Short Placement Award for Research Collaboration Round 7 Guidance Notes
Expansion of the NIHR SPARC Scheme for Round 7
Parts of the NIHR with links to Industry/Commercial Sector
Possibility of undertaking virtual SPARC placements
These guidance notes are intended to help completion of an application for the NIHR SPARC, Round 7 (2020).
- are early career researchers (PhD or early career post-doctoral researcher) undertaking a formal training/career development award, which should meet all of the following criteria:
- be competitive,
- include a formal training plan
- have a defined end point (this may be an application for further funding)
- are directly funded by an NIHR award to a part of the NIHR Infrastructure or NIHR Schools with a remit to build capacity. That is, the Biomedical Research Centres (BRCs), Applied Research Collaborations (ARCs), Patient Safety Translational Research Centres (PSTRCs), Health Protection Research Units (HPRUs), NIHR School for Primary Care Research (SPCR), NIHR School for Public Health Research (SPHR), or NIHR School for Social Care Research (SSCR);
- receive at least 25% funding from the NIHR Infrastructure or NIHR School for their salary/stipend/fees over the lifetime of the award;
- do not already hold an NIHR Academy Fellowship or NIHR Clinical Lectureship, and;
- can complete the award between April 2021 and February 2022.
Scope of Award
Awardees will remain registered at their ‘home’ institution (employing institution) and the ‘host’ institution (placement location) will provide supervision and training in collaboration with the ‘home institution’ (employer) supervision team.
The period of training/experience (undertaking a placement) in another part of the NIHR is flexible; there is no minimum or maximum duration for the placement (however placements often range from 2/3 weeks to 6 months and this period is often broken up to allow flexibility for both the awardee and placement host institution/supervisor). The applicant must be able to demonstrate the impact and benefit the placement and training will have on their studies, CV and overall career development.
Applicants are responsible for liaising with their Home Institution (employer) NIHR Academic Career Development Lead (formally known as Training Lead - see NIHR Academic Career Development Leads) as well as the potential Host Institution (where they wish to undertake the placement), and agreeing the scope of the placement and placement supervisor prior to submitting an application.
Applicants are encouraged to fully explore and maximise the wide range of facilities, expertise and opportunities available to them across the NIHR for their personal and professional development, and develop a placement that is bespoke to their individual training needs, background, skills/experiences, as well as their proposed career trajectory.
The SPARC award (placement) must be completed and the financial report must be submitted by February the 12th 2022. Awardees will remain registered at their ‘home’ institution and the ‘host’ institution will provide supervision and training in collaboration with the ‘home institution’ (employer) supervision team.
The following types of activities could be supported:
- moving to other parts of the NIHR with similar specialisms to their home institution (although noting that the placement should offer something that is not available at the home institution);
- seeking placements in a specific NIHR institution that offers training experiences not available at their home institution (including cross-discipline training, such as regulatory aspects, clinical trials etc.)
- seeking placements in other parts of the NIHR that have developed partnerships and collaborations with industry partners. In embedding themselves within already established NIHR-Industry partnerships, applicants would be able to develop skills and gain experience of what is needed to have a successful working relationship with industry (including the life-sciences, med-tech, SMEs and food industry). See ‘Parts of NIHR with links to Industry’ below for further information.
- seeking placements within a part of the wider NIHR (e.g NIHR Clinical Research Facility, NIHR Statistics Group or NIHR Infrastructure /NIHR School with a different remit than an applicant’s home institution (e.g. BRC to an HPRU or an NIHR School) are also encouraged.
Applicants must be able to demonstrate the impact and benefit the placement and training will have on their studies, CV and overall academic career development.
Expansion to the NIHR SPARC Scheme – Parts of the NIHR with links to Industry/commercial sector
NIHR Office for Clinical Research Infrastructure (NOCRI)
- Current NIHR Infrastructure (e.g BRC, ARC, PSTRC, HPRU) or NIHR School where you are based/employed
- Professional background
- Current career level
- Research area of interest (this can be clinical/ methodological area)
- Brief outline of your skill set and areas of expertise
- Brief outline of the potential skills/experience you would like to gain from a potential SPARC placement
- Any experience of working/collaborating with industry to date
Applicants may find the following documents helpful:
- SPARC – Where Can I Go? This details the types of activities taking place within the NIHR Infrastructure and NIHR Schools (nb this is not an exhaustive list, and does not detail wider NIHR opportunities); as well as highlighting any links/networks/collaborations with the Life Sciences/Med-tech/SME’s/Food Industry an NIHR site has, that may be of interest/benefit to SPARC applicants looking to develop skills/expertise/experience within this sector. All applicants must liaise with their named Academic Career Development Lead prior to developing an application.
- SPARC – Advice from Previous Awardees. This document includes advice that may be helpful in planning a placement.
- SPARC – Case Studies. This document provides examples of some of the types of placements previous award holders have undertaken and the impacts the placement has had on their personal and professional development.
Scope of Funding
The awardee’s home institution will continue to support their salary/stipend/fees.
Research costs, open access fees, conference fees, and supervisory fees will not be covered by this award and would be expected to be funded by the home institution.
Application and Selection Process
- Applicants are responsible for liaising with their NIHR Academic Career Development Lead (formally known as NIHR Training Leads) to ensure that they are eligible to apply for an NIHR SPARC award prior to submitting an application. We would also encourage Academic Career Development Leads to contact the NIHR Academy office (via email@example.com) with any eligibility queries.
- Applicants are responsible for liaising with their Home Institution Academic Career Development Lead (see NIHR Academic Career Development Leads) and Host Institution/potential placement institution and agreeing the scope of the placement prior to submitting an application.
- The application form is available from the NIHR SPARC webpage at www.nihr.ac.uk/SPARC.
- To submit the application, the NIHR Academic Career Development Lead representing the NIHR Home Institution (as listed here) must email a completed application form and the applicant's CV to firstname.lastname@example.org before 1pm on Thursday 26th November 2020.
- The applicant’s CV should detail their qualifications, awards, publications and experience (maximum of 3 pages). Both documents should be suitably protected to meet UK personal data protection standards.
- Any changes to the formatting of text within the application form may impact the rest of the form and what is visible to the SPARC Selection Committee when reviewing the application. Such issues usually resolve when the form is saved and re-opened, but the applicant needs to ensure that all required text is visible in an electronic and printed copy of this application form prior to submission.
- Incomplete, faxed, posted or late applications will not be accepted under any circumstances.
- The NIHR Academy is responsible for the selection process and subsequent management of the award.
- Applications will be reviewed by an expert Selection Committee, and scored during a NIHR SPARC Selection Committee Meeting.
The NIHR SPARC Selection Committee, via the NIHR Academy, will make recommendations for funding to the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC).
|NIHR SPARC Round 7 Competition launch||Tuesday 6th October 2020|
|Deadline for applications||Thursday 26th November 2020 at 1pm|
|NIHR SPARC Selection Committee Funding Recommendations Meeting||February 2021|
|Inform applicants of outcome||End of March 2021|
|SPARC Placements to take place||Between 1st April 2021 – 28th February 2022|
- the potential for the applicant to enhance their current research studies;
- the impact the placement will have on the applicant’s career development and trajectory;
- the extent to which the placement will provide a high-quality and stimulating research training experience;
- the provision of academic supervision and support in both the home and the host institutions, and;
- the extent to which the placement will support the professional and personal development of the applicant.
Successful applicants will:
- notify the NIHR Academy when the placement has come to an end;
- submit a written report within 2 months of the completion of the placement or by the 1st of March 2022 (whichever is soonest), in a form provided by the NIHR Academy, detailing the placement, achievements, impacts and outputs. This will also need to outline any underspends and reasons for these.
- within 2 months of the completion of the placement or by the 12th of February 2022 (whichever is soonest) submit an invoice to the NIHR Academy for incidental expenses incurred during the placement, up to the limit of the amount awarded.
- The Authorised signatory at the Home Institution (employer) will confirm sight and approval of all supporting documentation (i.e. receipts) for expenses incurred and that the costs incurred are as described in the Award application and approved by the Selection Committee. The NIHR Academy reserves the right to request copies of supporting documentation.
NIHR Privacy Notice
This notice is under constant review and will be updated and / or revised based on that review as appropriate.
Statement of Acknowledgement
Equal Opportunities and Diversity
Monitoring ensures that all applications to NIHR Programmes are treated equally in terms of gender, ethnicity and/or disability.
The information you share with the monitoring system:
- will be stored separately from your application,
- only be used for the purpose of monitoring equal opportunities,
- be kept securely and in confidence.
Completing the application form
Submitting the Application
Section A – Applicant Details
Ai. Applicant Details
Aii. Applicant Home Institution Details
Please give details of your home institution (where you are based), and include the name and contact details of your Primary Supervisor. Please also provide a correspondence address and contact details if they are different to those you have already provided. Note: your home institution must be an NIHR BRC, ARC, PSTRC or HPRU or an NIHR School (SPCR, SPHR or SSCR). Please refer to the ‘Eligibility’ section above for more information.
Section B – Applicant Experience
Please give an overview of your research experience to date in no more than 150 words.
Section C – Proposed Placement: Contact Details
Please provide the name, job title and contact details of the person who will supervise you during the placement at the host institution.
Section D – Proposed Placement: Plans
Di. Please provide a clear outline of the plan for your proposed placement. Include a justification of the length of placement and the order of activities planned and explain why it is important for your career at this stage. It is also important to explain why you have chosen the particular NIHR host that you wish to work with during the placement (for example, due to particular experts, expertise, equipment or teams).
The period of experience in another part of the NIHR is flexible as long as benefit to the applicant can be demonstrated.
The training placement period can be broken up to allow flexibility but must be completed by 26th of February 2022.
Dii. Please outline a) the likely benefits and impact of the placement on your research, training and career, and b) how you will know whether it has been a successful placement from a personal perspective (350 words max)
Diii. This section must provide a clear breakdown and full justification of all funds requested, including a total. Please note the award is for a maximum of £5,000.
- Funding is provided to cover the incidental expenses (training course fees, accommodation, travel, subsistence and other reasonable expenses) of undertaking a placement for a short period of time. Travel and subsistence rates should be in accordance with the rates approved by the home institution.
- Research costs, open access fees, conference fees, and supervisory fees will not be covered by this award and would be expected to be funded by the home institution.
- Costs should be based on current prices.
- All applicants are expected to seek appropriate input from their Home Employing Institution into the finance section of the application form.
- Within 2 months of the completion of the award, or by the 12th of February 2022 (whichever is soonest), the home institution will be expected to submit an invoice to the NIHR Academy. The invoice will be checked in line with the proposed placement plans and justification of funds requested, and when approved, the NIHR Academy will reimburse the awardee’s home institution.
- The NIHR Academy reserve the right to request copies of supporting documentation.
Div. THIS SECTION IS TO BE COMPLETED BY THE PROPOSED HOST SUPERVISOR
Section E – Declarations and Signatures
Section F – NIHR Infrastructure/NIHR School Home Institution Academic Career Development Lead/Training Lead Statement of Support
- their approval of the application;
- their willingness of the home institution to support the applicant (if successful) during the placement;
- their commitment to providing the support necessary to make the award a success;
- their approval of the costs sought; and
- their acceptance of the terms and conditions associated with a NIHR SPARC award.
Section G – Monitoring Information
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