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Research and Innovation for Global Health Transformation (RIGHT) - Call 3 Frequently Asked Questions


Published: 08 October 2019

Version: 1.1 - January 2020

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This document provides answers to frequently asked questions for Call 3 of the NIHR Research and Innovation for Global Health Transformation (RIGHT) programme.


Do applications to RIGHT have to fulfil Official Development Assistance (ODA) eligibility?

As per the Guidance for Applicants, all applications to RIGHT calls must fulfil ODA eligibility. In order to be eligible to receive ODA funding, applications must demonstrate how they meet ODA compliance criteria.

Are all countries on the DAC-list, including Upper Middle Income Countries within remit?

Yes, all countries on the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) list of ODA-eligible countries are appropriate targets for the RIGHT Call. All applications should provide clear details of how the research will directly and primarily benefit the poorest individuals in ODA-eligible countries affected by multimorbidity.

Can you clarify what is expected in terms of the project delivering patient benefit?

Applications to RIGHT must demonstrate a trajectory to patient benefit in low and middle income countries (LMICs). Benefit to the poorest individuals living in LMICs is a major selection criteria for RIGHT applications. In all applications to RIGHT, it is expected that the research will seek to demonstrate realisable and quantifiable benefits to LMICs and that the route to that benefit is clearly set out in the proposal.

Multimorbidity-does this mean multiple diseases or can it include conditions with multiple morbidity?

The definition of multimorbidity for this call is as below.

The co-existence of two or more chronic conditions, each one of which is either:

  • A physical non-communicable disease of long duration, such as a cardiovascular disease or cancer
  • A mental health condition of long duration, such as a mood disorder or dementia
  • An infectious disease of long duration, such as HIV or hepatitis C.

Does the multimorbidity call covers intervention to prevent the development of non-communicable diseases in patients with one chronic infectious disease?

Yes, this is in scope.

Would projects focusing on two aspects of the cardiovascular system be in scope for multimorbidity (such as heart disease and stroke, or stroke and atrial fibrillation)?

Yes, this would be in scope as these are clusters of diseases.

Is mental health in scope?

A cluster of mental health diseases would be in scope.

Would mental health issues and physical disabilities be eligible?

Yes, this would be in scope, providing the focus of the research is on addressing the multimorbidity rather than focusing on the conditions separately.

Would research into neurodevelopmental aspects in children with congenital HIV infection?

If your proposed research is focused neurodevelopmental disorders that is known to arise in children as a result of congenital HIV infection, then it is within the remit of the RIGHT Call 3.

Is a single disease within the remit of RIGHT Call 3?

The focus of this call is prevention and management of multimorbidity (i.e. multiple conditions).  ALL proposals must contain evidence to justify that their research theme fully meets the definition of multimorbidity provided in the guidance for applicants.

The Call is not aimed at research into single conditions.

Is sickle cell disease in scope?

Studies that focus solely on sickle cell disease or any other single condition or disease in isolation are not in scope.  However, studies that are primarily focused on development and evaluation of interventions to prevent or better manage additional specific conditions (where the link with the first condition is proven) are in scope.

Is cerebral palsy within the remit? There are several chronic conditions as a result of it.

Cerebral palsy is in remit if part of a wider cluster of diseases. Applications with a sole focus on cerebral palsy as a single condition would not be in remit.

Is research aimed at preventing possible multimorbidity condition(s) in patients with a single disease within remit of the call? Can this also include individuals at risk of developing the single disease?

If the aim of the research is to prevent stepwise progression of multimorbidity in patients with this single disease, the proposal would be within remit. A study of patients with a single disease without co-existing conditions would not be in scope, unless the aim is to prevent stepwise progression of multimorbidity in patients with this single disease. A study of people at risk before the onset of the disease would not be in scope, unless they have at least one already existing long term condition or infection that you can evidence are known to cause the disease that this group of people are at risk of developing. In both cases, you will need to justify that your research theme fully meets the definition of multimorbidity provided in the guidance.

Would a proposal that is specifically palliative care focused albeit for those with multi-morbidity be appropriate for RIGHT Call 3?

A proposal on palliative care for those with multimorbidity would be in remit.

Is social care research in scope of RIGHT calls?

Applied health and social care research is eligible for RIGHT funding.

Would epidemiological studies be considered?

Yes, provided it is part of a larger programme of work.

The call guidance states that the application could include 'interventions to prevent stepwise progression of multi-morbidity once one long term condition or infection has been diagnosed’.  First phase of our project is to establish innovative strategies for the diagnosis of comorbid conditions as an essential prerequisite to reducing the progression of disease arising from the co-morbidity. Is this in scope?

Yes, establishing innovative strategies for diagnosis of co-morbid conditions is in scope as per the guidance “NIHR is seeking applications for NIHR RIGHT Call 3 that address applied health research in the following areas: 1. Development and evaluation of interventions and strategies for improved management of multimorbidity....".

Our proposal is to develop and implement an intervention for an early diagnosis of an infection that is prevalent in LMIC to prevent stepwise progression of multi-morbidities associated with the infection. Is it in scope?

Yes, this would be within the scope of the call. 

The call guidance states that applications solely comprising a single Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT) will not be funded, please can you clarify?

Where an RCT is proposed we expect this to be part of a wider package of work (i.e. not the sole activity). We do not require multiple RCTs in a proposal. A proposal consisting of varied work packages including a trial would be in scope / eligible.

Are studies of diagnostic tests supported?

Stand-alone studies of diagnostic accuracy may be within the scope of RIGHT. There are a number of types of diagnostic study which will be considered by NIHR RIGHT.

  1. Diagnostic utility studies examine the value of a diagnostic test in improving patient outcomes in the LMIC setting, and are often designed as trials and powered on relevant clinical endpoints. Economic outcomes may also be important.
  2. The development of a new test or instrument that will be used in the LMIC setting and/or the broad assessment of its reliability and validity in that setting. These might range from questionnaires that identify mental states to molecular assays. Test development and/or testing for psychometric properties or analytic validity, as it is called in the ACCE framework, will only be supported where the test technology is required in the LMIC, the technology and/or instrument already relatively well-developed and there is a clear pathway to LMIC community and patient benefit.

Is prospective collection and analysis of patient samples within scope?

Yes, as a wider programme of work, however as per the call guidance the call will not support the establishment and maintenance of new biobanks.

I would like to include the development of an information resource for patients and/or LMIC communities, (e.g. leaflet, video, website, etc.) as part of my research proposal. Is this supported?

NIHR views the provision of high quality, accessible information to LMIC communities and patients as conferring benefit, as such information can empower the community and patients to better manage their conditions and make informed choices about their treatment options and/or their participation in the research.

However, the applicant must demonstrate that the relevant information is not already available to the community via another medium, and must make sure that their information resource format is appropriate to the LMIC context. Therefore, a RIGHT application that proposes an information resource output will need to include details of any existing information available, and a justification of the need for a new resource including details on the target audience and impact of the format of the proposed resource.

Would complications of type 2 diabetes count as ‘comorbidities’ for this call?

Research in the development and evaluation of interventions to prevent stepwise progression of multimorbidity once one long-term condition or infection has been diagnosed is supported by RIGHT Call 3. You should ensure that the proposal clearly demonstrates the known connection between type 2 diabetes and the resulting conditions that you wish to study.

Our research focus is limited to a region in a country and not the whole of the country or any other countries. We plan to develop strategies to scale up the programme across the whole country. Is this acceptable?

It is acceptable to focus on a single region of a country during your research period. Please ensure you address your plans to scale up the programme in your application.

Would the development and testing of an intervention aimed at improving the health of poor people in Africa by strengthening health system capacity and responsiveness to community identified needs at district level be within remit for this call?

Yes, this would be within the scope of the call.


Can research teams that were unsuccessful in other NIHR Global Health calls re-apply?

Yes, Research Teams that have applied unsuccessfully for other NIHR Global Health Research calls can re-apply so long as they are in remit of RIGHT Call 3, declare this on their application, and address any concerns raised by the original committee.

Can current NIHR Global Health Research award holders apply to RIGHT Calls?

Yes, provided justification is given on how a new research project could be effectively supported.

Can organisations in LMICs be the Host Organisation?

For RIGHT Call 3, applications must have two Joint Lead Applicants, one at an LMIC institution and one at a UK institution. However, for contracting purposes there can only be one Host Organisation (i.e. the organisation who will sign the contract with DHSC if funded) for flow of funds which must be a UK based Higher Education Institution or UK Research Institute. The UK Joint Lead Applicant’s host institution will be the contracting organisation with the Department of Health and Social Care.

Can I be a Joint Lead Applicant on one RIGHT Call 3 application and co-applicant on a second RIGHT Call 3 application?

Yes, this is allowed.

Can a higher education institution (HEI) submit multiple applications to RIGHT Calls?

Yes. There is no limit to the number of applications that a HEI can submit to the call.

Can I be a Joint Lead Applicant on a RIGHT Call 3 application when I am also a Joint Lead Applicant on another NIHR application (not RIGHT Call 3)?

You can be Joint Lead Applicant for both RIGHT Call 3 and another NIHR programme, providing it is within your capacity to support both applications should they be successful.

It is important to note that should your application to RIGHT Call 3 be successful, we will be performing an overlap check with other NIHR programmes. Therefore, if you were successful in both applications, any overlap between the two projects will be looked at in detail. The NIHR cannot 'double fund', so any similarities will need to be discussed to ensure this does not happen. There is a section in the application form for you to declare any similar projects being submitted to NIHR or any other funders. 

Can I be a LMIC Joint Lead Applicant on more than one RIGHT Call 3 applications?

An individual cannot be named as Joint Lead Applicant on more than one application. This applies to both the UK and the LMIC Joint Lead Applicant.

Will the NIHR act as research sponsor for the projects that are funded via this call?

No, the NIHR is a distributed organisation providing a strategic framework for the different elements of NHS and Department of Health and Social Care funded and supported research.

For RIGHT Call 3, should the lead applicants be the individuals who will lead the project in terms of content and delivery, with the most experienced/those with strongest track record in the team acting as co-applicants? Or vice versa?

i.e. who would be expected to be the lead and who the co-applicants? This question is with regard to both UK and LMIC applicants.

The lead applicants should be those who are responsible for delivery of the research. We would expect the overall research team to have the necessary skills and experience to deliver the research. Please refer to the Guidance for Applicants for definitions and requirements for Joint Lead Applicants, Co-applicants and Collaborators.

If there is a junior collaborator as the only collaborator from an LMIC, are there any specific criteria that they should meet?

It is required to have a Joint Lead Applicant from an LMIC. As a Joint Lead Applicant they should be able to lead the programme of work, having equal sharing of responsibilities with the UK Joint Lead Applicant. Both Leads must have sufficient standing within their organisations and have demonstrable ability to lead and manage a large-scale programme of global health research. Arrangements for more junior researchers to act as lead may be considered with appropriate plans for mentoring and support in place. 

As a Co-applicant, they should be responsible for the day to day management and delivery of the project.

Please refer to the Guidance for Applicants for definitions and requirements for Joint Lead Applicants, Co-applicants and Collaborators.

Some co-applicants, who are very competent clinicians, have very limited research experience but keen to develop research skills. What are NIHR views of such co-applicants? Is it something desirable or should they be collaborators?

It is expected the overall research team to have the necessary skills and experience to deliver the proposed research and the Funding Committee will assess the strength of the research team. Co-applicants form your research team and are expected to have specific roles and equitable contributions to your project. You will need to describe in the application that they are the best fit for the role.

Are there any restrictions on the types of organisations that the LMIC Joint Lead Applicant is based in? For example, can the LMIC Joint Lead Applicant be a clinician only without being part of a university? Can they belong to a hospital or an NGO?

Joint Lead Applicants from ODA-eligible LMICs will normally be from a research institution, Higher Education Institution or a not-for-profit organisation. For-profit organisations cannot – be a Joint Lead. Non-health research institutions can act as Co- applicants or Collaborators, provided their expertise is relevant to the plans proposed.

LMIC Joint Lead Applicants can be based in a hospital if the hospital is a research focused institution (with appropriate demonstrable capacity to deliver research) or a relevant health research NGO. In both cases, the named LMIC Joint Lead Applicant or Co-applicant's role is primarily associated with delivery of research. The application should also clearly state the percentage of protected time allocated to the proposed project.

What level of seniority should the Joint Lead Applicant be?

For RIGHT Call 3, Joint Lead Applicants must have sufficient standing within their organisations and have demonstrable ability to lead and manage a large-scale programme of global health research.  However, if a Joint Lead Applicant has less experience, then details of what mentorship and support is in place for more senior colleagues should be given. The application should clearly demonstrate that the research team has the necessary expertise, relevant experience and demonstrable track record to successfully deliver the proposed programme of work. The Funding Committee will assess strength of the research team.

I would like to find out whether there is any advice about CTU involvement in trials for RIGHT Call 2. I know this is strongly encouraged for NIHR calls in the UK but envisage this may be logistically difficult in countries outside the UK – do you have any specific advice on this issue?

The CTU involvement in trials is not a requirement for the RIGHT Call 3. However, the applicants should ensure that his/her team have all the required expertise with a demonstrable track record to successfully deliver the research programme.


Can funding be disbursed to LMIC institutions?

Yes. NIHR encourages equitable funds distributions within the partnership. Please note that onward disbursements are made through the UK administrative Joint Lead. Appropriate due diligence and assurance should be undertaken and Collaboration Agreements drafted with partners before payments are made.

What is the definition of onward disbursements? i.e. can a partnering LMIC institution reimburse other partnering institutions in the same country?

This is allowed. The flow of funds is from DHSC to the UK Joint Lead Applicant’s Host institution to partnering organisations. The Host Organisation in the UK is responsible for ensuring appropriate due diligence and risk management throughout the delivery chain.

How many projects are you expecting to fund?

There is no fixed target for the number of projects we wish to fund. Up to £30m will be allocated according to the quality of applications and the Funding Committee recommendations.

How much money is available to applicants in the RIGHT Call 3?

Applicants intending to apply for RIGHT Call 3 call are able to request funding of up to £5 million providing full justification of costs. Awards typically range between £1-5 million over 3-4 years.

Line of sight to implementation is key, but costs for attempting to influence legislative and regulatory action are excluded. Can you clarify please? Surely one of the key routes to implementation/impact could be through influencing policy/regulation?

We would expect to see researchers working collaboratively with local communities and policy officials within the context of the project to ensure scale up and implementation. Costs for direct lobbying are not permitted.

We are in the early stages of starting a project with colleagues in LMIC. Are there any mechanisms in RIGHT Call 3 or elsewhere in the programme for helping to develop full projects?

Embedded in the RIGHT Call, is Proposal and Partnership Development Award (PPDA), which provides up to £10,000 to support the development of partnerships between study partners and a stage 2 full application. If interested in accessing this fund you must apply for the PPDA at the same time as submitting your stage 1 application. 

Please note PPDA funding is directly associated with your RIGHT 3 application and is not available in isolation.  Please refer to the PPDA Guidance for applicants for details on the PPDA application process.  For other NIHR Global Health funding opportunities, please refer to the NIHR Global Health Funding Opportunities.

Are there any guidelines on how the funding should be split between the UK lead institution and any LMIC organisation?

There are no set guidelines as to the percentage breakdown of funding between partnering organisation. However, your research must be ODA eligible (directly and primarily of benefit to the LMIC partner) and it should be made clear in the application how funds will flow to the LMIC. All costs must be fully justified and reflect the principles of equitable partnerships.

Will LMIC partners receive direct funding from NIHR or via the lead UK institution?

As per the guidance, all funds will be provided to the UK Host institution. The Host institution will be responsible for disbursing funds to the LMIC institution.

Would the call consider providing part funding for studies?

RIGHT will not fund projects jointly with other funders. An application to RIGHT must be for a self-contained study with a clearly defined end-point.

Is the cost of UK-based project managers / supervisors which will be involved in project management and project monitoring and evaluation an eligible cost?

Yes, these costs are eligible. We are very keen that these costs are included to ensure successful project delivery. NIHR encourages close collaboration with your LMIC partners to establish were these support positions are best located.

I am planning on conducting a study / delivering an intervention in an LMIC healthcare setting. Can you explain how to categorise the costs?

If you are conducting research that requires an intervention to be delivered in the LMIC you are permitted to claim for External Intervention Costs (EIC). These are the costs that are additional to routine clinical treatment in the local setting. For comparison, in the UK these would be similar to NHS support or excess treatment costs.

Will external intervention costs cover the cost of trial management in an LMIC and the cost of additional intervention that we will be using in the trial in an LMIC?

The external intervention cost in the LMIC, is the equivalent of NHS Excess Treatment Cost and NHS Support cost in the UK. Generally, the trial management cost is considered research cost. For example, the cost of trial management activities that would be undertaken by a Clinical Trial Unit (CTU) if the trial was taking place in the UK would be research cost. However, if the cost is to identify suitable patients and consent them it would be external intervention cost. The cost of a treatment that is not routine in LMIC setting you are working in would also be considered an external intervention cost. All these costs would be eligible.

Can you clarify eligible costs for PhD students for RIGHT?

LMIC-based PhD studentships are strongly encouraged as part of RIGHT applications. NIHR will fund full PhD costs (tuition fees and stipends) for LMIC students based in LMICs.

NIHR will also fund PhD student fees and stipends for LMIC students based in LMICs but registered at an institution in a High Income Country (HIC). In cases where the application includes LMIC PhD student’s fees at a HIC it is expected that Joint Lead Applicants will negotiate with the HIC institution for reduced fees for the LMIC candidate.

English language training in the context of PhD registration is an eligible cost, provided clear justification and a strong value for money argument are given

Please note: HIC PhD fees are eligible only for LMIC students. PhD fees for a HIC student registered at an HIC institution would not be eligible, regardless of the programme of study.

Is it possible to include costing for an external evaluation of the project?

Costs associated with provision of appropriate risk management is allowed. For example, you can request costs for an Independent Review Committee (or similar) to
review your clinical trials to ensure consistency and lack of bias. However, the applicant must explain and justify the value of the proposed evaluation in the context
of the project’s aims and the intended impact. Applicants must also carefully consider the timescale for evaluation against the timescale for the project. If you are requesting external evaluation cost and are uncertain whether the cost is eligible, please contact

The Finance form and guidance state that we need to confirm the exchange rate used, as well as date and the source of the exchange rate.  Is there a preferred methodology on choosing the date or source, and also what exchange rate protection might be in place in case of losses/gains.

We suggest using the Good Practice Principles below:

  • The methodology used in converting foreign currency denominated transaction into GBP should be set out in written guidance owned by the contract holder (i.e. within a finance manual or similar document);
  • The methodology used should remain consistent throughout the lifetime of the contract/project. Any grant holders wishing to change to a different reporting methodology should first clear the revision with NIHR and provide justification for why the change is beneficial;
  • Exchange rates used in the currency conversion must be verifiable through documentary evidence;
  • Exchange rates used in the currency conversion must be set by real world figures – either through the observable prevailing market rate, or through the actual rates received when making lump sum transfers from GBP into local currency;
  • If there is a policy on rounding of exchange rate numbers, it should be consistently applied and set in writing. Applicants need to mention the rates in the finance form on the tab called "START - AWARD DETAILS". Our finance department are finalising a policy on exchange rates, which I will share with you once complete.

There are a number of items of equipment which will be used in our LMIC study sites but which are either locally unavailable or which may be more economical to buy in the UK and ship to study sites. Are we able to claim 100% FEC on these items? 

As the primary purpose of the equipment is to be used at the LMIC organisation, this would be acceptable. We recommend you to explain these actions in the justification of resources section of your application. Please ensure the cost is added to the LMIC budget on the finance form.

Is there a recommended proportion of budget that should be allocated to the UK and LMIC?

There is no recommendation on the proportion of budget that should be allocated to the UK and LMIC. You will need to provide Justification of Resources in stage 2 application and justify that you will be able to successfully deliver the proposed work within the budget you have allocated.

Your proposal

How many LMIC partners are expected?

As many as required to deliver the programme of work. However, please consider in your application the non-research resources required to manage multiple LMIC partners (e.g. Financial management, due diligence, programme management etc.)

Do you recommend having more than one partner country?

There is no recommendation on the number of ODA-eligible countries that should be included in the proposal. The number should be as required to deliver the programme of work. However, the number of partners also needs to be manageable. Please consider in your application the non-research resources required to manage multiple partners.

What is the ideal size for a network? Number of partners?

The size of the network and number of partners is dependent on the number of individuals you consider is required to carry out the research, but should also be manageable, particularly if there are a number of new partners.

What is considered to be appropriate community engagement and involvement in a RIGHT application?

In order to ensure that the research is appropriate as well as scientifically and ethically sound, relevant community groups and organisations from LMICs must be involved in a meaningful process that will help guide the research from its design to the dissemination of results.

There is no standard model for appropriate community engagement and involvement as RIGHT applications vary immensely.

Information and resources to assist you can be found on the NIHR website (a definition of public involvement in researchbriefing notes for researchers on how to involve patients and the public and payment guidance for researchers and professionals).

You may also find it helpful to refer to Mesh, a collaborative open-access web space that provides resources, encourages networking and shares good practice to bridge the gap between the research community and the general public in low and middle income countries.

For more information on community and public involvement please refer to the Community and Public Involvement webinar.

Do I need to complete and submit the RIGHT Due Diligence Form as part of my Stage 2 application?


You are not required to submit the RIGHT Due Diligence Form with your Stage 2 application. This is only required if you are successful at Stage 2. For successful applicants, the Host Organisation will be required to complete and submit the RIGHT Due Diligence Form as part of the contracting stage.

Can you please advise whether the limit of 15 co-applicants can be increased at Stage 2?   

No. The limit for co-investigators remains the same from Stage 1 which is a maximum of 15 co-applicants in addition to two Joint Lead Applicants. The individually named Co-applicants can change from stage 1 to stage 2 but the total cannot exceed 15 Co-applicants.

Do we need to provide a separate Justification of Resources as attachment?

No, this information should be provided in the Justification of Resources section of the Stage 2 Finance form. At stage 1, justification of resources is not required. However, applicants should consider how the costs included in their application provide value for money and how their application will support global health research training and capacity building. Applicants are required to provide the details at stage 2.

Could you provide clarification on ‘staff type’ for completing the Finance form please as to who should be defined as ‘Lead’ from the dropdown menu? Should we define only the Joint Lead Applicants as ‘Lead’ or should we define a Lead for each collaborating institution?

The Joint Lead Applicants and Lead for each of the collaborating institution would be appropriate for the ‘Lead’ staff type.

Does a stage 1 proposal submission have to be completed by the UK Joint Lead Applicant only or can it also be submitted by the LMIC Joint Lead Applicant?

The stage 1 application can be edited by the LMIC Joint Lead Applicant. However, the submission of the application will need to be done by the UK Joint Lead Applicant.

It is a mandatory requirement to include publications for lead applicants, but we are not able to import publications from ORCID using the ‘my research outputs’ tab. Please can you help?

In order to pull through applications from ORCID, you will need to select "import" and select ORCID, which will present a number of options to import.

Do the co-applicants need to add their CVs specifically to our stage 1 application? There doesn’t seem to be an option to do this on the form, it appears like it is only the PI who does this through the ‘UK joint lead applicant research background' tab.

At Stage 1, only UK Joint Lead Applicant’s CV is required. This information is pre-populated based on the UK Joint Lead Applicant’s CV details from their RMS account. To update your CV details, please visit the ‘Manage My Details’ section on RMS.

It is also highly encouraged for the LMIC Joint Lead Applicant to have filled out their full CV information on their own RMS account. There is no need to attach a CV as a separate attachment to Stage 1 application for any of your applicants.

For a stage 2 application, CVs of all applicants (i.e. UK Joint Lead Applicant, LMIC Joint Lead Applicant and Co-applicants) are required. To update CV details, please visit the ‘Manage My Details’ section on RMS.

Some of my co-applicants have “confirmed” their participation but are not showing on the system as “approved” yet. What do they (or I)? need to do to “approve” and hence have their details visible?

The co-applicant's approval for their participation requires them to do two things: First to confirm their participation and then to approve the application. After they have confirmed their participation, they should go back to the main screen and scroll down where they can approve.

The Stage 1 guidance states that "NIHR recommends that a full-time programme manager is allocated to manage the research contract, and sufficient resources are included and costed to manage the regular programme and financial reporting processes." Please could you advise if this role is intended to be an academic, research related individual who would assist with elements of project management, or rather an administrative and support type role?

We would recommend an administrative support role whose primary focus is project management. This person can have a dual role, both research and administrative support, if that is deemed more appropriate. The project management plan and structure should be decided on by your team and should be addressed in your application.