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Research for Patient Benefit

Summary

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

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.

Scope

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.

Eligibility criteria

Applications need to be made through an NHS body or other provider of NHS services in England. 'NHS body' means: (1) the Board; (b) an Integrated Care System; (c) a Special Health Authority; (d) an NHS trust; and (e) an NHS foundation trust. Please see the FAQs for more details.

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.

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

Public committee positions

NIHR registry of interests

Meeting minutes

Our programme director

Professor Kevin Munro is Director of the Research for Patient Benefit Programme. 

Our Regional Advisory Committees

North West

Professor Katherine Berry 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

Dr Judith Cohen 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 Keith Couper is Chair of the West Midlands Regional Advisory Committee.

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

East Midlands

Dr Paul Leighton 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 Tracey 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

Dr Chris Gale 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 Christina Jones 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

Professor Robert Hinchliffe is Chair of the South West Regional Advisory Committee.

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

Helping heterosexual and homosexual couples to live with HIV

The RfPB programme funded research which monitored heterosexual and male homosexual couples where one partner had HIV and was being treated with antiretroviral therapy. They found no cases of someone with undetectable levels of HIV giving the virus to their HIV-negative partner through unprotected sex. The findings supported the undetectable = untransmittable campaign which has been endorsed by more than 780 HIV organisations in 96 countries.

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 

Our operating hours are 9am to 5pm.

NIHR
Grange House
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.

Find out about the Research Programme for Social Care

Hear from our researchers

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