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Standard NIHR COVID-19 Application form guidance notes Application Summary Information



Application summary information

Writing and submitting a research application requires a great deal of time and effort, therefore to avoid wasting anyone’s time please read the call scope very carefully to ensure that your proposal meets the remit/requirements of the call beforehand.

Host organisation

Please give details of the organisation who will be the contractor if the project is funded.

Please note that we expect the CI’s host organisation (substantive employer) to act as the contractor.

Please also bear in mind that:

  • Thought must be given to the most appropriate institution to act as the contractor as part of the application process, as changes are unlikely to be agreed once a funding decision has been made.
  • The contractor is expected to respond to annual financial reconciliation exercises, provide the final financial reconciliation statement for the project and to provide ad hoc requests for financial information during the lifetime of the project. In the unlikely event that a request is made for the contractor to differ from the CI’s host institution, the suggested contractor must be able to fulfil these expectations and to do so in the usual timeframes.
  • In the same way, the contractor is expected to respond to any queries relating to Intellectual Property, commercialisation and benefit realisation.

If you have any queries, please contact before submitting your application.

Research title (300 characters)

The project title should state clearly and concisely the proposed research. Any abbreviations should be spelled out in full.

Research type

Select the appropriate research type. If your proposed project includes any element of primary research, please select ‘Primary Research’. If you are carrying out new analysis of existing data, select ‘Secondary Research’. If you are not sure which category to select, choose the closest match to your project as this can be adjusted later.

Proposed start date

Given that this opportunity is for timely proposals, grants are expected to start within four weeks of award notification. Note this should be from 1st of the month regardless of whether this is a working day or not.

Research duration (months)

Applications are expected to measure outcomes typically within 24 months. Programmes of work with longer term outcomes will be considered, if the timescales are justified.

End date

This field will automatically populate once you have saved the research duration information.

Total (Stage 2) research costs

This section will remain blank and is not required to be populated for this call. Please see guidance notes for ‘Detailed Budget section’ for further guidance on where to provide this information.

Total (Stage 2) NHS support and treatment costs or external (not NHS) intervention costs

This section will remain blank and is not required to be populated for this call. Please see guidance notes for ‘Detailed Budget section’ for further guidance on where to provide this information.

Total non-NHS intervention costs

Non-NHS intervention costs include costs incurred in delivering the intervention which would continue to be incurred after the trial, should the intervention become standard care. The figure that should be entered here is the difference between the cost of the intervention and the cost of current standard care. Please note that NIHR have no provision to cover non-NHS intervention costs, and it is the responsibility of the applicant to secure these costs if they are needed. Where applicable a letter from the provider of the intervention costs for the purposes of the study should be supplied.

These are similar to excess treatment costs, but they mainly apply to Public Health and Social Care Research. They are unlikely to be applicable to HS&DR unless the intervention is being delivered outside the NHS (e.g. in school or by a local authority etc.)

Administrative contact details

Do you wish us to contact you, the lead applicant, regarding this application? If no, provide administrative contact details (name, post held, department, organisation, contact details and access rights)

Lead, Joint Lead and Co-applicants details / CV

Complete your name, contact details and other requested information.


Please note: You are required to obtain a free unique ORCiD ID number and update your MIS user profile with this before you can submit your application. By clicking the link ‘View ORCiD record’ you will be taken to the ORCiD website where you will need to register or sign in. Once logged in to ORCiD and following acceptance of T&Cs, you will be returned to the MIS and the profile field for your ORCiD number will automatically be populated. You will only have to do this once. For a Stage 2 application this is a mandatory requirement.

PPI co-applicants

We encourage the inclusion of public co-applicants, where appropriate. Please include a clear description of their role and the reasons why a public co-applicant is joining the team. 

For further information please access the 'Public Co-Applicants in Research' guidance 

Specify your (lead applicant) role in this research (Limit: 200 characters)

Explain in addition to your role as Lead Applicant, the role that you will be undertaking in the research,
e.g. co-ordination and project management, analysis, methodological input etc.

Lead applicant’s % FTE commitment

Commitment: This refers to the percentage of your time that you will commit to this project.

Research background – Lead, Joint Lead and Co-applicants

Publication record (limit 10,000 characters)

Provide details of a maximum of six of your most recent / relevant publications (in the last 10 years) relevant to this application (using Vancouver or Harvard citation format) listed one after another with a blank line between each one. Please use DOI reference numbers if needed.

Research Grants Held (limit 10,000 characters)

This should include research grants held (as a named applicant) currently or in the last five years – as well as any additional previous grants, relevant to this application. Please include who the grant is with and the amount of each grant. If no grants are held, please enter N/A (as this is a mandatory field). For each entry you should state: registration number and name of registry and the DOI of the main related publication. Where the study is still ongoing or final results have not yet been published, please provide an estimated publication date. This is in line with the NIHR policy on clinical trial registration and disclosure of results.

History of application - has this application been previously submitted to this or any other funding body? (completed by Lead Applicant only)

Select ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ from the drop-down box to indicate whether this or a similar application has previously been submitted to this or any other funding body.
For more information about resubmission of a research/trainee funding application, or joint funding please contact the appropriate NIHR research funding programme.

Applications submitted to other NIHR programmes (completed by Lead Applicant only)

Where this application or a similar one has been submitted to this or another NIHR programme or elsewhere please click the ‘Add’ button and complete the necessary information.

We are keen to know if the application has been submitted elsewhere and you must be as open about this as possible. This includes, but is not limited to, any facts that, should they come to light at a future date, would embarrass either the programme or the individual who withheld the fact (e.g. if a member of the team holds a patent or has a financial interest within the research area).

Failure to disclose accurately or fully will be considered by the programme as academic misconduct and treated accordingly. You should also include in this section information on whether this or a similar application has been submitted to any programme previously, or to any other funder including other NIHR programmes. You should name and provide dates and outcomes of these. Please indicate whether you hold or have ever held an NIHR programme contract, which has been terminated prior to completion, extended in time or in terms of funding.

The research team – Joint Lead Applicant / Co-Applicants

Joint Lead Applicant

Where appropriate and justified it is acceptable for the application to be led by joint Lead Applicants.

Note: For application / contracting purposes the joint lead applicant will be regarded as a co-applicant

Please click the ‘Add’ button and select the Joint Lead Applicant Role drop down option and enter their details (if applicable)

Justification for Joint Lead Applicant (Limit: 1500 characters)

Justification should be given to demonstrate why more than one person would be required to lead this research and how this brings added value to the application.

Relevant expertise and experience of Joint Lead Applicant (Limit: 1500 characters)

Please summarise the proposed Joint Lead Applicant’s relevant expertise and track record in applied health or social care research, in terms of skills and experience, previous publications, grant funding and impact on service provision.

Joint Lead Applicant / Co-Applicants / Co-Applicants – PPI

Add details of all co-applicants (including Joint Lead Applicant if applicable) and their specific role in the project. The number of co-applicants is calculated automatically. Do not include collaborators, who should be mentioned (if necessary) in the Detailed Research Plan section/upload of the on-line application form.

Co-applicants are those individuals with responsibility for the day to day management and delivery of the project. Co-applicants, including public co-applicants, are considered part of the project team and are expected to share responsibility for its successful delivery. In contrast, collaborators normally provide specific expertise on particular aspects of the project but who do not share in the responsibility for the delivery of the project.

Please Note, Co-Applicant CV’s are not required at this stage of the application. But they may be requested at a later date.

Please ignore the instruction advising you to ‘notify’ each included in this section. You do not need to press ‘Notify’ this functionality has been switched off as notifications are not required at this stage of the application.

Other supporting roles – signatories (electronic)

Please leave blank. This information is not required at this stage of the application.

Scientific abstract

Scientific abstract (limit 3,500 characters)

Please provide a clear justification for the proposal. What is the question your research is trying to answer and why is it specifically important to COVID-19 related issues? Also, describe how your research fits the remit of this call, and which of the NIHR programmes you feel it bests fits and why. Please explain how it will have direct and important relevance to the current pandemic.

Where appropriate please describe the population you intend to undertake the research in, the intervention or change you are intending to assess, and how you will measure the difference in a way that is meaningful to local authorities, the public, clinicians, patients and other evidence users.

Plain English summary

The importance of a plain English summary (limit 3,500 characters)

A plain English summary is a clear explanation of your research.

Many reviewers use this summary to inform their review of your funding application. They include clinicians and other practitioners and researchers who do not have specialist knowledge of your field as well as members of the public. If your application for funding is successful, the summary will be used on National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and other websites.

A good quality plain English summary providing an easy to read overview of your whole study will help:

  • those carrying out the review (reviewers and assessment committee members) to have a better understanding of your research proposal
  • inform others about your research such as members of the public, health and social care professionals, policy makers and the media
  • the research funders to publicise the research that they fund.

If it is felt that your plain English summary is not clear and of a good quality, then you may be required to amend it prior to final funding approval.

It is helpful to involve patients / carers / service users / practitioners and members of the public in developing a plain English summary.


When writing your summary consider including the following information where appropriate:

  • aim(s) of the research
  • background to the research
  • design and methods used
  • patient and public involvement
  • dissemination

The plain English summary is not the same as a scientific abstract - please do not cut and paste this or other sections of your application form to create the plain English summary.

Further guidance on writing in plain English is available online at NIHR Make it clear 

For further support and advice on writing a plain English summary, please contact your local Research Design Service (where applicable).

Changes from first stage

Please leave blank. This information is not relevant to this application.


Please describe how patients/service users, carers and the public have been involved in developing this proposal (limit 3,500 characters)

You should describe who has been involved and why this is appropriate, what role(s) they have they played and what influence or change has happened as result of their involvement.

Please describe the ways in which patients/service users, carers and the public will be actively involved throughout the proposed research, including any training and support provided (limit 3500 characters)

a) PPI approach, management and support

  • Explain why your approach to patient and public involvement is appropriate for this proposal. In your description you will need to say who will be involved and why.
  • Please use this opportunity to describe how you plan to manage and coordinate the patient and public involvement activities in your project. 
  • Describe how you will support and enable patients/service users, carers, the public and members of relevant communities to contribute to your research (e.g. access, payments, training).
  • We would also encourage you to outline plans for the capturing, evaluating and reporting the impact of patient and public involvement activities.

Patients, carers, service users and the public can be involved in every stage of a research project, from developing a proposal through to dissemination and evaluation. You can find further resources to support the design of your PPI here

There should be a named person with appropriate skills and experience who is responsible for leading the PPI element within the project. This role should be an adequately costed and resourced research team member who is able to manage the PPI plans and related activities. For examples of the activities a PPI lead might undertake please follow this link

b) A summary of PPI activities
Please provide a summary below of the proposed PPI activities embedded throughout the research project lifecycle. Please clearly signpost to other sections of the Detailed Research Plan where the PPI is described further in relation to the relevant project stage e.g. dissemination, intervention design, data collection, analysis.

In rare cases where proposals do not involve patients/service users, carers and the public, clear justification must be provided (limit 3,500 characters)

Complete / justify as necessary.

Detailed budget

Justification of costs (limit 8,000 characters)

In this section please provide the following information laid clearly in the order it is shown below: 

  1. Total Research Costs (in GBP):
  2. Total NHS support/treatment costs (in GBP):
  3. Please provide a brief description of the resources required in the different contributing environments (staff, materials, data, facilities etc.), including whether these are in hand, or if not, what gives you confidence that they will be accessible when required

Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) should determine the Full Economic Cost (FEC) of their research. For HEIs, up to 80% of FEC will be paid. For applications where the contractor is an NHS body or provider of NHS services in England, up to 100% of direct costs will be paid.

Detailed budget breakdown

Please leave this section blank, this information is not required at this stage of the application. But please be aware this information may be requested at a later date if recommended for funding.

Management and governance

Is clinical trials authorisation required?

Yes / No

Does your project require ethics approval?

Yes / No

If yes, has ethics approval already been obtained?

Yes / No


Any additional, not requested documents will not be considered by the funding committee during its review. However, there may be other requested documents e.g. cover letter, collaborative documents, dictated by the specification of the call.

Attachment 1: detailed research plan

It is mandatory to upload and submit a Detailed Research Plan (DRP), which is a full account of the proposed project.

Broadly, the detailed research plan should follow the following format:


  • have a font size of 11 Arial
  • not exceed 10 (A4) pages
  • have a header containing your allocated project reference number if known (e.g.NIHR12345)
  • have a footer showing your page numbers
  • be converted to a .PDF version before uploading

Headings / guidance

1. What is the problem being addressed?

  1. Please describe the problem you are trying to help address with your intended research.

2. What is the research question you are trying to answer, and what are the aims and objectives of your project?

  1. Please describe how you have defined a researchable question from the original problem, and how this question can be answered or better understood through your proposed project. 
  2. You may want to describe one or more different aims that your research will help meet, and the objectives you will need to achieve to meet these aims.
  3. You may find it helpful to consider and describe your research in terms of:
    1. The population the research is going to be undertaken in or summarise the existing research on, considering any inclusion or exclusion criteria.
    2. The intervention or change that is being implemented or measured, and any resources needed to bring about that change.
    3. The group or population you are going to measure against so that you can demonstrate the difference the change or intervention has brought about.
    4. The key outcomes you are going to be able to measure to demonstrate the difference.

3. Why is this research important in terms of improving the health and/or wellbeing of the public and/or to patients and health and care services?

  1. Please describe how your research is likely to benefit patients/the public or change the way in which we deliver health and care services in the UK. 
  2. Please specifically consider the scope of this funding call and explain how your research will help shape the UK response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and how this is likely to be achieved and deliver benefits within 24 months.

4. Review of existing evidence - How does the existing literature support this proposal?

  1. Please describe the existing evidence base for the area you are researching, and how this supports or justifies your proposed project. 
  2. Please also describe any currently ongoing or recently published research (including recent COVID-19 research activity) you are aware of in this field and how your project will complement it or advance knowledge. 

Important please note:

  1. If you are planning a systematic review (rapid or otherwise) related to COVID-19, please be especially careful to avoid unnecessary duplication of effort, as many reviews are already underway. Before applying, please check with the PROSPERO register. We encourage people planning and doing systematic reviews to collaborate rather than compete with each other. Applications will require justification showing the special contribution that the review will make, that it is not an unnecessary duplication of effort and that the work represents good value for money.
  2. If you are planning a clinical trial, it is critically important to include the relevant core outcome sets for COVID-19 as indicated on the COMET website.

5. Project Plan

  1. Please describe your project plan, highlighting in detail how you will be able to achieve the research aims you have set out in the timelines of the call. Also describe the project management you anticipate will be needed.
  2. Please describe the sites and organisations you will need to work with to enable your research to reach a meaningful conclusion in the timeframe, and also demonstrate that the sites or organisations proposed have the capacity to assist in the research given the potential demands of the national response to COVID-19. 
  3. Please highlight any ethical considerations you have already identified or which you anticipate will need to be considered by this research, and how you will address or mitigate these.
  4. Where relevant, please provide details of any existing Intellectual Property (IP) arrangements, details of any IP expected to be produced during the research and how it will be managed, and how your proposed solution is different from any competitive technologies.   
  5. Please describe briefly how you will share the findings of your research to ensure it has the maximum benefit to users of the health and care service and impact on practice.

Guidance for applicants on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion for study participants:
Every person eligible to take part in research should be offered the same opportunity of taking part in that research regardless of:

• Geographical location
• Age
• Disability
• Gender reassignment
• Marriage and civil partnership
• Pregnancy and maternity
• Ethnicity - link (for example) to the toolkit for increasing participation of BAME groups in health and care research
• Religion or belief
• Sex
• Sexual orientation
• Socioeconomic status
• Access to health or social care

All NIHR applications are expected to include information about how this data will be collected. Applicants should demonstrate how these factors have been considered and addressed in their proposal, including steps taken to ensure the research sample is representative of the population the study is targeted at. Applicants need to explain who they are planning to recruit to ensure inclusivity of study participants and justify and explain any exclusions, for example by completing an Equality Impact Assessment. Additionally, applicants should demonstrate that all potential recruiting locations have been considered and the research is deliverable to those areas.

Helpful links:
Diversity and Inclusion
Promoting equality,diversity and inclusion in research

6. References

Please list the main references using Vancouver or Harvard referencing conventions.

Attachment 2: Project Summary Timetable

Please provide and upload a concise summary of the project plan of investigation.

Acknowledge, review and submit

Conflict checks (limit 2,000 characters)

Please declare any conflicts or potential conflicts of interest that you or your co-applicants may have in undertaking this research, including any relevant, non-personal and commercial interest that could be perceived as a conflict of interest.

Agreement to terms and conditions

I have read and understood the terms on which I have been nominated as Chief Investigator for this proposal along with the associated documentation and accept this role.
A list of terms and conditions can be found here (page 5): Terms and conditions

Equality and diversity monitoring information

NIHR is committed to promoting equality, diversity and inclusion in research and asks applicants to provide Equality and Diversity Monitoring Information (age, sex, ethnicity and race, and disability). By answering these Equality and Diversity Monitoring Information questions, you will help us to better understand the different groups of people that apply to us for funding and their experiences of the funding process – particularly the groups protected by UK equality legislation. Although it is mandatory to answer these questions, it is possible to select “prefer not to say” as a response. However, the more information you provide, the more effective our monitoring will be. This information will not be used to make decisions about funding.

Checklist of information to include when submitting a NIHR stage 2 research application

Please ignore this section. This information is not relevant to applications to this call. Leaving it blank will not affect your ability to submit your application.