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Programme Development Grants - Committee scoring instructions

Published

05 July 2021

Version

1.0 - June 2021

Contents

Applications to Programme Development Grants (PDG) are assessed at a PDG subcommittee meeting. Recommendations are made about which proposals should be funded, to assist the main selection committee. 

Types of Programme Development Grant

There are two types of PDG proposals: 

  1. PDGs to support preparatory work for a future programme of research
  2. PDGs to support further development of an existing or ongoing programme of research

Proposals for preparatory work for a future programme of research

PDGs are available to support preparatory work to develop a future Programme Grants for Applied Research (PGfAR) application. These awards support but are not limited to:

  • team strengthening and collaboration building
  • selection of outcome measures
  • methodological work/method development (e.g. development of new scales or outcome measures)
  • observational and/or epidemiological work to obtain information that would place the future programme on firmer foundations
  • evidence synthesis
  • development of arrangements for patient, service user, carer and public involvement (PPIE)
  • stakeholder engagement.

Proposals to support development of an existing or ongoing programme of research

PDGs are available to further develop an existing or ongoing programme of research. These awards support but are not limited to:

  • enhanced dissemination (e.g. knowledge mobilisation activities, engagement etc)
  • additional intellectual property (IP) exploitation or commercialisation activities
  • additional secondary data analysis to answer new research questions (i.e. not questions included in the initial programme)
  • follow on work to explore other perspectives (e.g. social care) arising from the programme
  • endeavours to facilitate implementation.

Programme Development Grants proposal scoring

These committee scoring instructions should be viewed as an aid for decision-making and prioritisation. Scores should always be considered in light of the discussion on strengths and weaknesses. Average scores and their distributions will help in identifying where further discussion is needed. In assigning individual scores, committee members should take into account the overall selection criteria.

Proposals for preparatory work for a future programme of research

The selection criteria for PDG proposals for preparatory work for a future programme of research are:

  • Relevance and importance of the research to be funded via any future PGfAR award to the priorities and needs of the NHS, public health, social care, patients, service users, carers or the wider public.
  • Suitability of the team (either now, or as augmented through PDG funding), including the relevant expertise and track-record of the team in conducting high quality applied health research.
  • Quality and appropriateness of the development work plan, notably the extent to which it helps develop and inform the proposed future programme.
  • Value for money provided by the application.

Attributes of fundable proposals

  • Proposal and any future PGfAR award addresses a very important area, strongly considers unmet need, is relevant to the NHS, Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), public health and social care, benefits to patients, service users, carers and the wider public, clearly articulated, and is grounded in the relevant literature or plans to be through the PDG funding.
  • The team has (or plans to have through the PDG funding) the appropriate complement of specialists with track records in delivering high-quality applied health research.
  • The approach to PPIE, and/or ensuring active participation and influence of patients/service users/carers is appropriate or plans to be through the PDG funding
  • The development work plan is appropriate, necessary, of very good quality, and informs the future programme. Minor concerns about the development work can be fixed easily.
  • Very good value for money, representing a very good way to spend public money.
  • Future programme likely to offer a strong chance of generating patient/service user/carer benefits.

Attributes of potentially fundable proposals

  • Proposal and any future PGfAR award addresses an important area with some consideration of unmet need, is relevant to the NHS, DHSC, public health and social care, benefits to patients, service users, carers and the wider public are not fully articulated, and is grounded in the majority of the relevant literature or plans to be through the PDG funding.
  • Competent and appropriate team; expertise gaps are addressable or plan to be addressed through the PDG funding.
  • The approach to PPIE, and/or ensuring active participation and influence of patients/ service users/carers is reasonable and any improvements are addressable or plans to be through the PDG funding.
  • A little concern whether the development work is appropriate, necessary, good quality, and likely to inform and strengthen the future programme. Major and minor concerns about the development work can be fixed.
  • Good value for money, representing a reasonable way to spend public money.
  • Future programme likely to offer a moderate chance of generating patient/service user/carer benefits.

Attributes of not competitive proposals

  • Proposal and any future PGfAR award addresses an area of modest relevance to the NHS, DHSC, public health and social care. The benefits to patients, service users, carers and the wider public are unconvincing, and its grounding in the relevant literature is weak.
  • Applicants have a modest level of relevant research experience.
  • The approach to PPIE, and/or ensuring active participation and influence of patients/service users/carers would need significant improvement. However, limited, if no plans, presented to improve these aspects through the PDG funding.
  • Significant doubt whether the development work is appropriate, needed, and likely to inform and strengthen the future programme. The major concerns about the development work plan are unlikely to be fixed.
  • Questionable value for money.
  • Future programme unlikely to offer patient/service user/carer benefits.

Attributes of unfundable proposals

  • The proposal and any future PGfAR award is not relevant to the NHS, DHSC, public health and social care, patients, service users, carers and the wider public. Is not grounded in the key relevant literature, benefits to patients/service users/carers unclear or poorly articulated, and is not focused on unmet patient/service user needs. The proposed body of research may be unnecessarily duplicative.
  • Key skills missing from the research team.
  • The approach to PPIE, and/or ensuring active participation and influence of patients/service users/carers needs radical improvement. However, plans are not presented to improve these aspects through the PDG funding.
  • Poor or inappropriate development work with serious methodological concerns, and unlikely to inform and strengthen the future programme. The feasibility of delivering the proposed plan is questioned.
  • Represents poor value for money and an inappropriate use of public funds.
  • Future programme would not offer patient/service user/carer benefits.

Proposals to support further development of an existing or ongoing programme of research

The selection criteria for PDG proposals to support further development of an existing or ongoing programme of research are:

  • the relevance and importance of the development work to the priorities and needs of the NHS, public health, social care, patients, service users, carers or the wider public
  • the likelihood of the development work enabling significant additional benefit to be realised by the NHS, public health, social care, patients, service users, carers  or the wider public, above and beyond that attained via the existing/ongoing programme of research 
  • the suitability of the team (which need not include all members of the PGfAR application), including the relevant expertise and track-record of the team in conducting high quality applied health research, implementation and/or knowledge mobilisation activities as appropriate
  • the quality and appropriateness of the development work planned
  • the value for money provided by the application.

Attributes of fundable proposals

  • Proposal and current award addresses a very important area, and is relevant to the NHS, DHSC, public health and social care, patients, service users, carers and the wider public. The development work clearly articulates the added patient/service user/carer benefits, and is grounded in the relevant literature.
  • The team has the appropriate complement of specialists to deliver the additional development work.
  • Where appropriate, the approach to PPIE and equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) is very good.
  • The development  work is appropriate, clearly builds on  the preexisting PGfAR award, is very good quality and highly likely to enable added benefits to be realised above and beyond that attained via the current/ preceding PGfAR award. Minor concerns about the approach can be fixed easily.
  • Very good value for money, representing a very good way to spend public money.
  • Development work is very likely to increase the chance of:
    • key  findings from the PGfAR award  influencing policy, practice and patients/service users/carers
    • evidence based interventions being implemented in the NHS, public health or social care to substantially improve outcomes for patients/service users/carers.

Attributes of potentially fundable proposals

  • Proposal and current award addresses an important area, and is relevant to the NHS, DHSC, public health and social care, patients, service users, carers and the wider public. The additional patient/service user/carer benefits of the development work are not fully articulated, and is grounded in the majority of the relevant literature.
  • Competent and appropriate team; expertise gaps for the development work are addressable.
  • Where appropriate, the approach to PPIE and EDI is reasonable and any necessary improvements are addressable.
  • The development work is appropriate, somewhat builds on the preexisting PGfAR award, is good quality, and reasonably likely to enable added benefits to be realised above and beyond that attained via the current/ preceding PGfAR award. Major and minor concerns about the approach can be fixed. 
  • Good value for money, representing a reasonable way to spend public money.
  • Development work  is likely to increase the chance of:
    • producing important findings from the PGfAR award  that could influencing policy, practice and patients/service users/carers
    • evidence based interventions being implemented in the NHS, public health or social care to substantially improve outcomes for patients/service users/carers.

Attributes of not competitive proposals

  • Proposal and current award addresses an area which is now of modest relevance to the NHS, DHSC, public health and social care, patients, service users, carers and the wider public. The level of additional patient/service user/carer benefits are not articulated, and its grounding in the relevant literature is unconvincing.
  • Applicants have a modest level of relevant experience to deliver the development work. 
  • Where appropriate, the approach to PPIE and EDI would need to be significantly improved.
  • The development work does not build well on the pre existing award, is of modest quality, and unlikely to enable added benefits to be realised above and beyond that attained via the current/ preceding PGfAR award. The major concerns about the approach are unlikely to be fixed.
  • Questionable value for money.
  • The development work is unlikely to  increase the chance of:
    • producing important findings from the PGfAR award  that could influencing policy, practice and patients/service users/carers
    • evidence based interventions being implemented in the NHS, public health or social care to substantially improve outcomes for patients/service users/carers.

Attributes of unfundable proposals

  • The proposal, in contrast to the pre existing PGfAR award, is not relevant to the NHS, DHSC, public health and social care, patients, service users, carers and the wider public. The additional patient/service user/carer benefits are unclear or poorly articulated, and it is not grounded in the key relevant literature. 
  • Key skills missing from the  team such that the development work is unlikely to be robustly delivered.
  • The approach to PPIE and EDI needs radical improvement.
  • Poor or inappropriate development work, that does not build well on the pre existing PGfAR award, and does not result in additional  benefits beyond that attained via the current/preceding PGfAR award.
  • Represents poor value for money and an inappropriate use of public funds.
  • The proposed development work does not  increase the chance of:
    • producing important findings from the PGfAR award  that could influencing policy, practice and patients/service users/carers
    • evidence based interventions being implemented in the NHS, public health or social care to substantially improve outcomes for patients/service users/carers. 

Scoring grid

Likelihood of fundingDescriptionScoreRecommendation
Fundable No more than a handful of minor fixable concerns. 10 Fund
Fundable A small number of minor fixable concerns. 9 Fund
Fundable A moderate number of minor fixable concerns. 8 Fund
Potentially fundable At least one major fixable concern together with a small number of minor fixable concerns. 7 Potentially fund
Potentially fundable A few major fixable concerns or a large number of minor fixable concerns. 6 Potentially fund
Not competitive Important research area but proposal has too many major concerns. 5 Do not fund
Not competitive Development work plan contains some good elements but proposal has major concerns that are unlikely to be addressable. 4 Do not fund
Not competitive Questionable potential to lead to benefits for patients and proposal has major concerns that are unlikely to be addressable 3 Do not fund
Not fundable Unlikely to lead to benefits for patients and major concerns are not addressable. 2 Do not fund
Not fundable Unlikely to lead to benefits for patients and development work is fundamentally flawed. 1 Do not fund