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Research and Innovation for Global Health Transformation - Call 3 Stage 1 Guidance for Applicants


Published: 08 October 2019

Version: 1.0 - October 2019

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The NIHR was established in 2006 to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research and is funded by the Department of Health and Social Care.

In addition to its national role, the NIHR, through its Global Health Research Programme, supports high-quality applied health research for the direct and primary benefit of people in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) on the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) list, using Official Development Assistance (ODA) funding.

In line with ODA principles, between 2016-19, the NIHR has established a substantial portfolio of global health research programmes, through open ‘Investigator-led’ calls. These have positioned the NIHR as a key player in global health research.

The NIHR Research and Innovation for Global health Transformation (RIGHT) programme forms part of the UK government's commitment to ODA. Through RIGHT, NIHR provides research funding to support cutting-edge interdisciplinary applied health research in key areas in ODA-eligible countries where a strategic and targeted investment can result in a transformative impact.

Aims and focus of RIGHT Call 3

NIHR RIGHT Call 3 supports equitable partnerships between LMIC and UK researchers to generate new research knowledge and evidence on interventions to improve outcomes for those affected by multimorbidity in ODA-eligible countries, in particular in the areas identified as priorities (see Focus of the Call).

The aims of RIGHT Call 3 are to:

  • Deliver applied health research for the direct and primary benefit to the health and wealth of people living in ODA-eligible countries affected by multimorbidity
  • Ensure that the research funded through this call strengthens capacity for research and knowledge exchange through development of equitable partnerships between researchers in the ODA-eligible countries and the UK
  • Promote interdisciplinary approaches to working, by specifically encouraging applications necessitating expertise and activities associated with a broad range of health-science disciplines, including but not limited to: clinical, health economics, statistics, qualitative and social sciences


There is international recognition that multimorbidity is an increasing global health burden, with an aging human population living long enough to accumulate multiple conditions leading to increasingly complex treatment and care needs. While the risk of multimorbidity increases with age in all settings, multimorbidity is also a common concern, particularly in LMICs, in children and adolescence, driven by poverty, infectious diseases and malnutrition. 

Multimorbidity is characterised by the clustering of disease conditions. In 2018, the Academy of Medical Sciences (AMS) published a report on multimorbidity: Multimorbidity: a priority for global health research. The report recommended the adoption of a uniform definition of multimorbidity, discussed the impact of co-occurring chronic conditions in LMICs, and set out research priorities for countering the growing burden of multimorbidity.

The AMS report gave the following definition of multimorbidity, which is consistent with the World Health Organisation (WHO) definition and is used for this guidance document:

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 

Although the rise in multimorbidity is a global issue, it is context dependent and therefore the research and investment priorities for high-income countries (HIC) are often not directly transferable to the LMIC setting. There is generally much less information available about the burden of disease or context dependent factors associated with clustering of conditions and/or management of multimorbidity in LMICs, making generalisation or extrapolation of issues or needs across countries and regions inappropriate.

Understanding multimorbidity and developing patient centric, context-specific care pathways is important for HIC and LMIC settings. Multimorbidity investment needs in a HIC setting is predicated on a need for better management of progression or development of coincident non-communicable diseases (NCDs), whereas the situation in LMICs is confounded by the enduring high burden of infectious diseases (notably HIV, tuberculosis (TB) and hepatitis), poverty and poor nutrition.

In contrast to the HIC setting where one of the principal challenges is around change of an existing system, the comparative underdevelopment of health systems in LMIC provides a greater opportunity to develop and invest in new health systems specifically designed to tackle the growing multimorbidity burden.

The AMS report identified a number of research priorities designed to better understand the burden, determinants, prevention and treatment of patients with multimorbidity. Of particular relevance to RIGHT Call 3 are research priorities 4, 5 and 6:

  • Priority 4 - What strategies are best able to facilitate the simultaneous or stepwise prevention of chronic conditions that contribute to the most common multimorbidity clusters?
  • Priority 5 - What strategies are best able to maximise the benefits and limit the risks of treatment among patients with multimorbidity?
  • Priority 6 - Healthcare systems strengthening - How can healthcare systems be better organised to maximise the benefits and limit the risks for patients with multimorbidity?

Focus of RIGHT Call 3

NIHR is seeking applications for 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, including but not limited to:
    • interventions to prevent stepwise progression of multimorbidity once one long-term condition or infection has been diagnosed
    • interventions to improve treatment, management and care of patients with infections prevalent in LMICs that have a known association with development or exacerbation of NCD
    • interventions for the treatment and prevention of the development of multimorbidity in children and young adults driven by malnutrition, multiple chronic infections and poverty
    • scalable treatment and care approaches that integrate the management of multimorbidity/disease clusters associated with infection(s) and/or NCD(s)
    • new treatment packages, or new models of care and community-based interventions.
  2. Healthcare systems strengthening in ODA-eligible countries: research into health care system improvements for improved treatments, management and care for those affected by multimorbidity in LMICs, including capacity building in the primary care setting.

Please note: Research that aims at a better understanding of risk factors, cultural attitudes and practices influencing the development of multimorbidity can be included provided it is part of a wider programme of work contributing to the implementation or evaluation of an intervention. 

RIGHT Call 3 – Outline

NIHR RIGHT Call 3 is a two-stage competition with a mandatory Intent to Submit form during stage 1. Stage 1 is a short-listing outline stage. Stage 2 is for successful applicants at Stage 1 to produce a full application. An international Funding Committee will consider eligible applications at Stage 1 and Stage 2.

 Stage 1PPDAStage 2
Call launch 09 October 2019 09 October 2019 08 April 2020
Submission deadline for mandatory Intent to Submit Form 29 November 2019 (13:00) -  -
Deadline for remit enquiries* 9 January 2020  -  -
Submission deadline 15 January 2020 (13:00) 15 January 2020 (13:00) 17 June 2020 (13:00)
Funding committee reviews applications and makes recommendations March 2020  -  October 2020
Submission outcome April 2020 April 2020 November 2020

*NIHR will not guarantee they will be able to answer queries about the remit or content of applications after this date. If you have other queries about RMS or the application process, please do contact us after this time.  

This document sets out the process for submitting Intent to Submit form and Stage 1 applications.


Awards of typical range £1-5 million (maximum of £5 million) over 3-4 years are available for partnerships led by two Joint Lead Investigators (one from an LMIC and one from a UK institution).

Applications submitted to this call will be required to describe how they address the key criteria for funding.

Key criteria for funding: 

  1. Research plans build on partnerships between two Joint Lead Applicants (one from an LMIC and one from a UK institution), and other Co-applicants (maximum of 15 in addition to the two Joint Lead Applicants) who will form a research team able to support knowledge generation and exchange and strengthen relevant capacity and capability development.
  2. Research plans are based on a review of the local context, and demonstrate how the application is rooted in existing research literature and health system(s).
  3. The proposed research draws on an LMIC-led needs analysis which has refined relevant research questions and priorities through engagement with policy makers, evidence users and local communities, as appropriate. Where partner institutions/research programmes are in middle-income countries on the DAC list, applications should clearly demonstrate how the research will improve the health and welfare of the most vulnerable populations and how their findings could have wider applicability to other low resource settings.
  4. There are clear plans for developing institutional and individual research capacity and capability (for example research career development programmes and training; exchanges with policy-making institutions/practice-based settings; and grant management, finance management and contracting).
  5. A clear and implementable strategy for pathways to impact including research uptake and dissemination, based on a theory of change or equivalent. 

RIGHT Call 3 will support:

  1. Applications that demonstrate they address the key criteria above. 
  2. Applied health research programmes that are of primary and direct benefit to people and patients in ODA-eligible countries, which address the challenges faced by ODA-eligible countries in the area of multimorbidity.
  3. Interdisciplinary applied research teams with demonstrable expertise and a track-record of ensuring clinical research is transferred into benefits for patients – this can include teams in ODA-eligible countries as well as teams and researchers, who may want to build new research partnerships with colleagues in ODA-eligible countries or apply their research expertise to global health.
  4. Proposals that incorporate research questions around gender, age, social barriers to health, economic impact and equity that demonstrate strong partnerships with institutions in ODA-eligible countries.
  5. Applications that demonstrate joint leadership between the LMIC and UK research partners and have clear plans to engage with other relevant partners. Please note for RIGHT funded programmes two Joint Lead Applicants (one from an ODA-eligible country -LMIC Joint Lead Applicant - and one from a UK institution - UK Joint Lead Applicant - MUST be included on the application. 
  6. Applications that include relevant engagement with policy makers, patients, the public, civil society organisations, communities and charities.
  7. Applications that include PhD and master’s students based in LMICs.

RIGHT Call 3 will not support:

  1. Applications that are not ODA-eligible (see section 8).
  2. Applications that are not clearly relevant to multimorbidity in an LMIC setting and context and are not based on research priorities identified in LMIC partner countries.
  3. Application that do not include two Joint Lead Applicants, one of which must be in a LMIC and one in a UK institution.
  4. Applications with a focus on basic/discovery research or experimental medicine. 
  5. Costs to establish and maintain new biobanks and bio-sample collections are not eligible under this initiative. 
  6. Applications consisting solely of epidemiological studies.
  7. Applications consisting solely of evaluations of existing services, where the programme of work does not include evidence-based development and improvement of these services.
  8. Applications solely comprising a single Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT).
  9. Applications that solely replicate research already undertaken in High-Income Countries – research proposals should be clearly relevant to the ODA-eligible country in which the research is being undertaken. 
  10. Applications that primarily focus on observational research, secondary research or health policy implementation.


The research must be focused on improving the health and welfare for the direct and primary benefit of people in ODA-eligible countries. In order to be eligible to receive NIHR Global Health Research funding, applications must demonstrate how they meet ODA compliance criteria and outline:

  1. Which country or countries on the DAC list of ODA-eligible countries will directly benefit?
  2. How the application is directly and primarily relevant to the development challenges of those countries?
  3. How the outcomes will promote the health and welfare of a country or countries on the DAC list?

All applications must have two Joint Lead Applicants (one at an LMIC institution and one at a UK institution). 

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. 

Funding and contracting must take place via the UK administering institution (UK Joint Lead Applicant). UK-based Joint Lead Applicants from Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and Research Institutes in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are eligible to apply. 

Joint Lead Applicants and research team members (Co-Applicants and Collaborators) from ODA-eligible LMICs will normally be from a research institution, HEI or a not-for-profit organisation.  

Applications proposing non-LMIC Co-Applicants or Collaborators are in scope provided there is clear justification for their involvement and those resources cannot be found within LMICs. 

For-profit organisations cannot be a Joint Lead as they do not fall under any of the eligible categories above. However, these 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/limitation around funding indirect costs, and the costs are clear in the budget. It is important that any Applicant organisation is aligned with NIHR’s principles including open access to research.

Non-health research institutions, e.g. an institute of engineering, can act as Co-Applicants or Collaborators, provided their expertise is relevant to the plans proposed.

Under this call, an individual cannot be named as Joint Lead Applicant on more than one application.

There are no restrictions on the number of applications an institution can submit under this call provided they are distinct in their objectives. 

Existing NIHR award holders are eligible to apply to this call provided there is assurance they have sufficient time and resources available to them to deliver concurrent awards successfully.  

If you are unsure of eligibility, please contact

Structure of RIGHT award teams

The structure of programmes funded through the RIGHT programme should consist of the two Joint Lead Applicants based in an ODA-eligible country and the UK. Dependent on the nature of the proposed plans, there may be other affiliated Co-applicants (maximum of 15 in addition to the two Joint Lead Applicants) and Collaborators. 

NIHR expects equity to be strongly reflected in programme leadership, decision-making, capacity building, governance, appropriate distribution of funds, ethics processes, data ownership, and dissemination of findings. For example: 

  • All parties listed as part of the core research team partnership must have significant input to the research and management of the research programme and form part of the leadership structure; 
  • The budget should be driven by the work plan, the expectation is that funds are distributed equitably, and the flow of funds will reflect where the majority of work is taking place. 

Roles and contributions of all members working as part of the partnership must be clearly stated in the application, and full consideration given to the increasing complexity of managing large collaborations. Applicants should consider:

  • Will the number of proposed Co-Applicants and Collaborators introduce undue complexity in the management and set up arrangements within the available timeframes?
  • Will there be sufficient funds available to support all partners to make a meaningful contribution? 
  • Is the size and breadth of expertise in the team justified and appropriate for delivery of the proposed programme? 

Further guidance to support developing and sustaining Equitable Research Partnerships can be found at the NIHR website and in A Guide for Transboundary Research Partnerships (Swiss Commission for Research Partnerships with Developing Countries (KFPE)  and the UKCDR report on Building effective and equitable research collaborations.

Training and capacity building

The NIHR is committed to developing individual and institutional global health research capacity for the long term to support sustainability and the research eco-system as a whole. Applicants must include a global health research and capacity-strengthening component in their application, which may take place in either the ODA-eligible countries or the UK. 

Funds can be requested for a range of activities incorporating full or partial funding for formal training posts (e.g. PhD, MSc), in-country training, workshops, exchanges and other relevant activities e.g. ODA-eligible training hubs etc, as well as other wider institutional capacity-strengthening activities such as finance, programme management, data management.

Individuals funded by the RIGHT programme to undertake a formal NIHR training/career development award would become NIHR Academy members and be eligible for the career development and training support provided by the NIHR Academy.  Teams are strongly encouraged to consider and cost activities that will build both research capacity and research and financial management capacity. Teams are also encouraged to consider activities such as coaching, buddying and mentorship.

Funded RIGHT programmes will be expected to have a named Training Lead to co-ordinate activities across the programme, and act as the liaison point on training with the NIHR Academy and be an active member of the NIHR Global Health Training Forum. This will include developing and leading on a training plan for the RIGHT programme.

Community engagement and involvement

The NIHR encourages active and participatory Community Engagement and Involvement (CEI; more commonly known in the UK as ‘Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement’) that empowers communities and fosters co-production of research. 

Patients and the general public within a given community, especially vulnerable groups who are at the greatest risk, will normally be the key group included in CEI activities. Other community stakeholders such as community leaders, opinion leaders, non-governmental organisations and civil society, service commissioners and providers, policy and lawmakers are examples of other stakeholders who can be involved. 

There is no standard model for CEI. CEI will be formally assessed at Stage 2, if applicants are invited to proceed to stage 2, however, applicants should demonstrate their approach to CEI in their stage 1 application.


Teams are encouraged to consider the draft UNICEF Minimum Standards for Community Engagement  when preparing their applications. 

NIHR INVOLVE have produced a number of useful resources in relation to community engagement and involvement:

Support is also available from your regional NIHR Research Design Services.

Programme management and governance

Complex programmes of global health research require significant levels of management to ensure successful delivery. 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. You may also wish to speak to your contracts department to determine the time requirements for contract approvals for this award. 

Programme management arrangements should be clearly described in your application, with sufficient resources in place to manage programme/work stream initiation, assurance of due diligence and audit processes, effective risk management (including financial, reputational and legal risks), quarterly financial reporting, monitoring, evaluation and impact tracking, communication management, data management, and compliance with ethics frameworks. 


Applicants should detail the proposed impact of the research 

  • likelihood of significant contribution to the evidence base in the relevant area,
  • pathways to improvement in health, wellbeing, lives saved and economic, social and cultural benefits in ODA-eligible countries
  • plans for engagement with policy makers, communities and the public at an early stage.

An impact strengthening workshop will be held for RIGHT Call 3 applicants successful at Stage 1 and invited to submit a Stage 2 application. Date to be confirmed.

Research contract, collaboration agreement and assurance

Contracting must take place via the UK administering institution (UK Joint Lead Applicant). You can download a copy of the current ODA research contract.

Selection criteria for stage 1

The selection criteria for Stage 1 will be:

  1. Relevance of the proposed research to the research requirement outlined in the Remit (above)
  2. Quality of the research design and work plan (i.e. clear research questions/objectives, sound design and detailed methodology to address the questions/meet the objectives; clear milestones, identification of possible risks and factoring in of ethical considerations)
  3. Strength of the research team (i.e. depth and breadth of relevant expertise and track record of applicants in a related area)
  4. Impact of the proposed work (i.e. likelihood of significant contribution to the evidence base in the relevant area, pathways to improvement in health, wellbeing, lives saved and economic, social and cultural benefits in ODA-eligible countries) and plans for engagement with policy makers, communities and the public at an early stage 

Selection process

All eligible applications will be considered by an independent Funding Committee that will make recommendations to the Department of Health and Social Care.


The amount of NIHR funding available for this competition up to £30 million.  Awards of typical range £1-5 million (maximum of £5 million) over 3-4 years are available for eligible research, starting January 2021 (earliest start date) to April 2021 (latest start date). The amount awarded and the length of the funding period should be fully justified according to the nature of the proposed research.

Eligible costs for RIGHT Call 3 include but are not limited to:

  1. Research staff engaged in relevant research
  2. Research support staff supporting relevant research
  3. Travel, subsistence, meetings, conferences 
  4. Equipment 
  5. Consumables 
  6. Community engagement and involvement
  7. Dissemination, including open access publication costs
  8. Risk management and assurance
  9. External intervention costs
  10. Non-pay research costs
  11. Other legitimate and reasonable indirect costs (e.g. HR, finance)

Please note:

  • Costs for awards will be scrutinised as part of the assessment process and the Funding Committee reserve the right to award only part of the funds requested.
  • NIHR will challenge costs that it does not consider appropriate or does not consider providing value for money.
  • RIGHT Award holders will be expected to provide quarterly finance reports of actual expenditure incurred, this will then be combined with reporting against progress set out in the application with an expectation of proportionate due diligence.
  • Funds will be distributed to ODA-eligible countries via the UK administrative institution. Payments will be made quarterly in arrears on the basis of expenditure reported through finance reports.

Value for money

The NIHR RIGHT programme requires evidence of good value for money and considers this to be the optimal use of resources to achieve the intended outcomes. ‘Optimal’ being considered as ‘the most desirable possible given expressed or implied restrictions or constraints’. Value for money goes beyond achieving the lowest initial price and includes consideration of Economy, Efficiency, Effectiveness, and Equity (as appropriate) and what these mean in the context of a research proposal: 

Economy: Are we buying inputs of the appropriate quality at the right price? (Inputs are things such as staff, consultants, raw materials and capital that are used to produce outputs) 

Efficiency: How well do we convert inputs into outputs? (Outputs are results delivered by us or our agents to an external party. We exercise strong control over the quality and quantity of outputs) 

Effectiveness: How well are the outputs from an intervention achieving the desired outcome? (Note that in contrast to outputs, we do not exercise direct control over outcomes) 

Equity: the extent to which the outputs of our interventions are equitably distributed.

DFID’s Approach to Value for Money guidance may be useful.

Proposal and Partnership Development Award

Applicants that are successful at Stage 1 and invited to submit a Stage 2 application are eligible to apply for a Proposal and Partnership Development Award (PPDA). PPDA provides funding of up to £10,000 to support partnership development and the preparation of the full proposal to be submitted for Stage 2.

To be considered for a PPDA, applicants must complete a separate PPDA application. The PPDA must be submitted at the same time as the RIGHT Stage 1 application in the RMS by the deadline Wednesday, 15 January at 1pm UK time.

PPDA applications will be reviewed for those applicants that are successful at Stage 1. Those applicants that are rejected at Stage 1 will not be eligible for PPDA. Those applicants that are successful at Stage 1 will be notified of the outcome of their PPDA application at the same time as the RIGHT Call 2 Stage 1 applications.

Please see separate Proposal and Partnership Development Award Guidance for completing a PPDA application. 

How to apply to RIGHT Call 3

Complete mandatory Intent to Submit form

Applicants for RIGHT Call 3 must submit an online mandatory Intent to Submit form by 29 November 2019 at 13:00 UK time. The form can be accessed here on the NIHR website 

After submitting your Intent to Submit form, applicants should not wait for a response from NIHR and should continue to submit their RIGHT Call 3 Stage 1 application via the NIHR’s Research Management System.

The Intent to Submit form is to aid the review process of the RIGHT Call 3 Stage 1 applications. No feedback will be provided on the Intent to Submit form and no applications are rejected at this stage.

If you have any queries, you can contact the NIHR RIGHT Global Health team on or 020 8843 8080.

Complete RIGHT Stage 1 application

You must complete an online application via the Research Management System (RMS). The closing date for applications is Wednesday, 15 January 2020 at 1pm UK time.

  • Applications will not be accepted if submitted after the exact closing date and time, the system will automatically prevent this from happening 
  • It is the applicants’ responsibility to allow sufficient time to submit an application
  • Applicants must contact the NIHR RIGHT Global Health team by emailing or calling 020 8843 8080  immediately if they think there is a system problem, whilst attempting to continue with their submission

A word template of the Stage 1 application form is available on the NIHR website for reference only.

Section 1: Application Summary Information

Host organisation

Provide details of the UK organisation who will be the contractor (i.e. the organisation who will sign the contract with DHSC) if the programme is funded. If your organisation does not appear on the list, please contact the NIHR.

Research title

The programme title should state clearly and concisely the proposed research. Any abbreviations should be spelled out in full.

Research type

Select the appropriate research type. If your proposed programme is predominantly primary research, please select ‘Primary Research’. If you are predominantly 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.

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.

Research duration (months)

Ensure you include sufficient time to complete all aspects of the research including applications approvals (where required) and the final report. 

End date

This field will automatically populate once you have entered the start date and research duration information.

Estimated research costs

Enter the total budget for research costs requested on the application form (see Finance Guidance for Applicants).

At Stage 1, applicants are required to provide a total figure for the costs on the application form and to provide further details of the cost breakdown (in particular the anticipated split of funds between the UK, ODA-eligible countries and any other international parties) by uploading a completed Summary Form.

Please note the total amount given on the financial summary form should be the amount being requested from NIHR; that is 80% FEC for UK HEIs, 100% costs for ODA-eligible countries, and for HIC (other international) – 100% direct costs only, indirect costs are not eligible for HIC other international countries.

Section 2: UK Joint Lead Applicant CV

Complete your name, contact details and other requested information.

Section 3: UK Joint Lead Applicant Research Background

Publication record

Provide details of a maximum of six of your most recent/relevant publications (in the last ten years) relevant to this application (using Vancouver or Harvard citation format). Please include 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). For more information about resubmission of a research/trainee funding application, or joint funding please contact the NIHR Global Health RIGHT programme team; or 020 8843 8080.

Has this application been previously submitted to this or any other funding body?

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. For more information about resubmission of a research/trainee funding application or joint funding, please contact the NIHR Global Health RIGHT programme team; or 020 8843 8080.

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 click the ‘Add’ button and complete the necessary information.

You must inform us if the application has been submitted elsewhere. 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.

Section 4: The Research team

In the following sections you will need to individually add the names of your Joint Lead and Co-Applicants. Their roles and equitable contributions to the project should be described in this section.

Definitions and requirements: 

Joint Lead Applicants: It is a requirement to have two Joint Lead Applicants with one being from an ODA eligible country and one from a UK-based institution.  Joint Leadership must be demonstrated with plans in place for equal sharing of responsibilities. The applications will be assessed on the equity and strength of partnerships developed between Joint Lead Applicants and their relevant expertise. 

Co-Applicants: You can add Co-Applicants.  Co-Applicants are those individuals with responsibility for the day-to-day management and delivery of the project who form your project team/consortia. Co-Applicants are those forming a core part of the project team and are expected to share responsibility for its successful delivery. Please note that once you enter a Co-Applicant’s details they will receive an automated email informing them that this information has been added into our Management Information System (RMS) in conjunction with your application. Therefore, we would expect Co-Applicants to have been consulted before adding their details into the RMS.

Please note that collaborators are those who provide specific expertise on particular aspects of the project and would form the basis of your wider research team.  They do not share in the responsibility for the delivery of the project.  

Other supporting roles: As a minimum the following (mandatory) UK, based supporting roles are required to be added to an application: 

  1. Administrative Authority 
  2. R and D contact 

NOTE: For contracting purposes there can only be one lead host organisation for flow of funds which must be a UK 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.

Specify your (UK Joint Lead Applicant) role in this research

Explain in addition to your role as Lead Applicant, the role that you will be undertaking in the research (e.g. co-ordination and project management, analysis, methodological input etc.)

%FTE Commitment

This refers to the percentage of your time that you will commit to this project.

LMIC Joint Lead Applicant

It is mandatory for the application to be led by two Joint Lead Applicants. Please complete the name of the ODA-eligible country LMIC Joint Lead Applicant contact details and other requested information.

Relevant expertise and experience of LMIC Joint Lead Applicant

Please summarise the proposed LMIC Joint Lead Applicant’s relevant expertise and track record in applied health research, in terms of skills and experience, previous publications, grant funding and impact on health service provision.

Specify role in research

Please provide a brief overview of your (LMIC Joint Lead Applicant) role in the proposed research. You have the opportunity to elaborate upon this further in the ‘Research Plan’ section 6. 

%FTE Commitment

This refers to the percentage of your time that you will commit to this project.


Add details of all co-applicants and their specific role in the programme. Do not include collaborators or partners, who should be mentioned (if necessary) in the ‘Research Plan’ section of the form.

Co-applicants are those individuals with responsibility for the day-to-day management and delivery of the project and can include patients, carers and service users. Co-applicants are considered part of the project team and are expected to share responsibility for its successful delivery.

Co-applicants who are community representatives, patients or carers are not obliged to complete a standard CV, but are required to provide a summary of any knowledge, skills and experience relevant to their role in the application.

We recognise and value the varied perspectives that community representatives, patients 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 - or as a member of a particular community
  • Knowledge and experience of research including previous research undertaken
  • Knowledge and experience of community and public involvement
  • 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.

Section 5: Plain English summary of research

A plain English summary is a clear and accessible explanation of your research.

Reviewers use this summary to inform their review of your funding application If your application for funding is successful; the summary will be used on NIHR and other websites and should, therefore, be accessible to members of the public.

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 board and panel members) to have a better understanding of your research proposal
  • Inform others about your research such as members of the public, health professionals, policy makers and the media
  • The research funders to publicise the research that they fund

If it is considered 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/carers/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 research;
  • background to the research;
  • design and methods used;
  • community and public involvement (see below); and
  • dissemination.

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.

For further support and advice on writing a plain English summary, please contact your local Research Design Service (where applicable).

Section 6: Research Plan

Using all of the headings in the order presented below, please use this section to clearly explain your proposed research. As this is the main part of your application, which will be considered by the funding committee, you should ensure that the information is accurate, succinct, clearly laid out and provides sufficient methodological detail. The overall amount of information that you can provide at this stage is limited to 3-5 pages (dependent on the type/complexity/scale of study proposed). (Limit: 2000 words).

  • What is the problem being addressed?

Provide a clear explanation of the problem to be addressed, the impact on patients and the community as well as health and care services in ODA-eligible country(ies) and demonstrate where the evidence gap is.

Explain how your proposed research is within the remit of the NIHR RIGHT programme and how it addresses the key aim of RIGHT Call 3 to deliver research in the area of multimorbidity in ODA-eligible country(ies).

  • Why is this research important in terms of improving the health and/or wellbeing of the relevant populations and healthcare services in the ODA-eligible country(ies?)

It is essential that you clearly identify the applied health and care challenges faced by the ODA-eligible country(ies) relevant to the geographic and scientific area of your research proposal. Please outline the anticipated value or contribution the research will provide.

Briefly describe:

    • The importance of the proposed research and its relevance to the priorities and needs of the ODA-eligible country(ies), including a statement of the significance of the research area (e.g. burden of disease).
    • The anticipated outputs, outcomes and impact of the proposed research on the health and wealth of patients, the community and health and care services in ODA-eligible country(ies); where possible, quantifying the potential benefits.
    • The anticipated timescale for the benefits to the ODA-eligible country(ies) resulting from the proposed research, and how this work will create an enduring impact/sustainable capacity or capability enhancement in the ODA-eligible country(ies). 
  • Review of existing evidence - How does the existing literature support this proposal?

Explain why this research is needed now, both in terms of time and relevance. Briefly describe:

    • The need for research in this area, please include a summary of existing evidence and the rationale for the particular lines of research you plan to pursue.
    • How your proposed research would add distinct value to what is already known or in progress?
    • Work undertaken previously by the research team, which has led to the proposed programme (e.g. describe any pilot or feasibility data).

Applicants should be aware of ongoing research in this area and comment on any other research that 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 and include references to recent material on the topic area they are applying for.

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 references 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 review of the currently available and relevant evidence and summarise this in their proposal.

  • What is/are the research question(s)/aim(s) and objective(s)?

This section should be used to indicate the overarching aims/objectives of the research, outlining the key question(s), which the work will address and, where appropriate, the main hypothesis.

  • Team experience and expertise

Describe the skills, experience and expertise of the team that makes it well placed to carry out the proposed research. Please also list and explain the role of key collaborators or partners (i.e. those individuals who provide a substantial intellectual contribution and/or will play a role in delivering the programme of work).

  • Approach to creating sustainable and equitable partnerships with partners in ODA-eligible countries

Include details of your approach to, and plans to, create equitable partnerships within your programme/research team. If already established, please give clear details of the involvement of individuals and organisations based in the ODA-eligible country(ies) in the development of the research proposal and in undertaking the research.

  • Community engagement and involvement

The NIHR has well established requirements for patient and public involvement in the research that it funds. In this global health research call, we refer throughout to ‘community engagement and involvement’ rather than ‘patient and public involvement’.  This is to emphasise the importance of involving relevant community groups and organisations from ODA-eligible country(ies) in an early and sustained manner throughout the research process.

The NIHR expects appropriate and relevant involvement of communities, patients, carers and other key stakeholders in the research it supports. It is essential to set out your approach to involving relevant community groups and organisations, patients and carers in the Stage 1 application. Consider the following issues in your response and include anything else that will give us a clear description of your approach:

    • What is the purpose of community and public involvement in your research?
    • How do you plan to identify relevant communities and organisations as potential partners from ODA-eligible country(ies)?
    • How do you plan to establish effective ways of communicating?
    • How do you plan to support and enable relevant community groups, organisations to contribute to the research as partners?
    • If you have involved relevant community groups and organisations in the development of your application, what you have changed or included as a result?

Information  and resources  to assist you can  be found on the NIHR website (a definition of patient and public involvement in research, briefing 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 ODA-eligible country(ies).

Your community engagement and involvement (CEI) plans will be formally assessed by public reviewers, peer reviewers and the RIGHT Call 3 Funding Committee at Stage 2. However, at Stage 1, your approach to and planned CEI activities will be taken into account when assessing the proposed research. 

  • Project plan

Provide an expert summary of the project plan of investigation (e.g. deliverables, methods, approach to patient and community involvement, timescales), plus any additional points required to support statements made in the previous sections, and include any key references required to justify the points made (e.g. in the use of particular outcome measures or methods of analysis). References should be provided as an attachment (see section 8: Uploads). Please clearly outline the likely risks and challenges, as well as mitigating actions, in delivering the proposed work and any ethical considerations.

Section 7: ODA-eligible countries (location of research)

Please select all ODA-eligible countries from the dropdown menu where the proposed research will be undertaken.

Section 8: ODA compliance statement

Please provide a statement that demonstrates how the proposal meets key ODA funding requirements. It should address the following questions:

  1. which country(s) on the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC) list of ODA-eligible countries will directly benefit;
  2. how the application is directly and primarily relevant to the development challenges of those countries; and 
  3. how the outcomes will promote the health and welfare of people in the country or countries on the DAC list. 

Section 9: Uploads


  • One single-side A4 page, listing references used throughout your proposal. 
  • Budget breakdown – at this stage, applicants are required to provide a total figure for the costs on the application form and to provide further details of the cost breakdown (in particular, the anticipated split of funds between the UK, ODA-eligible countries and any other international countries) by uploading a completed Stage 1 Financial Summary Form.


If required, an additional supporting (single side of A4) document can be submitted with your application form (e.g. a flow diagram illustrating the study design and the flow of participants, Gantt chart, pictures, diagrams etc.). If submitting a flow diagram, applicants should also describe complex interventions and controls as accurately and fully as possible within their diagram. Alternatively, you may find the EQUATOR Network website useful. The Pdf file should be submitted along with your application form.

Section 10: 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.

Section 11: 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: Please note this person does not need to be included as a co-applicant.

Section 12: Acknowledge, review and submit

Conflict checks

Please declare any conflicts or potential conflicts of interest that you or your co-applicants may have in undertaking this research, including any relevant, non-personal and commercial interest that could be perceived as a conflict of interest.


As Lead applicant, please tick the box to confirm that the information entered into the application form is correct and that you take responsibility for overall management and delivery of the research.

Checklist of information to include when submitting a RIGHT Stage 1 research application

Applicants should check that they have included the necessary information prior to submitting their application:

  • A good quality Plain English Summary
  • A clear explanation of the problem being addressed 
  • A clear demonstration of the need and importance of the research 
  • A review of existing literature (primary research) 
  • A clear research question/aim(s) and objectives 
  • A clear project plan summarising the study design and methods, risks and ethical considerations 
  • A clear description of team member roles and contribution 
  • A single A4 page of references (document upload), mandatory 
  • RIGHT Stage 1 Financial Summary Form (document upload), mandatory.