- The Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) programme launched a series of highlight notices in support of NIHR strategy to strengthen careers of under-represented disciplines and specialisms.
- The first highlight notice of this initiative is inviting applications led by nurses and midwives. This call will be followed by two further calls focusing on methodologists and allied health professionals.
- To support capacity building, all applications to this call must be led by a nurse or a midwife at an early stage of their research career. They can apply as either the lead or joint-lead applicant together with a senior colleague fulfilling the other role. Both the lead and joint-lead applicants must have a background in nursing or midwifery. We are keen to encourage fresh ideas from new researchers and appropriate applications are welcomed from those with limited research experience when supported by an experienced, strong and multi-disciplinary team.
- The call offers researchers considerable flexibility to focus on any subject area or topic provided the application is within RfPB remit. Please note that topics around workforce including staff retention are in scope for this call as long as there is trajectory to patient benefit clearly outlined.
- Our funding decisions are based on several criteria including quality, timeliness, potential impact and value for money.
- The call is for proposals up to £500,000 for a period of up to three years. The RfPB tiered approach to funding limits according to the trajectory to patient benefit also applies to this call.
- This call has now closed. The submission deadline for applications was on 17 May 2023 at 1 pm.
- We hosted an online launch event with a live Q and A session on Monday 16 January 2023. The recording of the webinar is available below.
- Got a research idea and not sure how to turn it into a funding application? The Research Design Service (RDS) supports health and social care researchers across England on all aspects of developing and writing a funding application. Find out how the RDS can help with your application.
In Best Research for Best Health: The Next Chapter document, NIHR identified seven areas where we need to deliver transformative change. One of these areas of strategic focus is to bring clinical and applied research to regions and communities which have major health needs. The Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) programme has previously held funding competitions linked to this focus such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in the North East and Mental Health in Northern England. Another area of strategic focus aims to strengthen careers for under-represented disciplines and specialisms. The Research for Patient Benefit programme has a strong track record of supporting researchers with limited research experience (early career researchers) to build future capacity and capability and integrate research into clinical practice. In the next steps, the programme plans to further engage with researchers from historically under-represented disciplines and specialisms to enable capacity building in these areas. RfPB will be launching a series of separate highlight notices focusing on the following healthcare professionals and researchers:
- Nurses and Midwives
- Allied Health Professionals
In a recent review of the RfPB programme’s funded portfolio we found that the majority of applicants funded by RfPB, both in lead and co-applicant roles, are medically qualified professionals and methodologists, while professions such as nurses or midwives, allied health professionals and other registered health and care professionals (i.e. clinical psychologist, pharmacist, audiologist, social worker etc.) are a minority (Fig. 1).
|Professional Background||Percentage of funded applicants|
|Allied Health Professional||5%|
|Nurse and Midwife||8%|
|Other Registered Health and Care Professional||9%|
Total number of applicants in the analysis: 3660
Figure 1. The table shows the professional background of RfPB-funded applicants. Forty-one percent of the funded applicants are medically qualified followed by methodologists who are thirty-six percent of the funded applicants. Other Registered Health Professionals constitute nine percent, Nurses and Midwives eight percent and Allied Health Professionals five percent.
Medically qualified professionals tend to lead projects most frequently, which is in contrast to methodologists who less commonly take on leading roles. Similarly, we have seen that researchers from other professions such as nurses, midwives or allied health professionals tend to be co-applicants and function in supporting roles in the delivery of research projects (Fig. 2). Consequently, this limits access to career development opportunities associated with leading a project, which is especially important for early career researchers. To address this, RfPB has developed a series of highlight notices to support those health and care professionals and researchers who regularly or occasionally are involved in RfPB-funded projects as co-applicants but rarely as lead applicants. We expect to enrich the breadth of the RfPB portfolio with projects conceptualised from the diverse perspective these professions will bring.
|Allied Health Professional||68||229|
|Nurses and Midwives||80||335|
|Other Registered Health and Care Professional||120||382|
Figure 2. The table shows that RfPB-funded projects are mainly led by medically qualified professionals. On average, medically qualified professionals would appear 2.7 times more frequently as co-applicants than as lead applicants, while for other professions co-applicant's involvement is much more frequent than being the lead applicant. For example, methodologists are involved in RfPB-funded projects 8 times more frequently as co-applicants than as lead applicants and nurses and midwives are 4.2 times more frequently involved as co-applicants than as lead applicants.
Researchers with a background in nursing and midwifery are almost half as likely to lead RfPB-funded projects than medically trained professionals. In the first of these three highlight notices, RfPB invites nurses and midwives to submit applications as lead applicants and encourages these professionals to continue applying to RfPB regular calls for further opportunities. The RfPB programme is researcher-led and does not specify topics for research, so applications can be primary, secondary and evidence synthesis research and include quantitative, qualitative, mixed methods, and economic model designs.
Below is a selection of RfPB-funded awards led by nurses or midwives. They showcase various study designs and research settings and are led by nurses and midwives at different career stages who have different specialism.
- PB-PG-0416-20003 - Better maternity care pathways in pregnancies after stillbirth or neonatal death: A feasibility study - Award: £250,997
- PB-PG-0808-16234 - Self-hypnosis for intrapartum pain management (SHIP) Trial - Award: £319,777
- NIHR200577 - Systematic review of published systematic reviews to assess the effectiveness of interventions to improve long-term sequelae in patients with head and neck cancer - Award: £149,993
- PB-PG-1010-23040 - Root causes of adverse drug events in nursing home residents with diabetes: enhancing safety in medicines management - Award: £205,782
- PB-PG-1207-15022 - The tuning fork test - an accurate and efficient method of improving the specificity of the Ottawa Ankle Rules - Award: £218,208
- PB-PG-1207-15081 - The development of a decision tool to improve the management of urinary incontinence in women in the community - Award: £238,453
- PB-PG-1014-35075 - Combined individual and family therapy in comparison to treatment as usual for people at risk of psychosis: A feasibility study - Award: £248,429
- PB-PG-0212-27124 - The development and pilot trial of two programmes of rehabilitation for cancer patients - 'PRO REHAB' - Award: £251,289
Applications should be within RfPB scope. Please note that workforce, including topics around staff retention, are in scope for this call as long as the trajectory to patient benefit is clearly outlined. Applications should be led by a researcher with a nursing or midwifery background. Applications should be jointly led by an early career researcher and a senior researcher, both with either a nursing or midwifery background.
Applications should be co-produced with service commissioners, providers and service users wherever appropriate to better ensure findings are of immediate utility in policy and practice. Applicants may wish to consult the Briefing notes for researchers - public involvement in NHS, health and social care research.
RfPB is a response mode/researcher-led funding programme for applied health and care research. As such, the research needs to have a demonstrable impact on the health or health care of users of that service. While it deliberately does not specify topics to be covered, you are encouraged to read the programme's aims and scope statements. The potential trajectory to patient benefit is a major selection criteria, so ensure you make a clear case for the patient and/or public benefit arising from the study. Alongside rigorous research designs and methodologies, we also look for dissemination strategies that will enhance the likelihood that the results can be rolled out across the health and care sector.
Requirements for applications submitted under the highlight notice:
- Standard eligibility rules will apply as detailed in the applicant guidance.
- To encourage early career researchers* (ECRs) to lead on RfPB awards, we require ECRs to apply as either the lead applicant or joint-lead applicants and be supported by a senior researcher and by a strong research team.
- Both lead and joint lead applicants will have a professional background in nursing or midwifery.
- Host eligibility will include an NHS body or other provider of NHS services in England. Other relevant organisations and authorities are permitted as co-applicants but not necessarily host/lead organisations.
* For this highlight notice we consider any researcher who has not yet been the chief investigator for a substantial award (£100,000+) to be an early career researcher.
The call is for applications up to £500,000 (100% direct costs for NHS and 80% full Economic Cost (fEC) for HEI) for a period of up to three years. Detailed information on eligible costs can be found in the RfPB’s Finance guidance.
RfPB operates a tiered funding system, which reflects the likelihood of achieving patient benefit. Each application will need to provide a robust case for value for money.
How to apply
Application process and assessment criteria
- The applications submitted under the highlight notice will undergo routine scrutiny and will be assessed on their quality and individual merits according to standard RfPB scheme criteria. Reviewers will also be asked to consider fit to the highlight notice.
- Applications will be considered by a cross-disciplinary expert assessment Committee weighted towards the particular professions the call focuses on. Committee members will be drawn from existing RfPB Committees with the additions of other experts as appropriate.
- The standard RfPB two stage application process will apply to applications submitted under this notice. Applicants must submit an online application via the RMS. Templates of Stage 1 and Stage 2 application forms are available. To assist the funders in preparing for peer review, research teams must submit their expression of interest by 21 April 2023 at 5 pm. Please note that the expression of interest will not be part of the assessment process and it will not be necessary for it to summarise the fully developed application.
|Launch Webinar||16 January 2023 (registration closed)|
|Call Launch||25 January 2023|
|Expression of Interest||21 April 2023|
|Call Close||17 May 2023 at 13:00|
|Invited to Stage 2 Decision||W/C 16 August 2023 (Stage 1 Meeting)|
|Funding Decisions||W/C 19 December 2023 (Stage 2 Meeting)|
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further queries.
Got a research idea and not sure how to turn it into a funding application? The Research Design Service (RDS) supports health and social care researchers across England on all aspects of developing and writing a funding application. Find out how the RDS can help with your application.
View the nurses and midwives webinar held on 16 January 2023, hosted by the RfPB team at NIHR.
- Best research for Best Health: The Next Chapter
- Women's Health Strategy for England
- Chief Nursing Officer for England's Strategic Plan for Research
- RfPB Under-represented disciplines and specialisms highlight notice: Nurses and Midwives - Guidance for Stage 1 applications
- RfPB Under-represented disciplines and specialisms highlight notice: Nurses and Midwives - Guidance for Stage 2 applications
Professor Rebecca Kearney is Chair of the Nurses and Midwives Regional Advisory Committee (A and B) for NIHR Research for Patient Benefit Under-represented Disciplines and Specialisms.
Committee A members
|Professor Elizabeth Barley||Professor of mental health sciences and nursing|
|Professor Penny Bee||Professor of Applied mental health research, Director of Research & Innovation|
|Professor Debra Bick||Professor of Clinical Trials in Maternal Health|
|Mrs Jacqueline Birks||Senior Medical Statistician|
|Mrs Wendy Blunden||Public Reviewer|
|Ms Louise Bramley||Head of Nursing and Midwifery Research at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (NUH)|
|Dr Elizabeth Camacho||Senior Health Economist|
|Dr Alison Cooke||Assistant Director Of Nursing (NMAHP) Research and Innovation at University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust|
|Professor Fiona Cowdell||Professor of Nursing and Health Research|
|Dr Keith Couper||Associate Professor in Emergency and Critical Care, Warwick Medical School, Warwick Clinical trials Unit|
|Professor Vari Drennan||Professor of Health Care & Policy Research|
|Dr Kerry Evans||Associate Professor of Midwifery|
|Dr Apostolos Fakis||Head of Medical Statistics and Data Management and Honorary Assistant Professor|
|Dr Clare Gillies||Associate Professor in Medical Statistics|
|Professor Annette Hand||Professor of Nursing – Clinical Academic|
|Professor Alexander Heazell||Professor of Obstetrics and Consultant Obstetrician,Senior Clinical Lecturer in Obstetrics and Clinical Director of the Tommy’s Stillbirth Research Centre, University of Manchester, UK|
|Dr Catherine Henshall||Reader in Nursing Research, Oxford School of Nursing and Midwifery|
|Dr Verna Lavender||Head of Nursing for Research and Education, Cancer and Surgery|
|Dr Joseph Manning||Clinical Associate Professor in Children, Young People and Families Nursing at NHS|
|Dr Susie Pearce||Associate Professor (Research) in Nursing at the University of Plymouth and Co-Director of the Torbay and South Devon Clinical School which is part of the SW Regional Clinical Academic School|
|Professor George Peat||Director, Centre for Applied Health & Social Care Research (CARe), Professor of Clinical Epidemiology, Department of Allied Health Professions
College of Health, Wellbeing & Life Sciences,Sheffield Hallam University
|Miss Louise Rowan||Public Reviewer|
|Mr Philip Ruthen||Public Reviewer|
|Professor Jill Shawe||Professor of maternal and family health|
|Professor Eila Watson||Professor in Supportive Cancer care|
|Dr Adam Wagner||Research Fellow in the Health Economics Group at the University of East Anglia (UEA)|
|Mr Simon Walker||Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Health Economics, University of York|
Committee B members
|Dr Elizabeth Bancroft||Oncogenetics Research Nurse Consultant, The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation trust|
|Dr Jo Brett||Senior Research Fellow, Oxford Brookes University|
|Professor Michelle Briggs||Clinical Professor of Nursing & Director, The University of Manchester|
|Miss Eva Broeckelmann||Public Reviewer|
|Professor Katherine Brown||Consultant in Children’s Intensive Care, Great Ormond Street Hospital, Professor, Institute Cardiovascular Science, University College London|
|Dr Christy Burden||Associate Professor in Obstetrics, Head of the Academic Women's health unit, University of Bristol, Bristol Medical School|
|Dr Nicola Clibbens||Associate Professor Mental Health Nursing|
|Professor Jane Coad||Children's Nurse and Clinical Academic Professor, Nottingham University|
|Dr Joanne Cooper||Head of Nursing Research, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust|
|Professor Robert Crouch OBE||Consultant Nurse & Honorary Professor – Emergency Care, University of Southampton|
|Dr Toity Deave||Associate Professor Family & Child Health, University of West of England, Bristol. Dept Nursing & Midwifery|
|Dr Lynsey Gregg||Senior Lecturer, Division of Psychology & Mental Health|
|Professor Vanora Hundley||Professor of Midwifery, University of Bournemouth|
|Dr Louise Jackson||Senior Lecturer, Institute of Applied Health Research, University of Birmingham|
|Dr Rachael Kelley||Reader in Dementia Research|
|Professor Sara Kenyon||Professor of Evidence Based Maternity Care, University of Birmingham|
|Professor Susan Kirk||Professor of Family and Child Health, University of Manchester|
|Dr Erik Lenguerrand||Senior Lecturer, Medical Statistician & Quantitative Epidemiologist, Translational Health Sciences,Bristol Medical School, University of Bristol|
|Professor Antonieta Medina-Lara||Associate Professor in Health Economics, University of Exeter|
|Dr Jacqueline Mitton||Public Reviewer|
|Dr Sina Odugbemi||Public Reviewer|
|Professor Jane Sandall||Head of Midwifery and Maternity Research, King's College|
|Dr Victoria Serra-Sastre||Senior Lecturer in Economics, Department of Economics at City, University of London.|
|Professor Sue Todd||Professor of Medical Statistics, University of Reading|
|Dr Wendy Wood||Director of Brighton & Sussex Clinical Trials Unit, University of Brighton|
|Dr Nicola Wright||Associate Professor in Mental Health, University of Nottingham|