Internet Explorer is no longer supported by Microsoft. To browse the NIHR site please use a modern, secure browser like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Microsoft Edge.

Groundbreaking changes to global health research as NIHR launches new programmes to promote fairer global partnerships

Published: 17 May 2024

The NIHR has announced a refreshed portfolio of funding opportunities for its global health projects. For the first time, all global health research projects can be led by researchers in low and middle income countries (LMICs). 

This change responds to calls for trust in, and leadership by, LMIC researchers who want to improve the health of their communities through research. The aim is for NIHR projects to have more impact and build on local knowledge.

Professor Kara Hanson, Director of Global Health Programmes at the NIHR, said: “The NIHR is working hard to ‘shift the centre of gravity’ and reduce barriers between LMIC researchers and UK international development funding. With this new, refreshed portfolio of programmes, we want to create a world where researchers and institutions in low and middle income countries can plan and apply to appropriate opportunities, and take on leadership positions in funded international research partnerships.”

The NIHR Global Health Research (GHR) portfolio’s new streamlined funding offer has a clear, regular and predictable frequency of calls. This will make it easier than ever for global health researchers to find appropriate funding opportunities. It will also help them plan and submit strong applications that will add to global knowledge of what works and what doesn’t in these countries.

Equitable partnerships and inclusion

The GHR portfolio facilitates equal partnerships and inclusion. To take this to the next level, all GHR-funded research projects can be led or co-led by researchers in LMICs.

Smaller awards, with a single lead institution, must be led by an LMIC institute. More complex proposals which require joint leadership can now be led either by two LMIC institutes, or one in an LMIC and one in the UK. UK co-leads are no longer mandatory on any GHR programme.

This new funding model means that more LMIC researchers will be able to access NIHR funding.

As part of this push for greater inclusion, the NIHR also recently announced the Global Health Research Development Awards. These awards provide funding to increase the competitiveness of global health research applications led by researchers based in countries eligible for Official Development Assistance (ODA).

New programmes

The NIHR is announcing two exciting new programmes:

GHR Researcher-led runs open calls which will support research that aims to improve health outcomes for the most vulnerable people in LMICs. The first funding opportunity opens for applications on 17 July 2024. Funding opportunities will be run once a year.

GHR HPS runs themed calls which will fund research to improve understanding and effectiveness of health systems in LMICs. The first GHR HPS funding call will open in February 2025. These will then run once a year.

Both schemes incorporate a tiered funding model, which supports and recognises the breadth of research proposals – from broad, ambitious research programmes, to earlier stage research with a narrower focus.

GHR Researcher-led and GHR HPS will complement existing GHR programmes and fellowships which, similarly, run on an annual cycle.

The RIGHT programme

The name of the NIHR’s Research on Innovations for Global Health Transformation (RIGHT) programme is changing to Research on Interventions for Global Health Transformation. The move from “Innovation” to “Interventions” better represents the programme’s focus on identifying and testing interventions to address high burden, under-researched health problems.

The NIHR will launch an eighth RIGHT call on 17 July 2024. This will support targeted research to address the global burden of unintentional injuries and accidents. It will include but not be limited to falls, drowning, burns, poisoning, environmental heat and cold exposure, and road traffic accidents.

From today, the timing of upcoming NIHR GHR calls is as follows:

Latest news