Published: 23 March 2023
Version: 1.0 - March 2023Print this document
This document provides guidance on completing a PDG application for stream A: funding to develop a future programme grant. Please see also the supporting information for applicants.
Application Summary Information
Provide details of the organisation who will be the contractor if the project is funded.
If you have any queries, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org before submitting your application.
Development work title
The project title should state clearly and concisely the proposed research. Any abbreviations should be spelled out in full.
Select the appropriate research type. If your proposed programme includes any element of primary research, please select ‘Primary Research’. If you are carrying out new analysis of existing data, select ‘Secondary Research’. If you are not sure which category to select, choose the closest match to your project as this can be adjusted later. If the majority of the development work will be devoted to conveying the research findings to practitioners, policy-makers, commissioners and providers of NHS and social care services, select 'Knowledge mobilisation.’
Proposed start date
Note this should be from 1st of the month regardless of whether this is a working day or not. Please be realistic about your possible start date taking account of the necessary contracting, and staff recruitment prior to starting your project.
Development work duration (months)
Ensure that you have sufficient time to complete all aspects of the development work including applications for regulatory approvals where required and writing the final report.
NOTE: For applications to the standard call, development grant applications can be for up to 24 months.
This field will automatically populate once you have entered the start date and research duration information.
Total development work costs
This will be automatically pulled through from the budget section.
NOTE: Funding is available up to £150,000 for a development grant application
Scope of development work
Please select an option from the drop down below to confirm whether your application is
- Stream A (for development work prior to programme grant submission) or
- Stream B (to either conduct additional linked research of strategic importance to NIHR or to further develop, analyse or disseminate your programme grant or its outcomes).
Estimated date of submission of future programme grant application
Please indicate the anticipated date of submission in a DD/MM/YYYY format.
Please indicate the anticipated submission date of your Programme Grant for Applied Research Stage 1 or Stage 2 application, once the preparatory work funded via any Stream A Programme Development Grant award has been completed (future Programme Grants for Applied Research competition dates are available on the NIHR website).
CV - Lead and Co-applicants
Complete your name, contact details and other requested information.
We encourage the inclusion of public co-applicants, where appropriate. Please include a clear description of their role and the reasons why a public co-applicant is joining the team.
They are not obliged to complete a standard CV but are required to provide a summary of their input to the application in a separate text box. This appears when ‘yes’ is selected to indicate if co-applicants are a member of the public.
We recognise and value the varied perspectives that patients / service users and carers bring to a project as applicants. In this section, please provide a summary of any relevant knowledge, skills and experience that you will draw upon to contribute to this project.
This could include information about:
- Previous or present work (paid or unpaid) with any relevant organisations
- Links with any relevant groups, committees, networks or organisations
- Experience of particular health conditions, treatments, use of services, being a carer - or as a member of a particular community
- Knowledge and experience of research including previous research undertaken
- Knowledge and experience of patient, user, carer and public involvement including previous involvement activities
- Skills from any other roles that are transferable
- Relevant qualifications, training and learning.
The bullet point list above is not exhaustive. Please include anything else that is relevant to the application.
For further information please access the ‘Public Co-applicants in Research' guidance.
Research Background - Lead and Co-applicants
Provide details of a MAXIMUM of 6 of your most recent / relevant publications (in the last 10 years) relevant to this application (using Vancouver or Harvard citation format). Please use DOI reference numbers if needed.
Research grants held
Please select research grants held (as a named applicant) CURRENTLY or IN THE LAST 5 YEARS – as well as any additional previous grants, relevant to this application, stating who the grant is with and the amount of each grant. If no grants are held please enter N/A (as this is a mandatory field).
Has this application been previously submitted to this or any other funding body?
To be completed by the lead applicant only.
Select ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ from the drop down box to indicate whether this or a similar application has previously been submitted to this or any other funding body.
Applications Submitted to other NIHR programmes
Where this application or a similar one has been submitted to this or another NIHR programme or elsewhere please complete the necessary information.
We are keen to know if the application has been submitted elsewhere and you must be as open about this as possible. This includes, but is not limited to, any facts that, should they come to light at a future date, would embarrass either the programme or the individual who withheld the fact (e.g. if a member of the team holds a patent or has a financial interest within the research area).
Failure to disclose accurately or fully will be considered by the programme as academic misconduct and treated accordingly. You should also include in this section information on whether this or a similar application has been submitted to any programme previously, or to any other funder including other NIHR programmes. You should name, and provide dates and outcomes of these. Please indicate whether you hold or have ever held an NIHR programme contract which has been terminated prior to completion, extended in time or in terms of funding.
The Development Work Team
Specify your (lead applicant) role in the PDG development work
Explain in addition to your role as Lead Applicant, the role that you will be undertaking in the research, e.g. co-ordination, communication planning, stakeholder engagement, project management, analysis, methodological input etc.
%FTE commitment on the PDG development work
Commitment: This refers to the percentage of your time that you will commit to this project. If you are funded as part of other NIHR projects that will be running concurrently, your time must not exceed 100% overall.
Joint Lead Applicant
Where appropriate and justified it is acceptable for the application to be led by joint Lead Applicants. Where this applies, please complete your name, contact details and other requested information.
Justification for Joint Lead Applicant
Justification should be given to demonstrate why more than one person would be required to lead this research and how this brings added value to the application.
Relevant expertise and experience of Joint Lead Applicant
Please summarise the proposed Joint Lead Applicant’s relevant expertise and track record in applied health or social care research, in terms of skills and experience, previous publications, influencing key stakeholders, grant funding and impact on health service or social care provision.
Specify your (joint lead applicant) role in the PDG development work
Explain in addition to your role as Joint Lead Applicant, the role that you will be undertaking in the research, e.g. co-ordination, communication planning, stakeholder engagement, project management, analysis, methodological input etc.
%FTE commitment on PDG development work
Commitment: This refers to the percentage of your time that you will commit to this project. If you are funded as part of other NIHR projects that will be running concurrently, your time must not exceed 100% overall.
NOTE: For application/contracting purposes, the joint lead applicant will be counted as a co-applicant.
Add details of all co-applicants and their specific role in the development work. Do not include collaborators, who should be mentioned (if necessary) in the Detailed Research Plan section of the form.
Up to a maximum of 15 co-applicants will be allowed. Please note that any joint lead applicant will be counted as a co-applicant. If you have listed a joint lead applicant, then only a further 14 co-applicants can be included.
Co-applicants are those individuals with responsibility for the day to day management and delivery of the project. Co-applicants, including public co-applicants, are considered part of the project team and are expected to share responsibility for its successful delivery. In contrast, collaborators normally provide specific expertise on particular aspects of the project but who do not share in the responsibility for the delivery of the project. If submitting with a joint lead applicant, please indicate which co-applicant will assume this role.
Allow sufficient time for your co-applicants to complete their sections of the online form before the application deadline.
The scientific abstract should be a clear and concise scientific summary of the Detailed Development Work Plan / Methods.
The following is a list of potential elements / headings that might be included depending on the design of the proposed research, the setting and programme being applied to, and whether it is for primary research or evidence synthesis.
- Development work question
- Aims and objectives
- Development work plan
- Timelines for delivery
- Anticipated impact and dissemination
It will be for researchers to decide the appropriate elements to be included in the scientific abstract and could include elements outside this list. Applicants may find the NIHR advice on planning for impact and guidance on the EQUATOR Network website useful.
Plain English Summary
A plain English summary is a clear explanation of your research.
Many reviewers use this summary to inform their review of your funding application. They include clinicians, other practitioners and researchers who do not have specialist knowledge of your field as well as members of the public. If your application for funding is successful, the summary will be used on National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) and other websites.
A good quality plain English summary providing an easy to read overview of your whole study will help:
- those carrying out the review (reviewers and committee members) to have a better understanding of your research proposal
- inform others about your research such as members of the public, health and social care professionals, policy makers and the media
- the research funders to publicise the research that they fund.
If it is felt that your plain English summary is not clear and of a good quality then you may be required to amend it prior to final funding approval.
It is helpful to involve patients / service users / cares / practitioners and members of the public in developing a plain English summary.
When writing your summary consider including the following information where appropriate:
- aim(s) of the development work
- background to the development work, including for follow on projects, how this links to any future PGfAR award
- development work plan
- patient, user, carer and public involvement
- dissemination and anticipated outcomes
The plain English summary is not the same as a scientific abstract - please do not cut and paste this or other sections of your application form to create the plain English summary.
Further guidance on writing in plain English is available online at NIHR Plain English summaries.
For further support and advice on writing a plain English summary, please contact your local Research Design Service (where applicable).
Detailed Development Work Plan
Using all of the headings (in the order presented) and guidance below, clearly explain the development work needed prior to submission of a programme grant application.
Schematics, tables, illustrations, graphs, and other types of graphics can be embedded to clarify the development work plan but they should not clutter the central narrative. Images do not count towards the overall word count but inclusion of them to overcome word limits is not permitted. Images may only be included within the 'Development Work Plan.' Images included in other sections will be removed from the application and not seen by reviewers.
As this is the main part of your application which will be considered by the reviewing committee you should ensure that the information is accurate, succinct, clearly laid out and provides adequate methodological detail.
Applicants should therefore aim to reserve a significant proportion of the word limit for the development work plan to ensure its appropriateness and rigour can be judged. (Limit: 6,000 words)
Background and Rationale
Briefly describe the background and rationale of the development work and future programme, providing a clear explanation of:
Remember that the application will be reviewed by assessors who may not have a detailed understanding of the particular clinical, public health or social care area that your application relates to. It is vitally important that you clearly tell the story of why this research is important.
- the health or social care problem to be addressed, and how this research would fill a demonstrable evidence gap, addressing patient/service user, carer or public needs and DHSC priorities (at national or local levels)
- the importance of the proposed research and its relevance to the priorities and needs of the NHS, public health or social care (including a statement of the significance of the research area, e.g. burden of disease or unmet care need)
- need for research in this area, drawing particularly from systematic reviews (including NHS, public health or social care context and relevant literature), and the rationale for the particular lines of research you plan to pursue
- past and current research that justifies the proposed research and shows that it will add distinct value to what is already known, or in progress
- the barriers to undertaking the proposed future programme that will be addressed through the development work that would be supported by the PDG
References should be provided as part of the ‘Supporting Documentation’ section of the application.
NOTE: We will only fund primary research where the proposed research is informed by a review of the existing evidence.
Applicants should be aware of ongoing research in this area and comment on any other research which might be deemed to overlap with the contents of the proposal. In particular, applicants are advised to use both PubMed Central and Europe PubMed Central for recent material on the topic area they are applying for. All applicants must also include reference to relevant on-going studies, e.g. from trial registries.
Any applications that include primary research should include reference to the existing evidence and explain how this evidence has informed the proposed research. Where a systematic review already exists that summarises the available evidence this should be referenced, as well as including reference to any relevant literature published subsequent to that systematic review. Where no such systematic review exists, it is expected that the applicants will undertake an appropriate scoping review of the currently available and relevant evidence and then summarise this in their proposal. The application may then include a more detailed review in early work packages.
Further information can be found on NIHR "adding value in research webpage".
Please indicate under this question if you are responding to the NIHR themed call on ‘Reducing compound pressures on the NHS and social care', or the highlight notices on ‘Brain Tumours’ or Motor Neurone Disease.
Aims and objectives
Please indicate the overarching aims/objectives of the development work, outlining how it will inform the future programme and, where appropriate, any main hypothesis.
Programme Development Grant work plan
Stream A Development work for a future PGfAR application
Give details of the development work to be undertaken. In particular, specify the key deliverables to be generated by the development work and how these outcomes will help develop and inform the future application to the PGfAR funding scheme.
List clear objectives and provide brief descriptions, including the methodological approaches proposed.
Applicants are reminded that NIHR strategy encourages research which follows patient/service user, carer or public need. Researchers should clearly articulate how their research meets this objective, and how this contributes to the scientific rigour of their programme. Programmes should recruit participants from geographical areas where patient/service user or carer need is greatest including for example the rural and semi-rural areas where many older people live, and represent areas of diverse socioeconomic and ethnic diversity.
Equality, inclusion and diversity should also be properly considered when planning and describing the research, and evidenced in the application (see below).
Guidance for applicants on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion for study participants
Every person eligible to take part in research should be offered the same opportunity of taking part in that research regardless of:
- Geographical location
- Gender reassignment
- Marriage and civil partnership
- Pregnancy and maternity
- Ethnicity - for example:
- The Centre for Ethnic Health Research toolkit for increasing participation of ethnic minority groups in health and care research
- The INCLUDE Ethnicity Framework, which aims to improve trial delivery for under-served groups
- Religion or belief
- Sexual orientation
- Socioeconomic status
- Access to health or social care
All NIHR applications are expected to include information about how this data will be collected. In addition, applicants should demonstrate how these factors have been considered and addressed in their proposal, including steps taken to ensure the research sample is representative of the population the study is targeted at. Applicants need to explain who they are planning to recruit to ensure inclusivity of study participants and justify and explain any exclusions, for example by completing an Equality Impact Assessment. Costs associated with inclusivity, which may include, but are not limited to justified translation of research participant material into other relevant languages, would be expected and where appropriate should be included in the detailed budget section under ‘Other Direct Costs’. Additionally, applicants should demonstrate that all potential recruiting locations have been considered and the research is deliverable to those areas.
Please see the NIHR INCLUDE Guidance for more information about how to include under-served groups effectively:
If involving patients/service users, carers as research participants, please also provide key details about how they will be supported, managed and involved (see below)
Summary of patients/service users/carers/public as research participants
The successful recruitment and retention of study participants is strategically important for the NIHR. If your proposed study involves patients/service users/carers/public as research participants please use the following bullet points to summarise their characteristics and what would be expected of them throughout the research project lifecycle. The potential burden on study participants can then be understood as well as whether or not the proposed strategies are practical, inclusive and feasible. Please also signpost to where further information on these points can be found in the detailed research plan and application.
Points to cover:
- Inclusion and exclusion criteria to help ensure that certain groups were not being excluded without justification
- Recruitment method and consent process to ensure it is practical and fair
- Type and content of participant information materials
- Overview of research methods to capture data from participants and their frequency e.g. questionnaires/tests/intervention/focus groups/ interviews to include considerations around access for different groups as appropriate
- Study participant support to consider how drop-out and issues of participation would be handled/helplines/ other access arrangements required
- Methods for sharing study progress and findings with study participants
- Payments, rewards and recognition for study participants.
Researchers may find the SPIRIT 2013 statement a useful resource when preparing their protocol.
Future work plans
Briefly outline the proposed future programme, including:
- the aims and objectives
- a description of the individual studies comprising the programme and anticipated methodological approaches
- an explanation of how the studies comprising the programme link together/inform one another
- the anticipated patient/service user, carer or public benefits and impacts arising from the component studies and the programme as a whole
the anticipated patient/service user, carer or public benefits and impacts arising from the component studies and the programme as a whole
Describe the progression of the development work plan, including the timetable, key milestones and deliverables.
Explain the practical arrangements for managing the development work. This should include specification of the roles and responsibilities of the individual team members who will undertake the development work, the management structure (i.e., reporting lines), the programme manager, frequency of meetings, financial management etc., and highlight the role of any Advisory or Reference Groups associated with the development work.
Ethics / Regulatory Approvals
Outline any potential ethical issues associated with this development work and the arrangements for handling them. If there are no plans to obtain ethical review, this must be clearly justified.
NOTE: the work outlined in your application/protocol must adhere to the UK Framework for Health and Social Care Research
Project / Research expertise
Explain why the group is well qualified to undertake the development work – describing the track record of the research team in applied health or social care research (including innovation and, where appropriate, evidence synthesis and assembly for dissemination at national level), including publication outputs, grant income and impact on health service or social service practice and policy.
Explain how the applicant's work together (or propose to work together if they have not done so previously), and identify other major collaborations important for the development work. State clearly the particular contribution that each of the applicants will make towards the development work and the particular contribution that any collaborators intend to make.
Where the Stream A PDG funding will be used to strengthen or formulate a team and build collaborations, explain how this will be achieved. Clearly describe if and how the PDG funding, and/or the proposed programme, will contribute to capacity building/career development of applicants and of researchers employed on the grant.
PPI (Patient, user, carer, public) Lead
There should be a named person with appropriate skills and experience who is responsible for leading the PPI (Patient, user, carer, public) element within the project. This role should be an adequately costed and resourced research team member who is able to manage the PPI plans and related activities. More information and examples of the activities a PPI lead might undertake can be found on the NIHR website.
If submitting with a joint lead applicant, justify why more than one person is needed to lead the proposal and why they are qualified to do so.
(If, for any reason, salary costs of members of the team are not going to be sought via this application, it should be made clear how their contribution will be supported in the ‘Detailed Budget Finances’ section).
Success criteria and barriers to proposed work
Please set out the measurements of success you intend to use and the key risks to delivering the development work. Also describe what contingencies you will put in place to reduce or eliminate each risk or its impact.
NOTE: A risk is defined as any factor which may delay, disrupt or prevent the full achievement of a research objective. Typical areas of risk for a research application might include staffing, resource constraints, technical constraints, data access, timing, management and operational issues (please note that this list is not exhaustive).
Upload a Gantt chart
It is mandatory to attach a Gantt chart indicating a schedule for the completion of work, including the timing of key milestones and deliverables.
Patient and Public Involvement
Please describe how patients/service users, carers and the public have been involved in developing this proposal.
You should describe who has been involved and why this is appropriate, what role(s) they have they played and what influence or change has happened as result of their involvement
Please describe the ways in which patients/service users, carers and the public will be actively involved in the proposed research, including any training and support provided.
PPI approach, management and support
- Explain why your approach to patient, user, carer and public involvement is appropriate for this proposal. In your description you will need to say who will be involved and why.
- Please use this opportunity to describe how you plan to manage and coordinate the patient, user, carer and public involvement activities in your project.
- Describe how you will support and enable patients/service users, carers, the public and members of relevant communities to contribute to your research (e.g. access, payments, training).
- We would also encourage you to outline plans for the capturing, evaluating and reporting the impact of patient, user, carer and public involvement activities.
Patients, carers, service users and the public can be involved in every stage of a research project, from developing a proposal through to dissemination and evaluation. More resources to support the design of your PPI are available on the NIHR website.
PPI (Patient, user, carer, public) Lead
There should be a named person with appropriate skills and experience who is responsible for leading the PPI element within the project. This role should be an adequately costed and resourced research team member who is able to manage the PPI plans and related activities. More information and examples of the activities a PPI lead might undertake can be found in our guidance on the NIHR website.
Summary of PPI activities
Please provide a summary below of the proposed PPI activities embedded throughout the research project lifecycle. Please clearly signpost to other sections of the Detailed Research Plan where the PPI is described further in relation to the relevant project stage e.g. dissemination, intervention design, data collection, analysis.
In rare cases where proposals do NOT involve patients, social care users, carers and the public, clear justification must be provided.
NOTE: For applications involving the recruitment, consenting and/or treatment of patient or service user participants, you are required to submit a Schedule of Events Cost Attribution Template (SoECAT) with your PDG application.
It is not necessary to submit a SoECAT if the development work does not involve the recruitment, consenting and/or treatment of patient or service user participants.
Justification of costs
Provide justification for the resources requested, including the following:
- staff costs,
- travel, subsistence and conference fees
- equipment (including lease versus purchase costs)
- patient and public involvement, engagement and participation
- any other direct costs
- dissemination costs
- indirect costs
For help with estimating PPI costs please see the NIHR payment guidance for researchers and professionals.
You should indicate here how this research will potentially benefit the NHS and/ or public health and social care sector. For example, where appropriate, describe the likely cost savings or benefits in terms of numbers of patients treated, treatment times, service users or carers supported etc.
You should describe the value for money of the conduct of the proposed research.
As appropriate, please also provide justification for the NHS Support and Excess Treatment cost detailed in the SoECAT. If there are no NHS Support or Excess Treatment Costs associated with the research you must explain why you think this is the case.
Detailed Budget Breakdown
The finance section should provide a breakdown of costs associated with undertaking the research as described in the proposal. Please refer to the associated ‘How to complete the finance form’ or short video for guidance about how to complete this section of the application form.
Programme specific information
Programme Development Grants does not pay FEC. Therefore, indirect costs cannot be claimed for HEIs. However, Programme Grants and Programme Development Grants will fund 100% of HEI staff costs.
Standard PDG research awards can be for up to £150k over 12 – 24 months. The amount of funding awarded, however, is determined by the scale and nature of the research activity to be conducted.
The information entered in this section should provide an analysis of the total funds requested to undertake the research proposed and should be based on current prices. These costs will be used to assess value for money.
It is in your best interest to undertake a thorough, realistic and accurate costing. As this is the full application, the committee will pay close attention to any material increase in costs. You must provide a clear and full justification for all costs including NHS costs. You must also ensure that you include all costs including those required to secure good research management.
- We recognise that the current higher level of inflation is increasing costs in research. NIHR aims to ensure that the cost of research is properly recompensed, therefore we will fund appropriate, evidenced inflationary price increases, including pay deals, within current contracts. Researchers should present evidence justifying any additional inflationary costs at contract close, with any pre-close pressures managed through normal contract management.
- Years should be calculated starting from the anticipated start date of the proposed research. For example, if your research is expected to start on 01 June 2023 then its second year starts 01 June 2024.
- 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 research which is to be paid to another organisation.
- NHS support costs, including costs for Social Care Research, are funded via Clinical Research Networks. Researchers should contact their local NHS R&D department initially and, if they are unable to help directly or if there is no local NHS R&D department, contact the Local Clinical Research Network (LCRN) senior manager for advice on NHS support costs. Further details about LCRN contacts are available on the "NIHR LCRN website".
- All applications are expected to have appropriate NHS, HEI, commercial and other partner organisation input into the finance section of the application form.
- Non-commercial led Awards (e.g., NHS, HEI etc.) will be paid via BAC transfer payment schedules. The NIHR will release funds net of VAT as Research and Development is considered VAT exempt. There are some cost items within an application which may incur VAT, such as equipment or subcontractors. If the applying organisation is unable to claim back the VAT on these items (e.g., maybe they are not VAT registered) then applicants can charge the gross value to the application.
- Commercial led awards will be paid via invoicing. It is up to the company to decide if it is appropriate to apply VAT on the invoice. If the company decides to apply VAT, then DHSC will pay the invoice and claim back the VAT. We recommend that applicants seek advice from VAT experts within their organisation before applying.
Please note that whilst the applicable 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.
Information on different types of organisations
Higher Education Institutions (HEIs)
Please see the Programme Specific Information above. Programme Development Grants does not pay FEC. Therefore, indirect costs cannot be claimed for HEIs. However, it will fund 100% of HEI staff costs.
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.
Commercial/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 another partner organisation (e.g. charity 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.
These are costs that are specific to the research, which will be charged as the amount actually spent and can be supported by an audit record. They should comprise:
This section presents an overview of salary and associated on-costs for the applicant(s) contributing to the research, including normal salary increments broken down individually.
Salary costs (apply to years)
This section specifies the annual costs of each applicant contributing to the research. You should now allocate the individual staff member costs to each year of the research, 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 your research is underway.
Please note, as this programme does not fund HEI indirect and estate costs, HEI shared staff costs charge out rates should exclude HEI indirect costs and estate costs when being calculated.
Travel, subsistence and conference dissemination costs
This section includes journey costs, subsistence and conference fees. Where applicable, you will need to include the travel and subsistence costs of your project advisory group, steering committee and/or data monitoring & ethics committee. Travel and subsistence costs relating to dissemination should also be included here, as should costs relating to overseas travel.
Enter the total cost of transport for all journeys for destination/purpose. If travel is by car, apply your institution’s mileage rates (however this should not exceed HMRC approved mileage allowance payments, which is 45p per mile for the first 10,000 miles and 25p thereafter).
Travel by the most economic means possible is encouraged. NIHR programmes do not usually fund first class travel.
Subsistence covers accommodation (if necessary) and meals associated with the travel, excluding any alcoholic beverages.
Where national or international conference costs are included, a statement naming the conference or purpose of travel and the benefit to the research must also be made; failure to adequately justify your attendance at a conference will mean the programme will not fund this cost.
For research projects of three years or more, the programme will usually fund up to a maximum of two international conference attendances (two people attending one conference or one person attending two conferences). There are no limits on the number of UK conference attendances.
Essential items of equipment plus maintenance and related costs not included as part of estates should be input in this section. These can be lease or purchase costs.
- The purchase cost of pieces of equipment, valued up to £5,000 excluding VAT, will be considered.
- Pieces of equipment costing more than £5,000 to purchase will usually need to be leased. Where applicants are leasing equipment with a purchase price of more than £5,000, a comparison of leasing versus purchasing costs must be provided in the ‘Justification of Costs’ section.
- Items of equipment valued at £250 or more must be itemised separately; however grouping same type equipment is permitted.
- Costs of computers are limited to a maximum of £1000 per item. This includes the costs of any associated software and VAT. A statement of justification must be included, in the relevant ‘Justification of Costs’ section, for any purchase above this limit.
This section includes non-reusable items specific to the research. Please itemise and describe the requirements fully (e.g. postage, stationery, photocopying). These items should be research specific, not just general office costs which should be covered by indirect costs.
Patient and public involvement
Please itemise and describe fully the costs associated with patient, user, carer and public involvement. These are likely to include individual travel, out of pocket expenses, payment for time and any relevant training and support costs. Costs related to study participants should not be itemised here.
If voluntary, charity or community groups are supporting the research via activities such as facilitating contact with potential participants, hosting research activities or providing advice, an adequate budget must be included to compensate for their time and resources.
For further information on budgeting for involvement, please read the NIHR Payments Guidance for researchers and professionals.
Other direct costs
These are costs, not identified elsewhere, that are specifically attributed to the research. For example, costs associated with the use of research facilities, external consultancy costs, costs associated with inclusivity (which may include, but are not limited to justified translation of research participant material into other relevant languages), computer licensing, recruitment and advertising costs.
Please note that for organisations claiming indirect/overhead costs, costs such as recruitment of staff, and general training (e.g. in common IT packages) are costs that should be covered by the indirect costs element of the award being sought and should not appear in this section.
If external consultancy costs are included in this section they must be fully justified in the ‘Justification of Costs’ section. Please specify the hourly rate and the number of hours and note that consultants must not be people who are already employed by the applicant’s institution. If they are, any costs should be entered as direct costs in the ‘Details of Posts and Salaries’ and ‘Annual Costs of Posts’ sections.
Open access costs
Applicants should no longer include open access costs as part of their detailed budget Research Costs.
From the 1st of June 2022 all eligible awards contracts issued across NIHR Programmes, NIHR Personal Awards and NIHR Global Health Research Portfolio will have an Open Access Envelope allocated to them on top of the award value, which is ring-fenced for open access costs of peer reviewed research articles that arise directly from the research funded by the award in question.
Further information can be found by reading the Open Access Funding Guidance.
Other dissemination costs
Any large costs should be further detailed with a breakdown of constituent parts or a timescale profile of the costs. Meetings to share best practice, training events and events to disseminate research findings must be run at the lowest possible cost with minimal catering. ‘Conferences’ which are described as such are not eligible for funding.
Indirect costs will be charged in proportion to the amount of research staff effort requested on the award.
- General office and basic laboratory consumables
- Premises costs
- Library services/learning resources
- Finance, personnel, public relations and departmental services
- Usage costs of major research facilities
- Central and distributed computing
- Charge out rates for shared equipment
- Cost of capital employed
NHS bodies or other providers of NHS services indirect costs
NHS indirect costs cannot be claimed through NIHR/DHSC programme funding. NHS bodies or other providers of NHS services have been allocated NIHR Research Capability Funding (RCF) to contribute to the cost of hosting NIHR/DHSC-supported research. For more information please visit the RCF webpage.
HEI indirect costs
Please see the Programme Specific Information above. Programme Development Grants does not pay FEC. Therefore, indirect costs cannot be claimed for HEIs.
Commercial/other partner organisation indirect costs
Commercial/other partner organisations can claim indirect costs which are the costs of resources used by the research that are shared by other activities. Please seek advice from your finance department about the appropriate cost for this section.
Total Commercial/other partner organisation indirect costs must be fully justified.
NHS support and treatment costs (incl. excess treatment costs/savings)
Please be aware that the research award does NOT include NHS support and/or treatment costs. These costs, including costs for Social Care research, are funded via Clinical Research Networks and should be detailed in the Schedule of Events Cost Attribution Tool (SoECAT) (see below for further details).
However, the committee will take NHS support and/or treatment costs into account when considering the value for money of the research. It is important that you consider these costs and discuss them with the NHS bodies or providers of NHS services involved in order to avoid any delay in commencing the research.
Applicants should contact their local NHS R&D Department initially and if they are unable to help directly, or if there is no local NHS R&D Department, contact their Local Clinical Research Network (LCRN) for advice on NHS Support Costs. Further details about LCRN contacts are available online at ‘Clinical Research Network’.
When considered necessary by the LCRN AcoRD specialist, a Schedule of Events Cost Attribution Tool (SoECAT) detailing NHS support and/or Treatment Costs, needs to be completed and uploaded as part of the application.
PDG NOTE: A Schedule of Events Cost Attribution Template (SoECAT) form is not required if the development work does not involve the recruitment, consenting and/or treatment of patient/service user or carer participants.
NHS support costs
These are the additional patient and service user care costs associated with the research, which would end once the R&D activity in question has stopped, even if the patient or user care service involved continues to be provided. These might cover items such as extra patient or user tests, extra in-patient days, extra nursing attention, extra care visits and extra care worker attention.
Researchers should contact their local NHS R&D department initially and, if they are unable to help directly or if there is no local NHS R&D department, contact your Local Clinical Research Network (LCRN) senior manager for advice on NHS support costs. Further details about LCRN contacts are available on the NIHR LCRN website.
NHS treatment costs
Please read the guidance on the Online SoECAT guidance prior to completing your application.
These are the patient or service user care costs that would continue to be incurred if the patient or user care service in question continued to be provided after the R&D activity has stopped. In determining NHS treatment costs (or intervention/treatment costs) you must assume that the patient or user care service being assessed will continue even though there may be no plans for it to do so.
Where patient care is being provided which differs from the normal, standard, treatment for that condition (either an experimental treatment or a service in a different location from where it would normally be given), the difference between the total treatment costs and the costs of the “usual standard care" (if any) constitutes excess treatment cost/saving, but is nonetheless part of the treatment cost, not an NHS support or research cost. These costs should be determined in conjunction with your NHS body or provider of NHS services and their commissioners.
Please note: Social care studies are eligible for Clinical Research Network (CRN) support, it does not just apply to NHS based research, and researchers should speak to the CRN and include support costs where relevant. For the purposes of social care studies ‘treatment costs’ should be interpreted as ‘intervention costs’ and should be included in the proposal when needed. Further guidance on support and ‘treatment’ costs can be found in the Online SoECAT guidance.
For further information, please see the attributing the costs of health and social care research and development (AcoRD) guidance.
Uploading a Schedule of Events Cost Attribution Template (SoECAT) form
Please be aware that if your planned project includes the recruitment of participants, your application should be accompanied with the Funder Export from the online SoECAT, obtainable via the NIHR Central Portfolio Management System (CPMS). This online version replaces the previous Excel version of the SOECAT, which will no longer be available for applications.
In order to create a SoECAT, you will need to create an account in CPMS. After creating the account, you will need to login to CPMS to activate this account. If any assistance is required in creating the account, please refer to our user guide. Once your account has been created and is active, you can proceed.
Guidance for the completion of the SoECAT by the applicant is present in the online tool to assist at each page and stage of the application process and further details can be found on the Online SoECAT Guidance page.
There is also an Online SoECAT Guidance Module which includes video tutorials and linked resources (an NIHR Learn account is required to access and enrol onto the module) and a helpful Study Representative - Online SoECAT Top Tips infographic.
Please note that completion of the SoECAT may not be necessary when applying for funding to support: overarching programmes with no specific research study protocol, infrastructure, fellowships, anything where the grant is to be used for direct employment of a member of staff or purchase of an asset, and data or diagnostic reviews where recruitment data is not collected. Such applications should be submitted with an explanation added to the Justification of Costs section.
More information on the SoECAT form is available on the NIHR website:
Online SoECAT Guidance
Management and Governance
Is Clinical Trials Authorisation required?
Yes / No
Does your project require ethics approval?
Yes / No
If yes, has ethics approval already been obtained?
Yes / No
A list of references cited in the application.
If claiming CTU support:
CTU letter of support.
The following file(s) are considered non-mandatory to submission; please number your files and attach:
Supporting documentation, including logic models, flow diagrams, pictures, charts, letters of support, papers in press etc. No more than five separate files are permitted. The total file size of all uploads should not exceed 6Mb (this includes the SoECAT form and Gantt Chart uploaded earlier in the form). Total files sizes larger than this may not be considered as part of the submission. All supporting documentation must be uploaded with a clear and concise filename description, preceded by a numbered ‘Appendix’ reference.
We strongly recommend that only .doc or .pdf files are uploaded as some file types are not supported by the system (such as .xls and .zip file types which will not render out into the final version of the application form). Should you wish to upload documents of other file types, we encourage you to check that they appear in the PDF of the application form prior to submission as changes cannot be made after the deadline has passed.
Administrative contact details
Please provide the details of an administrative lead as a secondary point of contact for any queries relating to the application, should it be supported.
NOTE: This person does not need to be a co-applicant.
Research and Development office contact details
Please provide the contact details and job title of a person in the R&D office so that we are able to notify them of the outcome of this application including any associated feedback.
NOTE: This person does not need to be included as a co-applicant.
Acknowledge, review and submit
Please declare any conflicts or potential conflicts of interest that you or your co-applicants may have, including any facts that, should they come to light at a future date, could lead to a perception of bias. Include any relevant personal, non-personal & commercial interest that could be perceived as a conflict of interest. Examples include (this list is not all encompassing) secondary employment, consultancy, financial or commercial gain (pensions, shareholdings, directorships, voting rights), honoraria, etc. In a case of commercial sector involvement with the application or the study, please state clearly the relationship to ownership of data, access to data, and membership of project oversight groups.
Agreement to terms and conditions
As lead applicant, please tick the box to confirm that the information given on this form is correct and that you will be actively engaged in this research and responsible for its overall management. In addition, you will accept responsibility for ensuring that the host institution and interested parties are kept informed.
Ticking this box constitutes an electronic signature of the lead applicant with regard to this application
Checklist of information to include when submitting a NIHR PDG research application
Applicants should click the checkboxes to indicate that they have included the necessary information prior to submitting their application.
Appropriate and relevant involvement of patients, service users, carers and the public
A good quality plain English summary
A clear description of team member roles and contribution
A clear scientific abstract
A flow diagram illustrating the study design / flow of participants (document upload), if appropriate
A full and accurate detailed budget breakdown
A clear justification of costs / value for money
References (document upload)
A clear Detailed Research Plan outlining the study design, methods, dissemination etc.
Completed Schedule of Events Cost Attribution Tool (SoECAT), if appropriate