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ICA Programme Pre-doctoral Clinical Academic Fellowship Applicant Guidance Notes Round 4 2021

Contents

Introduction

Health Education England (HEE) and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) are pleased to announce the launch of the fourth HEE/NIHR Integrated Clinical Academic (ICA) Programme Pre-doctoral Clinical Academic Fellowship (PCAF) scheme competition.
 
This document provides full details of the ICA PCAF scheme, describes the means by which applications for HEE/NIHR ICA PCAFs should be submitted, and details how they will be assessed.

Background to the HEE/NIHR Integrated Clinical Academic (ICA) Programme

 
HEE is committed to supporting the delivery of high quality healthcare by ensuring that the workforce has the right skills, values and behaviours, and by ensuring that the right numbers of staff are available at the right time and in the right place. HEE will achieve this by focussing on outcomes, using financial levers and leadership influence to help drive real improvements in workforce planning, education and training.

The Government is committed to building on Britain’s status as a world leader in clinical research and the life sciences, to better understand how diseases are diagnosed and treated, and to revolutionise our approach to treatment to improve health – whilst giving the sector the support it needs to realise ideas and help drive growth in the UK economy.

HEE will contribute to realising the potential of research and innovation in healthcare, and transforming the NHS, by continuing to develop a workforce that embraces research and innovation and supporting clinical academic careers for health professionals.
 
HEE, NIHR and other stakeholders meet regularly to set the strategic direction and landscape for delivery of HEE’s Research and Innovation Strategy and Clinical Academic Careers Framework.

The HEE/NIHR ICA Programme

 
The ICA Programme, managed by the NIHR and funded by HEE, provides research training awards for registered non-medical health and social care professionals who wish to develop clinical academic careers, combining continued clinical practice and clinical development with clinical research and research leadership.
 
Applicants should note that the term “clinical” is used in these Guidance Notes and in the application form to mean the practice that you undertake in your health or care profession for which you hold the required registration, and not necessarily to a patient facing or hospital-based role.

The ICA Programme comprises five schemes, tailored to support the clinical academic leaders of the future:

  • HEE Internship Scheme
  • HEE/NIHR Pre-doctoral Clinical Academic Fellowship (PCAF) Scheme
  • HEE/NIHR Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowship (CDRF) Scheme
  • HEE/NIHR Clinical Lectureship (CL) Scheme
  • HEE/NIHR Senior Clinical Lectureship (SCL) Scheme
 
Health and care professionals (excluding doctors and dentists) wishing to apply to the HEE/NIHR ICA Programme schemes must hold registration with one of the following regulatory bodies or have plans in place to hold the required registration by the proposed award start date:

HEE/NIHR ICA Programme Eligible Regulatory Bodies

  • Academy for Healthcare Science
  • General Chiropractic Council
  • General Dental Council
  • General Medical Council
  • General Optical Council
  • General Osteopathic Council
  • General Pharmaceutical Council
  • Health and Care Professions Council
  • Nursing and Midwifery Council
  • Social Work England
  • UK Public Health Register

The HEE/NIHR Pre-doctoral Clinical Academic Fellowship Scheme

The HEE/NIHR ICA Pre-doctoral Clinical Academic Fellowship (PCAF) scheme supports those wishing to become competitive applicants for a peer-reviewed doctoral level research training fellowship. The scheme is open to early career researchers from the health and care professions (excluding doctors and dentists) who are committed to a clinical academic career.

The PCAF scheme offers salaried time to prepare an application for a competitive, peer reviewed doctoral level research training fellowship and funding for personalised programmes of academic training that equip awardees with the skills and experience to access doctoral level funding.
 
Applicants for a PCAF may:
  • have little formal academic training/research experience or
  • have completed some Masters level training or
  • have completed a Masters level qualification or
  • require Masters level training/ a full Masters
All applicants must be able to demonstrate, through their previous clinical and academic experience, their commitment to a career that combines continued clinical practice and clinical development in their health/care profession with clinical research and research leadership. Competitive candidates will articulate in their application how they will ensure the continuation of their clinical career development while undertaking the award.

The PCAF Award Structure

Two distinct funding offers are available through the PCAF scheme, allowing applicants to choose the level of support most appropriate to their individual requirements. 
 
1) Funding to support the submission of a doctoral fellowship application and to undertake a programme of academic training at Masters level (“standard” PCAF)
 
Scope of Funding
  • salary costs to cover the time undertaking the Fellowship (including the employer's contribution to National Insurance and Superannuation)
  • up to £5,000 towards Masters level training and associated travel and subsistence
  • up to £1,000 for conference/meeting fees and associated travel and subsistence
  • supervision and mentorship costs up to £1,000
If applicants are proposing the completion of a full Masters degree as part of their training and development, it is possible to request a supplement to cover the Masters course fee if over and above the £5,000 limit. A full justification for the additional costs must be provided.
 
Award Uptake Options
  • full time for 12 months (5 days per week)
  • part-time over 24 months (2.5 days per week, 0.5 WTE)
  • part-time over 30 months (2 days per week, 0.4 WTE)
2) Funding to support submission of a doctoral fellowship application and to undertake a small amount of academic training at Masters level (PCAF Bridge). 
 
Scope of Funding
  • salary costs to cover the time undertaking the Fellowship (including the employer's contribution to National Insurance and Superannuation)
  • up to £400 for formal courses and associated travel and subsistence
  • up to £500 for conference / meeting fees and associated travel and subsistence
  • supervision and mentorship costs up to £500
Award Uptake Options
  • 4 days per week for 6 months (0.8 WTE)
  • 2 days per week for 12 months (0.4 WTE)
Please note - in these guidance notes, “PCAF” refers to both funding options (“standard” PCAF and PCAF Bridge) unless otherwise specified.

Eligibility Requirements for the Pre-doctoral Clinical Academic Fellowship Scheme

  1. Applicants must hold registration with one of the regulatory bodies listed in this document (HEE/NIHR ICA Programme Eligible Regulatory Bodies) by the proposed award start date.
  2. Applicants must have at least one year’s experience of practice in the health or care profession for which they hold the required registration.
  3. Applicants must hold a contract of employment with a provider of health and/or social care services at the point of application (fixed term contracts are acceptable, however, honorary contracts or bank work cannot be accepted).
    This organisation must provide at least 50% of its services free at the point of delivery and the applicant must be spending at least 50% of their current role delivering health and/or social care services that are free at the point of delivery.
  4. Applicants must be intending to continue working in the health or care profession for which they hold the required registration over the course of PCAF (if awarded), either through clinical skills development time included in the award (please see “Clinical Skills Development” below) or through continuation of their professional practice outside of the award time.
  5. Prospective applicants must not have registered for, or have completed, a PhD in a relevant subject area or have registered for an MPhil with the expectation that this will progress to a PhD. Prospective applicants who have completed either a Masters, an MPhil or an academic training position, and wish to use the Fellowship to develop a proposal for a Doctoral Fellowship are eligible to apply, providing that the additional research training is justified and appropriate (please see “the PCAF Training and Development Programme” details below).
  6. Applicants who have previously held an HEE/NIHR Masters in Clinical Research Studentship are eligible for the “PCAF Bridge” only.
  7. Applicants who have submitted an unsuccessful application to a previous PCAF competition round can re-apply on one further occasion. This does not include applications made to the Round 1 competition. Applicants that have applied unsuccessfully twice will normally not be able to re-apply for a period of 3 years. This is to take account of the fact that the applicant, in terms of both their CV and experience, will have hopefully developed significantly in this timeframe. Please note - applications deemed fundable but which fall below the funding cut off will not be counted towards the maximum of 2 application attempts.
 
Only one application to the HEE/NIHR ICA Programme is permitted per year. Multiple applications for one scheme, applications to more than one pre-doctoral level scheme or applications at more than one level (e.g. PCAF/CDRF) will not be accepted.
 
Prospective applicants unsure of their eligibility should contact the NIHR at academy-awards@nihr.ac.uk before embarking on the application process.

Competition Timetable

Competition StageKey Dates
Competition Opens Thursday 28th January 2021
Competition Closes Thursday 18th March 2021
Funding Recommendation Meeting 10th and 11th May 2021
If awarded, Fellowships must start on one of the following dates 1st September 2021
1st October 2021
1st November 2021
1st December 2021
1st January 2022
1st February 2022 or
1st March 2022

Fellowships cannot be deferred without the consent of the NIHR.

Assessment of Applications

Following the submission deadline, the NIHR will check applications for completeness and eligibility, and distribute eligible applications to the members of the PCAF Selection Committee.
 
The selection committee will assess all eligible applications using the Assessment Criteria below.

ICA PCAF Assessment Criteria

  • the quality and appropriateness of the academic training (including doctoral level fellowship application development)
  • the provision of a strong academic environment
  • the appropriateness of the proposed academic supervision
  • the appropriateness of the proposed clinical academic career mentorship
  • the suitability and commitment of the applicant to a career as a clinical academic
  • the appropriateness of the award to the experience and trajectory of the applicant
  • the arrangements for ensuring protected time for the applicant to undertake the academic training proposed coupled with ensuring the continuation of clinical service/ clinical development (as applicable)
  • demonstrable track record of the host Academic Higher Education Institute (HEI) Department in training clinicians who have gone on to develop academic careers.
In addition, References will be used by the PCAF Selection Committee to support their assessment of the application and the suitability and commitment of the applicant to a career as a clinical academic.

Expectations on Completion of a PCAF

 
At the end of a PCAF award, Fellows should be able to demonstrate development as a clinical  academic and be in a position to make a competitive application for a peer-reviewed PhD Fellowship. Evidence of the following will be sought by the NIHR through report monitoring:
  • Completion of the Training and Development Programme as detailed in the application
  • Preparation of an application for a competitive, peer-reviewed doctoral level research training fellowship
  • Increased research skills
  • Development of research interests
  • Development of clinical academic networks

Important Areas for Consideration when Developing a PCAF Application

Choosing the Appropriate PCAF Option 

The amount of previous formal academic training and research experience an applicant has undertaken to date should be the primary factor in determining which PCAF funding option (“standard” PCAF or PCAF Bridge) is the most appropriate. Applicants who already have research experience and/or research training at a sufficient level to prepare them to undertake a PhD (research doctorate) but who require the time and support to develop a competitive doctoral level application, would be advised to choose the PCAF Bridge option. Applicants who have undertaken limited formal academic training to date and who need to undertake a full Masters or a number of Masters level module may be better suited to the “standard” PCAF. 
 
Applicants that have previously completed a Masters qualification are advised to review the level of academic training and research experience that this qualification provided. If there was a large research component to the course, further academic training may not be necessary at this level. Holding a Masters level qualification per se, however, does not preclude undertaking a “standard” PCAF if further academic training is required.
 
All applicants are advised to discuss their previous academic training and experience with their proposed academic supervisors and to discuss with them the training required through the PCAF and, therefore, the most appropriate option. Please see below for further guidance regarding the Training and Development Programme proposed in a PCAF application.

Applicants are also advised to consider the timelines for their doctoral level submission. Completion of a PCAF should not inadvertently delay the progression of any awardee’s clinical academic career. 

Area of Research Interest 

At the pre-doctoral fellowship level, applicants are not expected to have a fully developed PhD proposal (this will be an output of the award), however, candidates are required to identify in their application their area of research interest.
 
For “Standard” PCAF applicants, the identification of just the research area in which they will be developing their clinical academic career (and therefore their doctoral fellowship proposal) is sufficient.

PCAF Bridge applicants should be able to summarise a more developed research topic that will be refined as they prepare their Fellowship application.
Competitive applications will have a clearly articulated plan for future research running through the PCAF and into a doctoral Fellowship application.

The research area should inform the proposed training plan and the proposed supervisory team and is used by the Selection committee to assess the suitability of the proposed training and supervision.

The research area should align with the applicant’s clinical practice. If the applicant’s current clinical practice does not align with their area of research interest, the applicant will need to clearly demonstrate how they will work towards such alignment to support a competitive doctoral fellowship application.

It is accepted that, as academic training and research experience progresses, research ideas and interests may change and, if the PCAF is funded, candidates will not be held to this stated area of interest for their doctoral fellowships. 

Research career to date

It is not necessarily expected that applicants at the pre-doctoral level will have extensive research experience to date, however, applicants are advised to describe all relevant academic and clinical experience and any research activities that they have been involved with and how this has supported their clinical academic career aspirations.

Academic Training

At the end of a PCAF award, Fellows should be in a position to make a competitive application for a PhD Fellowship. When developing the academic training programme, it is advisable for applicants to consider their previous formal academic training experience and their previous research experience (research career to date) and to identify the areas in which they would currently be less competitive if submitting a doctoral fellowship application.
 
The proposed training must be tailored around the applicant’s demonstrable training needs.  A justification of how the proposed training will support the applicant’s development as a clinical academic and as a competitive doctoral fellowship applicant must be provided.

The training may include, but is not limited to:
  • full Masters course
  • formal courses (including Masters modules)
  • training in specialist skills and research methodologies
  • placements with other research groups or centres
  • leadership training
  • conference attendance
  • research visits
  • patient and public involvement
  • dissemination of relevant research
  • research experience
  • clinical development
  • other training and development
  • preparation of an application for a competitive, peer-reviewed doctoral level research training fellowship
Please note - applicants that do not hold a degree will need to undertake a full Masters if they wish to be eligible for an NIHR managed doctoral level fellowship.
 
Training in patient and public involvement (PPI) or time for undertaking PPI can be included, however, costs for undertaking PPI activities cannot be requested.
 
Preliminary research in support of the subsequent doctoral level proposal (e.g. a systematic review or small feasibility study) may be included. Research costs cannot be funded through this award, however, and the primary academic supervisor is responsible for ensuring that a PCAF awardee secures all necessary regulatory approvals before undertaking any research included in the PCAF training and development programme.

Clinical Skills Development

Aspiring clinical academics need to develop both their skills in their stated profession (clinical skills) and their academic skills to enable them to become a future clinical academic leader.  PCAF award holders may wish to continue to develop their clinical skills through their current professional role, outside of the award time, and are welcome to include details of this in their application.  In addition, however, all applicants can request paid clinical skills development time as part of the award. Up to 20% clinical skills development time can be requested.

If applicants request clinical development time through the PCAF, they must be able to demonstrate how they will develop their skills over the period of the Fellowship, taking into consideration their current skill set. The clinical development plan must be demonstrably appropriate to the applicant’s level of seniority and support their development as a clinical academic. Senior clinicians may choose to propose activities that will ensure the maintenance rather than the development of their clinical skills.

Given that the scheme supports aspiring clinical academics, it is expected that any applicants that will not be continuing in their professional role outside of the Fellowship time would request clinical development time. A justification would be expected if these applicants do not propose any clinical skills development time as part of the PCAF.

Supervision and Mentorship

PCAF applicants are required to identify specific individuals in their application who have the appropriate experience to undertake the following roles:
Primary Academic Supervison
The primary academic supervisor will support the award holder to develop their doctoral fellowship proposal and to undertake the training proposed in their application
 
Careful consideration should be given to the choice of primary academic supervisor and a clear justification for the individual proposed should be provided in the application
 
Careful thought should be given to:
  • record of conversion of Masters to PhD students
  • experience as a PhD supervisor
  • experience in the research area of interest/ relevant methodologies
  • ease of maintaining contact with your supervisor/ availability of the supervisor
  • suitability for continuation as the PhD supervisor (if the award is successful) or ability of the supervisor to help find the best PhD supervision

The Primary Academic Supervisor must hold a position at the named academic organisation (see below).

Academic Supervisor

Applicants must also propose one additional supervisor to support the academic training/doctoral application development proposed.  The second supervisor must also be fully justified.

Clinical Academic Career Mentor

Applicants must identify a clinical academic who will provide clinical academic career mentorship over the course of the award.  This individual does not need to be employed by one of the organisations named (the Host or Partner Organisation) in the application and does not have to be from the same professional background as the applicant.

Mentors should be academically senior to the applicant and be able to go beyond the academic guidance afforded by the named supervisors, using their unique sector knowledge and experience to support the awardee through any challenges encountered during the development of their clinical academic career including:

  • navigating between the academic and health/care sectors
  • balancing time between their clinical practice and training roles in this award;

Given that support is already being provided from the named supervisor(s), it is not expected that the same individual will be named in both a supervisor and clinical academic career mentor role. The Primary Academic Supervisor should however, support the applicant to identify a suitable mentor.

Applicants should clearly describe how the proposed arrangements would support their development as a clinical academic and provide an initial assessment of the time that will be allocated to the mentorship process.

References

Applicants are required to provide details of two referees who will be able to comment on their suitability for an HEE/NIHR PCAF. The referees must be individuals that can evidence the academic potential of the applicant, who have experience of them in a research capacity. 
 
Referees must not be fulfilling a Supervisor or Clinical Academic Career Mentor role in the application.
 
Each referee is required to complete a reference as part of the application form. The reference must be completed before the application can be submitted. Applicants will not be able to view the references, however, they will be able to check whether a reference has been completed via the “validation summary” section of the application form.
 
The references are used by the PCAF Selection Committee to support their assessment of the suitability and commitment of the applicant to a career as a clinical academic. 
 
Please note – applicants are advised to approach prospective referees early in the application process to ensure that their referees have sufficient time to write a thorough reference and to submit it using the online application system, before the application needs to be submitted.

The Host Organisation and Partner Organisation

Host Organisation

 
The PCAF is a NIHR personal research training award.  As such, Fellowship proposals are written and submitted directly by the prospective award holder.  The NIHR cannot, however, contract with the Fellow directly and, therefore, all applicants require the support of a Host Organisation. 
 
Any organisation wishing to host a PCAF must be able to provide the applicant with a contract of employment for the hours and duration of the award.  The Host Organisation may or may not be the applicant’s current employer.
 
Examples of the contracts are available to download from the NIHR website.
 
The Host Organisation for a PCAF can be either a health/care organisation or an academic organisation (see below).

Partner Organisation

 
PCAF award holders, who are developing clinical academic careers, require support from both an academic and a health/care organisation, and applicants are required to identify both an academic and a health/care organisation that will work together to support both their Fellowship and their developing clinical academic career.

One of these organisations will be identified in the application as the Host Organisation for the award; the other organisation should be identified as the Partner Organisation. Please note - if the health/care organisation is not the host organisation, the applicant may need to arrange an honorary contract with the health/care organisation for the duration of the award if they are proposing to undertake clinical skills development as part of the award.
 
Health/Care Organisation - the named health/care organisation for a PCAF must be an NHS body based in England or any other English provider of health and/or social care services that is providing at least 50% of its services free at the point of delivery (for example, a commissioned social enterprise or local authority). This is the organisation at which the applicant would undertake their clinical skills development or continued clinical practice outside of the award time. 
 
It is the health/care organisation’s responsibility to ensure that the awardee will be released from their clinical responsibilities for the duration of the award with no shortfall in service provision and that the support is in place to enable the proposed clinical skills development.
 
Academic Organisation - the named academic organisation for a PCAF must be a recognised Higher Education Institute based in England at which the proposed primary academic supervisor holds a position.
 
The Host Organisation and Partner Organisation are expected to show a commitment towards the objectives of the scheme. Both organisations must ensure that the award holder is not be expected to undertake any additional roles or clinical work that would erode the time available to undertake the approved training and development as detailed in the PCAF application. 
 
As part of the application review, the PCAF Selection Committee will assess the support that the Host Organisations and Partner Organisation can provide to the applicant to develop their clinical academic career (see the PCAF Assessment Criteria listed below). Applicants are advised to consider these assessment criteria when identifying suitable organisations to support their PCAF.

Host and Partner Organisation Statement of Support

 
This statement is completed by the Heads of Departments of the named health/care Organisation and the academic organisation and should detail how these organisations are going to support the applicant, in partnership, to successfully complete the PCAF if awarded.
 
This statement should be tailored specifically to the applicant and their training needs, and include how the organisations intend to support the applicant to develop their clinical academic career in the long-term. 

In addition, the academic organisation is required to detail the conversion rate of Masters to PhD students at the institution and to detail progression of clinical academics along the ICA Pathway. The Head of Department at the Clinical Organisation is required to detail the plans in place to support the continuation of the applicant’s clinical role over both the course of and following the completion of any subsequent award.

The Head of Department for both the Host Organisation and the Partner Organisation should contribute to the statement. This section can only be accessed by the Heads of Department once they have agreed participation and cannot be accessed, but can be viewed, by the applicant.
 
NIHR see the responsibility for training the next generation of research leaders as a joint enterprise with host organisations. Therefore, information should also be provided on the organisations’ track record of supporting early career researchers, such as evidence of bridging or other support provided to fellows upon completion of an award. Applicants and their heads of department are advised to refer to a new Principles and Obligations document for non-medical clinical academics.

Please note - The Host Organisation Statement of Support is a key element of the assessment process and applicants are advised to discuss the statement with their heads of department well in advance of the competition deadline.

Partnership Fellowships

The NIHR is partnering with a number of charitable organisations to offer jointly funded NIHR Charity Partnership Fellowships. Partnership Fellowships offer award holders the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of an NIHR training award (including NIHR Academy membership) as well as the additional benefits that funding through the named charity can offer (such as engagement with charity patient groups and increased exposure of research outcomes and outputs).
 
Three charities are offering a Partnership Fellowships through the Round 4 PCAF Competition:
  • Pharmacy Research UK
  • Moorfields Eye Charity 
  • Pancreatic Cancer UK

Applying for a Partnership Fellowship

 
If an applicant is interested in applying for a jointly funded Partnership Fellowship, they should contact the charity to discuss the fit of their area of research interest with the charity’s research area of interest and the support that the charity could offer. The contact details and areas of research interest for the PCAF Round 4 charity partners are detailed below. In addition, you are advised to consider any specific eligibility criteria for the relevant charity (in addition to the standard eligibility criteria for the PCAF scheme stated above). 

When completing the application form, please use the “Application Type” question in the Applicant Summary Information section of the application form to indicate:
  1. if you would like to apply for a Partnership Fellowship and
  2. the charity of interest (if applicable)
The rest of the application and assessment process (including the application deadline) is identical for potential Partnership Fellowship applicants and non-Partnership Fellowship applicants, and all applications will be considered alongside each other. Any applications proposing a Partnership Fellowship will be ranked along with all the non-partnership Fellowship applications.
 
Any application that is ranked highly enough to receive funding will be funded regardless of whether a proposed Partnership Fellowship is available (e.g. if there are more fundable applications to a Partnership Fellowship than there are Partnership Fellowships available with that specific charity or the charity does not consider the application to be a fit with their research area).

Any jointly funded fellowships will be offered at the same funding level as any other PCAF awards and under standard NIHR terms and conditions except where additional terms and conditions are specified by the joint funder.

Please note: if you are applying for an NIHR Charity Partnership Fellowship, your information (including your NIHR application form and, if funded, any subsequent progress/annual reports) will be shared with the charitable organisation you have chosen to partner with as part of the review process and ongoing monitoring of any subsequent award.

Pharmacy Research UK

Research Area
Pharmacy Research UK is interested in funding research conducted by a pharmacist (who must be registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council), that can help pharmacy and pharmacists improve the public’s health and deliver better outcomes for patients.
 
Number of awards available: 1
Contact Details
Name: Desh Mofidi
Role: Research Manager
E-Mail: desh.mofidi@pharmresuk.org.uk  
Tel: 07342 791 824
 

Moorfields Eye Charity 

Research Area
Moorfields Eye Charity is interested in funding research in eye health, vision research, ophthalmic related service improvement, education or clinical practice.
Please note; applicants will normally be hosted by either the Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust or its main HEI partner (University College London). If hosted by another institution a direct collaboration with and benefit to Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust must be demonstrated which will normally include the candidate spending a portion of their time at Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust or UCL Institute of Ophthalmology.
 
Number of awards available: 2
Contact Details
Name: Ailish Murray
Role: Director of Grants and Research
E-Mail: Ailish.Murray@moorfields.nhs.uk  
Tel: 0207 566 2632 

Pancreatic Cancer UK 

Research Area
Pancreatic Cancer UK is interested in funding individuals who would like to develop a research career focussed on improving the diagnostic, treatment or supportive care pathways for patients with pancreatic cancer.
 
Number of awards available: 1
Contact Details
Name: Anna Lakey
Role: Research Manager at Pancreatic Cancer UK
Tel: 0203 871 9995
Email: anna.lakey@pancreaticcancer.org.uk  

The PCAF Round 4 Application Process

Awards will be made following open competition. The selection process and subsequent administration of the Fellowships will be managed by the NIHR.
 
All applications must be submitted via the NIHR Academy online Award Management System.  

Registering

 
Before an application can be started, prospective applicants are required to register on the online award management system. Applicants will be asked to supply a valid email address and to complete some basic information. Once this has been submitted, applicants will receive an email confirming their registration and a temporary password. Applicants should follow the instructions in the email to log on to the system.

Once signed into the system, applicants can update various details including their CV (in ‘Manage my Details’) and publications record (in 'My Research Outputs') and apply for any open competitions.

Applications can be started via selecting ‘My Applications’ and ‘New Application’. The application form for the scheme of interest can then be selected from the list provided.

Please note – there are four pre-doctoral Fellowship competitions open concurrently (the In-Practice Fellowship, the NIHR Pre-doctoral Fellowship, the Pre-doctoral Local Authority Fellowship and this HEE/NIHR Pre-doctoral Clinical Academic Fellowship). Please ensure that you are applying for the correct scheme.

After answering all of the eligibility questions, applicants will be able to start completing the online form. Applicants must ensure they have read all of the available guidance text including this document as well as any online instructions thoroughly before completing the form. 

The Application Form

 
Applicants are required to complete all of the mandatory sections of the form and to enter under the ‘Participants and Signatories’ section the names and contact details of those individuals fulfilling Participant and Signatory roles (see below).

Please note:  In addition to the above guidance, information to support the completion of each section of the application form is provided at the end of this document (“Completing the Application Form”). Applicants should ensure they are referring to the relevant guidance when completing each question on the form.
 
Once the applicant has completed their sections of the form and the Participants and Signatories have made their contributions, the applicant is required to ‘Submit’ the application to the Signatories for final sign off before the closing date.
 
Applicants can only ‘Submit’ an application for final sign off by the signatories when:
  • All mandatory sections of the application form are complete
  • All Participants and Signatories have agreed to be a part of the application and have completed their relevant sections
  • References have been submitted
  • Applicants have completed the declaration information.
Individuals undertaking certain Participant and Signatory roles are required to complete certain sections of the application form. It is strongly recommended that applicants complete their application well in advance of the deadline to allow these individuals enough time to complete the relevant sections and declarations.  Participants and Signatories who are required to complete part of the application form can do so at any time once they have agreed to be part of the application.

Participants and Signatories

 
Applicants are required to supply the names and email addresses (if not already registered on the award management system) of the individuals who will be undertaking ‘Participant’ and ‘Signatory’ roles as part of the application. Both Participants and Signatories must agree to be part of the application before it is submitted.
 
Participants and Signatories are required to review the declaration for their role before confirming participation. By confirming participation, Participants and Signatories are acknowledging their involvement and input into an application and agree to be involved in it. Applicants must ensure that all Participants and Signatories are happy for their application to be submitted before submitting it on the online system.
 
Please note it is often the case that one or more of the Participants are also named as Signatories. 

Required Participants

  • Primary Academic Supervisor: The individual acting as Primary Academic Supervisor must confirm that they have read the application and the guidance notes and are willing to act as the applicant’s primary supervisor and agree to abide by the conditions under which an award may be granted.
  • Supervisor: the second academic supervisor must confirm that they have read the application and the guidance notes and are willing to act as a supervisor and agree to abide by the conditions under which an award may be granted.
  • Mentor: The individual acting as the applicant’s clinical academic career mentor must confirm that they have read the application and the guidance notes and are willing to act as the applicant’s clinical academic career mentor and agree to abide by the conditions under which an award may be granted.
  • Clinical Support: The Clinical Support participant is confirming that, if an award is made, the applicant will be released from their clinical responsibilities for the duration of the award and that the applicant will have the required contract and support to undertake the clinical development detailed in the application (if applicable). They must confirm that they support this application and that they understand the conditions under which a Pre-doctoral Clinical Academic Fellowship may be awarded.
  • Research Contract Officer: A Research Contract Officer at the Host Organisation must confirm that they have read the guidance notes for the relevant NIHR scheme and the standard NIHR contract and confirm that the Host Organisation would be willing to accept an award according to the published terms and conditions of the NIHR standard contract.
  • Referees: Applicants are required to provide details of two referees who will be able to comment on their suitability for an HEE/NIHR PCAF. Referees must not be fulfilling an Academic Supervisor or clinical academic career mentor role in the application.

Each referee is required to complete a reference as part of the application form. The reference must be completed before the application can be submitted. Applicants will not be able to view the references; however, they will be able to check whether a reference has been completed via the validation summary.

Required Signatories

  • Heads of Department: In agreeing to participate in this application, the Heads of Department of both the health/care organisation and the academic organisations (the Host and Partner organisations) in which this award will be based must confirm that they support the application and that, if funded, the academic training programme will be supported and administered in the named organisations and that the applicant for whom they are responsible will undertake this work.
  • Administrative Authority or Finance Officer: The Administrative Authority or Finance Officer of the Host Organisation is required to complete the finance section of the form in conjunction with the lead applicant.  The Administrative Authority or Finance Officer must confirm, via the declaration, that they will ensure the accuracy of the financial details of the application and that the employing host organisation is prepared to host this award at the stated costs and to administer the award, if made.

Application Submission

Once the application is ready (see list of required steps above), applicants are able to submit the application for final signatory approval. Upon submission by the applicant, the individuals added in the Signatory roles will be prompted to sign back into the system and approve the finalised application.

The application will not be complete until all of the required signatories have approved the final version of the form submitted by the applicant. Only when the last signatory presses the ‘Approve’ button will the completed application be submitted to the NIHR.

Annex A illustrates the submission process for the application form in the form of a flow diagram. 

Please note - all of the steps described here, including signatory approval of the submitted application, must take place before the deadline of 1:00pm on Thursday 18th March 2021. No extensions will be given and no exceptions will be made to allow for completion of the form.

Should you require assistance in completing the online form, please contact the NIHR call 0113 532 8444, or email: academy-awards@nihr.ac.uk 

Application Outcomes

 
Applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application via email as soon as the funding decision is finalised. It can take up to 6 weeks following the Funding Recommendation Meeting for application outcomes to be issued. Applicants are advised to take this into account when considering which start date to opt for.
 
Feedback will be sent to applicants after the funding decisions have been made.
 
Further guidance for submitting the application on the online application system is available below. 

Completing the Application Form

1.  Application Summary Information

Host Organisation

Please give details of the organisation who will be the contractor if the project is funded. 
 
Please note that we expect the applicant’s proposed host organisation (substantive employer) to act as the contractor. 

Please also bear in mind that:

  • The contractor is expected to respond to annual financial reconciliation exercises, provide the final financial reconciliation statement for the project and to provide responses to ad hoc requests for financial information during the lifetime of the project.
  • In the same way, the contractor is expected to respond to any queries relating to Intellectual Property, commercialisation and benefit realisation. 
If the name of your host organisation does not appear in the pre-populated list, please email academy-awards@nihr.ac.uk
 
The Host Organisation acts as the Paymaster for the award and must provide the award holder with an employment contract for the hours and duration of the PCAF.  The Host Organisation does not have to be the applicant’s current employer.

Partner Organisation

Please give details of the partner organisation who will support the Fellowship if the project is funded. 
 
If the name of the host organisation does not appear in the pre-populated list please email academy-awards@nihr.ac.uk 
 
If the named clinical organisation is the proposed Host Organisation, the named academic organisation must be the Partner Organisation. 
 
If the named academic organisation is the proposed Host Organisation, the named clinical organisation must be the Partner Organisation.

Application Type

The NIHR is partnering with a number of charitable organisations to offer jointly funded fellowships.
 
If you would like to apply for one of these Partnership Fellowships, please indicate the type of Fellowship you are applying for using the drop down lists available.
 
Please ensure you have read the relevant guidance (see Partnership Fellowships) above before selecting your responses to these questions.

Proposed Start Date

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 Fellowship. 

PCAF Award Type

Please select the PCAF award type you wish to apply for.

  • PCAF
  • PCAF Bridge

Full details of the funding available through both award types are available in these Applicant Guidance Notes.

WTE of Award

Awards can only be undertaken at one of the WTE options given. 
 
Please ensure that you have included sufficient time to complete all aspects of the Fellowship.

2. Applicant CV

 
Please note - some of the responses to these questions are automatically pulled through from information entered in the ’Manage My Details’ page of your ARAMIS account.
 
Please note - you must ensure that this section contains any information necessary to determine eligibility for the scheme (please refer to the eligibility criteria) or your application may be rejected.
 
The Publication Record section of the form is automatically populated from publications added  into the “My Research Outputs” page of your ARAMIS account.

Professional Bodies

You must ensure that you enter details here of your current registration with one of the eligible regulatory bodies to enable confirmation of eligibility. 

If you do not currently hold registration with the regulatory body listed in these Applicant Guidance Notes for your stated profession, please provide further information in the "Research Career to Date" section of the application form.

Degrees and Professional Qualifications

Please provide the full details of any completed higher degree(s) and, where relevant, the full details of any higher degree(s) you are currently undertaking.

Please ensure that your degree grade is included, if applicable.

Present and previous positions

When entering details of your current and previous positions, please indicate at what percentage (WTE) in each post you were undertaking research.  For example, if you were a Clinical Lecturer and undertook research for 2.5 days a week and clinical work for 2.5 days per week, please enter 50% for that position. If you have worked part time at 60%, and undertook research for half of that time, please enter 30% for that position. 

Research Grants Held

Details of all grants obtained in the last five years should be provided, including personal research training awards or fellowships, plus any additional previous grants relevant to this application. Please indicate clearly any co-applicants and provide brief details of the nature and full extent of your involvement (e.g. project design, project management, day to day running, data collection, data analysis, writing papers for publication, etc.).

Please also include in the ‘Role in Research Grant’ box for each entry: registration number and name of registry and the DOI of the main related publication. Where the study is still ongoing or final results have not yet been published, please provide an estimated publication date. This is in line with the NIHR policy on clinical trial registration and disclosure of results.

It is not necessarily expected that applicants at the pre-doctoral level will have been awarded research grant funding as a Principal Investigator (PI) or as a co-applicant, however if this type of funding has been obtained please list the details here. This may include travel grants or other small funding awards.

Please note - your research grant record must be completed within the application form and not via the CV section on ARAMIS.

Publication Record

The publication record is automatically populated from the information added to the “My Research Outputs” section of your ARAMIS account.  To update, please “save and close” your application, return to the “home” screen and select “Research Outputs” from the left-hand menu.

To ensure publications display correctly, with all of the required information, applicants are strongly advised to use the “import” function and import their publications from Europe PMC.

Do not include any publications of any type that are in preparation. If relevant, details of these may be included in the ‘Applicant Research Background’ section.

Do include relevant abstracts, conference proceedings and articles (peer-reviewed or others) which have been published.

Depending on professional background and expertise, applicants are not necessarily expected to have an extensive list of publications.

Relevant Prizes, Awards and other Academic Distinctions

Please provide details of any awards or distinctions that would be relevant to your application including details of what the award was for.

Examples may include travel bursaries for a conference, presentation prizes etc.

ORCiD

The NIHR is an ORCID member and encourages all researchers to obtain this persistent digital identifier that distinguishes them from every other researcher. Lead applicants must include an ORCID iD in their application. Without it, your application will not be validated and you will not be able to submit. For more information and to register go to the ORCID website

3.  Applicant Research Background

Professional Background

Select the one option that best describes your professional background. This will determine any options that appear below for your profession, if applicable.
The profession selected should be the one for which you hold registration with the eligible regulatory body.

Please describe your research career to date 

Please use this question to describe your research and clinical experience and career to date and how this makes you suitable for this award. 
 
Begin your answer with a statement of your Research Area of Interest (the area of research in which you would like to develop your clinical academic career) and the methodologies this research may involve.  Please include information about why you wish to develop your career within this research area and what experience/ training you have so far (see below).
 
Please also include the following:
  • research projects that you have led or made a significant contribution to (making clear what your role was)
  • the research methods you have experience of
  • the impact and outputs of the research you have been involved in (linking to details given in your CV).
  • any other relevant experience such as supervisory, management, teaching, public engagement or leadership experience
  • experience of patient and public involvement activities in clinical research
  • clinical experience to date relevant to your development as a clinical academic in your chosen area of research
  • other skills and experience that highlight your suitability for the Fellowship you are applying for and that demonstrate your potential as a future health/social care research leader.
Impact of the Fellowship
Please describe the impact this fellowship will have on your career, noting a fellowship should provide you with a step change in your career trajectory
 
(Word limit: 1000).

Has this application, or a similar application, been previously submitted to this or any other funding body? 

Select ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to indicate whether this or a similar application has previously been submitted to this or any other funding body. This must include any previous submissions for an NIHR research training award, even if the proposed research has changed. Please detail the title of any previous submission(s), the funding body and scheme, the outcome and the date this is due if a decision is pending. If the application was unsuccessful, please indicate why and detail how this application differs from previous submission(s) and how any feedback received has been used to inform this application.
 
Rules on Re-Application - unsuccessful applicants to the PCAF are only able to apply again on one further occasion. This does not include applications to any ICA scheme competitions made before 2019. Applications deemed fundable but which fall below the funding cut off will not be counted towards the maximum of 2 application attempts.
 
If you have previously had 2 unsuccessful applications you will normally be able to apply again for the same scheme after a period of 3 years has passed. This is to take account of the fact that you, in terms of your CV and experience, will have hopefully developed significantly in this timeframe.
 
(Word limit: 500)

Employment breaks

Please use this question to detail any employment breaks you wish to make the Selection Committee aware of.

4.  Training and Development and Research Support

Proposed training and development programme

Please use this section to detail the training and development (including doctoral-level Fellowship application development) you will undertake as part of the fellowship.

Please answer this question using the headings relevant to your training plan from the list below. As this is the main part of your application you should ensure that the information is accurate, succinct and clearly laid out. 1000 words are available for this section if needed.
  • full Masters course
  • formal courses (including Masters modules)
  • training in specialist skills and research methodologies
  • placements with other research groups or centres
  • leadership training
  • conference attendance
  • research visits
  • patient and public involvement
  • dissemination of relevant research
  • research experience
  • clinical development
  • other training and development
  • preparation of an application for a competitive, peer-reviewed doctoral level research training fellowship
(Word limit: 1000)

Primary Academic Supervisor

Please provide details of your proposed Primary Academic Supervisor and the support that they will provide.
 
The individual listed here must also be added as a participant in the ‘Participants and Signatories’ section of the application form. 
 
Details of the following must be included here:
  1. the numbers of Masters students currently supervised and successfully supervised to completion
  2. the number of PhD students currently supervised and successfully supervised to completion of PhD
The primary doctoral level supervisor must be based at the proposed academic organisation
 
(Word limit: 1000)

Supervisor

Applicants must include one additional supervisor to support their academic training and development and provide details of the support that they will provide.

The individual listed here must also be added as a participant in the ‘Participants and Signatories’ section of the application form. 

Mentor

Applicants must identify a clinical academic who will act as a clinical academic career mentor for the prospective Fellow.

Please provide details of your proposed clinical academic career mentor and the support that they will provide.

The individual named here must also be added in the ‘Participants and Signatories’ section of the application form.

(Word limit: 250)

Collaborations

Explain what collaborations you intend to establish to support your training and development programme. This may involve short visiting placements or secondments in new (to the applicant) research environments, e.g. clinical trials units or NIHR Biomedical Research Centres.

The NIHR is particularly keen to enhance the cadre of researchers equipped to work at the university/NHS/industry interface, translating ideas into new treatments and products from which patients can benefit. Therefore, where appropriate, you should consider any industry collaborations you may wish to establish during the course of your award. You should include; the training and development the collaboration will provide; the facilities and expertise you will have access to; and how the collaboration will strengthen links between academia, industry and the NHS.

(Word limit: 600)

Host Organisations support statement

This statement is completed by the Heads of Departments of the named clinical and academic organisations and should detail how these organisations are going to support the applicant, in partnership, to successfully complete the PCAF if awarded. This statement should be tailored specifically to the applicant, their research and training needs, and include how the organisations intend to support the applicant to develop their research career in the long-term.  

NIHR see the responsibility for training the next generation of research leaders as a joint enterprise with host organisations. Therefore, information should also be provided on the organisation’s track record of supporting early career researchers, such as evidence of bridging or other support provided to fellows upon completion of an award. Applicants and their heads of department are advised to refer to a new Principles and Obligations document for non-medical clinical academics.

In addition, the academic organisation is required to detail the conversion rate of Masters to PhD students at the institution and to detail progression of clinical academics along the ICA Pathway.

Please note - it is not necessary to provide general information which is readily available on the University's website; the statement should be highly tailored to the applicant.

The Head of Department at the Clinical Organisation is required to detail the plans in place to support the continuation of the applicant’s clinical role over both the course of and following the completion of any subsequent award.

This section can only be accessed by the Head of Department once they have agreed participation and cannot be accessed, but can be viewed, by the applicant.

(Word limit: 1000) 

5. Uploads

To support your training and development proposal you are required to upload the following document in the ‘uploads’ section of the form:

Training timetable: 1 A4 page detailing specific milestone and deliverables.

6. Budget

Guidance for the completion of the finance section is available in the next section of the Applicant Guidance Notes.

7.  Participants and Signatories 

A number of participants and signatories are required to be added to your application and, where applicable, to complete sections of it. 

Details of the required individuals are provided in the Applicant Guidance Notes and on the online application form along with details of how they should be added.  The flow diagram in Annex A goes through the actions required of participants, signatories and the applicant.

8. Acknowledge, review and submit

Conflict checks

Please declare any conflicts or potential conflicts of interest that you may have in undertaking this Fellowship, including any relevant, non-personal & commercial interest that could be perceived as a conflict of interest.

Agreement to terms and conditions

Please click the check box to confirm that you agree to the Terms and Conditions of submission as detailed on the application form.

Finance Guidance

This Detailed Budget section of the application form must be completed by the Applicant in conjunction with the Research Support Office or Finance Office at the Host Organisation (the organisation that authorised the application and which, in the event of an award being made, will employ the applicant).
 
Applicants must make a copy of these Applicant Guidance Notes available to the Finance Officer in question.
 
The funding requested in the finance section will form the basis of the Fellowship should the application be successful.
 
This Fellowship does not include, or pay for, any research costs or full economic costing.
 
Applications for an ICA PCAF award can request:
 
 OptionsPCAFPCAF Bridge
Salary Lead Applicant salary costs to cover the time undertaking the Fellowship  Lead Applicant salary costs to cover the time undertaking the Fellowship
Training and Development Up to £5,000 towards Masters level training and associated travel and subsistence Up to £400 for formal courses and associated travel and subsistence
Conferences/ meeting Up to £1,000 for conference/meeting fees and associated travel and subsistence Up to £500 for conference/meeting fees and associated travel and subsistence
Supervision and Mentorship Up to £1,000 Up to £500
Award Uptake
  • full-time for 12 months (5 days per week)
  • part-time over 24 months (2.5 days per week, 0.5 WTE)
  • part-time over 30 months (2 days per week, 0.4 WTE)
  • 4 days per week for 6 months (0.8 WTE)
  • 2 days per week for 12 months (0.4 WTE)
 

Detailed Budget

Justification of costs

Please provide a breakdown of the costs associated with undertaking the Fellowship as described in the application and provide justification for the resources requested.

All costs provided should be ‘value for money’ and will be assessed by the NIHR and members of the PCAF Selection Committee. The NIHR reserves the right to reject any costs that it considers unreasonable or not fully justified.
 
NIHR Fellowships are not project or programme grants; therefore, extensions to the duration of awards to allow for completion of research and/or training and development are not permitted.  This doesn't affect suspensions of awards to allow for periods of maternity, paternity, adoption or sickness leave.

Detailed Budget Breakdown

General Information
  • The information entered in this section should provide an analysis of the total funds requested to undertake the proposed Fellowship and will be used to assess value for money.
  • It is in the best interest to undertake a thorough, realistic and accurate costing. You must provide a clear and full justification for all costs including NHS costs. You must also ensure that you include all costs required. 
  • Costs must be provided at current prices. An adjustment for inflation will be made annually thereafter at rates set by DHSC. Whilst allowances for incremental increases should be included on the form, nationally or locally agreed pay increases should be excluded.
  • Years should be calculated starting from the anticipated start date of the proposed Fellowship. For example, if your Fellowship is expected to start on 01 June 2021 then its second year starts 01 June 2022.
  • Further itemisation of costs and methods of calculation may be requested to support the application at a later date.
  • Payments will be made to the contracted organisation only and the contracted organisation will be responsible for passing on any money due to their partner organisation(s).
  • Appropriate sub-contracts must be put in place for any element of the Fellowship that is to be paid to another organisation.
  • All applications are expected to have appropriate NHS, HEI, commercial and other partner organisation input into the finance section of the application form.
Information on different types of organisations
Higher Education Institution (HEI) Indirect Costs may not be claimed on this award, however all approved costs will be paid at 100% irrespective of the type of employing host organisation. 
 
Please note, if the Employing host organisation is a Higher Education Institute, please select the “other” option when entering the “Type of Cost” to prevent costs being submitted at 80%.

Details of Post and Salaries

This section presents an overview of the salary costs for the Lead Applicant.
The Applicant 
‘Details of Posts and Salaries’ should show the full current staff costs independent of percentage WTE etc.
 
Please state the proposed salary point and scale at the start of the Fellowship.
 
Please note - immediate promotion to a higher grade as a result of securing a fellowship will not be funded. Please do not include any Clinical Excellence or Discretion/Merit awards or discretionary points. NIHR agrees to fund consultant salaries at a full-time rate equivalent to 10 Programmed Activities per week.
 
The Apprenticeship Levy can be included in the salary costs from 1st April 2017 where relevant.

Direct Costs

These are costs that are specific to the Fellowship, which will be charged as the amount actually spent and can be supported by an audit record. They should comprise:
Salary costs
This section specifies the annual costs of the Lead Applicant.  You should now allocate the individual staff member costs to each year of the Fellowship, allowing for increments.  Use current rates of pay, and build in any known annual increments (again at current rates).  You will not be able to claim for pay awards retrospectively, once your Fellowship is underway.
 
Please note - the salary figures need to be calculated using the current annual costs, percentage WTE and number of months.
 
It is important to double check that the %WTE, total months and yearly costs information are consistent with the information presented in ‘Details of Posts and Salaries’ (‘Details of Posts and Salaries’ should show the full current staff costs independent of percentage WTE etc. whereas the yearly costs in ‘Salary Costs’ depend on percentage WTE etc.).
 
Please ensure that you check the ‘Type of Cost’ box that describes the employing organisation for a member of staff as this impacts on the level of funding provided.  If the Employing host organisation is a Higher Education Institute, please select the “other” option when entering the “Type of Cost” to prevent costs being submitted at 80%.
Travel, Subsistence and Conference Fees  
This section includes journey and subsistence costs and conference fees.  Where applicable, you can also include the travel and subsistence costs relating to the Lead Applicant travelling for meetings with individuals providing supervision and/or mentorship.
Journey Costs
Enter the total cost of transport for all journeys.  If travel is by car, apply your institution’s mileage rates (however, this should not exceed HMRC approved mileage allowance payments, which is 45p per mile for the first 10,000 miles and 25p thereafter).
 
Travel by the most economic means possible is encouraged.  NIHR programmes do not usually fund first class travel.
Subsistence
Subsistence covers accommodation (if necessary) and meals associated with the travel, excluding any alcoholic beverages. 
Conference Fees
There is a limit on the amount that can be spent on conference related costs (including all related travel and subsistence as well as conference fees) depending on the level you are applying for.
 
These are as follows:
  • PCAF:  up to £1,000
  • PCAF Bridge: up to £500
Please ensure you tick the “tick if conference” box if the cost relates to conference travel or subsistence or to conference fees.
Training and Development
Please itemise and describe fully the costs associated with training and development. Please provide estimates if exact costs are not available at the time of application.
 
Please note - Any travel and subsistence associated with training and development should not be included here and should be included in the “Travel, Subsistence and Conference Fees” section of the Detailed Budget. 
Supervision and Mentorship costs 
Please detail any supervision and mentorship costs that you are requesting in this section selecting “other” for the “description”.
Summary of Cost
Please note that whilst these percentages will be used to calculate the maximum grant payable, the programme reserves the right to award a grant for less than this maximum where it is considered appropriate.

Additional Supporting Information

Plagiarism in NIHR funding applications

 
NIHR expects all content within applications for funding to be original material of the applicant's own work, with the exception of sections that other participants are required to complete.  Whilst we anticipate and expect that applicants will get help and advice from various sources when putting together an application, including on occasion input from those previously awarded funding, care must be taken to ensure this does not lead to plagiarism of either published work or other previous applications.  If an allegation of plagiarism is raised against an application this will be investigated in accordance with the NIHR Academy’s policy on plagiarism, a copy of which is available on request from academy-awards@nihr.ac.uk.

NIHR Privacy Policy

 
Our purpose for collecting information is to communicate with you about your application and have the necessary information to evaluate you for a grant. The data we collect here is collected in the public interest. Information provided here might be subject to Freedom of Information requests. 
 
The NIHR Academy is part of the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC), National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The contracting agent for the NIHR Academy is the Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust (LTHT). The DHSC is the Data Controller and LTHT is the Data Processor under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) EC 2016/679. DHSC NIHR respects the privacy of individuals who share their data and processes it in a manner that meets the requirements of GDPR. The DHSC Data Protection Officer can be contacted by email at: data_protection@dh.gsi.gov.uk 
 
The NIHR privacy policy includes further information including ways we may use your data, our contact details and details on your individual rights regarding how your data is used. Your data may be shared across the NIHR, including with other coordinating centres, to allow the application to be managed and for statistical analysis, and with external grant reviewers as part of the process for managing the allocation of a grant. Information collected from you will not be shared outside the EEA without your consent.
 
This notice is under constant review and will be updated and/or revised based on that review as appropriate.

Equality and Diversity Monitoring Information

 
NIHR is committed to promoting equality, diversity and inclusion in research and asks applicants to provide Equality and Diversity Monitoring Information (age, sex, ethnicity and race, and disability). By answering these Equality and Diversity Monitoring Information questions, you will help us to better understand the different groups of people that we fund and their experiences of being funded – particularly the groups protected by UK equality legislation. Although it is mandatory to answer these questions, it is possible to select “prefer not to say” as a response. However, the more information you provide, the more effective our monitoring will be. This information will not be used to make decisions about funding. 

International Standard Registered Clinical/soCial sTudy Number (ISRCTN)

 
All primary research studies need to be assigned an ISRCTN. You can view the ISRCTN website. Please note that the remit of this database has been widened to include all primary research projects, even those that are not randomised controlled trials.
 
There is no registration fee for NIHR funded trials.

Requirements for systematic reviews to be registered with PROSPERO

 
Applicants undertaking systematic reviews should note the commitment of NIHR to publication in the database. PROSPERO was developed by the NIHR’s Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (CRD), and is the first online facility to register systematic reviews for research about health and social care from all around the world. Access is completely free and open to the public. PROSPERO registration is a condition of NIHR funding for eligible systematic reviews. View the PROSPERO website.

UK Biobank

 
UK Biobank is a major national health resource, and a registered charity in its own right, with the aim of improving the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of serious and life-threatening illnesses – including cancer, heart diseases, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, eye disorders, depression and forms of dementia. UK Biobank recruited 500,000 people aged between 40-69 years in 2006-2010 from across the country to take part in this project. They have undergone measures, provided blood, urine and saliva samples for future analysis as well as detailed information about themselves. The health of members of this large cohort will be followed over the coming years and the participants have consented to be approached about health research. 
 
Applicants are encouraged to consider whether Biobank may be able to provide suitable data for their study. We do not want to discourage establishment of new collections of participants and their data where this is necessary to address the research questions under consideration, our aim is to avoid applications for funding to set up Biobank-like cohorts where the use of Biobank would prevent wasteful duplication of Biobank-like activities.

NIHR Carbon Reduction Guidelines

 
Researchers applying for NIHR funding are asked to consider the carbon footprint of their research and take steps to reduce carbon emissions where appropriate. Advice on how to do this can be obtained from the NIHR Carbon Reduction Guidelines.

Transparency Agenda

 
In line with the government’s transparency agenda, any contract resulting from this tender may be published in its entirety to the general public. Further information on the transparency agenda is in the Procurement and contracting transparency requirements: guidance

Clinical Trials Unit (CTU) support

 
Applicants thinking of including a clinical trial, feasibility or pilot study as part of their application, or are undertaking a research and/or training related to clinical trials are encouraged to consider working with a CTU where appropriate. Further guidance for trainees and applicants is available in the NIHR Clinical Trials Guide. This includes guidance on how to go about approaching a suitable CTU to support your application.

MRC Complex Intervention Guidance

 
Where appropriate applicants are encouraged to read the MRC complex interventions guidance available here.

NIHR INVOLVE 

 
INVOLVE is funded by the National Institute for Health Research, to support active public involvement in NHS, public health and social care research.
 
As a national advisory group, its role is to bring together expertise, insight and experience in the field of public involvement in research, with the aim of advancing it as an essential part of the process by which research is identified, prioritised, designed, conducted and disseminated.
 
INVOLVE can support prospective applicants and existing awardees to incorporate effective patient and public involvement into their work. Support includes; help with calculating appropriate costs for involving service users and the public, help with developing potential strategies for involvement, case studies of involvement activities including the impact they have had, and help with writing plain English summaries.
 
Full details of the support INVOLVE can provide and contact information is available via the INVOLVE website.

CRN support

 
The NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) supports researchers and the life sciences industry in planning, setting up and delivering high quality research to the agreed timelines and study recruitment target, for the benefit of the NHS and social care and patients/service users/ careers in England.

In partnership with your local R&D office, we encourage you to involve your local CRN team in discussions as early as possible when planning your study to fully benefit from the support the NIHR CRN offers as outlined in their Study Support Service. To find out more about how you can apply for this additional support to help deliver your study, please visit the Study Support Service webpage.

Ethics / Regulatory Approvals

 
Guidance on the application process for ethical and other approvals can be found on the HRA website. Please note that if your study is led from England and involves the NHS in England you should apply for HRA approval. Social care research falls within the remit and terms of the HRA.

If you are using patient information from an existing database, you should check whether the patients/service users have given their consent for their data to be included in that database for research purposes, or if not whether the database is exempt under Section 251 of the NHS Act 2006. Where exemptions are not already in place, approval to use confidential patient information without consent must be requested from the HRA who make decisions with advice from the Confidentiality Advisory Group (CAG).
 
NOTE: NIHR is interested in taking advantage of the growing utility of routine data (such as HES, GP records etc.), and would like investigators, where appropriate, to ask study participants to consent to long term follow up (e.g. beyond the outcomes to be collected in the funded trial) using routinely collected data, and appropriate linkage to allow this data to be best used.

Contractual Arrangements

 
Financial support under an NIHR Fellowship is subject to a contract between the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and the host organisation.

Once funding for a Fellowship has been discussed and agreed, NIHR will confirm the financial arrangements with the host organisation. NIHR will provide the host organisation with a contract setting out the details of these arrangements.

The host organisation will be expected to issue the individual with an employment contract commensurate with their experience and seniority.

Government procurement transparency regulations require publication of details of all contracts made with the DHSC on their Website. Confidential information including research proposals (Plain English Summaries will be published), detailed finance information, bank details, and departmental staff names (other than the award holder’s name) will be removed from the published versions.

Freedom of Information Act

 
The NIHR Academy manages the HEE/NIHR ICA Programme on behalf of HEE and the DHSC.  As such, the findings of researchers funded by the programme are incorporated in to the Department of Health and Social Care Freedom of Information Publication Scheme.

Guidance and Advice

 
Please read these Guidance Notes carefully. If you require any further information, advice or guidance please contact the NIHR Academy:
Phone: 0113 532 8444  Email: academy-awards@nihr.ac.uk  

Annex A: Application Submission Process Flow Diagram

Outlined are the steps for submitting an application. The applicant starts the application and adds participant and signatory details. The participants and signatories can then log in and confirm their participation and signatories can complete the sections of the form as directed. The applicant can continue entering data and completes all relevant sections of the form (step 3). The applicant then presses the ‘Submit’ button. Once the applicant submits, signatories will receive automated emails to approve the application. However, automated ‘out of office’ replies to these emails will not be relayed to the applicant. Once all signatories have approved the application, it is automatically submitted to NIHR for consideration. Rejection of the application by any individual at this stage will return the application to step 3.