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Programme Development Grants

NIHR Programme Development Grants (PDG) are available to carry out targeted preparatory work to strengthen a future full Programme Grants for Applied Research (PGfAR) funding award.

Programme Development Grants are designed to to position and equip a research team in submitting a competitive research proposal to PGfAR in the future.

Proposals for Programme Development Grants should:

  • Identify the fundamental limitations that need to be addressed before a full programme of research could be undertaken
  • Detail the necessary preparatory work, indicating how completion of this would eliminate any limitations and enable the research team to develop a credible PGfAR application
  • Describe the research to be undertaken should a PGfAR be awarded.

Our tips and directors' notes 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 Programme Development Grants 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.

Programme Development Grants have three funding opportunities a year that typically launch in February, June and October. Find out the dates of upcoming funding opportunities.

Programme Development Grants have a one stage application process. Please see our applicant guidance and supporting information to find out more. Potential applicants can seek advice on their proposal from the programme team through the pre-submission enquiry form.

Research proposals are submitted to PGfAR 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:

  • Selection or development of interventions or outcome measures
  • Pilot/feasibility studies, for example to determine recruitment and participation retention rates, inform sample size calculations, or optimise delivery of the intervention
  • Strengthening existing collaborations with methodological experts as necessary to deliver the proposed full programme.

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 inform and strengthen a future full PGfAR application
  • Work to enhance future programmes at highly formative stages of development
  • Endeavours to formulate teams from initial conception

Individual grants can be between £20k - £100k over a period of six to eighteen months. The amount of funding awarded, however, is determined by the scale and nature of the research activity to be conducted.

The selection criteria used our funding committees include:

  • The relevance and importance of the research to be funded via any future Programme Grant award to the priorities and needs of the NHS
  • The quality of the proposed future Programme, including the likelihood of its potential to deliver significant benefit to the NHS and patients within 3 – 5 years of the end of the funding period
  • The strength of the research 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 strength of the work plan for the development phase, particularly the extent to which the proposed development work will enable the applicants to reach the point where they will be able to submit a competitive application to the PGfAR funding scheme
  • 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.

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 Shaun McMaster
Dr Katie Cook
Miss Emma Thompson  

Programme Managers
Dr Michelle Edye
Ms Fiona Giles
Dr Ramnath Elaswarapu

Research Officers
Ms Saima Siddiqui
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 - Emergency Response and Preparedness Call

Programme Development Grants is accepting Expression of Interest applications for research proposals that will provide health and health services related learning from recent emergencies and Mass Casualty Incidents.

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

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).

NIHR research outputs and publications guidance

Guidance on research outputs from NIHR-funded research projects and researchers: types of output; notifying the NIHR of upcoming outputs; acknowledging the NIHR in research outputs; and branding.

NIHR open access policy

The Department of Health and Social Care and the NIHR require that NIHR-funded researchers publish their main study findings in a peer-reviewed, open access journal.