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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.

Social care is an increasing priority for the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). Following a successful social care call in 2018, RfPB has introduced the annual Research for Social Care (RfSC) call.

RfSC will fund 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. For full details, please see the call specification. Individual projects will be funded up to £350,000.

Applications through RfSC should demonstrate strong links to people with social care needs, to social care service users and carers, and to organisations which provide adult social care services. Proposals should also demonstrate appropriate research expertise, and teams should have a track record of relevant published research.

We are aware that social care is broad and if you are unsure as to whether a topic is within scope for the call, please contact the team and submit a pre-submission form. You can also read our stage 1 guidance for applicants and download a template application form.

Eligibility 

Applications will be made through universities, local authorities, and NHS bodies or other providers of NHS services in England, which will act as the contracting organisation, be the recipient of the funds, and will be responsible for the delivery of the research. The sponsor of the research (that is the organisation directly responsible for securing the arrangements to initiate, manage and finance the study) can be either the contracting organisation or a collaborating partner, as long as that organisation is capable of fulfilling the role of a research sponsor as set out in the UK Policy Framework for Health and Social Care Research.

Applications are expected to have strong involvement and collaboration with organisations that are responsible for delivering social care services e.g local authorities and third sector, where appropriate.

Partner organisations from outside of England may be included, provided a strong case is made that it is best placed to provide the necessary expertise to carry out the planned research.

Applicants

The RfSC call welcomes proposals led by social care researchers and/or practitioners as part of a wider multidisciplinary team.  These teams would be expected to include strong methods support from experienced research specialists.

RfSC’s approach to assessing the research team is to assess the team as a whole, meaning the lead applicant can be a relatively newer investigator providing there is a clearly identified, sufficient, convincing and appropriately resourced team supporting the newer researcher. When the team support is robust we actively encourage less experienced researchers as leads.

For further information on scope and eligibility please see the call specification. You can also read our stage 1 guidance for applicants and download a template application form.

 

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 and applying for feasibility studies. 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.

For application and selection criteria for Research for Social Care, please see the call specification.

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.

See the success rates for RfPB proposals.

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 RfPB committees are required to declare any interests which conflict, or may be considered to conflict, with RfPB programme business, or may be perceived as influencing decisions made in the course of their work within the RfPB 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.

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 Tom Solomon 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

Professor Nadine Foster 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 Neil Coulson 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

Dr Stephen Barclay 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.

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 Samantha Gan (RfPB)

Ms Emma Thompson (RfSC)

Regional Programme Managers (RfPB)

East Midlands
Ms Elizabeth Pocklington

East of England
Mr Simon Goodwin

London
Dr Samantha Gan

South East and Central
Dr Laura Tornatore

West Midlands
Mrs Nishita Nair

North West
Dr Kasia Kuleszewicz

Yorkshire and the North East
Mrs Emily Allen

South West
Mr Simon Goodwin

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

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Latest funding opportunities for Research for Patient Benefit

Research for Social Care - Competition 2

The RfSC call funds research based on ideas from care users, carers and practitioners in front line services, generating research findings that make a difference to social care practice.

Research for Patient Benefit Programme - Competition 40

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.

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Latest documents for Research for Patient Benefit

Research for Patient Benefit Programme - Guidance for Stage 2 applications

Guidance on completing an application for stage 2 of funding competitions for the NIHR Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) Programme.

Research for Social Care (RfSC) Stage 1 Guidance for Applicants

This document provides guidance on completing an application for stage 1 of funding competition 2 for the NIHR Research for Social Care Funding Call

Research for Patient Benefit Programme - Yorkshire and North East Regional Advisory Committee Competition 38 Stage 1 Minutes

Research for Patient Benefit Programme East Midlands Regional Advisory Committee Minutes YNE C38 Stage 2

Research for Patient Benefit Programme - Yorkshire and North East Regional Advisory Committee Competition 37 Stage 2 Minutes

Minutes of the Competition 37 Stage 2 Committee Meeting for the Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) Programme Yorkshire and North East Regional Advisory Committee, held on Tuesday 14 May 2019.

Research for Patient Benefit Programme - West Midlands Regional Advisory Committee Competition 38 Stage 1 Minutes

Research for Patient Benefit Programme East Midlands Regional Advisory Committee Minutes West Midlands C38 Stage 1