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Research for Patient Benefit - Committee Membership Guidance for Applicants


Published: 15 April 2021

Version: 1.1 - April 2021

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NIHR Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) is a regionally-based, response mode programme that makes awards of up to £500,000 for projects of up to three years in length. It funds research covering a wide range of health, public health and social care challenges. The aim of the Programme is to fund topics and research methodologies that increase the effectiveness of NHS and social care services, provide value for money and benefit patients and the public. A clear trajectory to patient benefit is essential.

Regional Advisory Committee Structure

RfPB Regional Advisory Committees are based on a regional structure in England. Each Committee has 18-22 members and typically consists of the following:

  • A Regional Advisory Committee Chair
  • Individuals with a wide range of skills and with experience of clinical or health services research
  • Research methodology experts, covering areas such as statistics, health economics, clinical trials and qualitative methods
  • Three patient and public involvement members

To see the current membership of the Committees, please visit the ‘Our people’ tab on the RfPB webpage.

Candidate profile

Successful candidates will have experience in applied health research in the relevant topic areas as demonstrated through publications, research funding and impact of research on patients and the NHS.

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

NOTE: Research Design Service advisors are not eligible for recruitment to the regional committee within their RDS region, but are eligible for recruitment to committees outside of their RDS region. Please note however that RfPB limits the number of out of region committee members that can be recruited to each committee in order to ensure that the regional committees represent regional interests. Recruitment of RDS advisors to committees is therefore subject to the availability of these out of region spaces.


Committee membership tenure is for two years in the first instance, with the potential for renewal for a further two years. Extensions may be exceptionally made for an additional year up to a maximum of five years at the discretion of the Programme Director. Reapplication for membership is only permissible after a two-year period has elapsed.

Committee meetings take place three times per year, typically during January, May and September. Meetings last a full day and Committees will normally be asked to assess around 20 applications per meeting. It is important that members are able to make the commitment to prepare for the meetings in advance and attend the meetings in full.

All Committee meetings take place within the region in which the Committee is based. Reasonable travel and expenses are reimbursed.


During each Committee meeting, individual members are assigned to be the lead assessor for a subset of the applications submitted within the region. This involves reviewing research proposals in detail and presenting views orally at the meetings or helping to collect points of feedback for applicants. Members are involved in making consensus decisions on whether applications should be recommended for funding and approving changes, where required, to applications before funding is confirmed.

All members are also expected to participate in the critical evaluation of every application (even if not formally assigned to do so) and to share responsibility for all decisions of the Committee as a whole. This will require some protected time before, during, and after meetings.

Prior to RfPB meetings, members are also encouraged to play a part in identifying potential peer reviewers for applications to be considered and may be asked to carry our peer review themselves.

In addition to Committee meeting work, members may also be asked to participate in assessing any requests for time and/or funding extensions that are submitted for projects taking place within their regional portfolio, as their expertise may be required.

How to apply

Please complete an online application form, selecting the form that best suits your background and experience:

If for whatever reason there are no vacancies on the relevant regional committee at the time of application, applications will be kept on file and applicants will be eligible for appointment for two years from receipt of application.

If you have any queries or would like more information, please e-mail or call the RfPB programme management team at 020 8843 8057.