Our funding programmes
The NIHR has ten different research programmes that researchers can apply to, each of which funds different types of research.
Types of research, evidence and scale
What programme your research idea might be suitable for depends on your broad research area, whether it will generate new evidence or synthesise existing evidence, and its scale (an individual project or study or a linked programme of research). The Research Design Service provides a free advice service to anyone in England who is interested in NIHR research funding.
Our programmes are open to research of any rigorous study design that addresses a question within their remit, including (but not limited to):
- evidence syntheses
- pilot and feasibility studies
- randomised controlled trials
- quantitative research
- qualitative research.
The type of research and evidence within each programme’s remit is shown in the tables below.
|Broad research area||EME||HS&DR||HTA||i4i||PGfAR||PDG||PHR||PRP||RfPB||ES|
|Health services and organisation||No||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Clinical evaluation and translation||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Types of evidence||EME||HS&DR||HTA||i4i||PGfAR||PDG||PHR||PRP||RfPB||ES|
|Programmes of research||No||Yes||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
Key for the tables:
EME – Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation (In partnership with the Medical Research Council (MRC)).
HS&DR – Health Services and Delivery Research
HTA – Health Technology Assessment
i4i – Invention for Innovation
PGfAR – Programme Grants for Applied Research
PDG – Programme Development Grants
PHR – Public Health Research
PRP – Policy Research Programme
RfPB – Research for Patient Benefit
ES – Evidence Synthesis
Opportunities to apply and funding limits
The number of opportunities to apply for funding, and the funding limits for each research programme, are shown in the table below.
|Calls and competitions (number of opportunities to apply per year)|
|Themed||Frequency as advertised|
|Funding amounts and periods|
|Funding limit**||No limit||No limit||No limit||No limit||No limit***||£100k||No limit||No limit****||£350k||£400k##|
|Period of funding||No fixed period||No fixed period||No fixed period||Up to 3 years#||No fixed period***||0-18 months||No fixed period||No fixed period****||Up to 3 years||Up to 3 years|
* Subject to change.
** Applicants must fully justify all costs.
*** Period and level of funding depends on nature of proposed work, in particular whether a fully powered evaluative is included – funding above £2.5 million will be unusual. Programmes terminating in feasibility studies will be unlikely to receive more than £500,000.
**** Period and level of funding depends on the requirements of the research specification.
# For i4i Connect, the funding limit is £150,000 and the maximum duration is 12 months. For Challenge, the maximum duration is five years.
## Researcher-led period is 9-12 months with funding limit of £5000. Commissioned-led is every 3 years with a funding limit of £400,000.