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Research for Patient Benefit

The NIHR Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) programme funds health, public health and social care research covering a wide range of health service challenges.

The aim of the programme is to fund topics and research methodologies that increase the effectiveness of NHS services, provide value for money and benefit patients. RfPB also runs an annual competition specifically for social care proposals - Research for Social Care (RfSC).

The Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) programme supports research that is concerned with the day-to-day practice of health service and social care staff. Research proposals should have a clear trajectory towards benefiting the health or wellbeing of patients and users of the NHS and social care services.

Scope

What do we fund?

RfPB is researcher-led and does not specify topics for research. The RfSC call funds research which generates evidence to improve, expand and strengthen the way adult social care is delivered for users of care services, carers and the public. 

How long and how much?

The funding available for individual projects is up to £350,000 for up to 36 months. Feasibility studies are expected to cost less than £250,000, and proposals that will generate results that might be useful for more downstream investigations are expected to cost less than £150,000.

For more information on applying to RfPB, please see our supplemental guidance notes on funding limits,  finance, tier 3 funding, applying for feasibility studies and further evaluations of established interventions. Please note the tier system does not apply for RfSC funding.

When is funding available?

RfPB has three funding opportunities a year. RfSC has one opportunity per year. See the dates for our funding competitions.

How do I apply?

RfPB has a two stage application process. Please see the applicant guidance for stage 1 and stage 2, and the supporting information, to find out more.

Research proposals are submitted to RfPB online through the Research Management System. We supply template application forms for stage 1 and stage 2 to help researchers prepare their proposal ahead of submission.

What we fund

For application and selection criteria for Research for Social Care, please see the RfSC page.

The Research for Patient Benefit programme will support:

  • Research into the provision and use of NHS services.
  • Effectiveness and cost effectiveness evaluations of interventions.
  • Research that examines the resource use of alternative means for healthcare delivery.
  • Feasibility research to support applications for major awards to other funders.
  • Development and refining of new interventions, scales or outcome measures.
  • Research to explore the potential for improving patient health and wellbeing through needs assessments, methods development and exploratory studies.
  • Evidence synthesis and systematic reviews.

The RfPB programme will not support:

  • Laboratory-based research, basic science research experimental medicine.
  • Animal studies or work on animal tissues.
  • Infrastructure, such as setting up or maintaining research units.
  • Service developments, unless they have wider generalisability. Note: the costs of any new service would not be funded by RfPB.
  • Audits or surveys (although these elements may be part of an integrated research study).
  • Priority setting exercises for future research.

The selection criteria used by our funding committees include:

  • quality of the research proposed
  • significance and potential benefit to the NHS and its patients
  • value for money provided by the application.

RfPB success rates

Our people

Research for Patient Benefit is a national programme that funds research on a regional level through eight Regional Advisory Committees. Each region has a local committee chair and members, and patient or public members.

The Research for Social Care call is a national call with applications reviewed by a national committee comprising social care experts, methodologists, public and practitioner members. 

Committee members review all stage 1 and stage 2 applications and make funding recommendations based on the quality of applications, with support from expert peer reviewers.

The committees recommend 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

Interested in joining one of our committees? View our committee vacancies.

 

Meeting minutes

Our programme director

Professor Sue Ziebland is Director of the Research for Patient Benefit Programme.

 

Our Regional Advisory Committees

North West

Professor Kevin Munro is Chair of the North West Regional Advisory Committee

See the full list of members of the North West Regional Advisory Committee.

Yorkshire and North East

Professor Justin Durham is Chair of the Yorkshire and North East Regional Advisory Committee.

See the full list of members of the Yorkshire and North East Regional Advisory Committee.

West Midlands

Dr Rebecca Kearney is Chair of the West Midlands Regional Advisory Committee.

See the full list of members of the West Midlands Regional Advisory Committee.

East Midlands

Professor Roshan das Nair is Chair of the East Midlands Regional Advisory Committee.

See the full list of members of the East Midlands Regional Advisory Committee.

East of England

Professor Tracy Sach is Chair of the East of England Regional Advisory Committee.

See the full list of members of the East of England Regional Advisory Committee.

London

Professor Brian Davidson is Chair of the London Regional Advisory Committee.

See the full list of members of the London Regional Advisory Committee.

South East and Central

Professor Carrie Llewellyn is Chair of the South East and Central Regional Advisory Committee.

See the full list of members of the South East and Central Regional Advisory Committee.

South West

Siobhan Creanor is Chair of the South West Regional Advisory Committee.

See the full list of members of the South West Regional Advisory Committee.

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 8057

For RfPB enquries, email: rfpb@nihr.ac.uk 

For Research for Social Care  enquiries, please email: rfsc@nihr.ac.uk

Our operating hours are 9am to 5pm.

Our programme team

Assistant Director

Mr Ben Morgan

Senior Programme Managers

Dr Jennie Hejdenberg (RfPB)
Dr Ianina Conte (RfPB)
Dr Kasia Kuleszewicz (RfPB)
Miss Laura Mason (RfSC)

Regional Programme Managers (RfPB)

East Midlands
Mr Francesco Sciammarella

East of England
Mr Simon Goodwin

London 
Ms Thembela Huna

South East and Central
Dr Laura Tornatore

West Midlands
Mrs Nishita Nair

North West
Ms Charlie Delilkan

Yorkshire and the North East
Dr Stuart Haylock

South West
Mr Simon Goodwin

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

Latest funding opportunities for Research for Patient Benefit

Mental health research in Northern England

The Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) programme, including the Research for Social Care (RfSC) call, have launched a call for research to better understand and manage the health and social care consequences of mental health conditions.

Research for Patient Benefit - Competition 45

Applications are invited for research proposals that are concerned with the day-to-day practice of health service staff, and which have the potential to have an impact on the health or wellbeing of patients and users of the NHS.

All Research for Patient Benefit funding opportunities

Latest news about Research for Patient Benefit

Latest documents for Research for Patient Benefit

Mental health research in Northern England - Round 2 highlight notice

Further to the recently announced funding call on mental health research in Northern England, the Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) programme and Research for Social Care (RfSC) call will seek further proposals on this theme via a highlight notice against two calls that will launch in July 2021.

NIHR research contract - NHS Trust example

This document provides an example of a standard NIHR research contract between the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and an NHS Trust.

NIHR standard contract - Commercial organisations example

This document provides an example of a standard research contract between Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and a commercial organisation, such as a life sciences company.

Mental Health in Northern England - Guidance for applicants

This document provides guidance for applicants submitting research proposals Mental Health in Northern England funding call, run by the NIHR Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) programme and the NIHR Research for Social Care (RfSC) call.

NIHR research contract - Higher education institution example

This document provides an example of a standard research contract between Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and a higher education institution (HEI).

All Research for Patient Benefit documents

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