This site is optimised for modern browsers. For the best experience, please use Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Microsoft Edge.

NIHR In-Practice Fellowships 2021 - Round 15 Guidance Notes

Contents

Introduction

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Academy is launching the 15th round of the NIHR In-Practice Fellowships (NIHR IPF). The NIHR IPF offers academic training to fully qualified General Practitioners, General Dental Practitioners and Community Dentists, who are in NHS practice in England. The NIHR IPFs were introduced in response to the report, 'Medically- and dentally-qualified academic staff: Recommendations for training the researchers and educators of the future'.

The NIHR Academy is administering the competition on behalf of the NIHR and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC). Applications will be reviewed and recommended for funding by the NIHR IPF Selection Committee.

This document provides full details of the NIHR IPF award and describes the means by which applications for NIHR IPF should be submitted and how they will be assessed.

NIHR In-Practice Fellowship scheme

Funding is available from the NIHR to support the academic component of two-year 50% clinical, 50% academic posts with a well-defined academic content, which may include a Master’s degree. NIHR IPFs can also be taken up part-time over 30 or 40 months.

Applicants must, therefore, have arrangements in place for a clinical post that will constitute 50% of their proposed NIHR IPF. The 50% academic component of the training period should include preparation of an application for a competitive, peer-reviewed research training fellowship leading to the award of a higher degree such as a NIHR Doctoral Fellowship. The training may include formal courses (including Master’s modules). Completion of a full Master’s degree can be proposed if appropriate to the developmental needs of the applicant. The NIHR IPF cannot be used as part of an MD/PhD qualification.

Applicants may have received little formal academic training at the point of application but should be able to demonstrate commitment to a career as a clinical academic in primary care and have outstanding potential for development as a future clinical academic leader. Training will be flexible and trainee-centred, with structured supervision to ensure the attainment of academic goals. Continued professional development will be expected of successful applicants.

Eligibility Criteria

  • the NIHR IPFs are open to fully qualified General Practitioners, General Dental Practitioners and Community Dentists. Community dentists are defined as those working in the Salaried Dental Primary Care Services
  • 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
  • applications from individuals who are undertaking vocational training will only be considered if qualified by the time they take up the award and subject to a clear guarantee of a clinical placement for 5 sessions or equivalent for 50% of the working week, also from the time they take up the award

Applicants who are eligible under the above criteria and who have completed either a Master’s, an MPhil or an Academic training position such as a NIHR ACF, and who wish to use the fellowship to support a bridging period to develop a proposal for a doctoral fellowship are eligible to apply, providing that the additional research training is justified and appropriate.

Clinical services provision can include being employed on a short-term contract or as a locum GP. If you have arranged a clinical placement contract of less than the term of the award (eg a 6 month contract while the term of the NIHR IPF is for 24 months), then you will be asked to provide details of how you plan to continue working in a clinical role for 50% of the remaining period of the award. A senior member of the practice or equivalent would be required to provide a letter of support for the NIHR IPF in this remaining time confirming the number of clinical sessions and support for the academic time.

Any queries about the scheme, especially regarding eligibility due to previous academic experience, should be addressed to: NIHR Academy at academy-awards@nihr.ac.uk or telephone 0113 532 8399.

Start Dates

Fellowships must start on the first of the month and for this round and will be available to start between 1st September 2021 and 1st December 2021.

Award Length and Part-time Options

The NIHR IPF will be up to a maximum of two years, or equivalent if one of the part-time options is selected. This time will be divided between a 50% clinical commitment and 50% academic training. Satisfactory progress after the first year will be a requirement for the second year of funding.

Applicants are able to select the Whole Time Equivalent (WTE) they wish to hold the Fellowship at between 60% and 100%. NIHR IPF applicants can undertake the award at:

  • full time: 100% WTE for 24 months (5 sessions (2.5 days) per week clinical service and 5 sessions per week academic training) or
  • less than full time: 80% WTE for 30 months (4 sessions (2 days) per week clinical service and 4 sessions per week academic training) or
  • less than full time: 60% WTE (3 sessions (1.5 days) per week clinical service and 3 sessions per week academic training) for 40 months

The NIHR IPF is a personal award, not a project or programme grant; therefore, extensions to the duration of awards to allow for completion of training and development are not permitted. This does not affect suspensions of awards to allow for periods of maternity, paternity, adoption or sickness leave.

IPF Training and Development

The academic training supported through the NIHR IPF should be trainee-centred but must include structured supervision to ensure the attainment of academic goals. The training should engage the Fellow in an environment that has a strong academic research record, and provide the individual with every opportunity to explore their research interests.

The training may include, but is not limited to:

  • formal courses (including Master’s modules)
  • training in specialist skills and research methodologies
  • leadership training
  • conference attendance and research visits

The completion of a formal academic qualification, such as a Master’s degree, can be supported as part of the training plan, if appropriate to the developmental needs of the applicant.

Prospective applicants are encouraged to use the academic element of the award to include the preparation of an application for a competitive, peer-reviewed doctoral level research training fellowship such as the NIHR Doctoral Fellowship.

Preliminary research in support of the subsequent doctoral level proposal (e.g. a systematic review or small feasibility study) may be proposed in the NIHR IPF training and development section of the application form. However, research costs or publications cannot be funded through this award. Primary supervisors are responsible for ensuring that all necessary regulatory approvals are in place prior to undertaking any research included in the NIHR IPF training and development programme.

Applicants must detail in their application how the proposed training plan will support their development as a clinical academic and how it meets their unique training needs.

On completion of an NIHR IPF, Fellows should be able to demonstrate development as a clinical academic and be in a position to apply for a PhD. At the end of the award, Fellows are expected to show evidence of:

  • completion of the training proposed in the application
  • preparation of an application for a competitive, peer-reviewed doctoral level research training fellowship
  • increased research skills
  • development of their research interests
  • development of clinical academic networks

Evidence of the above will be sought by the NIHR through annual and final report monitoring.
NIHR IPFs cannot be deferred without the consent of the NIHR Academy.

Scope of Funding

  1. The NIHR IPF will be awarded to successful applicants but the funding related to the award will be managed by the employing organisation, which should be a Higher Education Institute (HEI) in England.
  2. An NIHR IPF award requires that the award holder has a contract of employment with the host organisation for the duration of the Fellowship. The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) will enter into a Fellowship contract with the Host Organisation. Government procurement transparency regulations require the publication of all contracts made with the DHSC to be made available on the DHSC website. Confidential information including research proposals, detailed finance information, bank details, and departmental staff names (other than the award holder’s name)
    will be removed from the published versions where applicable.
  3. The NIHR IPF funds 50% of the applicant’s salary, while applicants are completing their academic training. The remaining 50% of the applicant’s salary should be covered by their continued clinical commitment.
  4. Applicant salaries are dependent on clinical experience and proof of clinical salary at the time of the award. However there are specific limits on the basic salary that the NIHR will fund for the 50% of time spent in academic pre-doctoral training. The remaining 50% salary contribution comes from the awardees’ GP/GDP clinical salary component, which is separate from this award.
  5. Those who are fully qualified at the point of application will be subject to a cap on the amount NIHR will contribute on the basic salary, which is equivalent to the top of the pre-2003 consultant pay scale. In 2020 this was £85,951pa. Whereas applicants who were in vocational training when they apply will be subject to a cap on their basic salary of spine point 5 or equivalent on the Universities and Colleges employers association (UCEA) clinical academics pay scale in the first year, and spine point 6 in the second year. In 2020 spine point 5 was £71,453pa and spine point 6 £75,318pa. These caps relate to basic salary before on costs (National Insurance and Superannuation) are added.
  6. Funding is available for a maximum of two years or equivalent. Successful progress in the first year is a pre-requisite for continued funding of the second year.
  7. The applicant’s clinical host/Practice must agree to the application and the arrangements necessary to appropriately cover clinical service when the successful applicant is undertaking the academic component. If the applicant is employed in clinical practice at the point of application, then the necessary approvals would be required at this point. However if the applicant does not have an agreed contract of employment at the time they apply, these approvals would be required if the application was successful and an offer was made. The award would be conditional on confirmation of a clinical placement for 50% of the time by a senior member of the practice before the start of the award and support for the NIHR IPF. (please refer to the Participants section, and look for Senior Member of Practice).
  8. Funding for research expenses and other additional costs associated with the academic component of these posts, including supervision costs, must be secured from another source.
  9. It is envisaged that a maximum of 10 NIHR IPFs will be awarded across England on an annual basis.
    AnNIHRIPF funds:
    • 50% of the award holder’s salary (including the employer's contribution to National Insurance and Superannuation) to support the academic component of the NIHR IPF
    • A training and development programme appropriate for a NIHR IPF (as detailed in the application) comprising
    • Up to £4,500 towards training and development
    • Up to £1,000 bursary for conference/meeting expenses; travel, subsistence, and registration fees
  10. The NIHR IPF does not include, or pay for, any research costs or full economic costing.
  11. The costs requested in the finance section of the application form will form the basis of the NIHR IPF funding should the application be successful. All costs requested should be ‘value for money’ and will be assessed by the NIHR and members of the NIHR IPF Selection Committee. The NIHR reserves the right to reject any costs that it considers unreasonable or not fully justified.

Application Procedure and Selection Process

  • applications must be made using the online NIHR Academy online Award Management System (ARAMIS)
  • applications must be submitted to NIHR Academy using ARAMIS by 1.00pm on Thursday 25th March 2021
  • late applications will not be considered under any circumstances
  • the NIHR Academy can advise on eligibility and remit enquiries, and answer queries you or your supervisor may have when completing the application form
  • all applications will undergo an initial screen for eligibility. Following this, applications are reviewed by the Selection Committee in advance of a Selection Committee meeting where decisions on which applications to recommend for funding are made
  • details of Selection Committee membership can be found on our website
  • the Selection Committee will make recommendations for funding that will be considered by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) Science, Research and Evidence (SRE) Directorate. Once confirmed, the funding decisions will then be communicated to applicants
  • applicants will be informed of the outcome of their application by email when all required processes are complete
  • the selection process and subsequent management of the NIHR IPFs will be managed by the NIHR Academy
  • all documents must be submitted in English
  • if applicants are successful in being awarded an NIHR IPF while simultaneously being involved in another NIHR research training award competition, they will be asked to decide which programme they would like to continue with and will be withdrawn from the other

Registering, Completing and Submitting the Application

Registering

All NIHR IPF applications must be completed and submitted via the online application system. This can be accessed via ARAMIS.

Before an application can be started, prospective applicants are required to register on ARAMIS if they do not already have an existing registration. 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 sign in to ARAMIS.

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.

When registered on the system you can apply for any open applications. To start an application you will need to go to ‘My Applications’ and select ‘New Application’. You should then select In-Practice Fellowship from the list provided.

Please note – there are three pre-doctoral Fellowship competitions open concurrently (the In-Practice Fellowship, the NIHR Pre-doctoral 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 whilst completing the form.

Completing and submitting the form

Please see Annex A for flow diagrams of the application submission process.

Applicant:

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).

Once the applicant has completed their sections of the form and the Participants and Signatories have made their contribution, 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

It is highly recommended that applicants complete their application well in advance of the deadline to allow the Participants and Signatories 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 provide the names and email addresses (if not already registered on ARAMIS) of the individuals who will be undertaking Participant and Signatory roles as part of the application. 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.

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.
  • Academic Supervisor: If applicants wish to nominate an additional academic supervisor, this individual 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.
  • Senior Member of Practice: This must be an individual at the General Practice/General Dental Practice who can confirm that, if an award is made, the applicant will have a clinical position within their organisation constituting 50% of the NIHR IPF and that arrangements will be put in place, which will enable the applicant to undertake the academic training described in the application and ensure that there is no shortfall in service provision. They must confirm they support this application and that they understand the conditions under which a NIHR IPF may be awarded. If unavailable at point of application this must be provided prior to contracting the award (applicants who do not have a clinical placement at the point of application -please refer to the Scope of Funding section).
  • Research Contract Officer: A Research Contract Officer at the host organisation must confirm that they have read the guidance notes for the relevant NIHR programme 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. Your supervisor will be able to advise who this should be.
  • Referees: Applicants are required to provide details of two referees who will be able to comment on their suitability for an NIHR IPF and who can evidence the applicant’s academic potential. Proposed Academic Supervisors cannot be listed as referees. Referees should be individuals who have had experience of the applicant in a research capacity and will be used by the NIHR IPF Selection Committee to support their assessment of the suitability and commitment of the applicant to a career as a clinical academic. 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.

Participants must confirm their participation on your application before you will be able to press the submit button. They will have no further action to take in the submission process once you have submitted

Signatories

You are required to supply the names and email addresses (if not already registered on the ARAMIS application system) of the individuals who will be ‘signing off’ your application. Once their contact details have been entered, the signatories will be invited to log into the system and confirm their participation. Details of what is required and expected of each of the roles can be found below.

Signatories will be required to agree to the role being asked of them in the application before the application is submitted by the applicant, and then approve the final version of the application after it has been submitted via the online system, i.e. all signatories must have agreed to participate and complete their sections before the applicant is able to press the SUBMIT button and send the application for signatory approvals.

Signatories must approve the application after the applicant has selected the SUBMIT option but BEFORE the application submission deadline.

Please see the 'Application Submission Process Flow Diagram’ (Annex B) for further information. The final signatory approval will result in the application being fully submitted to the NIHR. All parties (applicant, participants, and signatories) will be notified of this via an automated system generated email.

NIHR will not accept any applications unless fully approved by your signatories prior to the 1pm deadline, no exceptions will be made.

  • Head of Department: In agreeing to participate in this application, the Head of Department of the employing host organisation 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 organisation 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 employing host organisation is required to complete the finance section of the form in conjunction with the lead applicant and 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 ARAMIS and approve the finalised application.

The application will not be complete until all 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 25th 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 Academy:

Tel: 0113 532 8399 or Email: academy-awards@nihr.ac.uk

Assessment Criteria

Following the submission deadline, the NIHR will check applications for completeness and eligibility, and distribute eligible applications to the members of the NIHR IPF Selection Committee.

The Selection Committee will assess all eligible applications using the Assessment Criteria below.

  • the quality of the academic training
  • the provision of a strong academic environment
  • the suitability and commitment of the applicant to a career as a clinical academic
  • the arrangements for ensuring protected time for the applicant coupled with ensuring continuation of clinical service
  • that the applicant has a clinical post where they undertake 5 clinical sessions or equivalent for 50% of their working week, which can include supporting clinical activities such as continuing professional development and administration
  • demonstrable track record of the host Academic Higher Education Institute (HEI) Department in training clinicians who have gone on to develop academic careers;
  • value for money as a research training award

Application Deadlines and Timetable

Your application must have been submitted by the deadline and any signatories must have approved your application by this time using the ARAMIS online application system.

All components of your application must be submitted by the deadline.

Please give yourself sufficient time to obtain your signatory’s approval before the deadline. No exceptions will be made.

See the below timetable for dates of the selection process.

Timetable

Competition StageKey Dates
Competition opens for applications Thursday 11 February 2021
Closing date for submission of online applications Thursday 25 March 2021
Selection Committee meeting Thursday 27 May 2021

Completing the Application Form

1. Application Summary Information

Host Organisation

Please give details of the organisation who will be the contractor if the Fellowship is funded. This must be the applicant’s proposed Employing Host Organisation (substantive employer).

Please note:

  • the contractor is expected to respond to annual financial reconciliation exercises, provide the final financial reconciliation statement for the Fellowship and to respond 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

Proposed Start Date

Note this should be from the 1st of the month regardless of whether this is a working day or not. Please be realistic about your possible start date taking account of the necessary contracting prior to starting your Fellowship.

The possible start dates for the NIHR IPF are:

  • 1st September 2021
  • 1st October 2021
  • 1st November 2021
  • 1st December 2021

WTE of Award

Awards can only be undertaken with the WTE options given. (Whole Time Equivalent (WTE) = percentage of full-time hours per week.)

Please select whether you wish to hold the fellowship on a full-time basis over 24 months (100% WTE) or part-time over 30 months (80% WTE) or 40 months (60% WTE).

It is not possible to undertake a Fellowship on any other basis other than 100%, 80% or 60% WTE.

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.

The Publication Record section of the form is automatically populated from publications added into the “My Research Outputs” 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.

Applicants are advised to import publications onto their ARAMIS account through EuroPubmed.

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.

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.

This information is used to assess applications to schemes for which there are specific eligibility criteria around the amount of research and/or clinical experience an applicant has.

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.).

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.

Publication Record

The publication record is automatically populated from the information added to the “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.

When publications have been added, the Lead Applicant name can be edited to show in bold within application forms via the “Assign Grant Contacts” option.

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 at the pre-doctoral application level.

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.

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 visit 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.

Please describe your research career to date

Please use this question to describe your research experience and career to date and how this makes you suitable for this award. You should include research you have led or made a significant contribution to (making clear what your role was), the research methods you have experience of, and the impact and outputs of the research you have been involved in. You should also detail any other relevant experience such as supervisory, management, teaching, public engagement and involvement, or leadership experience; or any other skills and experience which highlights your suitability for the NIHR IPF you are applying for and which demonstrates your potential as a future health research leader. Details of any abstracts, conference proceedings or articles in preparation that you feel are relevant to your application may also be included here.

Please note, it is not necessarily expected that applicants at the pre-doctoral level will have extensive research experience to date, however, this is an opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to a career as a clinical academic through any research activities that you have been involved with.

In order to help track the progression of NIHR Academy members please indicate whether you have previously held or currently hold another NIHR research training award, for example an NIHR Academic Clinical Fellowship (ACF).

If you have previously held an ACF or had Master’s level training then please use this section to describe why you would benefit from further pre-doctoral training and development though the NIHR IPF.

(Word limit: 1000)

Has this 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. 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.

(Word limit: 500)

Employment Breaks

Please use this question to detail any employment breaks you wish to make the Selection Committee aware of, for example maternity/paternity/adoption/sickness leave.

(Word limit: 250)

4. Training and Development and Research Support

Proposed training and development programme

This section should provide the NIHR IPF Selection Committee with information about the academic content, purpose and management of your NIHR IPF. You should discuss this section with your supervisor and your practice colleagues before you complete the form. Please describe the academic content of the proposed fellowship.

You should include details of the research methods you will gain experience of, the area of academic research or educational research on which you will be focusing, and any qualification(s) you will achieve as a result.

It is important that the training and development programme is tailored to your specific needs and fully justified. Training may include, but is not limited to; formal courses, training in specialist skills and research methodologies, workshops, placements with other research groups or centres, leadership skills and conference attendance.

The completion of a formal academic qualification, such as a Master’s degree, can be supported as part of the training plan if appropriate to the developmental needs of the applicant. The academic element of the award should include the preparation of an application for a competitive, peer-reviewed doctoral level research training fellowship such as the NIHR Doctoral Fellowship, where relevant.

Preliminary research in support of the subsequent doctoral level proposal (e.g. a systematic review or small feasibility study) may also be included. Research costs cannot be funded through this award, however, and the primary academic supervisor for any subsequent award is responsible for ensuring a NIHR IPF awardee secures all necessary regulatory approvals before undertaking any research included in the NIHR IPF training and development programme.

(Word limit: 1000)

Primary Academic Supervisor

The individual named here must also be added in the ‘Participants and Signatories’ section of the application form and is required to agree participation, thus confirming that they have read the application and the Applicant Guidance Notes and are willing to act as your primary academic supervisor and agree to abide by the conditions under which an award may be granted.

Careful thought should be given to:

  1. the PhD supervision experience of your chosen supervisor
  2. the availability of the chosen supervisor
  3. the experience of your chosen supervisor in the field of research and the methodologies relevant to your doctoral level proposal

The primary supervisor must be based at the proposed academic host organisation.

Additional Academic Supervisors

Applicants can also include a maximum of two additional academic supervisors to support their academic training and development if justified and appropriate.

The individual named here must also be added in the ‘Participants and Signatories’ section of the application form and is required to agree participation, thus confirming that they have read the application and the Applicant Guidance Notes and are willing to act as your supervisor and agree to abide by the conditions under which an award may be granted.

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

The Head of Department of the academic host organisation is required to complete this section. The statement should detail how the organisation is going to support the applicant to successfully complete their training and development programme. This statement should be tailored specifically to the applicant, their training needs, and include how the organisations intend to support the applicant to develop their clinical academic career in the long-term.

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. Detailed Budget

Guidance for the completion of the finance section is available in the next part of the Applicant Guidance Notes. (See Finance Guidance section).

6. 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 Applicants Guidance notes and in 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.

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 Applicants Guidance notes and in 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.

7. 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 you agree to the Terms and Conditions of submission as detailed on the application form.

Finance Guidance

The finance section should provide a breakdown of the costs associated with undertaking the Fellowship and provide justification for the resources requested.

This section must be completed by the Applicant in conjunction with the Research Support Office or Finance Office at the employing 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.

All costs provided should be ‘value for money’ and will be assessed by the NIHR and members of the NIHR IPF Selection Committee. The NIHR reserves the right to reject any costs that it considers unreasonable or not fully justified.

The NIHR IPF award funds:

  • up to 50% of the award holder’s salary (including the employer's contribution to National Insurance and Superannuation) to support the academic component of the Fellowship
  • atraining and development programme appropriate for an NIHR IPF

There are limits on the amount that can be spent on the Training and Development programme. These are:

  • up to £4,500 towards a training and development programme that can include, Master’s level training
  • up to £1,000 bursary (over 2 years) for conference/meeting expenses, travel, subsistence etc.

The fellowship does not include, or pay for, any research activities or full economic costing.

NIHR Personal awards 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 does not affect suspensions of awards to allow for periods of maternity, paternity, adoption or sickness leave.

General Information to support the Completion of the finance section

  • costs must be provided at current prices. An adjustment for inflation will be made annually thereafter at rates set by the Department of Health and Social Care. Whilst allowances for incremental increases should be included on the form, nationally or locally agreed pay increases should be excluded
  • when justifying staff costs you should also provide the % amount of time input of each member of staff and link this to the specific area/work package of the proposed study where this input will be taking place
  • 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 which 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

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.

As your employing host organisation is a Higher Education Institution, please select the “other” option when entering the “Type of Cost” to prevent costs being submitted at 80%.

Detailed Budget

Details of Posts and Salaries

This section presents an overview of salary costs for the applicant. Please state the proposed salary point and scale at the start of the Fellowship (“starting point on scale”). These should be input at 1.0 WTE i.e. the full-time current salary, even if you wish to apply for a less than full-time award. 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.

Please note that there are specific limits on the salary that NIHR will fund for the 50% of time spent in academic pre-doctoral training (see Scope of Funding for more information).

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:

i) Salary costs

This section specifies the annual costs of the applicant. You should now allocate the individual staff member costs to each year of the Fellowship, allowing for increments. Use current rates of pay subject to the limits on the basic salary that NIHR will fund for the time in academic training and build in any known annual increments (again at current rates). You will not be able to claim for pay awards retrospectively, once a Fellowship is underway.

Please note the salary figures need to be calculated using the current annual costs, %WTE and number of months. If the research lasts for several years and an individual’s involvement varies over the course, it may be necessary to explain fully in the justification of costs section the %WTE and months per year for an individual staff member.

In this section, “Add salary costs”, you add the costs of the time that you would spend on academic training:

For example, if you have chosen

  1. the full-time 100% option, enter salary costs over 2 years (Years 1 and 2) for the 5 sessions per week of academic training
  2. the 80% option, enter salary costs over 30 months (Years 1, 2 and 3) for the 4 sessions per week of academic training
  3. the 60% option, enter salary costs over 40 months (Years 1, 2, 3 and 4) for the 3 sessions per week of academic training

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 % WTE etc., whereas the yearly costs in ‘Salary Costs’ depend on % WTE etc.).

As your employing Host Organisation is a Higher Education Institution, please select the “other” option when entering the “Type of Cost” to prevent costs being submitted at 80%.

ii) Travel, Subsistence and Conference Fees

This section includes journey and subsistence costs, including conference fees.

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.

Please note, there is a £4,500 limit on the amount that can be spent on a NIHR IPF Training and Development Programme, which includes non-conference related travel and subsistence costs.

Conference Fees

If a cost relates to travel, subsistence or fees for a conference please select ‘conference fees’ as the cost description. Conference costs do not need to be individually itemised for each conference. The justification box should detail the conferences the costs will cover.

There is a £1000 limit on the amount that can be spent on conference related costs (including all related travel and subsistence as well as conference fees).

As your employing Host Organisation is a Higher Education Institution, please select the “other” option when entering the “Type of Cost” to prevent costs being submitted at 80%.

III) Training and Development

These are costs relating to the applicant’s training and development programme.

Please itemise and describe fully the costs associated with the training and development programme. Please provide estimates if exact costs are not available at the time of application. Any travel and subsistence associated with training and development should be included here.

Any conference costs should be included in the ‘Travel, Subsistence and Conference Fees’ section of the finance section.

As your employing Host Organisation is a Higher Education Institution, please select the “other” option when entering the “Type of Cost” to prevent costs being submitted at 80%.

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 may 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@dhsc.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.

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.

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 patients 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.

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.
 
If you are using patient information from an existing database, you should check whether the patients 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 NIHR Fellowship Programme on behalf of 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 on Phone: 0113 532 8444, or 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.