NIHR research outputs and publications guidance
This guidance outlines NIHR's approach to research outputs from its research funding programmes (UK and global health) and career development programmes (Academy).
The NIHR tracks research outputs from funded research projects and researchers throughout the research and for between 3 and 5 years afterwards. NIHR-funded researchers are expected to publish their main study findings in a peer-reviewed, open access journal.
Five of our research programmes - Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation (EME), Health Services and Delivery Research (HS&DR), Health Technology Assessment (HTA), Programme Grants for Applied Research (PGfAR) and Public Health Research (PHR) - also require researchers to publish a full account of their research project in the NIHR Journals Library.
Key outcomes and trial protocols are to be made publicly available within 12 months from primary study completion. Clinical trial findings should be published in a peer-reviewed journal within 24 months from study completion. Read more in our policy on clinical trial registration and disclosure of results.
Research outputs should appropriately acknowledge all NIHR funding and support received for the research and include the NIHR disclaimer. Outputs may display the ‘Funded by NIHR’ logo, where appropriate.
Please note that although the Department of Health and Social Care funds the NIHR, the Department should not be named as the funder. The NIHR should be accredited as the funder.
NIHR unique award identifier
When acknowledging the NIHR in research outputs and publications it is vital that the unique award identifier is included. This is an alphanumeric code assigned to your award and its inclusion allows the NIHR to automatically identify and pull information from publishers into NIHR information systems.
For awards funded from August 2018 the unique award identifier will be ‘NIHR; and followed by a five digit number (e.g. ‘NIHR10001’.) For projects funded prior to this, the identifier will be different.
The unique award identifier may also be referred to as your project or grant reference number. If in doubt, please check your research contract or consult with your dedicated NIHR Programme Manager.
Notifying NIHR of upcoming research outputs
Previously NIHR required 14 or 28 days prior notice (depending on the funding scheme) of publication of research outputs including research papers and media activity. In September 2020 the policy was revised as follows:
- With the exception of all outputs from the Policy Research Programme the NIHR will no longer enforce the 14/28 days prior research output publication notification requirement that was a feature of NIHR research funding contracts signed before September 2020; the requirement will be absent from future contracts.
- Award holders, through their host institution communications teams, will continue to be required to send details of all media activity (e.g. press releases, media exclusive journalist briefings and accepted journal articles etc) to the relevant NIHR coordinating centre team. This notification should take place as soon as reasonably practicable and a minimum of three working days prior to any journalist outreach, and should include copies of all press releases and, where possible, the relevant research papers.
- NIHR coordinating centres will work with award holders to identify a selection of projects where awards and outputs are deemed particularly newsworthy, impactful or sensitive (see below for Assessment Criteria for Prior Notification). For these selected outputs coordinating centres will work with colleagues from across NIHR communications, dissemination, public & patient engagement and policy teams to support the researchers in communicating and disseminating their work. This support will include collaborative proactive planning and distribution of selected press releases through NIHR Communications using NIHR, and sometimes DHSC channels and spokespeople. It will also include flagging research with sensitive outputs to DHSC and their media team.
This means that many NIHR award holders will no longer be required to provide prior notification and final copies of all their research papers or other outputs to the NIHR 14/28 days before they enter the public domain. Instead, award holders will report their award progress through normal reporting processes including Researchfish. This will ensure the NIHR continues to be able to understand and report on the outputs, outcomes and impact of NIHR funded research.
These changes have been made in response to feedback from award holders. Our intention is to shift the focus from publication risk management to early identification of selected media opportunities and outputs which merit amplified dissemination where NIHR may be able to support the work of host institutions.
The position remains that Policy Research Programme award holders should provide at least 28 days prior notification before the date intended for submission for publication of all types of research outputs, including research papers and all media activity.
Assessment criteria for notification
The following criteria will be used by NIHR coordinating centres in collaboration with award holders to review awards and outputs to identify a selection for which prior notification will be required prior to public disclosure:
- Is the research likely to generate newsworthy and/or potentially impactful outputs? For example:
- Is it a first? In human/ ever/ in the UK?
- Is it the biggest study on a certain topic?
- Does the condition/ health/care issue affect a large number of people or seriously impact the lives of a smaller number of people (e.g. rare diseases)?
- Is this a topic that is featured heavily in the media or public discourse?
- Could the results of the research change practice in health, public health or social care?
- Does the research study under-represented groups or take place in an unusual setting?
- Are the results surprising or pivotal?
- Does the research have the potential to make a significant impact on the lives of the public, patients, carers or service users?
- If implemented, could the research findings deliver significant cost savings or generate economic returns (e.g. through creation of jobs)?
- Is the research likely to generate sensitive outputs? For example:
- Is the research focusing on areas which are ethically, socially, politically, legally or commercially contentious?
- Is the research evaluating current policies or approaches?
- Does the output challenge/ critique current policies or approaches?
- Do the research findings demonstrate that current treatments/ approaches can cause harm?
Awards will be assessed against these criteria at the outset and periodically through the lifetime of the award.
How to submit notification and a copy of your research output varies by research programme.
Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation (EME)
Evidence Synthesis (ES)
Health Services and Delivery Research (HS&DR)
Health Technology Assessment (HTA)
Public Health Research (PHR)
Invention for Innovation (i4i)
Policy Research Programme (PRP)
Programme Grants for Applied Research (PGfAR)
Programme Development Grants (PDG)
Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB)
Please submit output notification by email directly to the research programme:
Please keep us updated by email of the progress of your output.
Global Health Research Unit or Group
Global Health Policy and Systems Research (HPSR) Programme
Please submit output notification to the MIS.
Please keep us updated about the progress of your output (e.g. from submission to acceptance/rejection or acceptance to publication) by updating the MIS or by emailing us.
Research and Innovation for Global Health Transformation (RIGHT)
|Please submit output notification by email to the NIHR Central Commissioning Facility Global Health team.|
|NIHR Academy funding awards||Please submit output notification by email to the NIHR Academy.|
Types of research output
A research output is any item arising from NIHR-funded research that enters the public domain. Outputs can be written, verbally presented, audio/visual or electronic. The NIHR takes a broad definition of what constitutes a research output. Key examples for reporting research findings are shown below.
|Publications||Books, Book Chapter, Conference Proceedings / Conference Paper, Consultancy Report, Journal Article / Review, Manuals/Guides, Monograph, Policy Briefing Report, Systematic Review, Technical Report or Standard|
|Engagement activity based outputs||Talk or presentation; Magazine or newsletter (print or online) piece; Media interview, press release, press conference or other response to a media enquiry; Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel; Broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast.|
|Influence on Policy, Practice, Patients and the Public||Training for practitioners, Health and care guidelines, Policy documents, Participant materials|
|Research tools and methods||Biological samples, Cell line, Technology assay or reagent, Model of mechanisms or symptoms, Physiological assessment or outcome measure, Antibody|
|Research database and models||Database/Collection of data, Data analysis techniques, Computer model/algorithms, Data handling & control|
|Intellectual property||Patents, trademarks|
|Medical Products, Interventions and Clinical Trials||Diagnostic Tool, Therapeutic Intervention, Preventative Intervention, Management of Diseases and Conditions, Health and Social Care Service design, Support Tool|
|Software and technical products||Software, New/Improved Technique/Technology|
If you are not sure whether something qualifies as an output, please get in touch with the relevant research programme or Academy funding scheme.
Open access policy
The NIHR supports the principle of open access to the outputs of research, which can offer both social and economic benefits, as well as aid the development of new research and stimulate wider economic growth of the UK economy. The NIHR is also committed to adding value in research, one aspect of which is ensuring that research results are published in full in an accessible and unbiased report.
NIHR Journals Library
The NIHR is the world’s first health research funder to publish comprehensive accounts of its commissioned research within its own publicly and permanently available journal series.
The NIHR Journals Library comprises a suite of five open access peer-reviewed journals reporting results from a range of health research areas.
Studies funded under the following research programmes are required to submit a final report for publication in the relevant NIHR journal:
- Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation (EME)
- Evidence Synthesis
- NIHR Health Services and Delivery Research (HS&DR)
- NIHR Health Technology Assessment (HTA)
- NIHR Programme Grants for Applied Research (PGfAR)
- NIHR Public Health Research (PHR)
Although publication in the NIHR Journals Library meets the requirements of the NIHR open access policy, the NIHR encourages researchers to also publish in other peer-reviewed journals.
More information on submitting your final report is available on the NIHR Journals Library website.
Media activity that should be notified to the NIHR includes:
- A press release being issued through the researchers’ host or partner institution
- A press release being issued by the journal, funder or partner in the research
- A researcher taking part in interviews for press or broadcast
Please get in touch with the comms team in the relevant NIHR coordinating centre as soon as you and your institution's media team have decided to issue a press release or prepare for media activity. Please supply a copy of the research paper/report, where appropriate.
The coordinating centre will review the press release and share it with the relevant staff at the NIHR and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC). All embargoes and confidentiality requirements will be respected by the NIHR and DHSC.
What to include in the body of press releases
Acknowledge the NIHR
Press releases must acknowledge NIHR funding or support for the research by naming and linking to the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), ideally in the first or second paragraph of the body of the press release.
- Researchers funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)
- Research funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)
- Researchers at the University of Bristol funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)
- NIHR research(ers) at the University of Leeds...'
- An NIHR study at ....
What to include in the ‘Notes to Editors’
Add our boilerplate
Please include the following NIHR boilerplate in the notes to editors section of your press release:
The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is the nation's largest funder of health and care research. The NIHR:
- Funds, supports and delivers high quality research that benefits the NHS, public health and social care
- Engages and involves patients, carers and the public in order to improve the reach, quality and impact of research
- Attracts, trains and supports the best researchers to tackle the complex health and care challenges of the future
- Invests in world-class infrastructure and a skilled delivery workforce to translate discoveries into improved treatments and services
- Partners with other public funders, charities and industry to maximise the value of research to patients and the economy
- Funds applied global health reseach and training to meet the needs of the poorest people in low and middle-income countries
The NIHR was established in 2006 to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research, and is funded by the Department of Health and Social Care. In addition to its national role, the NIHR supports applied health research for the direct and primary benefit of people in low- and middle-income countries, using UK aid from the UK government.
You may also wish to include in the notes to editors additional information about the specific NIHR programme or training scheme that the press release relates to.
Acknowledge the role of patient data
The NIHR recognises and values the role of patient data, both in underpinning and leading to improvements in research and care.
Examples of types of patient data used in research include:
- GP records
- Clinical audits, for example the National Diabetes Audit
- Disease registers, such as the National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service
- Hospital Episode Statistics
- Diagnostic imaging datasets
- Prescribing databases
- Patient surveys, for example Patient Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs)
- Information collected during clinical trials and cohort studies
- Data in large patient cohorts, such as the NIHR BioResource and the UK Biobank
We ask researchers who use patient data to acknowledge it by incorporating a data citation, developed by use MY data, in publications and stories that would not have been possible without access to this data. This expectation also extends to press releases on such research.
Please use the following patient data citation after the NIHR boilerplate in press releases:
This work uses data provided by patients and collected by the NHS as part of their care and support and would not have been possible without access to this data. The NIHR recognises and values the role of patient data, securely accessed and stored, both in underpinning and leading to improvements in research and care. www.nihr.ac.uk/patientdata
Please use this citation in all press releases, unless you feel that the research does not use patient data in any form.
Use of the NIHR logo
The NIHR logo (including Funded/Supported by NIHR logos) should not be used in press releases issued by a researcher, research team, or private company. Such press releases should use the researchers’ host institution’s logotype.
Only press releases issued by the NIHR’s Press Office or an NIHR Coordinating Centre may use the NIHR logo.
Acknowledging the NIHR in research outputs
All written and oral research outputs should acknowledge the NIHR funding in full, include the NIHR unique award identifier and include the NIHR disclaimer. For research papers, the acknowledgement, unique award identifier and disclaimer should be added to the funding or acknowledgments section of the manuscript and included in the funding information requested by the publication on submission.
The NIHR unique award identifier number should always be included in the acknowledgement. Inclusion of the unique award identifier is vital as it allows output information to be pulled from publishers into research organisations' and NIHR information systems automatically, reducing the need for manual data entry.
Please acknowledge all types of NIHR funding, support and affiliations, such as:
- research programme funding
- whole or part funding or support by research centres or units
- use of clinical research facilities, centres or units
- fellowship awards
- professional training awards
- Senior Investigator awards
- Research Professorship awards.
Studies supported by the Clinical Research Network should be encouraged to acknowledge the support provided by the Network.
Chief investigators/lead researchers should refer to their funding contract to ensure that they comply with the specific terms and conditions regarding naming and acknowledging the NIHR appropriately in research publications.
It is helpful if outputs, where possible, have a DOI and completed metadata and are deposited in an appropriate open access database.
Wording for researchers funded by NIHR research programmes
Use of the correct NIHR unique award identifier is vital as it greatly aids the automated identification of publications and contributes to NIHR’s ability to report accurately on the outputs, outcomes and impact of the work we fund.
All research programmes (except EME)
This study/project is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) [name of NIHR programme (NIHR unique award identifier)/name of part of the NIHR]. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.
This project (NIHR unique award identifier) is funded by the Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation (EME) Programme, an MRC and NIHR partnership. The views expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the MRC, NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.
Wording for researchers funded by the NIHR Global Health Research programme
This research was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) (NIHR unique award identifier) using UK aid from the UK Government to support global health research. The views expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the UK Department of Health and Social Care.
Wording for researchers who hold training or career development funding awards (except the Integrated Clinical Academic (ICA) Programme)
(Name of the researcher, Award name e.g. Doctoral Research Fellow, NIHR unique award identifier) is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) for this research project. The views expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR, NHS or the UK Department of Health and Social Care.
Wording for researchers who hold ICA training or career development funding awards
(Name of the researcher, Award name e.g. Clinical Doctoral Research Fellow, NIHR unique award identifier) is funded by Health Education England (HEE) / National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) for this research project. The views expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR, (Partner Name), NHS or the UK Department of Health and Social Care.
Wording for researchers who hold an NIHR Academy partnership award, such as those with a research charity
(Name of the researcher, Award name e.g. Doctoral Fellow, NIHR unique award identifier) is funded in partnership by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and (Partner Name/Organisation names) for this research project. The views expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR, (Partner Name), NHS or the UK Department of Health and Social Care.
Branding research outputs
The ‘Funded by the NIHR’ logo (see below) is available for use on research outputs funded by an:
- NIHR research programme
- NIHR Academy programme
We encourage you to use the 'Funded by NIHR' logo on visual and digital outputs, such as research posters, research slides and websites (but not in original research papers or your host institution's press release about your research). It should be positioned along with an acknowledgment, NIHR unique award identifer and a disclaimer as follows:
- On websites above the fold but not in the header i.e. so that it is visible without scrolling down the page
- In print, such as on your institution's templates for research posters and patient leaflets, below the fold/in the bottom half of the page
- In research slides, use the ‘Funded by NIHR’ logo on the first slide and the appropriate acknowledgement, NIHR unique award identifier and disclaimer on the final slide.
For research posters, as an alternative you can use an NIHR poster template, to which you can add your host institution logo.
Should your research study have its own logo, this can also be used on outputs, providing the NIHR acknowledgement, unique award identifier and disclaimer are also in place.
If your project is part of the MRC Clinical Trials portfolio, special arrangements apply (please contact EME to find out more).
Using the 'Funded by NIHR' logo
Download the 'Funded by NIHR' logo to use on your research outputs.
Funded by NIHR logo - colour
Funded by NIHR logo - black
Funded by NIHR logo - white
Researchers funded by the NIHR Global Health programme
Projects funded by the Global Health Research programme should refer to the Global Health identity guidelines.