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Pre-doctoral Local Authority Fellowship Scheme Applicant Guidance Notes

 

Contents

Introduction

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is pleased to announce the launch of the NIHR Pre-doctoral Local Authority Fellowship (PLAF) scheme, a pilot scheme designed to support the academic ambitions of individuals wishing to develop as health and/or social care researchers whilst remaining employed, or at least engaged, within local authorities or local authority supporting services.

This document provides full details of this pilot scheme, describes the means by which applications for PLAFs should be submitted, and details how they will be assessed.

Background

The NIHR Academy recently secured funds that, through its developing Local Authority Academic Fellowship (LAAF) Programme, will support local authorities and local authority supporting services to become more research active.
 
A growing body of evidence indicates that research active organisations deliver better services and outputs than those that are not. The LAAF Programme will increase the capacity for local authority settings to generate and support research by offering research training fellowships to individuals who intend to build careers within them.
 
The LAAF Programme will pilot the pre-doctoral PLAF scheme and the Doctoral Local Authority Fellowship scheme in 2021, and may offer complementary post-doctoral funding opportunities in the future. By offering this tiered suite of similarly focussed funding opportunities to individuals embedded within local authority settings, the LAAF programme will contribute to the development of a credible ‘practitioner academic’ career pathway within local authorities and local authority supporting services.

The importance of Practitioner Academics

Self-sustaining research activity within service providing or policy making organisations is dependent on the employment of practitioner academics. These individuals divide their time between university affiliated research and practice or policy roles.

Some practitioner academic roles, such as that undertaken by the medical Consultant Professor, are well established and understood, but many others are still emerging. As the benefits of a research active workforce become increasingly appreciated, practitioner academic roles are becoming more widespread, and initiatives such as the LAAF Programme aim to accelerate this movement further.

The research questions formulated by practitioner academics are informed by experience and the reality of the practice or policy roles they undertake. As active researchers in fields of relevance to their own continued practice, practitioner academics are also well positioned to critically appraise and utilise research findings in the development of evidence based practice and service redesign. As such, practitioner academics are uniquely placed to make invaluable contributions to the development and maintenance of optimum and adaptive services.

Investment in a practitioner academic career infrastructure has the potential to transform services, inspire staff to develop and innovate, attract and retain talent in a competitive market, and to address quality, governance and safety issues. Such developments benefit individual staff members and their organisations, and can ultimately play a role in accelerating improvements in services provision for users and the public.

The aim of the LAAF Programme, then, is to facilitate the realisation of these benefits for all concerned.

The NIHR Pre-doctoral Local Authority Fellowship Scheme

The NIHR PLAF scheme supports early career researchers employed within local authorities or local authority supporting services to become competitive applicants for fully funded PhD study (a doctoral fellowship).

As well as offering salaried time to prepare an application for a doctoral fellowship, a PLAF will also fund a personalised programme of academic training that will equip the awardee with the skills and experience to make it competitive.

Applicants for a PLAF may:
  • have little formal academic training/research experience or
  • have completed some Masters level training or
  • have completed a Masters level qualification or
  • require Masters level training/ a full Masters
All applicants for LAAF Programme funding must be able to demonstrate their commitment to a practitioner academic role and a career that combines continued employment within a local authority type setting with related health and/or social care research and, ultimately, research leadership.
 
PLAF awards will only be granted to individuals who aspire to conduct applied research that pertains to health and/or social care, and that would meet the NIHR remit for personal awards.
 
Prior experience of audit, evaluation or quality improvement programmes might all be used to evidence an applicant’s evaluative/questioning mindset.

The Structure of a Pre-doctoral Local Authority Fellowship

Two distinct funding offers are available through the PLAF scheme, allowing applicants to choose the level of support most appropriate to their individual requirements:
  • Funding to support the submission of a doctoral fellowship application and to undertake a programme of academic training at Masters level (“standard” PLAF)
  • Funding to support submission of a doctoral fellowship application and to undertake a small amount of academic training at Masters level (PLAF Bridge).
1. Funding to support the submission of a doctoral fellowship application and to undertake a programme of academic training at Masters level (“standard” PLAF)
 
Scope of Funding
  • Salary costs to cover the time undertaking the Fellowship (including the employer's contribution to National Insurance and Superannuation)
  • Up to £5,000 towards Masters level training and associated travel and subsistence
  • Up to £1,000 for conference/meeting fees and associated travel and subsistence
  • Supervision and Mentorship costs up to £1,000
If applicants are proposing the completion of a full Masters degree as part of their training and development, it is possible to request a supplement to cover the Masters course fee if over and above the £5,000 limit. A full justification for the additional costs must be provided.
 
Award Uptake Options
  • Full time for 12 months (5 days per week)
  • Part-time over 24 months (2.5 days per week, 0.5 WTE)
  • Part-time over 30 months (2 days per week, 0.4 WTE)
2. Funding to support submission of a doctoral fellowship application and to undertake a small amount of academic training at Masters level (PLAF Bridge).
 
Scope of Funding
  • salary costs to cover the time undertaking the Fellowship (including the employer's contribution to National Insurance and Superannuation)
  • up to £400 for formal courses and associated travel and subsistence
  • up to £500 for conference / meeting fees and associated travel and subsistence
  • supervision and mentorship costs up to £500
Award Uptake Options 
  • 4 days per week for 6 months (0.8 WTE)
  • 2 days per week for 12 months (0.4 WTE)
Please note - in these guidance notes, ‘PLAF’ refers to both funding options (‘standard’ PLAF and PLAF Bridge) unless otherwise specified.

Eligibility Requirements for the Pre-doctoral Local Authority Fellowship Scheme

1. Applicants must hold a contract of employment in England with either a:

  • local authority
  • provider of local authority commissioned services or a
  • non-profit organisation (such as a charity) that provides services on behalf of a local authority, or that otherwise supports a local authority in meeting its objectives. 
Applicants cannot be employed by an NHS organisation or by a provider of predominately NHS commissioned services (by monetary value). Fixed term contracts of any duration are acceptable, however, honorary contracts or bank work cannot be accepted.
 

2. Applicants cannot hold registration with the General Dental Council as a dentist, or with the General Medical Council as a doctor.

3. Applicants must be intending to continue working in their current sector over the course of PLAF, either (if full-time) through the professional development time included in the award (please see “Professional Skills Development” below) or through continuation of their current role outside of the award time.
 
4. Applicants cannot 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. 
 
Prospective applicants who have completed either a Masters, an MPhil or an academic training position, and wish to use the Fellowship to develop a proposal for a Doctoral Fellowship are eligible to apply, providing that the additional research training is justified and appropriate (please see “the PLAF Training and Development Programme” details below).
 
5. Applicants who have previously held an HEE/NIHR Masters in Clinical Research Studentship are eligible for the “PLAF Bridge” only. Previous recipients of HEE Integrated Clinical Academic Programme Internships, if otherwise eligible, are welcome to apply for either level of support.

Only one application to the NIHR Local Authority Academic Fellowship Programme is permitted per round year. Multiple applications to one scheme or applications at more than one level (i.e. to the Pre-doctoral Local Authority Fellowship scheme and the Doctoral Local Authority Fellowship scheme) will not be accepted.
 
It is not permitted to apply for a PLAF and a HEE/NIHR Integrated Clinical Academic Programme award (eg a Pre-doctoral Clinical Academic Fellowship or Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowship) in the same calendar year. The second/subsequent applications will not be accepted.
 
Prospective applicants unsure of their eligibility should contact the NIHR at academy-awards@nihr.ac.uk before embarking on the application process.

Competition Timetable

Competition StageKey Dates
Competition Opens 28th January 2021
Competition Closes 31st March 2021
Funding Recommendation Meeting May 2021
If awarded, Fellowships must start on one of the following dates 1st September 2021
1st October 2021
1st November 2021
1st December 2021
1st January 2022
1st February 2022 or
1st March 2022
 
Fellowships cannot be deferred without the consent of the NIHR.

Assessment of Applications 

Following the submission deadline, the NIHR will check applications for completeness and eligibility, and distribute eligible applications to the members of the PLAF Selection Committee.
 
The selection committee will assess all eligible applications using the Assessment Criteria below.

ICA PLAF Assessment Criteria

  • the quality and appropriateness of the proposed academic training plan (including doctoral fellowship application development)
  • the appropriateness of the proposed academic environment
  • the appropriateness of the proposed academic supervision
  • the track record of the host university in supporting individuals with existing practitioner/policy roles to develop practitioner academic careers
  • the scope for the described field of academic interest to prove relevant to, and provide benefit to, the local authority setting in which the applicant plans to work
  • the extent to which the local authority / local authority supporting partner will support the applicant to pursue and develop a practitioner academic career
  • the arrangements for ensuring protected time for each of the fellowship’s requisite components
  • the suitability and commitment of the applicant to a career as a practitioner academic
  • the appropriateness of any proposed career mentorship
  • the appropriateness of the award to the experience and trajectory of the applicant
In addition, references will be used by the PLAF Selection Committee to support their assessment of the application and the suitability and commitment of the applicant to a career as a local authority setting based practitioner academic.

Expectations on Completion of a Pre-doctoral Local Authority Fellowship

At the end of a PLAF, Fellows should be able to demonstrate development as a practitioner academic and be in a position to make a competitive application for a peer-reviewed PhD Fellowship. Evidence of the following will be sought by the NIHR through report monitoring:
  • Completion of the Training and Development Programme as detailed in the application
  • Preparation of an application for a competitive, peer-reviewed doctoral level research training fellowship
  • Increased research skills
  • Development of research interests
  • Development of networks that span the boundary between research activity and practitioners/policy makers, as well as links with individual ‘boundary spanners’.

Important Areas for Consideration when Developing a Pre-doctoral Local Authority Fellowship Application

Getting support

 
It is recommended that applicants seek support and guidance on developing their application from the outset. Please refer to ‘Additional Supporting Information’ at the end of this document for the details of organisations that offer such support.

Choosing the appropriate PLAF option 

 
The amount of previous formal academic training and research experience an applicant has undertaken to date should be the primary factor in determining which PLAF funding option (“standard” PLAF or PLAF Bridge) is the most appropriate. Applicants who already have research experience and/or research training at a sufficient level to prepare them to undertake a PhD (research doctorate) but who require the time and support to develop a competitive doctoral level application, would be advised to choose the PLAF Bridge option. Applicants who have undertaken limited formal academic training to date and who need to undertake a full Masters or a number of Masters level module may be better suited to the “standard” PLAF.
 
Applicants that have previously completed a Masters qualification are advised to review the level of academic training and research experience that this qualification provided.  If there was a large research component to the course, further academic training may not be necessary at this level.  Holding a Masters level qualification per se, however, does not preclude undertaking a “standard” PLAF if further academic training is required.
 
All applicants are advised to discuss their previous academic training and experience with their proposed academic supervisors and to discuss with them the training required through the PLAF and, therefore, the most appropriate option.  Please see below for further guidance regarding the Training and Development Programme proposed in a PLAF application.

Applicants are also advised to consider the timelines for their doctoral level submission.  Completion of a PLAF should not inadvertently delay the progression of any awardee’s academic career.

Area of research interest 

 
At the pre-doctoral fellowship level, applicants are not expected to have a fully developed PhD proposal (this will be an output of the award), however, candidates are required to identify in their application their area of research interest. 
 
For “Standard” PLAF applicants, an identification of the research field in which they aspire to operate (and, therefore, build a doctoral fellowship proposal) is sufficient.
 
PLAF Bridge applicants should be able to describe a more developed research topic that will be refined as they prepare their PhD proposal.
 
Competitive applications will have a clearly articulated plan for future research running through the PLAF and into a doctoral fellowship application.
 
The research area should inform the proposed training plan and the proposed supervisory team, and is used by the Selection Committee to assess the suitability of the proposed training and supervision.
 
The research area should align with the applicant’s existing role/career. If not, the applicant will need to clearly demonstrate how they will work towards such alignment to support the development of a career with mutually complementary and cohesive academic and practice/policy elements.
 
It is accepted that, as academic training progresses and research experience develops, research ideas and interests may change. If the PLAF is funded, candidates will not be held to this stated area of interest for their doctoral fellowships. 

Research career to date

 
It is not necessarily expected that applicants at the pre-doctoral level will have extensive research experience to date, but applicants are advised to describe all relevant academic and professional experience (including audit, evaluation and quality improvement programmes) and any research activities that they have been involved in.

Academic training

 
At the end of a PLAF award, Fellows should be in a position to make a competitive application for a PhD Fellowship. When developing the academic training programme for the PLAF, it is advisable for applicants to consider their previous formal academic training experience and their previous research experience (research career to date) and to identify the areas in which they would currently be less competitive if submitting a doctoral fellowship application. 
 
The proposed training must be tailored around the applicant’s demonstrable training needs.  A justification of how the proposed training will support the applicant’s development as a practitioner academic and as a competitive doctoral fellowship applicant must be provided.
 
The training may include, but is not limited to:
 
  • full Masters course (Please note - applicants that do not hold a degree will need to undertake a full Masters if they wish to be eligible for an NIHR administered doctoral level fellowship.)
  • formal courses (including Masters modules)
  • training in specialist skills and research methodologies
  • placements with other research groups or centres
  • leadership training
  • conference attendance
  • research visits
  • public involvement and engagement (Training in public involvement and engagement (PI&E) or time for undertaking PI&E can be included, however, costs for undertaking PI&E activities cannot be requested.)
  • dissemination of relevant research
  • research experience (Preliminary research in support of the subsequent doctoral level proposal (e.g. a systematic review or small feasibility study) may be included. Research costs cannot be funded through this award, however, and the primary academic supervisor is responsible for ensuring that a PLAF awardee secures all necessary regulatory approvals before undertaking any research included in the PLAF training and development programme.)
  • other training and development
  • preparation of an application for a competitive, peer-reviewed doctoral level research training fellowship.

Professional Skills Development 

Aspiring practitioner academics need to develop as professionals and as academics in parallel if they are to become a future practitioner academic leader.  PLAF award holders may wish to continue to develop their professional skills through their current role, outside of award time, and are welcome to include details of this in their application. In addition, however, all applicants can request paid professional skills development time as part of the award. Up to 20% professional skills development time can be requested.

If applicants request professional development time through the PLAF, they must be able to demonstrate how they will develop their skills over the period of the Fellowship, taking into consideration their current skill set. The professional development plan must be demonstrably appropriate to the applicant’s level of seniority and support their development as a practitioner academic. Senior professionals may choose to propose activities that will ensure the maintenance rather than the development of their professional skills set.

Given that the scheme supports aspiring practitioner academics, it is expected that any applicants that will not be continuing in their professional role outside of the Fellowship time (e.g. proposing a full time PLAF) would request professional development time. A justification would be expected if these applicants do not propose any professional skills development time as part of the PLAF.

Supervision and Mentorship

 
PLAF applicants are required to identify a primary academic supervisor for their fellowship, as well as advised to identify a separate career mentor:

Primary Academic Supervisor

 
The primary academic supervisor will support the award holder to develop their doctoral fellowship proposal and to undertake the training proposed in their application.
 
Careful consideration should be given to the choice of primary academic supervisor and a clear justification for the individual proposed should be provided in the application.
 
Careful thought should be given to:
  • record of conversion of Masters to PhD students
  • experience as a PhD supervisor
  • experience in the research area of interest/ relevant methodologies
  • ease of maintaining contact with your supervisor/ availability of the supervisor
  • suitability for continuation as the PhD supervisor (if the award is successful) or ability of the supervisor to help find the best PhD supervision. 
The Primary Academic Supervisor must hold a position at the named academic organisation (see below).

Career Mentor (optional)

 
Applicants are advised to identify an individual who will provide practitioner academic career mentorship over the course of the award. This individual does not need to be employed by one of the organisations named in the application (the Host or Partner Organisation) and need not share a professional background with the applicant.

Mentors should be academically senior to the applicant and be able to go beyond the academic guidance afforded by the named supervisors, using sector knowledge and experience to support the awardee through any challenges encountered during the development of their practitioner academic career including:
  • navigating between the academic and local authority sectors
  • managing the competing demands inherent in a multifaceted role. 
Given that support is already being provided from the named supervisor(s), it is not expected that the same individual will be named as both a supervisor and career mentor. The Primary Academic Supervisor should however, support the applicant to identify a suitable mentor.

Applicants should clearly describe how the proposed arrangements would support their development as a practitioner academic and provide an initial assessment of the time that will be allocated to the mentorship process.

References

 
Applicants are required to provide details of two referees who will be able to comment on their suitability for an HEE/NIHR PLAF. The referees must be individuals that can evidence the academic potential of the applicant, who have experience of them in a research capacity. 
 
Referees must not be fulfilling a Supervisor or Career Mentor role for the applicant.
 
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” section of the application form.
 
The references are used by the PLAF Selection Committee to support their assessment of the suitability and commitment of the applicant to a career as a practitioner academic. 
 
Please note – applicants are advised to approach prospective referees early in the application process to ensure that their referees have sufficient time to write a thorough reference and to submit it using the online application system, before the application needs to be submitted.

The Host Organisation and Partner Organisation 

The Host Organisation

 
The PLAF is a NIHR personal research training award.  As such, Fellowship proposals are written and submitted directly by the prospective award holder.  The NIHR cannot, however, contract with the Fellow directly and, therefore, all applicants require the support of a Host Organisation.
 
Any organisation wishing to host a PLAF must be able to provide the applicant with a contract of employment for the hours and duration of the award.  The Host Organisation may or may not be the applicant’s current employer.

Examples of the contracts are available to download from the NIHR website.

The Host Organisation for a PLAF must be based in England and can be a:

  1. local authority 
  2. provider of local authority commissioned services
  3. non-profit organisation (such as a charity) that provides services on behalf of a local authority, or that otherwise supports a local authority in meeting its objectives, or a
  4. Higher Education Institution (HEI)
The named HEI for a PLAF must be an English University or University College and employ the proposed primary academic supervisor.

The Partner Organisation

 
PLAF award holders, who are developing practitioner academic careers, require support from a local authority / local authority supporting organisation and a HEI, which will work together to support their Fellowship and their developing practitioner academic career.

If the proposed Host Organisation is not an English university or university college. (i.e. of type 1, 2 or 3 above), then the Partner Organisation must be an English university or university college.
 
If the proposed Host Organisation is an English university or university college, then the Partner Organisation must be an English: 
  1. local authority
  2. provider of local authority commissioned services or a
  3. nonprofit organisation (such as a charity) that provides services on behalf of a local authority, or that otherwise supports a local authority in meeting its objectives 
Please note that if the applicant proposes a HEI host then they may need to arrange an honorary contract with the Partner organisation for the hours and duration of the award. 

The Partnership

 
The Host Organisation and Partner Organisation are expected to show a commitment towards the objectives of the scheme. Both organisations must ensure that the award holder is not expected to undertake any additional roles or work that would erode the time available to undertake the approved training and development as detailed in the PLAF application.
 
As part of the application review, the PLAF Selection Committee will assess the support that the Host Organisation and Partner Organisation will provide to the applicant to develop their practitioner academic career.  Applicants are advised to consider this assessment criterion when identifying suitable organisations to support their PLAF.

Host and Partner Organisation Statement of Support

 
This statement is completed by relevant Heads of Department/Senior Managers at the proposed Host Organisation and Partner Organisation, and should detail how these organisations are going to support the applicant, in partnership, to successfully complete the PLAF if awarded.
 
This statement should be specific and tailored to the applicant and their training needs, and describe how the organisations intend to support the applicant to develop their practitioner academic career in the long-term. 

In addition, the HEI is required to detail the conversion rate from Masters to PhD students at the institution. The Senior Manager at the local authority / local authority supporting organisation is required to detail the plans in place to support the continuation of the applicant’s professional role over the course of, and following the completion of, any subsequent award.

Heads of Department/Senior Managers at the Host Organisation and the Partner Organisation should contribute to the statement. This section can only be accessed by the Heads of Department/Senior Managers once they have agreed participation and cannot be accessed, but can be viewed, by the applicant. 

The NIHR sees Host and Partner Organisations as key contributors to the training and development of our next generation of research leaders.  Therefore, information should also be provided that pertains to the organisations’ track records of, and approaches to, supporting early career researchers.

Please note - The Host Organisation Statement of Support is a key element of the assessment process and applicants are advised to discuss the statement with their Heads of Department/Senior Managers well in advance of the competition deadline.

The Pre-doctoral Local Authority Fellowship Application Process

Awards will be made following open competition. The selection process and subsequent administration of the fellowships will be managed by the NIHR.
 
All applications must be submitted via the NIHR Academy online Award Management System.  

Registering

 
Before an application can be started, prospective applicants are required to register on the online award management system. 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 log on to the system.

Once signed into the system, applicants can update various details including their CV (in ‘Manage my Details’) and publication record (in ‘My Research Outputs’) and apply for any open competitions.
 
Applications can be started via selecting ‘My Applications’ and ‘New Application’. The application form for the scheme of interest can then be selected from the list provided.
 
Please note – there are four pre-doctoral Fellowship competitions open concurrently (the In-Practice Fellowship, the NIHR Pre-doctoral Fellowship, the HEE/NIHR Pre-doctoral Clinical Academic Fellowship and this NIHR Pre-doctoral Local Authority 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 before completing the form. 

The Application Form

 
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).

Please note:  In addition to the above guidance, information to support the completion of each section of the application form is provided at the end of this document (“Completing the Application Form”).  Applicants should ensure they are referring to the relevant guidance when completing each question on the form.

Once the applicant has completed their sections of the form and the Participants and Signatories have made their contributions, 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.
Individuals undertaking particular Participant and Signatory roles are required to complete certain sections of the application form.  It is strongly recommended that applicants complete their application well in advance of the deadline to allow these individuals 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 supply the names and email addresses (if not already registered on the award management system) of the individuals who will be undertaking ‘Participant’ and ‘Signatory’ roles as part of the application. Both 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. 

Required 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.
 
Research Contract Officer:  A Research Contract Officer at the Host Organisation must confirm that they have read the guidance notes for the relevant NIHR scheme 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.
 
Referees: Applicants are required to provide details of two referees who will be able to comment on their suitability for an NIHR PLAF. Referees must not be fulfilling an Academic Supervisor or Mentor role in the application.
 
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.

Optional Participants

 
Mentor: Any individual acting as the applicant’s career mentor must confirm that they have read the application and the guidance notes and are willing to act as the applicant’s mentor and agree to abide by the conditions under which an award may be granted.

Required Signatories

 
Heads of Department/Senior Managers: In agreeing to participate in this application, the Heads of Department/Senior Managers of the Host and Partner organisations in which this award will be based must confirm that they support the application, that, if funded, the academic training programme will be supported and administered in the named organisations, 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 Host Organisation is required to complete the finance section of the form in conjunction with the lead applicant.  The Administrative Authority or Finance Officer must 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 the system and approve the finalised application.

The application will not be complete until all of 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 Wednesday 31st 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:

Tel: 0113 532 8444     Email: academy-awards@nihr.ac.uk 

Application Outcomes

 
Applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application via email as soon as the funding decision is finalised. It can take up to 6 weeks following the Funding Recommendation Meeting for application outcomes to be issued. Applicants are advised to take this into account when considering which start date to opt for.
 
Feedback will be sent to applicants after the funding decisions have been made.
 
Further guidance for submitting the application on the online application system is available below.

Completing the Application Form

1. Application Summary Information

Host Organisation 

Please detail the organisation that will be the contractor if the project is funded. 
 
Please note that we expect the applicant’s proposed host organisation (substantive employer) to act as the contractor. The Host Organisation acts as the Paymaster for the award and must provide the award holder with an employment contract for the hours and duration of the PLAF.  The Host Organisation does not have to be the applicant’s current employer.

Please also bear in mind that:

  • The contractor is expected to respond to annual financial reconciliation exercises, provide the final financial reconciliation statement for the project and to provide responses to ad hoc requests for financial information during the lifetime of the project.
  • 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

Partner Organisation

Please give details of the partner organisation who will support the fellowship if the project is funded. 

If the name of the host organisation does not appear in the pre-populated list please email academy-awards@nihr.ac.uk 
 
If the proposed Host Organisation is not an English university or university college, the proposed Partner Organisation must be an English university or university college. 
 
If the proposed Host Organisation is an English university or university college, the proposed Partner Organisation must be an English:
 
  1. local authority 
  2. provider of local authority commissioned services or a
  3. non-profit organisation (such as a charity) that provides services on behalf of a local authority, or that otherwise supports a local authority in meeting its objectives

Proposed Start Date

This must be 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 any contracting and recruitment that might be necessary before you will be able to start your Fellowship. 

PLAF Award Type

Please select the PLAF award type you wish to apply for: PLAF or PLAF Bridge
 
Full details of the funding available through both award types is available in these Applicant Guidance Notes.

WTE of Award

Awards can only be undertaken at one of the WTE options given. 
 
Please ensure that your choice allows sufficient time for completion of your proposed fellowship activities.

2. Applicant CV

Please note: some of the responses to these questions are automatically imported 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.

Professional Bodies

Please provide details of any current registration you hold with a professional body.

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.
 
Please ensure that your degree classification is included, if applicable.

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.  

Research Grants Held

Details of all grants and project funding (research or otherwise) obtained in the last five years should be provided, including personal research training awards or fellowships, plus any additional previous grants (including travel grants and any other small funding awards) 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, but please details any such achievements here.
 
Please note - your research grant record must be completed within the application form and not via the CV section on ARAMIS.

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 applicant’s 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 publications 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 otherwise) that have been published.
 
Depending on professional background and expertise, applicants are not necessarily expected to have an extensive list of publications.

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.
 
Examples may include travel bursaries for a conference, presentation prizes, innovation awards etc.

ORCiD

The NIHR is an ORCID member and encourages all researchers to obtain this persistent digital identifier that distinguishes them from every other researcher. 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 go to 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 your relevant professional career and experience.
 
Begin your answer by describing your Research Area of Interest and the methodological expertise that you anticipate requiring to undertake research in this field.  Please include information about why you wish to develop your career within this research area and what experience/ training you have so far (see below).
 
Please also include the following:
  • research projects that you have led or made a significant contribution to (making clear what your role was)
  • the research methods you have experience of
  • the impact and outputs of the research you have been involved in (linking to details given in your CV)
  • any other relevant experience such as supervisory, management, teaching, public engagement or leadership experience
  • any experience of service user and public involvement and engagement activities in health/social care research
  • professional experience relevant to your development as a practitioner academic in your chosen field
  • other skills and experience that highlight your suitability for the fellowship you are applying for, and that demonstrate your potential as a future health/social care research leader.
Impact of the Fellowship
Please describe the impact this fellowship will have on your career, remembering that a fellowship should provide you with a step change in your career trajectory
 
PLAF awards will only be granted to individuals who aspire to conduct applied research that pertains to health and/or social care, and that would meet the NIHR remit for personal awards.
 
(Word limit: 1000).

Has this application, or a similar 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, even if the proposed research has changed. 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.
 
Rules on Re-Application - unsuccessful applicants to the PLAF are only able to apply again on one further occasion.  Applications deemed fundable but which fall below the funding cut off will not be counted towards the maximum of 2 application attempts.
 
(Word limit: 500)

Employment breaks

Please use this question to detail any employment breaks you wish to make the Selection Committee aware of.

4. Training and Development  and Research Support

Proposed training and development programme

Please use this section to detail the training and development (including doctoral-level Fellowship application development) you will undertake as part of the fellowship.

Please answer this question using the headings relevant to your training plan from the list below. As this is the main part of your application you should ensure that the information is accurate, succinct and clearly laid out.  1000 words are available for this section if needed.
  • full Masters course
  • formal courses (including Masters modules)
  • training in specialist skills and research methodologies
  • placements with other research groups or centres
  • leadership training
  • conference attendance
  • research visits
  • public involvement and engagement
  • dissemination of relevant research
  • research experience
  • professional development
  • other training and development
  • preparation of an application for a competitive, peer-reviewed doctoral level research training fellowship
(Word limit: 1000)

Primary Academic Supervisor

Please provide details of your proposed Primary Academic Supervisor and the support that they will provide.
 
The individual listed here must also be added as a participant in the ‘Participants and Signatories’ section of the application form. 
 
Details of the following must be included here:
  1. the numbers of Masters students currently supervised and successfully supervised to completion
  2. the number of PhD students currently supervised and successfully supervised to completion
The primary academic supervisor must be employed by the university named as host or partner organisation.
 
(Word limit: 1000)

Mentor

Applicants are invited and advised to identify an individual (ideally an established practitioner academic) who will act as a career mentor over the course of the fellowship.
 
Mentors need not be of the same profession as the applicant, but should be in a position to provide guidance and insight into the barriers and enablers facing an aspirant practitioner academic.
 
Please provide details of your proposed career mentor and the support that they will provide.
 
The individual named here must also be added in the ‘Participants and Signatories’ section of the application form.
 
(Word limit: 250)

Collaborations

Explain what collaborations you intend to establish to support your training and development programme. Collaborations should complement and enhance the skills and experience you are looking to gain through this award and can include (but not limited to) individuals, research groups, CTU’s, organisations and industry partners.
 
(Word limit: 600)

Host Organisations support statement

This statement must be written and added by relevant Heads of Department/Senior Managers at the proposed Host Organisation and Partner Organisation, and should detail how these organisations are going to support the applicant, in partnership, to complete the PLAF if awarded. 

This statement should be specific and tailored to the applicant and their training needs, and describe how the organisations intend to support the applicant to develop their practitioner academic career in the long-term.
 
The NIHR views Host and Partner Organisations as key contributors to the training and development of our next generation of research leaders.  Therefore, information should also be provided that pertains to the organisations’ track records of, and approaches to, supporting early career researchers.
 
In addition, The Head of Department at the academic organisation is required to detail the extent to which Masters students progress to PhD study at the institution. The Senior Manager at the local authority / local authority supporting organisation is required to detail the plans in place to support the continuation of the applicant’s professional role over the course of, and following the completion of, any subsequent award.
 
This section can only be accessed by the Heads of Department/Senior Managers once they have agreed participation and cannot be accessed, but can be viewed, by the applicant. 
 
Please note - The Host Organisation Statement of Support is a key element of the assessment process and applicants are advised to discuss the statement with their Heads of Department/Senior Managers well in advance of the competition deadline.
 
(Word limit: 1000) 

5. Uploads

 
To support your training and development proposal you are required to upload the following document in the ‘uploads’ section of the form:
 
  • Training timetable: One page (readable when printed on a single side of A4) detailing specific milestone and deliverables.

6. Budget

 
Guidance for the completion of the finance section is available in the next section of the Applicant Guidance Notes.

7. 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 Applicant Guidance Notes and on the online application form along with details of how they should be added.  The flow diagram in Annex A describes the actions required of participants, signatories and the applicant.

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

Finance Guidance

The Detailed Budget section of the application form must be completed by the applicant in conjunction with the Research Support Office or Finance Office at the Host Organisation (the organisation that, 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.

This fellowship does not include, or pay for, any research costs or full economic costing.
 
Applications for a PLAF can request:
 
 OptionsPLAFPLAF Bridge
Salary Applicant salary costs to cover time spent undertaking the fellowship Applicant salary costs to cover time spent undertaking the fellowship
Training and Development Up to £5,000 towards Masters level training and associated travel and subsistence Up to £400 for formal courses and associated travel and subsistence
Conferences/ meeting Up to £1,000 for conference/meeting fees and associated travel and subsistence Up to £500 for conference/meeting fees and associated travel and subsistence
Supervision and Mentorship Up to £1,000 Up to £500
Award Uptake full-time for 12 months (5 days per week)
part-time over 24 months (2.5 days per week, 0.5 WTE)
part-time over 30 months (2 days per week, 0.4 WTE)
4 days per week for 6 months (0.8 WTE)
2 days per week for 12 months (0.4 WTE)
 

Detailed Budget

Justification of costs

Please provide a breakdown of the costs associated with undertaking the fellowship as described in the application and provide justification for the resources requested.
 
All costs provided should be ‘value for money’ and will be assessed by the NIHR and members of the PLAF Selection Committee.  The NIHR reserves the right to reject any costs that it considers unreasonable or insufficiently justified.

Detailed Budget Breakdown

General Information
  • The information entered in this section should provide an analysis of the total funds requested to undertake the proposed Fellowship and will be used to assess value for money.
  • It is in your best interest to undertake a thorough, realistic and accurate costing.  You must provide a clear and full justification for all costs.  You must also ensure that you include all costs required. 
  • Costs must be provided at current prices.  An adjustment for inflation will be made annually thereafter at rates set by DHSC.  Whilst allowances for incremental increases should be included on the form, nationally or locally agreed pay increases should be excluded.
  • 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 September 2021 then its second year starts 01 September 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 that is to be paid to another organisation.
  • It is expected that the finance section of a fellowship application form has received appropriate input from the supporting organisations.
  • NIHR Fellowships are not project or programme grants; extensions to allow for completion of research and/or training and development are not permitted. Suspensions of awards to allow for periods of maternity, paternity, adoption or sickness leave are supported. 
Information on different types of organisations 
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. 

Please note, if the Employing host organisation is a Higher Education Institute, please select the “other” option when entering the “Type of Cost” to prevent costs being submitted at 80%.

Details of Post and Salaries

This section presents an overview of the salary costs for the applicant.
The Applicant 
‘Details of Posts and Salaries’ should show the full current staff costs independent of percentage WTE etc.
 
Please state the proposed salary point and scale at the start of the Fellowship.
 
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.
 
The Apprenticeship Levy can be included in the salary costs from 1st April 2017 where relevant.

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:
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, and build in any known annual increments (again at current rates). You will not be able to claim for pay awards retrospectively / once the fellowship is contracted.
 
Please note - the salary figures need to be calculated using the current annual costs, percentage WTE and number of months.
 
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 percentage WTE etc. whereas the yearly costs in ‘Salary Costs’ depend on percentage WTE etc.).
 
Please ensure that you check the ‘Type of Cost’ box that describes the employing organisation for a member of staff as this impacts on the level of funding provided.  If the Employing host organisation is a Higher Education Institute, please select the “other” option when entering the “Type of Cost” to prevent costs being submitted at 80%.
Travel, Subsistence and Conference Fees  
This section includes journey and subsistence costs and conference fees. Where applicable, you can also include the travel and subsistence costs that will be incurred by the applicant in travelling for meetings with individuals providing supervision and/or mentorship.
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 fellowships do not usually fund first class travel.
Subsistence
Subsistence covers accommodation (if necessary) and meals associated with the travel, excluding any alcoholic beverages. 
Conference Fees
There is a limit on the amount that can be spent on conference related costs (including all related travel and subsistence as well as conference fees) depending on the level you are applying for.  These are as follows:
  • PLAF:  up to £1,000
  • PLAF Bridge: up to £500
Please ensure you tick the “tick if conference” box if the cost relates to conference travel or subsistence or to conference fees.
Training and Development
Please itemise and describe fully the costs associated with training and development. Please provide estimates if exact costs are not available at the time of application.
 
Please note - Any travel and subsistence associated with training and development should not be included here and should be included in the “Travel, Subsistence and Conference Fees” section of the Detailed Budget. 
Supervision and Mentorship costs 
Please detail any supervision and mentorship costs that you are requesting in this section selecting “other” for the “description”.
Summary of cost 
Please note that whilst these percentages will be used to calculate the maximum grant payable, the programme reserves the right to award a grant for less than this maximum where it is considered appropriate.

Additional Supporting Information

NIHR Research Design Service

 
The NIHR Research Design Service (RDS) supports prospective applicants to make high quality applications for research funding from the NIHR and from other national research funders.  Assistance is primarily focused around refinement of research questions, research design and methodological support. Complementing the advice applicants receive from supervisors and/or mentors.  The RDS also assists prospective applicants to understand the scope of the NIHR’s various funding streams and to develop public involvement and engagement strategies. This includes involvement of service users, carers and/or practitioners in social care. The RDS may be able to support applicants with small grants to work up public involvement and engagement plans with, for example, service user groups.
 
The RDS has regional offices and links with local networks.  Further information regarding support that the RDS can provide and contact information for each regional office is available via the NIHR website.

CRN support

 
The NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) supports researchers and the life sciences industry in planning, setting up and delivering high quality research to the agreed timelines and study recruitment target, for the benefit of the NHS and social care and patients/service users/carers in England.

In partnership with your university’s R&D office, we encourage you to involve your local CRN team in discussions as early as possible when planning your study to fully benefit from the support the NIHR CRN offers as outlined in their Study Support Service. To find out more about how you can apply for this additional support to help deliver your study, please visit the Study Support Service webpage

NIHR INVOLVE

 
INVOLVE is funded by the National Institute for Health Research, to support active public involvement and engagement 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 and engagement 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 public involvement and engagement into their work.  Support includes; help with calculating appropriate costs for involving 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.

NIHR Applied Research Collaborations 

 
NIHR Applied Research Collaborations (ARCs) support applied health and care research that responds to, and meets, the needs of local populations and local health and care systems.

These 15 local partnerships between NHS providers, universities, charities, local authorities, Academic Health Science Networks and other organisations also undertake implementation research to increase the rate at which research findings are implemented into practice.

The ARCs, announced in July 2019, aim to improve outcomes for patients and the public; improve the quality, delivery and efficiency of health and care services; and increase the sustainability of the health and care system both locally and nationally.

The ARCs undertake research on a number of areas of need highlighted by the NIHR Futures of Health report, including: the challenges of an ageing society; multimorbidity; and the increasing demands placed on our health and care system.

The £135 million five-year funding also aims to deliver national-level impact through significant collaboration between the ARCs, with individual ARCs providing national leadership within their fields of expertise.

The 15 ARCs are:

Clinical Trials Unit (CTU) support

 
Applicants thinking of including a clinical trial, feasibility or pilot study as part of their application, or are undertaking a research and/or training related to clinical trials are encouraged to consider working with a CTU where appropriate.  Further guidance for trainees and applicants is available in the NIHR Clinical Trials Guide for Trainees.  This includes guidance on how to go about approaching a suitable CTU to support your application.

MRC Complex Intervention Guidance

 
Where appropriate applicants are encouraged to read the MRC complex interventions guidance

Ethics / Regulatory Approvals

 
Guidance on the application process for ethical and other approvals should be sought from the supporting university in the first instance, but 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 service user information from an existing database, you should check whether the service users 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 service user 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.

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 fellowship. 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. 

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.

Existing data resources

 
Applicants are encouraged to consider whether existing data resources 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, but to avoid applications for funding to set up cohorts where the use of existing data would prevent wasteful duplication of effort and activity.
 
The UK Data Service provides a unified point of access to an extensive range of high quality social and economic data, including UK census data, government funded surveys, longitudinal studies, international macrodata, qualitative data and business microdata.

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: Procurement and contracting transparency requirements: guidance.

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.   

Equal Opportunities and Diversity

 
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 apply to us for funding and their experiences of the funding process – 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.

Guidance and Advice

 
Please read these Guidance Notes carefully.  If you require any further information, advice or guidance please contact the NIHR Academy:
Phone: 0113 532 8401  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.