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MRC-NIHR EME Application Development Award by invitation - Specification


Published: 08 February 2024

Version: 1.0 - February 2024

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MRC-NIHR funding collaboration

The MRC-NIHR Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation Programme (EME) operates a commissioned workstream, whereby calls indicate the programme’s interest in supporting research in a particular area.

Following assessment of applications to a call, the Funding Committee may conclude that a study is important and may be supportable, but identify outstanding work, specific issues or challenges which would first need to be addressed. In these instances, as part of a pilot activity, the Funding Committee may recommend to the Programme Director that an Application Development Award is invited.

Application Development Awards (ADAs) are relatively small projects, with a maximum cost of £200k for complex awards, such as platforms or international studies, and a maximum duration of 12 months, unless otherwise justified. Project cost and duration is expected to be commensurate with the complexity of the study and the level of development work required.

To avoid excessive burden on study and programme teams, ADAs have proportionate monitoring and publication requirements.

To apply, applicants must:

  • Set out a work plan to address the feedback of the funding committee, which will strengthen the resulting application.
  • Provide costing for the proposed ADA (noting that the team required for the ADA may be different to the team required for the full application)

Successful applicants who are awarded an ADA will be required to:

  • Produce a Stage 1 or Stage 2 application (as specified in the invitation) as a key output.
  • Produce a single research article of the commissioned work, two weeks after the contract end date, for publication in one of the NIHR publication platforms.

In addition, NIHR supports teams to produce audience-appropriate outputs, such as a variety of digital formats (e.g., podcast, video, social media) including related articles to third-party journals, but the publication of the research article cannot be delayed to accommodate this.

Funding process

For this pilot, ADAs are by invitation only.

ADAs invited at Stage 1: Applicants who wish to progress with the invitation are asked to submit a Stage 2 application focussing on the work plan for the development award, for review by the Funding Committee at the next available date.

ADAs invited following a Stage 2 application: Where the Funding Committee wishes to fund a Stage 2 application as development work only, applicants are invited to submit an updated application based on their Stage 2 proposal and Committee feedback. The revised application will be considered by the Funding Committee Chair and Programme Director and, if required, original designated funding committee members.