There are a number of NIHR programmes which will fund feasibility and pilot studies. There are no strict rules about which programme funds which feasibility or pilot study and it is for applicants to choose the most appropriate in the context of the guidance on applicability provided by each programme. It may be that it is best suited to the Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation (EME) Programme, Health Services and Delivery Research (HS&DR) Programme, Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Programme, Public Health Research (PHR) Programme, Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) Programme, or Systematic Reviews (SR) Programme. Nevertheless, in choosing, you might like to consider the following:
Note that feasibility and pilot studies should be distinguished from Phase II trials in which some sort of evidence for efficacy, often in a surrogate marker, is sought prior to embarking on a full Phase III trial: EME might be the most appropriate funding stream for these if there is strong scientific interest in the question, and RfPB if there is a clear potential trajectory into patient benefit.
The Public Health Research Programme also funds feasibility and pilot studies within its remit of evaluating public health interventions delivered outside the NHS.
This is a definition that has been agreed by the EME, PHR, HTA and RfPB programmes. Feasibility Studies are pieces of research done before a main study in order to answer the question "Can this study be done?". They are used to estimate important parameters that are needed to design the main study. For instance: