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Programme Grants for Applied Research - Career Capacity Building information for applicants


Published: 06 February 2023

Version: 1.0 January 2023

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PGfAR funds collaborative multidisciplinary programmes of research, bringing together expert researchers and leading methodologists. Therefore, they are ideally suited and have great scope to make a significant contribution to applied health and care research capacity development.

As part of NIHR's drive to develop research capacity, PGfAR is now offering the opportunity to develop and advance health and care research careers.

Applicants to PGfAR can now include funding for research capacity development, across all stages of the academic career pathway (i.e., from internships to Masters to PhD to post-doctoral).  Applications that include capacity development for methodological disciplines are particularly welcome.

Individuals undertaking formal capacity development within the research programme will be a member of the NIHR Academy, where they will have access to the personal development and career support activities and funding opportunities provided by the NIHR Academy. 

This will be an ongoing opportunity, available from competition 41, which opens 8 February 2023. Find out more about PGfAR competition dates. Please refer to the application guidance for stage 1 and application for stage 2 applications. Please refer to the NPC welcome pack for more information.

Application requirements

  • Plans for increasing capacity, including through the provision of training, which supports diverse career paths and promotes equality, diversity and inclusion.
  • Individual PGfAR programmes seeking to build research capacity will have a remit for academic capacity development and training across the full career spectrum and the career development pathway - from pre-doctoral positions, such as internships and Masters degrees, to PhD and postdoctoral positions - that supports greater equity of opportunities for all. Programmes should focus on appropriate capacity building in the specific field, be it postdoctoral or other career stages. Training and support should be in line with the principles and best practice set out within the Researcher Development Concordat.
  • Individuals whose academic career development is being supported through NIHR PGfAR funding that meet the following criteria can benefit from NIHR Academy membership. They will be  undertaking a formal training/career development award, which should meet all of the following criteria:
    • be competitively recruited
    • include a training plan and,
    • have a defined end point.
  • They can be recruited following the award of the PGfAR funding, and be  hosted in a setting with a remit for research capacity development. We would expect that most positions will be fully funded through the PGfAR programme without the need for secondary stipends. Please note that the  NIHR Academy expects members to receive at least 25% funding through the PGfAR award for salary/stipend over the lifetime of the individual’s award.
  • Positions should be advertised locally, awarded competitively and can be started at any time of the year in accordance with the overall programme grant timeline.
  • As a general rule, no more than 10% of the overall programme grant budget should  be spent on capacity building within the grant.
  • Specifically for graduate fellowship (Masters or PhD): 
      • Tuition fees/college fees, salaries, and costs associated with the annual allowance of 10 days of training and development in line with Concordat will be covered.
      • The NPC should be different from the Academic supervisor.

Named points of contact

  • To support their NIHR Academy members,  successful research programmes will be expected to appoint a “Named Point of Contact for Training and Development (NPC)”, who will be the first point of contact for all NIHR Academy related communication and queries. They will work in partnership with NIHR Academy to share best practice and encourage excellence in career development and training. They take an active role in providing advice and support for academic development to ensure members can thrive as successful academics and future leaders, as well as sharing examples of best practice and development opportunities.
  • The NPC has to be listed on the application form, and can be the Lead Applicant, or a Co-Applicant with relevant experience, or an existing dedicated career lead of the contracting or collaborating institutions. More information about the role of the NPC can be found in the NPC welcome pack.