Themed Calls

The 2017 NIHR theme is older people with complex health needs. This call will build on the 2015 NIHR Themed Call in multimorbidities.

In mid-2017, we anticipate announcing a highlight notice opening calls across all programmes in the area of older people with complex health needs. Researchers are encouraged to start planning potential applications.


The use of the term "older" does not imply people over any specific age. To reflect the wide range of remits of the NIHR programmes, the phrase “older people with complex health needs” has been used to broaden the scope of potential research issues while retaining the underpinning importance of multimorbidity.

The phrase ‘complex health needs’ is taken to imply the presence of more than one health or social care need (impacting on health) as well as a depth of need in terms of the severity of the conditions or intensity of the needs. The definition of multimorbidity adopted is; the existence of two or more chronic health disorders in one individual. 


In November 2016, we held a workshop to identify tractable research topics and issues for future NIHR research, and to explore the context and challenges for research older people with complex health needs. The workshop agenda and presentations, as well as examples of funded projects in older people with complex health needs/multimorbidities can be downloaded on the right.

Previous themed calls

YearThemed Call
2015 Prevention and treatment of obesity
2015 Multimorbidities in older people
2014 Mesothelioma
2014 Long-term conditions in children and young people
2013 Antimicrobial resistance *Ongoing highlight notice in this area
2013 Primary care interventions
2012 Applied health research in surgery
2012 Applied clinical research on very rare diseases
2011 Applied health research on dementia
2011 Pandemic flu (HTA Programme)
2009 Obesity (HTA and PHR Programmes)
2009 Diagnostic tests and test technologies (HTA Programme) 
2008 Healthcare associated infection (HTA Programme)
2007 Emergency medicine, pre-hospital care and trauma (HTA Programme)
2005 Medicines for children (HTA Programme)