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NIHR Artificial Intelligence for Multiple Long-Term Conditions (Multimorbidity) (AIM): Clusters Call – Research Support Facility - Stage 1 Guidance for Applicants



Please note: We are aware that some of the headings below may not be appropriate for this call, the guidance below sets out what we are expecting to see in each section.

Section 1: Application Summary Information

Host Organisation

Provide details of the organisation who will be the contractor if the Research Support Facility (RSF) is funded.

If you have any queries, please contact the AIM Team via the online form before submitting your application. Please ensure that you provide a contactable phone number and a member of the team will get back to you.


The title of the RSF. Any abbreviations should be spelled out in full.

Proposed Start Date

Note this should be from 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 facility.

Duration (months)

Ensure you include sufficient time to complete all aspects of the RSF including applications for regulatory approvals (where required) and the final report.

End Date

This field will automatically populate once you have entered the start date and duration information.

Estimated Research Costs

Enter the total amount of costs requested.

Section 2: Lead Applicant CV

Complete your name, contact details and other requested information.

Section 3: Lead Applicant Background

Publication record

Provide details of a MAXIMUM of 6 of your most recent / relevant publications (in the last 10 years) relevant to this application (using Vancouver or Harvard citation format). Please use DOI reference numbers if needed.

Grant record

Please select research grants held (as a named applicant) CURRENTLY or IN THE LAST 5 YEARS – 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: The Research Support Facility Team

Specify your (lead applicant) role in this facility

Explain in addition to your role as Lead Applicant, the role that you will be undertaking in the RSF, e.g. coordination and project management; leadership; capability, capacity and community building; provision of technical expertise etc.


Commitment: This refers to the percentage of your time that you will commit to this project.

Joint Lead Applicant

Where appropriate and justified it is acceptable for the application to be led by joint Lead Applicants. Where this applies, please complete your name, contact details and other requested information.

Justification for Joint Lead Applicant

Justification should be given to demonstrate why more than one person would be required to lead this RSF and how this brings added value to the application.

Relevant expertise and experience of joint Lead Applicant

Please summarise the proposed Joint Lead Applicant’s relevant expertise and track record in terms of skills and experience.

Specify role in research

Please provide a brief overview of your role in the proposed RSF. You have the opportunity to elaborate upon this further in the ‘Research Plan’ section.


Commitment: This refers to the percentage of your time that you will commit to this project.

NOTE: For application/contracting purposes, the joint lead applicant will be counted as a co-applicant.


Add details of all co-applicants and their specific role in the RSF. Do not include collaborators, who should be mentioned (if necessary) in the Research Plan section of the form.

We encourage the inclusion of public co-applicants, where appropriate. Please include a clear description of their role and the reasons why a public co-applicant is joining the team. For further information please access the 'Public Co-Applicants in Research' guidance.

Co-applicants are those individuals with responsibility for the day to day management and delivery of the project and can include patients, carers and service users. Co-applicants, including public co-applicants, are considered part of the RSF team and are expected to share responsibility for its successful delivery. In contrast, collaborators normally provide specific expertise on particular aspects of the RSF but do not share in the responsibility for the delivery of the RSF.

PPI Lead

There should be a named person with appropriate skills and experience who is responsible for leading the PPI element within the RSF. This role should be an adequately costed and resourced member who is able to manage the PPI plans and related activities. Examples of the activities a PPI lead might undertake can be found here.

Section 5: Plain English Summary of Research Support Facility

A plain English summary is a clear explanation of your RSF.

Many reviewers use this summary to inform their review of your funding application. They include people who do not have specialist knowledge of your field as well as members of the public. If your application for funding is successful, the summary will be used on the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and other websites.

A good quality plain English summary providing an easy to read overview of your whole study will help:
a) those carrying out the review (reviewers and board and panel members) to have a better understanding of your RSF proposal
b) inform others about your RSF such as members of the public, health and social care professionals, policy makers and the media
c) the research funders to publicise the impact of the facility.

If it is felt that your plain English summary is not clear and of a good quality then you may be required to amend it prior to final funding approval.

It is helpful to involve patients / carers / service users / practitioners and members of the public in developing a plain English summary.

When writing your summary consider including the following information where appropriate:

a) Objective(s) of the RSF
b) Context for the RSF
c) Proposed structure and delivery model
d) Patient and public involvement
e) Impact

The plain English summary is not the same as a scientific abstract - please do not cut and paste this or other sections of your application form to create the plain English summary.

Further guidance on writing in plain English is available online at NIHR Make it clear.

For further support and advice on writing a plain English summary, please contact your local Research Design Service (where applicable).

Section 6: Research Support Facility Plan

Using all of the headings in the order presented below, please use this section to clearly explain your proposed RSF. Schematics, tables, illustrations, graphs, and other types of graphics can be embedded to clarify the RSF plan but they should not clutter the central narrative. Images do not count towards the overall word count but inclusion of them to overcome word limits is not permitted. Images may only be included within the 'Research Support Facility Plan.' Images included in other sections will be removed from the application and not seen by reviewers.

As this is the main part of your application which will be considered by the reviewing panel, you should ensure that the information is accurate, succinct, clearly laid out and provides sufficient detail. The overall amount of information that you can provide at this stage is limited to 4000 words.

The NIHR expects appropriate and relevant involvement of patients/service users, carers and the public and other key stakeholders in the facilities it supports. It is essential to set out your plans to involve these stakeholders in the Stage 1 application. Your patient/service user, carer and public involvement plans will be assessed by the funding committee, including members from these communities.

Information and resources to assist you can be found on the INVOLVE website (a detailed definition of patient and public involvement in research, briefing notes for researchers on how to involve patients/service users, carers and the public and an involvement cost calculator and budgeting guide).

In this section it is important that you identify all stakeholders who are relevant to your RSF proposal. For each stakeholder group you need to be clear about how they benefit from your proposed RSF and, where appropriate, how they have been involved in the development of the application, as well as the plans for their involvement in the proposed RSF.

1. What challenges for the MLTC-M community should the RSF address?
Provide a clear explanation of the objectives the RSF should address and how this will benefit the AIM call.

2. What are the aims and objectives
Explain how your proposed RSF addresses the requirements outlined in the research brief. Summarise the key aims and objectives of your RSF. Please provide a clear pathway to benefit for the AIM call Research Collaborations.

3. What is the proposed structure and delivery model?
Summarise the proposed structure of your RSF and how it will delivery of its key objectives. How does this align with existing initiatives/organisations/infrastructure in the space? Outline how the RSF will deliver taking into consideration how it should adapt to meet the needs of the funded Research Collaborations.

4. Team experience and expertise
Describe the skills, experience and expertise of the proposed team that makes it well placed to deliver the services and functions outlined within the proposal for the RSF.

5. Management arrangement and collaborations
Describe how your RSF will be managed and governed. Indicate how the RSF team will be organised. Please also indicate how the RSF team might draw on further expertise available in the NIHR and the wider research community, and other successful groups. Clearly outline the main risks and challenges to delivery, as well as mitigating actions, drawing analogies with past experience where appropriate.

6. Plans for stakeholders engagement and impact
Provide details of the full range of potential stakeholders for your RSF, and a reasoned approach to engagement, paying particular attention to the needs of the target audience and how these will be met, accounting for varying needs over the lifetime of the facility. Describe who you need to communicate with and your plans for engaging relevant audiences and building meaningful collaborative partnerships. Please set out your key areas for impact and how you intend to achieve these.

7. Indicative costs
The RSF funding is £3m for up to 40 months. Costing can include up to 80% full economic costing (FEC) but should exclude VAT. Provide indicative costs for undertaking the RSF, along with a high-level justification for the resources required. This will be used by the Committee in their assessment of value for money.

Section 7: Uploads

One single-side A4 page, listing references used throughout your proposal.

Section 8: Administrative contact details

Please provide the details of an administrative lead as a secondary point of contact for any queries relating to the application, should it be supported.

NOTE: This person does not need to be a co-applicant.

Section 9: Research and Development office contact details

Please provide the contact details and job title of a person in the R&D office so that we are able to notify them of the outcome of this application including any associated feedback.

NOTE: Please note this person does not need to be included as a co-applicant.

Section 10: Acknowledge, review and submit

Conflict checks

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


As lead applicant, 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 RSF.

Checklist of information to include when submitting a NIHR stage 1 research application

Applicants should click the check boxes to indicate that they have included the necessary information prior to submitting their application.

A good quality Plain English Summary (Make It Clear)
A clear explanation of the aims being addressed 
A clear demonstration of the need and importance of the RSF 
Clear aim(s) and objectives 
A clear project plan 
A clear description of team member roles and contribution 
Appropriate and relevant involvement of patients/service users, carers and the public
A single A4 page of references (document upload), mandatory