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