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Programme Development Grants

NIHR Programme Development Grants (PDG) are designed to enable a research team to carry out targeted preparatory work to develop a competitive Programme Grants for Applied Research (PGfAR) funding application. They can also be used to further develop an existing or ongoing PGfAR-funded programme of research. 

Scope

Programme Development Grants (PDGs) are available for researchers to undertake preparatory work to develop a future programme of research. Broad ranging development work is permitted, with less detail required about the future programme of research.

PDGs are also available for researchers to develop and enhance the quality and value of an existing or ongoing Programme Grants for Applied Research (PGfAR) award. Applications for such PDGs are only permitted from applicants whose PGfAR contracts are finishing within 12 months or have finished in the past 18 months.

How long and how much?

Individual grants can be up to £150,000 for between 12 and 24 months. The amount of funding awarded, however, is determined by the scale and nature of the research or development activity to be conducted.

If seeking a PDG to develop a future programme of research, applicants can choose whether to enter directly into stage 1 or stage 2 of a future PGfAR funding call.

There is no formal expectation or guarantee that the recipients of PDGs will be successful in obtaining a subsequent Programme Grant award in the future. All future applications for PGfAR will be judged on their own merits against the published criteria.

When is funding available?

PDGs has three funding opportunities a year that typically launch in March, July and November. Find out the dates of upcoming funding opportunities.

PDG has a new funding opportunity and is inviting applications aimed at strengthening adult social care research across England for the new social care call launching in October 2021.

How do I apply?

PDGs have a one stage application process. We offer applicant guidance for both types of PDG: guidance for preparatory work to develop a future programme of research and guidance for proposals to further develop an existing or ongoing programme of PGfAR research. Applicants should also consult the supporting information for applicants.

Proposals are submitted online through the Research Management System. We supply a template application form to help researchers prepare their proposal ahead of submission.

For help and advice on applying for a PDG please refer to the guidance for applicants and supporting information for applicants. If you have any further queries, please contact the Programme Grants team at programme.grants@nihr.ac.uk.

What we fund

Programme Development Grants (PDGs) will support preparatory work for a future programme of research, including but not limited to:

  • team strengthening and collaboration building
  • selection of outcome measures
  • methodological work or method development (e.g. development of new scales or outcome measures)
  • observational or epidemiological work to obtain information that would place the future programme on firmer foundations
  • evidence synthesis
  • development of arrangements for patient, service user, carer and public involvement
  • stakeholder engagement.

PDGs will also support further development of an existing or ongoing programme of research, including but not limited to:

  • enhanced dissemination (e.g. knowledge mobilisation activities, engagement etc)
  • additional IP exploitation or commercialisation activities
  • additional secondary data analyses to answer new research questions* (i.e. not questions included in the initial programme)
  • follow on work to explore other perspectives (e.g. social care) arising from the programme
  • endeavours to facilitate implementation.

*It is important that, where relevant, all primary analyses are completed and made available in PDG applications requesting funding for dissemination or implementation activities.

The programme will not support:

  • basic science work underpinning a future programme of exploratory research
  • stand alone projects of any type. All constituent projects must be solely designed to develop and inform a future full PGfAR application, or further develop an existing programme.

The selection criteria our funding committees use for applications to undertake preparatory work to develop a future programme of research are:

  • the relevance and importance of the research to be funded via any future PGfAR award to the priorities and needs of the NHS, public health, social care, patients, service users, carers or the wider public
  • the suitability of the team (either now, or as augmented through PDG funding), including the relevant expertise of the team in conducting high quality applied health and care research
  • the quality and appropriateness of the development work plan, notably the extent to which it helps develop and inform the proposed future programme
  • the value for money provided by the application.

The selection criteria our funding committees use to assess proposals to further develop an existing or ongoing programme of research of are:

  • the relevance and importance of the development work to the priorities and needs of the NHS, public health, social care, patients, service users, carers or the wider public
  • the likelihood of the development work enabling significant additional benefit to be realised by the NHS, public health, social care, patients, service users, carers or the wider public, above and beyond that attained via the existing or ongoing programme of research 
  • the suitability of the team (which need not include all members of the PGfAR application), including the relevant expertise and track record of the team in conducting high quality applied health and social care research, implementation or knowledge mobilisation activities as appropriate
  • the quality and appropriateness of the development work planned
  • the value for money provided by the application.

PDG success ratesPDG scoring criteria

Our people

Programme Development Grant (PDG) applications are assessed by the Programme Grants for Applied Research (PGfAR) main selection committee and a PDG sub-committee.

The PDG and main selection committee is convened for each funding competition, drawing from the Stage 2 subcommittee members.

PDG applications are not sent for peer review; proposals are first assessed by a PDG  subcommittee. The outcomes from the PDG subcommittee are then discussed and reviewed by the main selection committee.

The main selection committee recommends projects for funding to the Department of Health and Social Care, which approves which projects should be funded.

Members of NIHR Committees are required to declare any interests which conflict, or may be considered to conflict, with NIHR business, or may be perceived as influencing decisions made in the course of their work within NIHR programmes. All members are asked to complete the Register of Interest form (annually), which is intended to capture long term predictable interests that could be perceived to lead to conflicts of interest. These and other interests are judged on a case by case basis at individual meetings.

NIHR registry of interests

Our Programme Director

Professor Elaine Hay is Programme Director of NIHR Programme Grants for Applied Research.

Our Stage 2 subcommittee Chairs

Professor Richard Watt and Professor Jonathan Mant are the Co-Chairs of PGfAR subcommittee A.

Professor Kate Jolly and Professor Simon Heller  are the  Co-Chairs of PGfAR subcommittee B.

 

Meeting minutes

Contact us

We offer a wide variety of assistance during all stages of the research process. If in doubt, please get in touch.

Tel: 020 8843 8056
Email: programme.grants@nihr.ac.uk

Our operating hours are 9.00am to 5.00pm

Our programme team

Assistant Director
Mr Rajinder Flora

Senior Programme Managers
Dr Katie Cook 
Mr Thomas Hutchinson

Programme Managers
Ms Fiona Giles
Dr Ramnath Elaswarapu
Ms Saima Siddiqui
Ms Lauren Back
Ms Sarah Thompson

Research Officers

Ms Batool Raza

Senior Administrator
Ms Mandy Johnson

NIHR Central Commissioning Facility
Grange House
15 Church Street
Twickenham TW1 3NL

Latest funding opportunities for Programme Development Grants

Programme Development Grants - Social care call

Applications are invited for social care research proposals to Programme Development Grants.

All PDG funding opportunities

Latest documents for Programme Development Grants

Programme Development Grants - Guidance for applicants for developing a PGfAR in social care

This document provides guidance on completing a PDG application for funding to develop a future programme grant in social care.

Programme Development Grants - Guidance for applicants for development of social care component to existing programme

This document provides guidance on completing a PDG application for funding to develop a social care component of an existing or ongoing programme of research.

Programme Development Grants – Adult social care call specification

Research specification for the Programme Development Grants call for research proposals on social care.

Programme Development Grants - Competition 30 Minutes

Minutes of the Programme Development Grants committee meeting to discuss applications to Competition 30.

Programme Development Grants - Committee scoring instructions

Selection criteria for Programme Development Grant funding committees.

All PDG documents

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