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Research and Innovation for Global Health Transformation - Call 5 Frequently Asked Questions


Published: 25 May 2022

Version: 1.0 May 2022

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This document provides answers to frequently asked questions for Call 5 of the NIHR Research and Innovation for Global Health Transformation (RIGHT) Global Health funding stream.


How have you considered that it is difficult to evaluate extreme event responses if no extreme event occurs. Do you support mapping and modelling approaches and the development of tools?

RIGHT supports intervention-focused applied health research for the direct and primary benefit of people in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs). To fulfil the aims of RIGHT 5 the applicants should focus on developing and evaluating interventions. Mapping and modelling approaches can form part of a broader programme of work, but it cannot be the sole focus.

You mentioned that the focus was on extreme events and not on longer term climate related impacts on health - how will this be evaluated? If thinking for example about the relationship between drought risks and health and mitigation of impacts of drought on health systems, what would constitute an extreme drought vs a long-term trend?

We have consulted with climate experts in developing this call, and will have climate science expertise on the committee to evaluate applications. Applicants are asked to provide in their application a clear link between their proposed interventions and the extreme weather event. RIGHT Call 5 does not support research into general longer-term climate- related impact on health.

Would the application have to evaluate an intervention or can it be on development of an intervention?

NIHR expects RIGHT applications to do both. Please refer to the RIGHT-Call 5 Stage 1 Guidance for Applicants for more information.  

What do you define as an Extreme weather event?

A weather event is considered extreme if it is rare at a particular place and time of year. Definitions of rare vary, but an extreme weather event would normally be as rare as or rarer than the 10th or 90th percentile of a probability density function estimated from observations (as defined in the IPCC report). Applicants should set out why events in their chosen geographies would be defined as extreme weather events and justify how plans will focus on extreme weather events.

Is research that uses mobile phone/artificial intelligence related technologies in rural environments to assist in extreme weather situations within scope?

Development and evaluation of a technology-based intervention to strengthen health service delivery and resilience in Low- and middle-income countries in the context of extreme weather events caused by the changing climate are within the scope of this call. Research must be for the direct and primary benefit to the people in ODA-eligible countries and you must clearly demonstrate this in your application. Please note that your intervention should be applicable to low-resource settings. In addition, it is advised to describe high level considerations for Intellectual Property (IP) in your application. Please refer to our Global Health Research Programmes Core guidance for further information on IP. If you are planning to implement an existing technology-based intervention, the implementation element should be part of a wider programme of work. An application that solely includes implementation will not be supported by the call.


Is India eligible as it was said in previous years that it would be out of ODA listing?

India is on the 2022-2023 DAC list but not on the published ‘graduate’ list, so does qualify for this call. All countries on the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) list of ODA-eligible countries, including Upper Middle Income Countries, are eligible for NIHR Global Health Research funding where research is focussed on the development needs of those countries. All applications should provide clear details of how the research will meet ODA eligibility criteria.

I represent an Innovation Centre housed in an International Non-Governmental Organisation (INGO) based in East Africa and we have academic partnership with Kenya-based universities. Can my organisation (INGO) apply as a prime applicant and having the research led by a PI from partner universities?

A contracting organisation can be based in a LMIC as stated in the Call Guidance. Any LMIC or UK not-for-profit research organisation can act as Joint Lead provided they can demonstrate a proven track record in research delivery and sufficient research and financial capacity to manage and deliver proposed plans for research and training, in the field or discipline in which it is applying for funding.

If an organisation is sole lead from an LMIC, can they subcontract to and involve researchers from the USA as collaborators?

Applications proposing non-LMIC Co-Applicants or Collaborators are eligible provided there is clear justification for their involvement and that these resources/expertise cannot be found within LMICs. Please refer to the Global Health Research Programmes Core Guidance for more information about collaborators.

I am a PI of another ongoing NIHR Global Health Research award, am I eligible to be the lead applicant on this new RIGHT call?

Existing NIHR Global Health Research award holders are eligible to apply to this call as a lead applicant (contracting lead or non-contracting lead) but assurance is required that they have sufficient time and resources available to deliver concurrent awards successfully.

Is it recommended to have one or more LMIC countries in your application?

NIHR does not make recommendations on how many LMIC countries to include in RIGHT applications as this will depend on an individual application's proposed programme of research. Please bear in mind, however, the potential complexity of involving higher numbers of different countries. The Funding Committee will need to be assured appropriate management plans and resources are in place to manage awards working across several countries.

Please clarify if a UK organisation must be part of the team

It is not mandatory to include a UK organisation as part of the team.

Can an industry partner be an applicant e.g. pharma who are not receiving funds but may add additional funding? Should they be an applicant or partner or how do we manage administratively?

Please see the NIHR Global Health Research core guidance. An industry partner can be a collaborator in an application. Commercial organisations may be included in applications as Collaborator or via service level agreement, providing it is clear what benefit a commercial company would bring to the research programme. In addition, a company’s commercial model must be compatible with the conditions laid out in the NIHR research contract and NIHR’s policies/limitations around funding indirect costs, and the costs must be clear in the budget. It is important that any collaborating organisation is aligned with NIHR’s principles including open access to research.

Can the position of project manager you mentioned sit outside the lead applicant(s) with a co-applicant? Same question for the community engagement role?

Given that Co-applicants (and their institutions) are expected to share responsibility for the successful delivery of RIGHT programmes, the project manager role and the Community Engagement and Involvement lead may be based at a Co-applicant institution.

Should young or early career researchers experienced in this area apply for this funding as leads or is the call aimed at more advanced scholars?

For RIGHT Call 5, (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 provided within the application. 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 the strength of the research team.

What is the maximum number of Principal Investigators (PIs) an application can have?

The maximum number of Joint Lead Applicants (Co-PIs) is two. Applications MUST be led by either:

  • A Principal Investigator (Lead Applicant) employed by an LMIC Higher Education Institution (HEI) or Research Institute.
  • A Principal Investigator employed by a UK HEI or Research Institute (UK Joint Lead Applicant) to jointly lead with a Principal Investigator employed by an LMIC HEI or Research Institute (LMIC Joint Lead Applicant).

Can applicants be institutions/organisations instead of individuals?

Applicants are individuals. You are required to name the applicants (individuals) in your application.

Is it allowed to have a co-applicant from a European country or the USA?

Applications proposing non-LMIC Co-Applicants or Collaborators are eligible provided Official Development Assistance (ODA) eligibility criteria are met. There must be clear justification for their involvement and why these resources or expertise cannot be found within LMICs.

Can an international organisation submit multiple applications from regional sites in different countries?

There are no restrictions on the number of applications an institution can submit under this call provided they are distinct in their objectives. Each application will be treated as a separate and independent application. All of the applications will be reviewed by an independent, international Funding Committee and will be assessed against the key funding criteria as outlined in the call guidance. Funding will then be allocated based on the ranking and available budget.

Please note that, while this call does not have restrictions on the number of applications an institution can submit, an individual cannot be named as a (Joint) Lead applicant on more than one application.

Regarding the Community Engagement and Involvement (CEI) representative; can I name an organisation instead of a person? If so, how can I cost it?

There is no standard model for CEI, and applicants should demonstrate that their CEI approach is appropriate and effective in the local context and for their study design. Please refer to the CEI resources on our website for more information. If you are unable to name an individual as a CEI co-applicant, then you may include the delivery partner institution in your application as a collaborator and request the cost of their services related to CEI. Please refer to the NIHR Global Health Research Programme Core Guidance for the definition of collaborators. Also, please note that “Strength of the research team”, “Community Engagement and Involvement”, and “Equity of Partnership” are all part of the key criteria for funding. The research team should ensure that there is interdisciplinary expertise that will facilitate partner and stakeholder coordination and integration of CEI throughout the research cycle. Appropriate local Co-Applicants or Collaborators, and community members must be involved in leading and delivering CEI activities.

Can co-applicants be from the same institution as the lead applicant(s)?

Yes, co-applicants can belong to the same institution as a lead applicant.


Can PhDs be funded under training and development costs?

Please see call guidance. NIHR awards support a range of studentships including PhDs. Details of what costs can be claimed are in the Finance Guidance .

What kind of financing mechanism is going to be employed? Is it a cost reimbursable scheme where institutions spend and they are reimbursed later?

By default, DHSC will make payments quarterly in arrears (monthly payments may be made if specifically requested and justified by the Contracted Organisation). Payments will be made to the contracted organisation only and the contracted organisation will be responsible for passing on any money due to their collaborating organisation(s) including those in LMICs. NIHR requires Contracted Organisations to account for financial expenditure on an accrual (resource) basis rather than a cash basis. More information can be found on our Finance Guidance under DHSC payment policy .

What is the total award pot and how many grant awards do you expect to make?

The funding announcement for this call at COP26 was £20m. The funding range per application is £1-3 million. The number of awards made will depend on application quality and funding available.

Can you clarify the point about UK applicants not being able to apply for equipment- does that include laptops/IT?

Equipment purchase for use in the UK contracted/collaborating organisations would not normally be supported. If equipment is required for the use in the UK, a clear justification must be provided, including as to how the purchase will be of the direct and principal benefit to the LMIC community. Please refer to the RIGHT Call 5 Finance Guidance.

Does NIHR fund 100% of the requested direct and indirect costs for non-LMIC, non-UK organisations?

Commercial organisations, consultancies and other collaborating organisations not based in ODA-eligible LMICs or the UK can request up to 100% of direct costs but no indirect costs will be supported for these organisations. Please see the RIGHT 5 Finance Guidance for more detail.

For a PhD student who will reside and carry out the research in the LMIC with co-supervision from both the LMIC and the UK teams: should these costs be included in the LMIC budget rather than the UK budget? And should the stipend be cost at the LMIC rate or the UK rate?

The costs for PhD students based in LMICs should be shown as LMIC Budget / allocation even if they receive co-supervision from non-LMIC partners. The applicable stipend rate is based on the location of the student. If LMIC-based students spend some of their time in the UK, then the UK rates apply and should be prorated accordingly for the relevant duration of study in the UK.

What can be considered a UK higher education institution’s (HEI) indirect cost and what is the level of details you need?

Please refer to the RIGHT Call 5 Finance Guidance and the Stage 2 the Finance Form for further guidance on how indirect cost is calculated. UK HEIs may request indirect costs and estates that form part of Full Economic Costing (FEC). UK HEIs should determine the full economic costing (FEC) of their research using the Transparent Approach to Costing (TRAC) methodology. For HEIs in the UK, NIHR will fund 80% of the HEI’s FEC, provided the TRAC methodology has been used. Indirect costs will be scrutinised to ensure the cost is reasonable and adhere to Value for Money principles (Economy, Efficiency, Effectiveness and Equity) which means that the project is proportionately covering indirect cost.

The Stage 2 Finance Form includes the following points on UK based HEI indirect costs:

  • Total HEI indirect costs must be fully justified as to why these costs are being requested and how they will contribute to the overall research. HEIs are permitted to claim estate and other indirect costs up to 80% FEC. These costs are calculated on the basis of TRAC methodology. HEI indirect costs are based on the number of full-time equivalent research staff working on the research and the indirect/estates charges set by an institution.
  • Where staff from more than one HEI are working on the research, there may be different indirect and estates charges for each one. Please list each institution on a separate line. Please note HEI indirect costs cannot be claimed on shared staff costs. The applicant(s) should consult their HEI finance departments for the appropriate figures to include in the estate charges and other indirect cost sections.

Our application will be led by two Joint Lead Applicants. If funded, is it possible for the both lead institutions to be individually contracted directly with NIHR? Or is the call limited to one contracting institution for each project?

Although an application can be jointly led by two Joint Lead Applicants, there can only be one Contracting institution for flow of funds. The Contracting institution will sign the contract with the Department of Health and Social Care if funded. Payments will be made to the Contracting Institution and the Contracting Institution will be responsible for passing on any money due to their collaborating/partner organisation(s) including those in LMICs.

Do I need to complete the Justification section in the Stage 2 Finance Form? How much detail should I provide?

Yes, you must complete the justification of costs section in the Finance Form. The best way to determine if your justification would be sufficient is to ask whether a third party without much knowledge of the application would understand the costs and the justification easily. Costs that are itemised in detail may require less detail, but they should still be supported by a justification as it would help assessors understand the cost. Costs that are in a lump sum or large amounts without a breakdown will be flagged as unexplained, and it is therefore important to ensure that sufficient justification and breakdown are provided. The level of detail required should be proportionate to the cost.

What is the FCRA and how will this impact funding for research projects in India?

The Indian government has recently updated the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) which relates to payments to organisations in India. These organisations should follow the latest Indian government guidelines to confirm whether they require a FCRA license and that they have the appropriate measures in place to receive funding.

It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that any organisations in India involved in the research proposal, whether as Lead Applicants, Joint Lead Applicants, Co-Applicants or Collaborators, are fully compliant with the requirements of the FCRA. They should also ensure that the FCRA license is valid until beyond the end of the proposed contract period.

Your proposal

What is the expected life of the project once the grant is awarded?

The expected life of projects in this call is 3-5 years of eligible research.

How many Co-Investigators are allowed (max number)?

The maximum number of Joint Lead Applicants is 2. In addition, the maximum number of Co-applicants is 15.

If an investigator is a joint lead applicant on one bid, is the number of other bids where they can be co-applicant limited to 1?

Yes. An individual cannot be named as Lead /Joint Lead Applicant on more than one RIGHT Call 5 application. An individual can be a (Joint) Lead Applicant on one RIGHT Call 5 application and co-applicant on a second RIGHT Call 5 application.

The latest NIHR guidance suggests not including open access fees post June 22 awards - does this apply to RIGHT 5?

The new NIHR Open Access publication policy - for publications submitted on or after 1 June 2022 will apply to RIGHT 5, meaning costs for Open Access will no longer be requested at application stage. We will provide further guidance in due course.

Is there any advice on a model for operationalising the relationship between joint applicants (in terms of financial management or otherwise), or is that down to the discretion of the applicants?

That would be down to the discretion of the applicants. However, it is important that equity and collaboration should be demonstrated across all aspects of the research proposal, including programme leadership, decision-making, capacity strengthening, governance, appropriate distribution of funds, ethics processes, data ownership, and dissemination of findings.


What the process is for applicants to register on the RMS system. Do they have to register separately or does the lead applicant invite those who are not registered into the system?

All applicants (both Lead and co-applicants) will need to register on the RMS system. Please note accounts can take up to 48 hours to be verified and that institutional email addresses will need to be used where possible.

I am helping the lead applicant to pull together this bid and I registered but was told if I open an application that I would then become the lead applicant which isn’t what I want. I need to be able to access the online application form and advise the co-leads and other co-applicants about how to access the application.

The Lead applicant will need to start the application and they can then invite any Joint Lead applicants and co-applicants from the form. Co-applicants and Joint Leads will need to have registered and been approved on the RMS to be invited. Once invited, co-applicants and the Joint Lead applicant will receive an email and they will need to login and confirm their participation. They can then edit the application form. Please note the application cannot be submitted unless all co-applicants and the Joint Lead (if applicable) have confirmed their participation.
If you would like to assist the applicants in their application you would need to be added as a co-applicant in order to access the form. If you would not like to be a co-applicant on submission, however, the lead applicant will be able to delete you from the application at a later date.

How do you include publications to the application?

Please follow the steps below:

  • To update publications, select My Research Outputs from the left-hand menu.
  • To update Grants and your general CV Select Manage My Details Then Update My CV from the left-hand menu before going into the actual application.

To later indicate which 6 publications you will attach to the application, please go to the (Joint) Lead applicant research background section and you will see the green plus button that will allow you to add publications. Please refer to the RMS System Help Guidance for further information.

Could you give an indication of the format that applicant and co-applicant CV’s need to be presented. Should I just populate the online form or upload a word document of my CV?

All applicants will need to populate their CVs through the online form on RMS.


Can PPDA applications for RIGHT 5 include costs for a consultant, for example to deliver CEI activities or to write a stage 2 proposal?

Eligible PPDA costs are those that support collaborative working and include the cost of CEI, establishing any memorandum of understanding, governance policies, due diligence, costs related to research plan/ proposal development, etc. In addition, all costs need to be proportionate. Where an external resource/expert is proposed to support PPDA objectives, a justification is required as to why an external resource will be needed rather than an internal one within a collaboration network. Consultancy cost is not usually supported by PPDA, however use of a knowledgeable facilitator to achieve any of areas specified and funded by PPDA may be considered provided sufficient justification is made. PPDA will not support the consultancy costs of a professional grant writer.


Can NIHR connect applicants with successful researchers to get a feel for time involved more fully?

No, but information on current RIGHT awards and other global health projects is available on NIHR's Funding and Awards website. You can use this information to identify those working in similar areas or countries.

Could you comment at all on other planned global health calls that might also be coming up this year?

We expect there will be further funding calls later this year. Please sign up to our newsletter to receive these alerts. Through the newsletter you will find all relevant announcements.

Please elaborate on South-South learning

The United Nations define South-South cooperation as a “broad framework of collaboration among countries of the South in the political, economic, social, cultural, environmental and technical domains. Involving two or more developing countries, it can take place on a bilateral, regional, intraregional or interregional basis. Through South-South collaboration, developing countries share knowledge, skills, expertise and resources to meet their development goals through concerted efforts”.

Is the capacity strengthening piece restricted to academic degrees or can applications propose strengthening capacity through continued professional development that does not necessarily lead to academic degrees?

No, funding requested to support research capacity strengthening activities does not necessarily have to lead to a degree, as long as the proposed use of the funding is aligned to the objectives of the application. Where funding for research capacity strengthening is requested, this should be accompanied by clear plans for research and/or research management capacity and capability strengthening at individual and/or institutional levels. The NIHR is committed to strengthening individual and institutional health research capacity for the long term to support sustainability and the research eco-system as a whole. Please refer to the Global Health Research Programmes Core Guidance.