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School for Primary Care Research Frequently Asked Questions



The following provides the answers to frequently asked questions relating to the NIHR School for Primary Care Research Competition 2019 and it is intended to supplement the guidance document.


Application form

1) The guidance says: Please provide details of the external research funding received by the applying academic institution for research directly relevant to primary care research from 01 January 2014 to 31 December 2019. Please provide details of the research funder, administering organisation, award title, Principal Investigator, start and end dates and the amount awarded to the applying institution.


Question: Does this mean any grant that was active in this period even if it was awarded before 2014? Or only the ones that started after 1 January 2014 even if they finished after December 2019? Is it the total value of the award or only the money accounted in that period?

Answer: The list should include all the relevant awards that started after 1 January 2014, irrespective of their end date. Please indicate the total amount that was awarded to the organization applying to SPCR for that particular award.


2) The guidance says: Publications.The number and nature of publications produced by the proposed research team provides an important indication of the research productivity and quality in the relevant research field. Please provide the following:

  • A list of 10 relevant publications for each member of the proposed research team included in the application, since 01 January 2014 to 31 December 2019 inclusive.

The Selection committee will contextualise the publication data by reviewing these alongside the Curriculum Vitae submitted.



Please could you confirm whether the list of publications for the research team required to be submitted for the NIHR SPCR application is limited (e.g. to the five CVs of the research team) or whether a larger range of publications can be submitted for the wider research team within the institution.


Thank you for your question. The maximum number of publications to be submitted is 50 corresponding to the 10 more relevant publications for the 5 key researchers (the 5 researchers whose CV is submitted). We do want to capture the breadth and depth of the research teams within institutions through the application. In order to understand the capacity of the wider team we would expect you to describe the skills, expertise and leadership of the team members in the question titled 'Researchers' in Section 4. This question gives you 2,750 words to describe the role of the 5 key researchers as well as the wider team that would be involved as a school member.




Can "in press" publications be included in the list of 10 for each key researcher?


Papers accepted for publication and accessible online before 31 December 2019 can be included in the submission. Papers accepted but not available online or in print until next year should not be included in the list of publications submitted with the application.




Do the 10 publications for the key researchers have to be limited to those published in the time period 1/1/14-31/12/19?


Yes, please, only include the 10 most relevant publications of the key researchers over the stated period, this will allow the Panel to assess the current standing of prospective school members.




When will the templates for the External Research Funding and Publications be made available? Is a specific CV format required and if so is there a template?


All the templates are available to download from the Research Management System, once a pre-submission application is created by the lead applicant.




Do the 5 key researchers include the lead (i.e. person submitting the bid) or are these 5 researchers in addition to the lead?


The 5 key researchers should include the lead.




How is the research team defined?


We do want to capture the breadth and depth of the research teams within institutions through the application. In order to understand the capacity of the wider team we would expect you to describe the skills, expertise and leadership of the team members in the question titled 'Researchers' in Section 4. This question gives you 2,750 words to describe the role of the 5 key researchers as well as the additional researchers that would be actively involved in the delivery of a successful proposal.




What is meant by "experience of commissioning research"?


To achieve the SPCR mission of increasing the evidence base for primary care practice, school members will deliver a series of funding calls on priorities determined within the school. Previously these calls have been available internally with only researchers from member departments being eligible to apply for funding. Applicants for membership of the school should are therefore asked to describe their relevant experience in funding research, as members of panels/boards as well as in identifying key research priorities/themes.


Funding Model

1) The guidance says: Distinctive to this new phase of the school, is the explicit aim to strengthen the primary care research sector more broadly, with a requirement for members of the school to share their expertise with non-member institutions.  There will be a strong emphasis on engaging, collaborating and partnering with institutions beyond the school membership. 


We have a couple of quick questions:

  1.       By collaboration, do you mean that one University is the applicant on the form (i.e. the member), but can refer to a collaboration with another University department in the text. If this is the case, can the collaborators request funding and access member benefits such as attending annual research events or fellowship schemes?
  2.       Alternatively, can 2 institutes from a consortium (more of a partnership), and both be listed/recognised as school members? This is how some of the NIHR National School for Public Health members (FUSE, LiLaC)  have been awarded.

The application form is very much set up for a single university applying and it is not clear from the guidance how another university (be it consortium or collaborator) might be represented in the form e.g. could they be one of the 5 academics listed, or their outputs counted for research outputs?


Consortia and collaborations are different. At this stage of the competition we expect all strong applicants to indicate how they will engage and collaborate with non-member institutions, to strengthen the sector. The funding model for the school, including the access of non-members to members benefit will be agreed during the business planning phase and after the current competition.

Two or more institutions applying as a consortium to be a single member of NIHR SPCR is something we have not previously seen, but is possible and may be seen by the panel as strengthening primary care research more widely if a compelling case is made. The consortium if successful would become a single school member represented by a single director post on the school’s board.

Your application should explain the rationale for the consortium collaboration and how it would contribute to the success of the school against the selection criteria given in the guidance document. In terms of how to apply, there should be only five key researchers and their associated outputs listed in the application rather than five individuals from each member of the consortium.

We anticipate that the school will be funded via a similar contractual arrangement to the present one, with awards being made to a single lead institution for the school as a whole, that then administers awards to school members.




Is there an expectation that applicants demonstrate evidence of institutional funding commitment linked to the bid?


There is no fixed expectation regarding match funding from the applying institution. However, it is expected that the academic institution would contribute with adequate support from their Governance, Finance, Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement offices, etc.  


Selection Committee



Could you tell me who the panel/ board members are for assessing applications for the NIHR school for primary care. 


I am afraid that because the members of the assessing Panel have not yet been confirmed I am unable to share this information with you at this stage. I will be happy to let you know and publish the information in the 'Frequently asked questions' document on the NIHR website when the information becomes available.