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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. 


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.

Stream A - Pre-Programme Grant

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.

Stream B - Post-Programme Grant

For researchers to develop and enhance the quality and value of an existing or ongoing Programme Grant 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 applying to stream A, 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 stream A 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.

How do I apply?

PDGs have a one stage application process. We offer applicant guidance for both types of PDG: stream A guidance and stream B guidance. Applicants should also consult the supporting information for applicants.

Potential applicants may find it helpful to read the scoring criteria for each stream that results in a successful application:

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

What we fund

Stream A 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.

Stream B 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.

PDG success rates

Our people

Programme Development Grant (PDG) applications are assessed by a PDG sub-committee drawn from the PGfAR sub-committee members.

PDG applications are not sent for peer review; proposals are assessed by a PDG subcommittee. This PDG subcommittee 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

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
Ms Saima Siddiqui
Ms Sarah Thompson

Senior Research Officers

Ms Saprina Harrison

Research Officers

Ms Zaynab Manea
Mr Curtis Dixon

Senior Administrator
Ms Mandy Johnson

Grange House
15 Church Street
Twickenham TW1 3NL

Latest funding opportunities for Programme Development Grants

Programme Development Grants - Competition 34

Applications will soon be invited for Programme Development Grant (PDG) funding. Competition 34 will feature a highlight notice specifically to encourage inclusive and/or new ways of partnership working between researchers, people and communities and other key stakeholders.

All PDG funding opportunities

Latest documents for Programme Development Grants

Public Partnerships funding call video transcript

Transcript of the community engagement partnerships funding call video

Agenda for the Developing Innovative, Inclusive and Diverse Public Partnerships webinar

Agenda for the webinar on the NIHR Programme Development Grants call for Developing Innovative, Inclusive and Diverse Public Partnerships.

Programme Development Grants - Competition 32 Minutes

Minutes of the Programme Development Grants (PDG) programme meeting for Competition 32

Funding for Community Research Partnerships - Information Pack for Community or Charity Organisations and Groups

We are excited to introduce a new funding call, giving research teams, community and charity organisations and groups the opportunity to explore and develop partnerships together. This information pack gives more informaiton for community groups and charities on NIHR, how to apply for funding and what to expect.

Expanding diversity highlight notice - Frequently asked questions

This document provides answers to questions relating to the NIHR Programme Grants for Applied Research (PGfAR) and NIHR Programme Development Grants (PDG) highlight notice on for varied research approaches to address National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) and NIHR priorities in multiple long-term conditions.

All PDG documents