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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. 

  

Following a review, the scope of the NIHR Programme Development Grants (PDG) scheme has changed:

  • PDGs remain available to undertake preparatory work to develop a future programme of research, but broader ranging development work is permitted and less detail is required about the future programme of research.
  • The scope has expanded so that PDGs are now also available to further develop an existing or ongoing programme of research. 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.
  • Funding amount and duration have increased: up to £150,000 is now available over 12 – 24 months.
  • 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 call for proposals.

Our tips on applying for PGfAR identify key issues that should be considered when describing your proposed programme of research, in conjunction with the development work that you wish to undertake with funding from the PDG funding scheme.

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 applications for PGfAR will be judged on their own merits against the published criteria.

How to apply

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

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

Potential applicants can seek advice on their proposal from the programme team through the pre-submission enquiry form.

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

Programme Development Grants 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/method development (e.g. development of new scales or outcome measures)
  • observational and/or epidemiological work to obtain information that would place the future programme on firmer foundations
  • evidence synthesis
  • development of arrangements for patient and public involvement
  • stakeholder engagement.

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

  • knowledge mobilisation activities (e.g. engagement, enhanced dissemination, commercialisation etc)
  • secondary data analysis
  • endeavours to facilitate and achieve implementation.

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.

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

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, patients and/or the wider public
  • the suitability of the team (either now, or as augmented through PDG funding), including the relevant expertise and track-record of the team in conducting high quality applied health 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, patients and/or the wider public
  • the likelihood of the development work enabling significant additional benefit to be realised by the NHS, patients of public, above and beyond that attained via the existing/ongoing programme of research 
  • the suitability of the team, including the relevant expertise and track-record of the team in conducting high quality applied health research, implementation and/or knowledge mobilisation activities as appropriate
  • the quality and appropriateness of the development work planned
  • the value for money provided by the application.

See the success rates for Programme Development Grant proposals.

Programme Development Grant applications are assessed by the PGfAR main selection committee and its Stage 2 subcommittees.

The Stage 2 subcommittees are standing committees, whereas a main selection committee is convened for each funding competition.

PDG applications are not sent for peer review; proposals are first assessed by Stage 2 subcommittees. The outcomes from each Stage 2 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 PGfAR committees are required to declare any interests which conflict, or may be considered to conflict, with PGfAR programme business, or may be perceived as influencing decisions made in the course of their work within the PGfAR programme. 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.

Our Programme Director

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

Our Stage 2 subcommittee Chairs

Professor Tracy Roberts is Chair of NIHR Programme Grants for Applied Research subcommittee A.

Professor Jonathan Mant is Chair of NIHR Programme Grants for Applied Research subcommittee B.

Professor Kate Jolly is Chair of NIHR Programme Grants for Applied Research subcommittee C.

Professor Marian Knight is Chair of NIHR Programme Grants for Applied Research subcommittee D.

 

Meeting minutes

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 Shaun McMaster
Dr Katie Cook  

Programme Managers
Dr Michelle Edye
Ms Fiona Giles
Dr Ramnath Elaswarapu
Ms Saima Siddiqui

Research Officers
Ms Saprina Harrison

Senior Administrator
Ms Mandy Norton

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

Latest funding opportunities for Programme Development Grants

Programme Development Grants - Competition 26

Applications are invited for Programme Development Grant funding. Programme Development Grants are designed to increase the rate and number of successful applications for a full Programme Grant by supporting the completion of the necessary preparatory work to suitably position the research team to submit a competitive Programme Grant application.

Cystic Fibrosis

The NIHR is interested in funding high-quality, ambitious research applications addressing the important questions in Cystic Fibrosis.

Latest documents for Programme Development Grants

Programme Development Grants - Guidance for applicants for developing a PGfAR

Guidance on completing an application to NIHR Programme Development Grants for developing PGfAR

Programme Development Grants - Guidance for applicants for development of existing programme

Guidance on completing an application to NIHR Programme Development Grants for development of existing programme

Emergency Response Preparedness call - Guidance on Expression of Interest

Guidance on preparing and submitting an Expression of Interest for applicants to the Emergency Response and Preparedness funding call through the NIHR Research for Patient Benefit, Programme Grants for Applied Research and Programme Development Grants funding programmes.

Tips for applying to Programme Grants for Applied Research

Tips for appplying to the NIHR Programme Grants for Applied Research (PGfAR), including advice on PPI, research methods and value for money.

Director's note on Programme Development Grant proposals

Advice on Programme Development Grant applications from the Director of NIHR Programme Grants for Applied Research (PGfAR).