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Themed Call: Emergency response and preparedness (2019)




Call opened: 31/07/2019
Call closed: 23/10/2019

This call invited proposals for research to provide health and health services related learning from recent emergencies and Mass Casualty Incidents such as the Grenfell Tower fire, Manchester Arena bombing and London Bridge and Borough Market terror attacks.

The NIHR sought to fund health and health services related research that will provide evidence to inform policy and practice in the short to medium term. Applicants must therefore have demonstrated a clear pathway to influence and impact for their proposed research. Research proposals that did not meet this requirement were unlikely to be considered for funding.

This call covered the whole pathway of the emergency response, including planning, acute phase, definitive care and reconstruction, and the recovery phase. Physical and/or mental health and psychological aspects may have been included, but applicants did not have to cover all phases and aspects in a single proposal for as long as the choice of phase is well justified. All services and agencies involved in this response, including the NHS, police, fire service, local authorities, health protection and the Environment Agency were of interest.

Proposals were invited to address the following topics which are examples of potential areas of interest for health-related research and do not represent an exhaustive list. Other research questions in the remit of the participating NIHR funding programmes and relevant to this call were also considered.

  • Governance and management of the responding services
  • Communications within and between services, and with affected individuals, communities and the wider public
  • Response of emergency services and variation in protocols
  • Organisation, education and training of the emergency response workforce and support for the workforce, for example in dealing with Mass Casualty Incidents.
  • How should organisations support senior leadership roles in the preparation for, recovery from and consequences of these events
  • Organisation of, and impact on, physical and mental health services in the recovery phase
  • Rapid learning and emergency preparedness
  • Responding to health issues and reducing the impact of potential environmental hazards
  • Multi service planning for emergencies
  • Immediate, short- and medium-term response to displaced communities
  • Mental health impacts for responders and affected communities
  • Relevant epidemiology studies where these can lead to clear action. Please note that mechanistic research, whilst important, may fall within the remit of UK Research and Innovation

Applicants do not have to cover all phases and aspects in a single proposal so long as the focus of the proposal is well justified. For all topics, addressed or proposed, consideration must be given to health inequalities and the needs and rights of less well-heard groups of the community.

Participating programmes

The following programmes participated in this themed call:

Health Services and Delivery Research (HS&DR)

Public Health Research (PHR)

Programme Grants for Applied Research (PGfAR)

Programme Development Grants (PDG)

Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB)