the RMS, and to this NIHR Global Health Research Centre application. Please note that once you add a Co-applicant’s details to the RMS, they will receive an automated email informing them about that. Therefore, we expect Co-applicants to be consulted before adding their details into the RMS. The application will not be able to be submitted until all Co-applicants have approved their participation.
The individual roles and contributions of all Joint Lead Applicants and Co-applicants to the NIHR Global Health Research Centre (on behalf of the institutions they represent) should also be specified here.
Any Collaborators can also be listed in this section.
Definitions and requirements
Joint Lead Applicants
It is a requirement to have two Joint Lead Applicants, with one being from an institution in an ODA eligible country (i.e. the LMIC Joint Lead Applicant) and the other from a UK-based institution.
NOTE: For contracting purposes, there can only be one contracting organisation for flow of funds. The UK Joint Lead Applicant’s employing institution will be the contracting organisation with the Department of Health and Social Care.
These are the individuals who are employed by the Co-Applicant institutions in ODA-eligible countries. They form a core part of the Centre team and are responsible for the day-to-day management and successful delivery of the consortium’s research and RCS projects and activities in NCDs - as agreed with the Joint Lead Applicants. You can add up to three Co-applicants (one each, per Co-applicant Institution).
These are individuals who provide specific expertise on particular aspects of the Centre’s NCD research programme and would be part of your wider multidisciplinary institutional research team. They do not share in the responsibility for the delivery of the NIHR Global Health Research Centre’s research and RCS.
Please include information on Collaborators within ‘Centre Structure and Team’.
Note: NIHR recognises and values the varied perspectives that community representatives, patients and carers bring to research projects. Therefore, if a NIHR Global Health Research Centre Collaborator is also a community representative, patient or carer, then please indicate this and provide a summary of their relevant knowledge, skills and experience that they will draw upon to contribute to the Centre.
Other Supporting Roles
As a minimum, the following (mandatory) UK, based supporting roles are required to be added to an application:
- Administrative Authority
- Research and Development Contact
UK Joint Lead Applicant
Please complete the name, contact details, ORCID identifier and other information requested for the UK Joint Lead Applicant in the form. Some of this information will be pre-populated based on your CV details and any remaining fields must be completed.
Please note that the Lead Applicant completing the form (expected to be the UK Joint Lead Applicant) must add the LMIC Joint Lead Applicant’s details to the RMS as part of the Centre application.The LMIC Joint Lead Applicant will receive an automated email informing them about it. Therefore, we would expect this individual to have been consulted beforehand.
Specify the UK Joint Lead Applicant’s Role in the NIHR Global Health Research Centre
In addition to the UK Joint Lead Applicant’s role as the representative of the UK contracting institution for the NIHR Global Health Research Centre application, please explain briefly (100 words) the expertise and role that they will undertake in the proposed Centre (e.g. coordination and project management, analysis, methodological input, etc.). There will be an opportunity to elaborate upon this further in the ‘Centre Structure and Team’ section.
Please enter the percentage of the UK Joint Lead Applicant’s time to be committed.
Any further information
Please highlight any additional information that the Funding Committee should be aware of in relation to your research experience. If you have taken a career break at any point please provide details here.
ODA-eligible Country Joint Lead Applicant (LMIC Joint Lead Applicant)
Please complete the name, contact details, ORCID identifier and other information requested for the LMIC Joint Lead Applicant in the form. Some of this information will be pre-populated based on your CV details and any remaining fields must be completed.
Please note that the Lead Applicant completing the form (expected to be the UK Joint Lead Applicant) must add the LMIC Joint Lead Applicant’s details to the RMS as part of the Centre application.The LMIC Joint Lead Applicant will receive an automated email informing them about it. Therefore, we would expect this individual to have been consulted beforehand. The application will not be able to be submitted until the LMIC Joint Lead Applicant has approved their participation.
Specify the LMIC Joint Lead Applicant’s Role in the NIHR Global Health Research Centre
In addition to the LMIC Joint Lead Applicant’s role as Centre Director and representative of the LMIC institution for the NIHR Global Health Research Centre application, please explain briefly (100 words) the expertise and role that they will undertake in the proposed Centre (e.g. coordination and project management, analysis, methodological input, etc.). There will be an opportunity to elaborate upon this further in the ‘Centre Structure and Team’ section.
Please enter the percentage of the LMIC Joint Lead Applicant’s time to be committed.
Any further information
Please highlight any additional information that the Funding Committee should be aware of in relation to your research experience. If you have taken a career break at any point please provide details here.
Add details of each Co-applicant (up to three), their specific roles in the Centre and the percentage of their time (%FTE) to be committed to the Centre.
Do not include information about Collaborators here, as they should be mentioned (if applicable) in the ‘Centre Structure and Team’ section of the form.
Centre Structure and Team
Please use this section to describe how the Centre consortium will work collectively to deliver its objectives and outline the arrangements for joint working between the Joint Lead Applicant and Co-applicant institutions. In this section, please include:
- A description of the proposed leadership model for the Centre. Whilst the expectation is for the LMIC Joint Lead Applicant to act as a Centre Director, please explain how the leadership roles will be managed between both Joint Leads (e.g. Co-Director model, Deputy Director model etc.) and how responsibilities will be shared between them.
- The proposed structure, location and size of the Centre, detailing how the Centre will be managed and the rationale for this approach.
- The respective strengths and ambition of participating institutions. Please describe existing track record, experience, expertise, skills, capacity, resources and facilities available in the chosen thematic area and explain their input to the Centre. This should be in addition to the information already provided for each of the Joint Lead Applicants and Co-applicants.
- The needs and gaps that the LMIC Co-applicant institutions wish to address and explain how the skills, expertise and resources available to the Centre will achieve this.
- The intended approach to programme management and governance. Please briefly identify any key roles that will be required to deliver this.
A list of key Collaborators should be provided in this section. A brief outline of their role and the contribution they are making to the multidisciplinary approach to research should be included. If any Collaborators are community representatives, patients or carers please include this information.
Section 3 : Joint Lead Applicant Research Background
In this section both the LMIC and UK Joint Lead Applicants should provide details of their publication and grant records.
Some of the responses required in this section will have been pre-populated based on your CV details and any remaining fields must be completed to provide the required information.
To update your publications and grants select the 'Save and Close' button at the top of this screen then access the relevant left hand menu toolbar.
- To update publications, select My Research Outputs from the left hand menu.
- To update Grants and your general CV Select Manage My Details then Update My CV from the left hand menu.
Once your CV is up to date:
- Select the relevant publications and grants using the green “+” icon.
- Use the delete icon (the red and white button) to remove a publication or grant from the list.
- Re-order each list by clicking and dragging the green arrow icon.
Please provide details of a maximum of six of the UK Joint Lead Applicant’s most recent publications (in the last ten years) relevant to this application (using Vancouver or Harvard citation format). Include DOI reference numbers, if possible.
Research Grants Held
Please select research grants held (as a named applicant) currently or in the last 5 years of active research – as well as any additional previous grants relevant to this application, stating who the grant is with and the amount of each grant. If no grants are held, please enter N/A (as this is a mandatory field).
Section 4 : Plain English Summary
A Plain English Summary is a clear and accessible explanation of your proposed Centre’s research strategy and approach to RCS and the specific overarching (1-2 years), medium (3-4 years) and long term (5+ years) aims.
If your application for funding is successful; the summary will be used on NIHR and other websites. Therefore, it should be aimed at, and accessible to, members of the public.
Many reviewers use this summary to inform their review of your funding application. They include clinicians and researchers who do not have specialist knowledge of your field as well as members of the public. It should be written clearly and simply, without jargon, and with an explanation of any technical terms included.
A good quality Plain English Summary providing an easy to read overview of the Centre’s strategy and NCD research will help:
- Those carrying out the review (i.e. Funding Committee Members and other reviewers) to have a better understanding of your research proposal.
- Inform others, such as members of the public, health professionals, policy makers and the media, about your research
- The research funders to publicise the research that they fund.
If your Plain English Summary is not clear and of a good quality, you may be required to amend it prior to final funding approval.
It is helpful to involve patients/carers/members of the public in developing a plain English summary. When writing your summary, consider including the following information where appropriate:
- Aim(s) of the research and RCS activities
- Background to the Centre’s institutional-level collaboration in NCD research
- Strategic approach to NCD research and research capacity strengthening
- Community Engagement and Involvement, and
The Plain English Summary is not the same as a scientific abstract - please do not cut and paste from other sections of your application form to create the Plain English Summary.
Section 5 : Research and Research Capacity Strengthening Plan
In this section please outline the NCD research challenges and your proposed research and RCS strategy to address these challenges. Please ensure you complete this section using the prompts in the application form in conjunction with this guidance and the NIHR Global Health Research Centres Call Specific Guidance.
References should be provided as a single attachment and uploaded in Section 8 of the application form.
Background and rationale
Please provide the background and rationale for the proposed Centre. This section should include:
- An overview of the NCD challenges and the applied health research areas that will be addressed by the Centre. A description of how the NCD areas relate to each other and the overall strategy should be provided. Please demonstrate the relevance and local need by including details of disease burden and the impact on patients, communities and the healthcare services.
- An overview of the research and work in progress to address the NCD challenges, existing research capability and the remaining evidence gap/ clinical need.
- A description of how the proposed Centre is in scope of the Call, and how it would add value.
Global Health Research Centre Strategy
Please provide details of the overall strategy for the Global Health Research Centre. Include details of the aims and objectives for both research and research capacity strengthening elements, the research plan and methods that might be employed. This section should include:
- Details of specific short (1-2 years), medium (2-3 years) and long term (4-5 years) aims and objectives. Please indicate how they address the overall aims of the Global Health Research Centres Call.
- How the Centre will provide high quality research evidence. Please include examples of the proposed institutional-level collaborative research design and methods, highlighting target populations and settings and approaches to data collection and analysis.
- An overview of the research capacity strengthening needs which have been identified in the Co-applicant institutions and how these will be addressed through a research-driven approach
- Details of the institutional commitment and support that will be available, and identify any additional points or key references made in supporting statements or any previous sections.
- Outline how the Centre will demonstrate successful attainment of milestones for both the research and research capacity strengthening plan and for equitable partnership development.
- The main challenges the Centre will face in delivering the research strategy.
- The approach to building equitable and sustainable partnerships.
- The strategy for CEI, identifying key patient and community groups and any other key stakeholders that would be important to involve in the research and Stage 2 application development.
- The anticipated pathway to impact for the Centre, including the potential benefits to the research ecosystem and for patients, communities and healthcare systems in NCDs within the ODA eligible countries.
Approach to Research Capacity Strengthening
Please provide an overview of the Centre’s approach to training and research capacity strengthening. Please identify the key areas to be strengthened and outline how the funding will be used to develop and sustain individual and institutional capacity in NCD research for the long term in the Co-applicant institutions in particular.
Information on how the proposal will strengthen the institutional research environment and culture, and also support the wider research ecosystem as a whole should be provided. Please include:
- The areas of strategic need that will be the focus of capacity strengthening initiatives
- An outline of the type of posts and opportunities that will be available. Please indicate how equity will be achieved through the available opportunities
- Plans to expand and strengthen research management, project management and research-enabling functions to strengthen the research management system as a whole.
- Plans to increase the uptake of scientific evidence in policy and practice
- The proposed leadership mechanisms that will have oversight of the research capacity strengthening work and how these feed into local and Centre-wide management and governance structures
Section 6: Location of Research
Please select the ODA-eligible countries where the proposed NIHR Global Health Research Centre will be based, and any other countries where the research will be conducted.
Please list any other countries that are not listed above, but where consortia applicants/members will be conducting research or forming research collaborations.
Section 7: ODA Compliance Statement
Applicants must provide a statement that demonstrates how the proposal meets key ODA funding requirements. It must provide information that address the following points:
- which country(ies) on the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (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 people in the 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.
Section 8: Uploads
- One single-side A4 page, listing references used throughout your proposal.
- Financial Summary Form – at this stage, applicants are required to provide a total figure for the costs on the application form and to provide further details of the cost breakdown (in particular, the anticipated split of funds between the UK, ODA-eligible countries and any other international countries that have been justified) by uploading a completed Centres Stage 1 Financial Summary Form.
- A letter of support from each of the Joint Lead Applicant and Co-Applicant institutions as evidence of institutional support. The letter should be from the Vice Chancellor (or equivalent) and describe how the Centre will support the institution’s strategy. Please include details of the institution staff who will contribute to the Centre and any other resources that will be available to the Centre.
An additional supporting (single side of A4) document can be submitted as a PDF file with your application form (e.g. a flow diagram illustrating the Centre’s structure or NCD research design, Gantt chart, pictures, diagrams etc.). If submitting a flow diagram, applicants should also describe complex interventions and controls as accurately and fully as possible, within their diagram. Alternatively, you may find the EQUATOR Network website useful. The PDF file should be submitted along with your application form.
Section 9: Administrative Contact Details
NOTE: Please note that this person does not need to be a Joint Lead Applicant or a Co-applicant.
Section 10: Research and Development Office contact Details
Please provide the contact details and job title of a person in the Research and Development Office of the Contracting Institution so that NIHR can notify them about the outcome of this application, including any associated feedback.
NOTE: This person does not need to be included as a Joint Lead Applicant or Co-applicant.
Section 11: Acknowledge, Review and Submit
Conflict Of Interest (COI) Declaration
Please declare any conflicts or potential conflicts of interest that you (the UK Joint Lead Applicant), the LMIC Joint Lead Applicant or your LMIC-based Co-applicants may have in undertaking this research, including any relevant, non-personal and commercial interest that could be perceived as a conflict of interest.
Agreement to Terms and Conditions
As Joint Lead Applicant for the UK Contracting Organisation, please tick the box to confirm that the information entered into the application form is correct and that you take responsibility for overall management and delivery of the research.
Checklist of information to include when submitting a NIHR Stage 1 research application:
- A good quality Plain English Summary
- A clear explanation of the problem being addressed
- A clear demonstration of the need and importance of the research
- A review of existing literature (primary research)
- A clear research strategy / aims and objectives
- A clear plan for research capacity strengthening
- A clear description of team member roles and contribution
- Appropriate and relevant community engagement and involvement
- A single A4 page of references (document upload)
- Stage 1 Financial Summary Form (document upload), mandatory
- A letter of support from each Joint Lead Applicant and Co-applicant Institution.