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School for Primary Care Research Frequently Asked Questions

 

Contents

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.

 

Question:

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.

Answer:

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.

 

3) 

Question:

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

Answer:

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.

 

4)

Question:

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?

Answer:

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.

 

5)

Question:

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?

Answer:

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

 

6)

Question:

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

Answer:

The 5 key researchers should include the lead.

 

7)

Question:

How is the research team defined?

Answer:

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.

 

8)

Question:

What is meant by "experience of commissioning research"?

Answer:

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.

 

9)

Question:

Please could you send me the CV template for the SPCR application. I cannot see a link to it on the NIHR website or on the CCF system.

Answer:

You should be able to find the CV template on the Research Management System, where you would have to login and create an application (I would suggest it is the lead applicant who does this). Once you are working on the application, the link to download the CV template is at the top of the 'supporting documentation' tab. The text reads: Curriculum Vitae SPCR-2019. Please see the attached screenshot for help.

 

10)

Question:

I am writing to ask about a section in the application form for the NIHR School for Primary Care Research call. The section I want to ask about is ‘Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement. The way I read the text in the guidance (and the form) is that we should describe existing strategies, objectives and activities for patient and public involvement and engagement in our institution, NOT the proposed plans for the proposed work. Is this correct?My reason for asking is that usually in NIHR applications with a specific patient involvement section the ask is about the proposed plans for the proposed work.

Answer:

The 'patient and public involvement and engagement' section of the guidance indicates that both the institution's track record and future plans should be described. We are asking you to describe the institution’s strategic objectives and the programme of activities to deliver these over the period in which the institution would be a member of the SPCR. 

 

11)

Question:

The guidance [regarding external research funding] says grant income awarded to institution by Dec 2019 . Does award mean letter of award from funder or actually started project before Dec 2019?  

Answer:

Please include the funding awarded even if it has yet to start or only an award letter has been received to indicate the intention to fund.

 

12)

Question:

I have a quick query regarding the NSPCR application process in relation to external grant income/FAQ response. We have a number of large NIHR PGaRs that became active before 2014, but which continued for at least 2-4 years into the census period. Is it correct that we should not declare any this income brought in during the census period, restricting the declared grants that become active after 1st Jan 2014. This work kept us very busy and generated a significant portfolio of work during the period, so it is important we get this right.

Answer:

Thank you for your query. Although the pre-2014 PGfAR awards should not be included in the list of external research funding they should be referred to in Section 3 of the application form 'Overview of existing primary care research activity'

 

13)

Question:

Regarding external grant income.  I moved institute in [date removed] (mid census period) and a number of my external grant awards were held by my previous employer during the transition period. Am I correct in assuming that I can only include external grant income that was actually received by my new employer, and should not report the other income on the supporting documentation.

Answer:

Although the awards would have been managed by the previous institution by which you were employed, given that this was your research and that  some of the work was carried out at your current institution, we consider acceptable to include these in the list.

 

14)

Question:

The form refers to the “academic institution” at various points.  In previous iterations of the SPCR it has been the specific Department (or Institute) which has been the member of the School, not the whole University.  To what extent is the form asking for information about the University as a whole, and to what extent is it asking about information about the specific part of the University that (if successful in their application) will be part of the SPCR?

Answer:

Take this to mean the most relevant part of the institution, which usually will be the institute or department where most primary care research is carried out. However, the model for this phase of the school as with previous ones it is that the host academic institution becomes a member of the school, expected to support Governance, Finance, Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement and other aspects.

 

15) 

Question:

There is an incompletely worded question on the key research leads CV template (4.1) “Please provide examples of how previous research findings related to this competition (up to 6000 characters*)” Please would you clarify what you want in this section.

Answer:

We regret the lack of clarity. This section provides an opportunity for you to explain how your contribution strengthens the application. We would suggest you offer an overview of your experience in primary care research and describe how your background, skills, expertise and leadership  will contribute to your proposed role within the school.

 

16)

Question: 

We have now downloaded the template for the external funding.  We would like to check if infrastructure grants (eg ARC, HPRU etc) can be included in our grant income?  

Answer:

Include what you would consider to be relevant infrastructure funding, awarded to the department or part of your organisation applying to be a member of SPCR (for example as may be the case for NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care/NIHR Applied Research Collaboration funding, but is less likely to apply for Biomedical Research Centre funding). When the nature of the award does not allow for that breakdown please indicate the funds received by the applying academic institution for research directly relevant to primary care from 01 January 2014 to 31 December 2019.

 

17)

Question:

We would like to ask for clarification of the following sentence in the "Collaboration and Strategic Partnerships" Section please:

"Please describe how you will resource manage and monitor impact on SPCR resources of new collaborative work."

We are unclear about what you mean by this, please could you clarify?

Answer:

In the 'Collaboration and Strategic Partnerships' we want to capture the track record of applicants' working collaboratively and also the future plans to work collaboratively with the wider primary care sector. The application should include plans on how proposed future collaborative work, supported by SPCR resources, will catalyse collaboration and be monitored to ensure the collaboration achieves impact. Please indicate what success would look like and how it would justify the resource allocation.

 

18)

Question:

A quick query about the 'Supporting External Funding' form. We have a number of collaborative grants in that period which are led by other departments. Can we just check that for these we report the PI at OUR unit (which may be different to the CI of the entire project). So all the PIs reported will be from the submitting unit, even if the grant is led elsewhere. The column on 'administering organisation' would then identify those grants led externally. Is that right?

Answer:

Yes, what you described is the information we are looking for.

 

19)

Question:

Our application includes the proposal for a [...]*partnership with [...]*. The application comes solely from our University [however all partners have provided]* letters of support for the partnership described in the application. There is nowhere on the system that these letters of support can be uploaded (uploads are limited to publications, grants and the 5 CVs). These letters are an important part of the application - how can we ensure they are included with it? Can we send them directly to you?

*edited for confidentiality reasons

Answer:

I am afraid we cannot accept additional documents at this stage. However, if two or more institutions are applying as a consortium to be a single member of NIHR SPCR we expect that the role each institution would have within the consortium will be described within the application form. 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.

 

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. 

Question:

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?

Answer:

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.

 

2)

Question:

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

Answer:

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

1)

Question:

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

Answer:

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.