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.
The 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.
What do we fund?
RfPB is researcher-led and does not specify topics for research.
How long and how much?
The funding available for individual projects is up to £500,000 for up to 36 months. From competition 53, feasibility studies are expected to cost less than £300,000 (Tier 2), and proposals that will generate results that might be useful for more downstream investigations are expected to cost less than £200,000 (Tier 3). For applications submitted to earlier competitions, the funding limit for Tier 2 and Tier 3 studies are £250,000 and £150,000, respectively.
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 and applying for study within project.
When is funding available?
RfPB has three funding opportunities a 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 applicant guidance for stage 2, and the supporting information, to find out more. You can also browse the FAQ's.
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
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.
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.
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.
The role of the Regional Advisory Committee is to review grant applications and make funding recommendations to the Programme Director and Department of Health and Social Care. Committee meetings take place three times per year, typically during January, May and September. View our committee membership guidance for applicants.
Interested in joining one of our committees? View our committee vacancies.
Professional committee positions
- Regional Advisory Committee vacancies for researchers/academics
- Application for membership of a Regional Advisory Committee for researchers/academics
Public committee positions
- Regional Advisory Committee vacancies for non-academics
- Application for membership of a Regional Advisory Committee for non-academics
Our programme director
Professor Kevin Munro is Director of the Research for Patient Benefit Programme.
Our Regional Advisory Committees
Professor Katherine Berry is Chair of the North West Regional Advisory Committee
Yorkshire and North East
Dr Judith Cohen is Chair of the Yorkshire and North East Regional Advisory Committee.
Dr Keith Couper is Chair of the West Midlands Regional Advisory Committee.
Dr Paul Leighton is Chair of the East Midlands Regional Advisory Committee.
East of England
Professor Tracey Sach is Chair of the East of England Regional Advisory Committee.
Dr Chris Gale is Chair of the London Regional Advisory Committee.
South East and Central
Professor Christina Jones is Chair of the South East and Central Regional Advisory Committee.
Professor Robert Hinchliffe is Chair of the South West Regional Advisory Committee.
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: email@example.com
Our operating hours are 9am to 5pm.
15 Church Street
Twickenham TW1 3NL
Do you need help getting started? Contact the Research Support Service.
Do you need assistance running your study in the NHS? Contact the Study Support Service.
Research for Social Care
Research for Patient Benefit is now running a dedicated social care funding call every year, starting September 2019
Latest funding opportunities for Research for Patient Benefit
Latest news about Research for Patient Benefit
Latest documents for Research for Patient Benefit
Hear from our researchers