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21/530 Application Development Award – Healthy extended working lives


  • For help with your application contact
  • For more information about the funding Programme, visit the PHR Page

Supporting Information

*Please note: This document is to be used as a guide and to assist with completion of the on-line application form only, for example to see how many characters are accepted in each section and how the printed complete form is laid out. Please do not try to use this as an application form, you must apply using the online form available through the links available when calls are open. You should also refer to the application form guidance notes which can be found next to the ‘Apply Now’ button.

The Public Health Research (PHR) Programme is accepting direct-to-Stage 2 applications to this funding opportunity for development work to support a later application to a pending commissioned call on interventions to support healthy extended working lives. In order to apply you will need to carefully review:

Commissioning brief

People over the age of 65 make up an increasing proportion of the workforce. Due to the changes in the State pension age and the abolition of the default retirement age, this trend is expected to continue for the foreseeable future. A recent systematic review undertaken by the Public Health Review Team found that there is a lack of interventions to support people to have healthy extended working lives and/or to mitigate the potential negative effects of working longer for some groups of employees.

The PHR Programme recognises that underpinning or development work or work to develop and adapt interventions for people approaching State pension age and beyond might be needed. This funding opportunity is for applications of up to £50,000 over a maximum of 6 months. The aim of this Application Development Award scheme is to provide funding for underpinning or development work, or activity to develop and adapt interventions that will support later applications to a commissioned call on interventions to support healthy extended working lives. Applicants will be expected to make a clear link between the development work and their proposed application to the pending commissioned call.

The Programme is only interested in intervention development that takes a population - or community-level approach that is likely to impact at scale.

Possible areas of work for the extended working lives Application Development Award may include (but are not limited to):

  • Investigative work to understand how existing programmes and interventions to support people to stay in work could be adapted for this call.
  • Analyses of existing data on relevant interventions to improve work-life balance, for example, the impact of flexible work initiatives, reduction in hours, changes to working arrangements or type of work undertaken.
  • Underpinning research such as epidemiology. For example, investigations of prevalence within specific population sub-groups of older workers or broader epidemiological assessments that may inform intervention research. This could include attention given to sector- or industry-specific issues, regional variations, ethnicity, socio-economic group or gender.
  • Identification and engagement of relevant stakeholders, for example, with specific communities and groups of employees, employers, policy makers, service providers.
  • Development of networks or partnerships with groups of employees and/or employers to support intervention research.
  • Local or regional needs assessments to identify priorities for intervention development to support evaluative research.
  • Analysis of how current interventions, where the primary focus of the intervention is not necessarily on supporting healthy working lives, could be evaluated to understand the impact on healthy extended working lives.

Public Health Research Applications and Design Advice (PHRADA) is provided by the NIHR Research Design Service (RDS) across England to support all applicants developing applications to this NIHR Public Health Research (PHR) Programme application development award and the future commissioned call. If you would like to request support, please contact PHRADA by email


In proportion with the level of funding available, this is a direct to Stage 2 funding opportunity. Applications received by 30 November 2021 will be assessed by a sub-committee of the PHR Programme Prioritisation and Funding Committees. Applications will be assessed for importance to public health, scientific quality, feasibility and value for money. Successful applicants will be expected to begin the work within two months of the funding decision being communicated.

Successful applicants will be expected to produce a final report to be published on the NIHR website. Any other outputs (e.g. journal articles) must be accessible in line with NIHR’s Open Access policy.

For any further enquiries, please contact

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The PHR Programme held a webinar for this call, and 21/523 Image and performance enhancing drugs; 21/524 Health impacts of housing-led interventions for homeless people; 21/525 Permitted Development Rights; 21/527 Development Award - Local authority level research priorities on climate change, on Tuesday 14 September 2021, 10:00-11:00am. If you would like to receive a link to the webinar recording and the webinar slides, please email