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Researcher Guidance for Public Health ETC


01 December 2018


v4 May 2022


Managing Excess Treatment Costs for Research into Public Health and Social Care Interventions Commissioned by Non-NHS Organisations in England


The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and NIHR are piloting interim arrangements to support non-NHS excess treatment costs for research into public health and social care (non-NHS intervention costs). This replaces the previous arrangements for supporting public health intervention costs managed by Public Health England (PHE).

Whilst it is expected that as a matter of principle the organisation responsible for commissioning the service being researched should pay intervention costs or provide equivalent resources, where this has not been possible public health and social care research studies funded by non-commercial funders may be eligible for support from DHSC.

Researchers who are undertaking research in public health and/or social care in England that is funded non-commerically and who are seeking funding for excess treatment costs (ETCs) should contact in the first instance.

For the purposes of this guidance, non-NHS excess treatment costs are considered as Non-NHS intervention costs; interventions or services that are outside of the remit of the NHS (generally Local Government commissioned) and not covered by existing arrangements for payment by clinical service commissioners.

The Role of the NIHR Local Clinical Research Network (LCRN)

Support with the submission of the full funding application

The research lead will need to make contact with the LCRN when the research funder has invited them to submit a full funding application. A lead LCRN based in the study lead’s geographical area will provide support for multicentre studies.

The LCRN will support the research sponsor with the completion of the Schedule of Events Cost Attribution Tool (SoECAT). The SoECAT captures details of the activities undertaken in the research study to allow cost attribution. It must be signed off by the AcoRD specialist and submitted alongside all applications for new single stage calls and invitations to submit a final application that are issued after 1st October 2018.

Support when funding has been awarded

When research funding has been awarded the LCRN can help with inclusion of the research onto the NIHR portfolio and arrange for provision of ongoing support in line with DHSC eligibility criteria.

For public health research studies, the LCRN will utilise the ETC Triage process to confirm the commissioning organisation(s) that would be responsible for the payment of the ETCs identified in the SoECAT.

The process for applying for ETC support for public health research studies

When the research funder has confirmed the award and the commissioning decision has been received following ETC Triage, the research lead will need to complete the PHE ETC funding application form if they wish to apply for DHSC funding for the ETCs. The grant award letter, protocol, SoECAT and blank ETC funding application form will be attached to the commissioning decision email copied to PHE. Once completed, the research lead will need to submit the PHE ETC funding application form directly to PHE for review.

The study team must demonstrate that they have discussed the following with the commissioning organisation(s) (evidenced in the funding application form):

  • The feasibility, sustainability and affordability of delivering the intervention being researched
  • The assets required e.g. the organisational infrastructure and facilities
  • The fit of the research intervention with current services delivered by the organisation and any duplication of provision
  • Whether the research addresses a priority in the area
  • The impact level of the research. The demonstrable contribution that it will make
  • The capacity and capability of the organisation to enable completion of the research
  • The provision of ETCs

PHE will also determine if the:

  • Research is in line with national government priorities
  • A commissioning organisation has agreed to pay a contribution to the ETC

PHE will inform the research lead of PHE’s decision. If the study is approved the application will be forwarded by PHE to DHSC and the research lead can access DHSC funding, which may be partial or full, to pay the ETCs.

If the study is not approved by PHE, then the research lead cannot access funding for ETCs from DHSC and will need to independently identify an alternative source of ETC funding.

Useful links

SoECAT templates

Schedule of Events Cost Attribution Template A (SoECAT)

Schedule of Events Cost Attribution Template B (SoECAT)