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PHR Programme supporting information (REALMS)


Published: 29 April 2021

Version: 1.7 April 2024

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About this supporting information

This document contains information to assist applicants submitting a stage 1 and 2 application form to the Public Health Research (PHR) Programme. Applications for funding are made online through the REsearch Awards Lifecycle Management System (REALMS). You must register or log-in to REALMS to complete and submit your application.
Please also ensure that you have read the stage 1 or 2 application form guidance notes fully and referred to the PHR Programme webpage. We have endeavoured to cover all necessary information relating to the application form through these resources. Incorrectly completed applications may be rejected.

The following additional supporting information is available on the PHR pages:

On the pages for the individual calls you will also find:

Other information / links

NIHR proposal resubmission policy

NIHR does not prohibit the submission of research project applications that were previously unsuccessful but applicants will be encouraged not to re-apply until they have re-worked their application and responded to the feedback provided. If they do re-apply their application will be treated as a new application and considered on its merits at the time

Applications submitted to other NIHR programmes

NIHR will not accept the same or substantially similar applications to more than one NIHR programme. If 2 similar applications are submitted, once the overlap is identified, the application that is most advanced through the funding process will continue and the second will not be taken further. Similar applications will only be considered by two programmes concurrently if:

  • the aims and research proposals are substantially different
  • if successful, NIHR would be prepared to fund both proposals
  • the successful delivery of one project is not dependent on the other


Anyone who considers that they can carry out high-quality research is likely to be eligible. If you have any concerns regarding your eligibility to apply we advise that you contact us before completing an application.

The Public Health Research Programme is funded by the NIHR, with contributions from the CSO in Scotland, NISCHR in Wales, and the HSC R&D Division, Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland. Researchers in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are eligible to apply for funding under this programme.


All proposals submitted must fall within the remit of the NIHR Public Health Research (PHR) Programme. For the evaluation of time sensitive, policy driven, interventions applicants may wish to consider the fast-track work stream. Please go to the Programme webpage for details.

General notes

The PHR Programme funds research to generate evidence to inform the delivery of non-NHS interventions intended to improve the health of the public and reduce inequalities in health. Our scope is multi-disciplinary and broad, covering a wide range of interventions that improve public health. The primary aim of the programme is the evaluation of practical interventions.


All of our funded projects are eligible for publication in the NIHR Journals Library. This open access resource is freely available online, and provides a full and permanent record of NIHR-funded research, in line with the government’s transparency agenda (see section 17).

Research question(s)

Studies should generate evidence to inform the implementation of single or multi-component interventions. We will fund:

  • Primary research (mainly evaluative, but also some preparatory research). Studies evaluating interventions including; trials, quasi-and natural experimental evaluations, and feasibility and pilot studies for these.
  • Secondary research (evidence synthesis). Secondary analyses of existing epidemiological data and/or impact modelling studies may also be funded.

We welcome applications for linked studies (for example, pilot plus main evaluation). We encourage the adoption of a systems perspective where appropriate to the study context.

Precise methods will need to be appropriate to the question being asked and the feasibility of the research. In all cases a strong justification for the chosen design and methods must be made.

Funding for the intervention

The affordability of the intervention, and at least an indication of the stakeholder(s) willingness to fund the intervention, should be referenced within the Stage 1 application. At the Stage 2 application point, statements of support confirming stakeholder commitment to funding will be required. Applicants should be aware that the PHR Programme is unable to fund intervention costs.

Outcomes and impact

  • The primary outcome measure of the research, if not necessarily the intervention itself, must be health-related.
  • The positive or negative impacts of the intervention, including inequitable outcomes should be considered.
  • Researchers are asked to indicate how long-term impacts will be assessed.
  • The impacts of public health interventions are often complex and wide-reaching. Studies should acknowledge this by adopting a broad perspective, taking account of costs and benefits to all relevant sectors of society.
  • Details about the potential pathway to impact and scalability of intervention(s) (if shown to have an effect) should be provided, including an indication of which organisation(s) might fund the relevant intervention(s) if widely implemented.
  • An appropriate health economic analysis to inform cost effectiveness, affordability or return on investment should be included where appropriate.

Impact of the research findings 

Applicants should consider how their findings will impact upon decision making in public health practice, whether results are generalisable to other populations and affordable. There should be a clear pathway to impact describing the mechanisms by which the findings will inform future public health policy and practice. The PHR Programme recognises that there is a need for an evidence base for disinvestment and that the removal of an intervention from a population can be worthy of evaluation.

Theory and logic model

All applications should identify underlying theory and include a logic model (or equivalent) to help explain underlying context, theory and mechanisms.

Public involvement

Proposals should ensure adequate public involvement in the research. See the section on Public Involvement below for further details.

NIHR carbon reduction guidelines and sustainability

The NIHR is committed to playing a role in helping to meet the UK Net Zero carbon targets. The NIHR would therefore encourage all applications to consider, where feasible, addressing issues of environmental sustainability including their impact and appropriate outcomes within the remit of the applying programme.

Advice can be obtained from the NIHR Carbon Reduction Guidelines. 

Policy or practice engagement and joint funding

Applicants are strongly advised to consider establishing partnerships with other relevant sectors or organisations to demonstrate they have the full breadth of expertise to carry out their proposed research in their applications to NETS programmes.
Representatives of policy or practice communities relevant to the project should be directly engaged or involved with the development and delivery of PHR research because this produces research that is more closely grounded in, and reflective of, their concerns and makes the subsequent uptake and application of research findings more likely. By policy or practice, we mean any organisation that is involved in shaping policy or delivering public health services relevant to the research, whether at local or national levels. This might include;

  • decision-makers in local government
  • primary care organisations and other local public services
  • third sector organisations
  • relevant national agencies (for example, NICE) concerned with improving public health and reducing health inequalities
  • researchers
  • public health practitioners and the public
  • commercial organisations
  • governmental and arms-length bodies.

Researchers will wish to consider carefully the nature of any interactions with or engagement of commercial organisations in the research, ensuring appropriate governance arrangements, management of possible conflicts of interest and mitigation of potential reputational risks.
We welcome proposals in which appropriate professionals (for example, a director of public health or chief executive of a charity) are formally part of the project team as a co-applicant, and in which they play a defined role in the project. Their contribution may be to facilitate or enable research access to organisations, to be directly involved in research fieldwork, to contribute to interpretation of emerging findings, and to be involved in dissemination activity. The time of policy or practice representatives as co-applicants can be costed into the proposal, as part of the research costs. As with all members of a project team, an individual's equipoise should be considered before they are proposed as co-applicant of a research project. Their involvement and associated costs should be fully justified, in the same way as for academic applicants.

There are other ways in which policy or practice representative support for the proposed research can be demonstrated, such as co-opting on to a project advisory or steering group, or the inclusion of a letter or statement of support from a senior policy or practice partner from relevant organisations.

Joint funded research

The PHR Programme is also open to the joint funding of research projects with organisations such as charities and the third sector. If you would like to explore the potential for joint funding, please contact us at with details of your proposal and the other funder, prior to submission.

Joint lead applicants 

A joint lead applicant may be appointed to the project.

Examples of how the joint lead applicant status could be used:

  1. Joint responsibility – where 2 individuals share responsibility of leading the project.
  2. Leaders of the future – where an individual has not held a grant of this scale before and hence requires mentoring, they could be added as a joint lead applicant. Or the mentor could be added as the Joint Lead Applicant. The arrangements for mentoring should be detailed within the proposal.
  3. Supporting transdisciplinary teams – the PHR Programme would welcome joint lead applicants that are individuals from non-traditional public health disciplines, for example engineering or mathematics or individuals based outside of HEI’s specifically public health front line professionals such as consultants of public health.
  4. Early career capacity building – the PHR Programme is keen to support public health capacity building and is open to the joint lead applicant status being used to identify early-career post-doctorals or public health specialist trainees. There is no upper limit to the full-time equivalent (FTE) commitment for these individuals, but their time commitment on the project must be explained within the Stage 1 and 2 form, and the overall cost of the proposal should not increase as a result of their participation.

Data protection

We have an obligation to keep data secure and to use it appropriately. To fulfil our obligations under law and as a result of our contract with the Department of Health and Social Care, we adopt various procedures to use and protect data. This will impact on how we deal with you and your joint applicants.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) is the Data Controller under the Data Protection Act 1998 ('the Act'). Under the Data Protection Act, we have a legal duty to protect any information we collect from you. You should be aware that information given to us might be shared with other DHSC bodies for the purposes of statistical analysis and other DHSC research management purposes. NIHR also reserves the right to share, in confidence, details of your application with other approved research funding organisations outside NIHR in order to coordinate research activity in the UK.

Information collected from you will not be passed to any third party outside the NIHR except specifically as detailed above without your consent except where we are under a statutory obligation or entitled to do so by law. Applicants may be assured that DHSC is committed to protecting privacy and to processing all personal information in a manner that meets the requirements of the Act.

Data security - data about you

Personal information will be held on a database in the NIHR password-protected network that is available only to NIHR staff. Your details and those of your joint applicants will be retained by NIHR on behalf of the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to facilitate the running of the PHR Programme. If your application is successful at any stage of our process your name, and the details of the sponsoring organisation, will appear on the PHR web pages. In addition, once funding has been agreed and the contract signed, your details will appear in other literature as a grant holder and will be passed to Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) for inclusion in their publicly available databases of research projects. Your name and those of your joint applicants will be added to our mailing list. This means that you will be sent updates on all the programmes. We may also send you separate literature about the PHR Programme and related events in medical/health research. If you have any questions, or if you would prefer not to receive routine and/or general communications, please contact us at:  

Research Support Service

Applicants are recommended to seek advice from suitable methodological support services, at an appropriate stage in the development of their research idea and application. It is advisable to make contact at an early a stage as possible to allow sufficient time for discussion and a considered response.

Our calls are being supported by the NIHR Research Support Service (RSS) across England. Please consult the NIHR Specialist Centre for Public Health (SCPH) about the design of your research as soon as possible. Successful applications generally require a long time (several months) to develop.

Clinical Trials Units

Clinical Trials Units are regarded as an important component of many trial applications, and can advise and participate throughout the process from initial idea development through to project delivery and reporting. However, they may not be essential for all types of studies. If you feel this is the case, please justify the reasons on your application.

If you are looking for a CTU to collaborate with in your application, then the following sources can provide more help:

  • The UKCRC CTU Network provides a searchable information resource on all registered units in the UK, and lists key interest areas and contact information.

The NIHR Clinical Research Network

The NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) supports health and social care research both in and outside the NHS. The CRN can support PHR research applications set in specific settings (for example, prisons, schools, care homes, private providers, participants homes) or the wider physical and policy environments (for example, transport systems and taxation). The CRN provides expert advice and support to plan, set up and deliver research efficiently. Applicants to the PHR Programme should contact their Local Clinical Research Network who will be able to advise them on the support the CRN may be able to provide.

Public involvement

The NIHR expects the active involvement of patients and the public in the research it supports, including research undertaken as part of an individual training award. NIHR recognise that the nature and extent of active patient and public involvement is likely to vary depending on the context of each study or award. The term involvement refers to an active partnership between patients, members of the public and researchers in the research process. This can include, for example, involvement in the choice of research topics, assisting in the design, advising on the research project or in carrying out the research.

In this section it is important that you describe in as much detail as possible how patients and the public have been involved in the development of the application as well as plans for involvement in the proposed research. Please note that this section does not refer to the recruitment of patients or members of the public as participants in the research. 

Further information and resources can be found on the 'I need help funding my research' section of the NIHR website. This includes a detailed definition of patient and public involvement in researchbriefing notes for researchers on how to involve patients and the public and payment guidance. The NIHR Research Support Service provide advice on developing research applications including involving patients and the public and the James Lind Alliance has a step-by-step guide on involvement in research identification and priority setting.

Governance, Regulation and Ethical approval

The NIHR expects applicants to follow ethical guidelines appropriate to the study and setting proposed. We will scrutinise proposed ethics arrangements as part of the assessment of applications. Applicants must either comply with the research ethics framework formulated by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) or obtain approval via the National Research Ethics Service (NRES).

A change in the EU Directive 95/46/EC General Data Protection Regulation (GPDR) affects consent conditions for use of data from children within clinical trials where the data is considered identifiable personal data. Currently, trials may use an opt-out strategy for parents (negative assent). From May 2018, positive parent assent is needed to process the data.

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).

Information on the responsibilities of key research stakeholders including Sponsors, Chief Investigators and Research Teams are summarised in the UK policy framework for health and social care research.

Requirements for systematic reviews to be registered with PROSPERO

Applicants undertaking systematic reviews should note the commitment of NIHR to publication in the PROSPERO 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.

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 at:

Reasonable costs and value for money

The PHR Programme accepts that some variance in costs is likely to occur between the Stage 1 and Stage 2 applications. The PHR Programme will carefully scrutinise all Stage 2 application costs and any variance from the first stage. All costs need to be fully justified by the applicants to reassure that the study offers good value for money for the NHS and social care services. 

There are no fixed limits on the duration of projects or funding and proposals should be tailored to fully address the problem. Research costs are the costs of the research activity itself. These include data collection, analysis, other activities needed to answer the research questions, trial registration (if required) and the salary and indirect costs of staff employed to carry out the research. It is in applicants’ interests to undertake a thorough, realistic and accurate costing. Please note: The Public Health Research Programme will fund research costs but not intervention or other non-research costs.

Guidance on costings for different types of organisations 

Higher Education Institutions (HEIs)

  • Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) should determine the Full Economic Cost (FEC) of their research using the Transparent Approach to Costing (TRAC) methodology. For HEIs, up to 80% of FEC will be paid, provided that TRAC methodology has been used.

NHS bodies and other providers of NHS services in England

  • For applications where the contractor is an NHS body or provider of NHS services in England, up to 100% of direct costs will be paid.

Other partner organisations

  • If you are a commercial organisation/consultancy, please fill in direct costs and commercial indirect costs. Indirect costs should be charged in proportion to the amount of research staff effort requested on the funding application form. Up to 100% of costs will be paid. 
  • If you are an ‘other partner’ organisation (for example, charity, local authority representative or NGO), please fill in direct costs and other partner organisations indirect costs. Indirect costs should be charged in proportion to the amount of research staff effort requested on the funding application form. Up to 100% of costs will be paid.

Please note that for Stage 1 applications, only the amount of funds being requested should be detailed. For HEIs, the 80% FEC figure should be provided. At Stage 2 a full budget breakdown will be requested. 

Guidance for using the electronic online Stage 1 application form

To access the application form

Select the call to which you wish to apply for on the funding opportunity page on the NIHR website. From within the call details page press the ‘Click here to apply’ button to access the Stage 1 application form. This also provides call specific supplementary information, for example the commissioning brief or specification document. This will direct you to the REALMS login page. If you already have a username (email address) and password, enter these details or, if you have not yet registered, complete the short registration process. You will then be directed to the confirmation page for the specific call. If this is the correct call, click on the Apply Now’ button and this will start the application process.  

Applying for a funding opportunity creates a task called ‘Pending Application’. This task will be available for you to complete until 1pm on the closing date as indicated on the research call and on your task list. 

The ‘Pending Application’ task can be accessed at any time until you either submit the application (using the Submit button in the application) or the call closes. 

Clicking on the relevant Pending Application link takes you to the  online Application where you can complete your application information.

We would like to draw your attention to the ‘Info still required’ button at the bottom of the application page. We encourage you to click this well before submitting – it will bring up a list of all the sections that still need completing and any errors the system has detected (if any).

Additional guidance will be available on most screens as you progress through your application. 

The REALMS can always be accessed directly. You can go to your homepage where all your applications will be listed. 

To submit an application

In order to submit a Stage 1 application to the programme you must: 

  • Complete all mandatory fields as indicated with a red asterisk *. When you click the ‘Info Still Required’ button at the bottom of the application a list of outstanding information (hyperlinked to relevant section/question) will be displayed at the top of the application screen. For uploads, please see the guidance notes.

Giving others access to the form 

  • Co-applicants: Access to your application is through your user login to REALMS. This should not be shared. The Stage 1 application does not require co-applicants to complete this form however as lead applicant you must ensure they are aware of being involved in the study team. If you want to share your form with your co-applicants, please create a PDF of the form and send it to them. Options to create a PDF are available on the Home page and the Review and Submit page. Where appropriate to the study a Joint Lead Applicant can be added to the application (Stage 1 and Stage 2) and full access can be given.

Guidance for using the electronic online Stage 2 application form 

To access the application form for Stage 2 applications only 

If you are applying for a new call, for example an Evidence Synthesis, you can select the call to which you wish to apply for on the funding opportunity page on the NIHR website. From within the call details page press the ‘Click here to apply’ button to access the Stage 2 application form. This also provides call specific supplementary information, for example the commissioning brief or specification document. This will direct you to the REALMS login page. If you already have a username (email address) and password, enter these details or, if you have not yet registered, complete the short registration process. You will then be directed to the confirmation page for the specific call. If this is the correct call, click on the Apply Now button and this will start the application process.  

Applying for a funding opportunity creates a task called Pending Application. This task will be available for you to complete until 1pm on the closing date as indicated on the research call and on your task list.

If you have been shortlisted from a Stage 1 form:

The Pending Application’ task can be accessed at any time until you either submit the application (using the Submit button) or the call closes. 

Clicking on the relevant Pending Application link takes you to the  online Application where you can complete your application information.

We would like to draw your attention to the ‘Info still required’ button at the bottom of the application page. We encourage you to click this well before submitting – it will bring up a list of all the sections that still need completing and any errors the system has detected (if any).

Additional guidance will be available on most screens as you progress through your application. 

The REALMS can always be accessed directly for you to go to your home page, where all your applications and other tasks will be listed.

To submit a Stage 2 application

In order to submit a Stage 2 application to the programme you must:

  • Complete all mandatory fields. When you click the ‘Info Still Required’ button at the bottom of the application a list of outstanding information (hyperlinked to relevant section/question) will be displayed at the top of the application screen.
  • Submit a Detailed Research Plan, which should:
    • Have a font size of 11 Arial 
    • Not exceed 20 A4 pages
    • Have a header containing your allocated project reference number if known 
    • Have a footer showing your page numbers 
    • Be converted to a .PDF version before uploading 
    • Submit a flow diagram (single-side of A4), as a separate .pdf file, for submission with your application form. This should illustrate the study design and the flow of participants (if appropriate). If the project consists of more than one work package, consider a diagram that conveys the sequence and timing of research packages as well as how the work packages are linked. Applicants should also describe complex interventions and controls as accurately and fully as possible within their diagram. If proposing an RCT, we advise you refer to the CONSORT statement for guidance. Alternatively, you may find the EQUATOR Network website useful. The .pdf file must be submitted along with your application form. 
    • Submit a CTU letter of support if appropriate to the study. This is not a mandatory upload. 
    • Submit a list of references used throughout your proposal (maximum 3 sides of A4). 
    • Submit a completed Schedule of Events Cost Attribution Tool (SoECAT). 
    • Upload any other requested documents as specified in the Stage 2 guidance notes. 

Giving others access to the Stage 2 form

Including Joint lead applicant / co-applicants in your Stage 2 application

Access to your application is through your REALMS user login. This should not be shared. The Stage 2 application is designed as a collaborative submission. As the lead applicant, you can nominate a Joint lead applicant / co-applicants to provide their personal information via the Applicant Detail Form and collaborate on sections of the application. You select the type of access they have to the application. As a result of the nomination, your joint lead applicant / co-applicants will be invited via email to login to the REALMS, accept their role and complete their application tasks. 

If your application includes Joint lead applicant / co-applicants, you will not be able to complete and submit your application until the co-applicant has provided the information that we require from them. 

Once you have completed the details for each co-applicant you should click on the ‘Save’ button before clicking on the Invite button. This will then prompt an email to be sent to each co-applicant with a task for them to approve involvement with the project in question and provide the necessary personal information via the Applicant Detail Form 

2) Stage 2 Application, depending on the access permissions granted by the lead applicant, allows the Joint lead applicant / co-applicant to read and/or amend any details in the application. It is the responsibility of the lead applicant to ensure that the Joint lead applicant / co-applicants complete all the tasks generated. 

  • Enter co-applicants details accurately as we will use these to contact them (the exact email address used as their REALMS username is essential to ensure they receive the automatic communication as part of the application process).
  • Please make sure that you: Allow sufficient time for your Joint lead applicant / co-applicants to complete both parts of their task in the online form before the application deadline. 


In line with other UK health research funders, NIHR have implemented a researcher identification scheme – ORCiD. In order to submit your Stage 1 and Stage 2 application, you (and Joint Lead Applicant / Co-applicants) are required to obtain a free unique ORCiD ID number and enter this onto your REALMS user profile contact information. You will only have to do this once, however if you add any additional information to ORCiD, you will then need to synchronise this with your REALMS account by going to My Profile, ORCiD, Re-import Data (in REALMS). The requirement for an ORCID ID is mandatory for all applicants except PPI co-applicants. However, if a PPI co-applicant has an ORCiD account and wishes to add this to their REALMS contact profile they can. 

To do this go to the ‘Profile’ tab on your REALMS Home page and click on the ORCID link in the left navigation bar to import your profile. On the next screen either add or register for an ORCiD ID by clicking on ‘Create or connect your ORCID iD’ which will redirect you to the ORCiD website, where you will be able sign in or register for an ID number. Once you have registered and authorised your ID you will be redirected back to your REALMS Contact Information page where your ORCiD ID will now be displayed. More information about ORCiD is available.

Saving your form

As you work through the application, you are asked to ‘Save Draft’. This will save all the information you have submitted so far. You can save the form at any point and leave the application prior to submission. The save draft button is always located at the bottom of each page of the application. The pending application task will remain on your home page until complete and submitted or the deadline for the application has passed, at which point it will appear as either a Submitted Application or Past Application task.

It is important to remember to ‘Save Draft’ as you go through the form before navigating away from the page.

There is a security time out set on REALMS so that after 60 minutes of inactivity, the user will be logged out of the system. It is advisable therefore to save your work at regular intervals using the save draft button on any page. REALMS will give you a warning that you are due to be timed out 10 minutes before it times you out. If this message is displayed, you should close the pop-up.

Leaving the application task

You can leave your application task at any time. As long as you have saved any new information you have entered for the application, you can navigate to your home page or log out of the REALMS system.

Technical support

If you encounter any problems with the REALMS system, you should contact the programme funding support team either via email or by phone.  

Space restrictions when entering text

You should be aware that there are character limits set for each text box within the application form. For larger text areas these are indicated with ‘Limit’ and ‘Remaining’ at the bottom of the text entry box. Please note that the system does not provide a spell checker. Carriage returns and spaces are counted as characters. The character count will be slightly less than that of a Microsoft word character count.  

The form counts all blank space as a part of the content of each box, so if you are short of space it will help if you delete extra carriage returns and place any bulleted lists into paragraph format.

URL links

You may wish to include URL links to your application or refer to URL links in a body of your text. You are advised not to use any URL shortening service such as ‘’ when completing your application. This type of shortening service is associated with hacking and spamming (as it promotes the sending of links that are unclear where they are pointing).

Review and Submit Application

Please ensure that before you submit your application, you have completed the required fields and saved a version of your form. You must submit your application form and flow diagram / references where required, by the stated deadline before 1pm. We are unable to grant any time extensions and the deadline will be strictly observed. You should therefore plan your application carefully. We will not enter into negotiations for extensions.

Stage 1 and Stage 2 applications must be submitted electronically

Submit your application using the ‘Submit’ button at the bottom of the form. Clicking on the ‘Info Still Required’ button will take you to a list of outstanding/incomplete required application information. Each item listed is an active link that will take you to the relevant application question/field.

We strongly advise applicants at this point to check that all sections are completed and the correct documents have been uploaded into the system as they cannot be altered once submitted.

You will then receive an automated confirmation email from the PHR Programme. If you do not receive an email please contact us immediately as there may be an issue with your submission.

Un-submitted applications

Seven days prior to the closing date you will receive an email reminder that you have an open application (i.e. not submitted).


If, after carefully reading all the instructions, you still have difficulties completing your application, please visit the PHR Programme webpages which contain additional supporting information and resources.

If your particular query or problem is not addressed, please send an email to

Please be aware that while every effort is made to answer queries, if the query is made very near the closing date, the PHR Programme may not be able to provide a considered response. When emailing us please include details of the call which you are responding to, and the name of the lead applicant.