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NIHR Global Health Policy and Systems Research (Global HPSR) - Development Awards - Common application queries


Published: 29 July 2019

Version: 1

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Common application queries

To be read in conjunction with Call Guidance notes available on the Global HSPR Development Awards call webpage

Last updated 2 July 2019

Contact us on: / 02380 591 859


Q: Can I name a region with countries on the DAC list in my application to the Global HPSR Development Awards, rather than a specific DAC-list country/ies?

A: Yes, provided your proposed approach is justified and meets the remit of the call. Your application needs to be clear how it has the potential to bring benefits to DAC-list country health systems.

Q: As these are Global HPSR Development Awards, do I need to be an experienced researcher?

A: You do not need an existing track record providing you have appropriate mentorship in place to support you. For example, early career researchers can apply provided that at the end of the Development Award they would have enough experience to apply for a larger programme of work, which could be with an experienced mentor.

Q: Can I apply to the Global HPSR Development Award Call if I already have more than one partner in place?

A: The aim of the Development Awards is to encourage and support partnership development, so if you have some partners already, you need to clarify how your proposal meets the wider call remit requirements.

Q: Can I have more than five partners/institutions in any future Global HPSR consortia?

A: The aim for the future Commissioned and Researcher-led Awards is to receive applications from consortia of three to five institutions. The cap on this is because NIHR considers higher numbers of partners to present increasing levels of complexity in terms of programme management and administration. Applications for the Commissioned Award and Researcher-led Awards will be expected to consist of three to five institutions, in consortium able to support knowledge exchange, relevant capacity and capability development. These relationships can be established as part of the Development Awards.

Q: Does the "relevant expertise" of the Joint Lead Applicants refer to research expertise or planning/capacity development expertise, or both?

A: This call should be seen as an opportunity to identify and engage the relevant stakeholders where ‘relevant’ will depend on what the area you plan to work in.

Q: Can Global HPSR Development Awards projects have more than two Joint Leads?

A: No, it is a requirement of the Development Awards that there are two partners leading the Award. You can add co-applicants where their roles and contributions are clearly described and justified.

Q: Do the Global HPSR Development Awards have a focus on any specific research topic?

A: No, there is no specific focus for the Development Awards. The aim of the Development Awards is for applicants to work to identify appropriate health policy and systems research questions that are important in areas of unmet need in the ODA-eligible country/ies. However, there will be priority areas identified in the Global HPSR Commissioned Awards call, which is due to launch later this year. These themes will be made public during the summer 2019.

Q: What do you mean by implementation science and is implementation science in remit of the Global HPSR Development Awards?

A: This refers to methods and strategies which are used to promote the uptake of interventions that have proven effective into routine practice, with the aim of improving population health. Applications that focus solely on implementation science or dissemination are out of remit.

Q: Are literature reviews in remit of the Global HPSR Development Awards?

A: Yes, they are in remit and can form part of plans for the overall Development Award. However, we would not support applications that solely consist of literature reviews as this would not address all five of the key aims of the Development Awards, described in a-e on page 2 of the guidance notes.

Q: Can the Global HPSR Development Award include comparative research?

A: Yes, provided the priority and need has been identified by the ODA-eligible country partner and the research plans benefit the LMIC directly and primarily.

Q: Are humanitarian settings and research priorities in remit for this call?

A: Yes, the Development Awards can be in any setting that complies with the remit of the call.


Q: Do applications to the Global HPSR Development Awards have to fulfil ODA eligibility?

A: Yes, all applications to the Global HPSR Development Awards call must fulfil ODA eligibility. The research must be focused on improving the health and welfare of the poorest and most vulnerable people in LMICs. In order to be eligible to receive ODA funding, applications must demonstrate how they meet ODA compliance criteria and outline:

  • Which country or countries on the DAC list of ODA eligible countries will directly benefit?
  • How the application is directly and primarily relevant to the development challenges of those countries?
  • How the outcomes will promote the health and welfare of a country or countries on the DAC list?

Q: What institutions are eligible for Global HPSR Development Award funding?

A: Typically, applicants would be academic Higher Education Institutes (HEIs), not for profit organisations, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and research institutions. It you are unsure whether you are eligible please contact us with specific queries.

Q: Are there any restrictions on which countries can be included in applications to Global HPSR Development Awards?

A: Yes, all countries on the OECD’s DAC list are eligible, provided you make a case for how you will be improving the health and welfare of the poorest or most vulnerable populations within these countries and/or how research findings could have wider applicability to other low income countries.

Q: Can current NIHR GHR award holders apply to the Global HPSR Development Awards Call?

A: In principle, providing justification is given on how the research plans are different and can be effectively supported, and are in the remit for Global HPSR Development Awards.

Q: Are government officials and departments in LMICs eligible to receive funding from the Global HPSR Development Award?

A: Yes, if there is justification on how they are integral to the delivery of the research outcomes. We would not expect government officials to be Joint Leads, however, they can be listed as a co-applicant or collaborator on the application.

Q: Can High Income Countries (outside the UK) be co-applicants or collaborators in the Global HPSR Development Award application?

A: Yes, they can partner as co-applicants or collaborators on the Development Awards, providing their role is justified, for example they provide specific expertise or methodology, and provided the proposed partnership can facilitate the identification of the highest priorities for future research in LMICs.

Q: Can an institution make multiple applications to the Global HPSR Development Awards call?

A: Yes. If an institution is submitting more than one application, then NIHR expects each application to be distinct with no overlap. Please note that NIHR may limit the number of applications from individual institutions for the future Global HPSR Commissioned and Researcher-led Awards.

Q: Can an individual be named on more than one application to the Global HPSR Development Awards call?

A: Yes, provided there is assurance their time can be released to support both applications should they be successful.

Q: Can a Global HPSR Award partner be a non-health institution? e.g. an institute of engineering?

A: Yes, provided their expertise is relevant to the plans proposed in the Development Award and that there is a health policy and systems focus that meets all aspects of the remit of the call.


Q: Will Global HPSR Development Award projects costed over £100k and longer than 9 months be funded?

A: No, proposals for projects costed over £100k or for more than 9 months duration will not be considered. These are designed to be planning awards not research grants. If you project is larger you may wish to consider one of the other Global HPSR calls or NIHR GHR programme calls. You can however apply for shorter awards or lower amounts of funding.

Q: Does the NIHR have an expected number of Global HPSR Development Awards it will fund through this call?

A: No. The budget overall is £1m, but there is no fixed target for the number of Development Awards NIHR wishes to fund. The £1m will be allocated according to the recommendations of the independent Funding Committee who will review and score applications against the published call criteria.

Q: Can Global HPSR funding be disbursed to LMIC institutions?

A: Yes, the NIHR encourages equitable funds distributions within the partnership. Please note that onward disbursements are made through the UK administrative Joint Lead. Appropriate due diligence and assurance should be undertaken and Collaboration Agreements drafted with partners before payments are made.

Q: Can the administrating organisation be outside the UK?

A: No, the administrative organisation must be within the UK.

Your application

Q: Is there a limit on the number of co-applicants in a Global HPSR Development Award application?

A: No, there is no limit, but since these Awards are relatively small, applicants are advised to consider the following:

  • Will a high number of co-applicants and collaborators introduce complexity to the management arrangements, which may be challenging to set up in the 9-month timeframe?
  • Will there be sufficient funds available to support all co-applicants to make a meaningful contribution?
  • Is a large team justified and appropriate for delivery of the proposed Development Award?

Q: How are you conceptualising community engagement and involvement?

A: In order to meet the aims of this programme, priorities for research will need to be identified with partners, collaborators and stakeholders in LMICs. Therefore, in this context NIHR considers engagement with any of these stakeholders to represent community engagement. There is no standard model for community engagement and involvement, it should be appropriate to your case and context.

Q: How much time is there expected to be between award announcement and project start?

A: Final outcome letters will be sent early/mid-December, with the aim of contracts starting 1 March 2020. The contracting process is expected to be proportionate to the size of the awards. To help prepare contract departments, a copy of the contract will be made available to teams that submit applications.

Q: What is meant by equitable partnership between UK and ODA-eligible countries? Would you expect to see equal distribution of funding, for example?

A: An example of guidance in developing and sustaining Equitable Research Partnerships can be found here:

A Guide for Transboundary Research Partnerships (Swiss Commission for Research Partnerships with Developing Countries (KFPE)

We would expect equity to be reflected in programme leadership, decision-making, capacity building, governance and appropriate distribution of funds. The budget should be driven by the work plan, but must be fully justified and reflect the principles of equity.

Q: Who should letters of support be from?

A: Letters of support need to indicate institutional buy-in from senior colleagues in those institutions, to provide the Joint Leads with the space, facilities and time to be able to deliver on the proposed plans. If you have included co-applicants in your application, they will also require a letter of support from their institutions.

Q: What is considered “Value for Money”?

A: The NIHR Global HPSR programme considers good value for money as the optimal use of resources to achieve the intended outcomes. ‘Optimal’ being considered as ‘the most desirable possible given expressed or implied restrictions or constraints’. Value for money goes beyond achieving the lowest initial price and includes consideration of Economy, Efficiency, Effectiveness, and Equity (as appropriate) and what these mean in the context of a research proposal:

  • Economy: Are we buying inputs of the appropriate quality at the right price? (Inputs are things such as staff, consultants, raw materials and capital that are used to produce outputs)
  • Efficiency: How well do we convert inputs into outputs? (Outputs are results delivered by us or our agents to an external party. We exercise strong control over the quality and quantity of outputs)
  • Effectiveness: How well are the outputs from an intervention achieving the desired outcome? (Note that in contrast to outputs, we do not exercise direct control over outcomes)
  • Equity: the extent to which the outputs of our interventions are equitably distributed.