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Programme Grants for Applied Research - Sub-Committee Chair Vacancy



We are pleased to announce an exciting opportunity to participate in NIHR Programme Grants for Applied Research assessment committees as a Sub-Committee Chair. This prestigious appointment offers senior applied health, public health and social care researchers the chance to lead the sub-committees that formally assess applications and subsequently make funding recommendations for large scale, high quality programmes of research for the benefit of patients, service users, carers and the NHS. 


The Programme Grants for Applied Research Programme makes significant awards of flexible funding and duration. Since the Programme was established in 2006, 31 rounds have been completed, leading to over 250 awards. Professor Elaine Hay is the current Programme Director.

Programmes are undertaken by collaborative groups based in England, with co-applicants from the health and social care sectors and academia working together. A typical programme grant supports strong teams of researchers to undertake a number of clearly inter-related and inter-dependent workstreams drawing on a range of methods. The research is applied and relatively ‘near-term’, with an expectation of clear benefits to patients, service users, carers, and the health and social care systems.  There are three competitions each year (announced in February, June and October). Find out more about PGfAR

Applications undergo a two-stage assessment process. Applicants to the first stage whose proposals are judged to have a high chance of success are invited to submit a Stage 2 (full) application.

In each round, a single sub-committee meets to assess Stage 1 proposals. Meetings are held in May, September and January in London and last the whole day.

Four sub-committees assess stage 2 applications (however depending on the number of Stage 2 applications we may not convene all sub-committees every competition). 

Appraisal is against the following pre-defined criteria that reflect the purpose of the programme:

  • The strength and suitability of the research team
  • The importance and relevance to the priorities  of patients, service users, and carers  and the needs of the NHS, public health and social care systems
  • The likelihood of significant benefit to patients, service users, carers, and the health and social care systems 
  • The scientific rigour of the research planned
  • The potential value for money

A typical second stage sub-committee comprises:

  • The Sub-Committee Chair
  • Methodology experts: including statisticians, health economists, behavioural scientists and qualitative experts 
  • General methodology experts: a number of general applied health and social care researchers with a range of backgrounds such as health services research, clinical epidemiology, pragmatic trials, primary care, public health and social care
  • Experienced public members.

Once all sub-committees have met, their funding recommendations are reviewed by the Main Selection Committee. This comprises:

  • The Programme Director
  • Each of the Sub-Committee Chairs
  • One representative from each sub-committee
  • Two public members

The Vacancy

The Programme Grants for Applied Research programme has four sub-committee chairs, one of which is now available. 

Candidate Profile

Applicants are expected to be recognised nationally and internationally as leaders in applied health and social care research, as judged by high quality publications, major research funding, demonstrable impact of their research on patients, service users, carers and the health and social care systems, and other measures of peer esteem.

The successful candidate is likely to have been a member of a grants committee responsible for making decisions about applied health and social care research and to have had significant experience of chairing relevant decision-making groups. 

We do advise applicants to have permission and support from their host institution prior to applying.


Tenure is for four years.  Extensions may be made for an additional two years up to a maximum of six years at the discretion of the Programme Director. Reapplication is only permissible after a two-year period has elapsed.

Over the four-year period, along with the Programme Director, the post holder is expected to attend:

  • All three Stage 1 short listing meetings, acting as Chair for these on a pro-rata basis
  • All three designated Stage 2 sub-committee meetings, acting as Chair for each of     these
  • Up to three Programme Development Grant (PDG) selection teleconferences, acting as a Chair on a rotational basis
  • All three Main Selection Committee meetings

An honorarium is payable and all out of pocket expenses, including travel and overnight accommodation, are reimbursed where appropriate


Sub-Committee Chairs are responsible for:

  • Chairing designated Stage 2 sub-committee meetings and, on occasion, Stage 1 committee and PDG selection meetings, steering their constituent members to decisions whether or not to recommend funding or short listing, respectively, against the pre-defined assessment criteria 
  • Acting as a member of the Main Selection Committee, reviewing the funding recommendations made across all full stage sub-committees and assisting the Programme Director with key strategic initiatives 
  • Ensuring that feedback to applicants drafted by the Programme’s secretariat is accurate
  • Approving post-feedback changes made to applications before they are funded 
  • Reviewing requests for additional time and/or money or supplementary work requests from funded programmes
  • reviewing checkpoint reports with funded award holders
  • Reviewing pre-submission enquiries
  • Attending occasional stakeholder meetings with funded award holders facing significant issues or requesting substantial extensions.

Interviews will take place in early December 2020 in a central London location or via Zoom, depending on COVID-19 government guidelines.

How to Apply?

Download an application form and submit completed applications via e-mail to quoting CH/2020 in the subject.

If you have any queries or would like more information, please e-mail or call 020 8843 8056.