Research Design Service: East Midlands
National Institute for Health Research

Latest News

NIHR RfPB Programme Guidance on Applying for Feasibility Studies

  Created on Monday, 18 Sep 2017. Posted in Funding

The NIHR Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) programme issued updated guidance on applying for feasibility studies (July 2017). This guidance is essential reading for anyone considering applying to the RfPB Programme for funding for feasibility or pilot studies. The following is covered within the guidance:

  • Definition of feasibility vs pilot studies
  • Feasibility and pilot studies: which NIHR programme should I apply to?
  • RfPB policy on funding feasibility and pilot studies
  • Guidance on applying to RfPB for a feasibility or pilot study, including:
    • Outline of the proposed follow on full trial
    • Key parameters which the feasibility study intends to clarify or estimate
    • Progression criteria for a full trial

HTA 'commissioning brief supporting information’

  Created on Tuesday, 12 Sep 2017. Posted in Funding | Priorities

The Heath Technology Assessment (HTA) programme is currently running a pilot, publishing additional documentation for applicants as part of their commissioned calls. The documentation, called commissioning brief supporting information provides a rationale for the call and summarises the existing evidence base as well as relevant work from HTA and wider NIHR (example document)

In additon HTA also publish a list of potential future research topics that are currently in development for commissioned research.


The Health Foundation launches its Behavioural Insights Research Programme

  Created on Thursday, 07 Sep 2017. Posted in Funding

The Health Foundation is inviting researchers to submit ideas rooted in ‘behavioural insights’ or ‘nudge theory’ that have the potential to increase efficiency and reduce waste within health care services in the UK.

There is £1.8 million available for up to eight multidisciplinary research teams to generate new knowledge of what can motivate people to act in more efficient and less wasteful ways in health care services.

Each project will receive between £150,000 and £350,000 for research completed over two to three years.

The three priority areas of focus for this programme include:

  • patient pathways: eg improving patient flow within the system, improving coordination and transfer of care, expediting discharge
  • procurement, pharmacy and medicines optimisation: eg minimising cost and waste in procurement and prescribing, improving medication adherence
  • care best practice: eg encouraging attendance, uptake of screening and health promotion, reducing unnecessary or ineffective care, better demand management, reducing harms.

The closing date for applications is 12:00, Friday 20 October 2017.


Government's announcement of up to £86 million support to help innovative UK businesses develop medical breakthroughs that can be used across the NHS

  Created on Tuesday, 18 Jul 2017. Posted in Funding | Industry

The package will allow small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to develop and test new technologies in the NHS. This could include innovations such as digital technologies to help patients manage their conditions from home instead of a hospital, or to develop new medicines.

Access to this funding will also speed up the time it takes to get new technologies from the lab to patients in the NHS.

The funding is split into 4 packages:

  • £39 million of funding to the Academic Health Science Networks (ASHNs), enabling them to assess the benefits of new technologies and support NHS uptake of those that deliver real benefits to patients according to the local need
  • £35 million Digital Health Technology Catalyst for innovators – this will match-fund the development of digital technologies for use by patients and the NHS
  • up to £6 million over the next 3 years to help SMEs with innovative medicines and devices get the evidence they need by testing in the real world, building on existing opportunities such as the Early Access to Medicine Scheme (EAMS)
  • £6 million Pathway Transformation Fund, which will help NHS organisations integrate new technologies into everyday practices - this will help overcome more practical obstacles such as training staff on how to use new equipment

Changes to the fellowship form (Introduction of Stage 1 & Stage 2)

  Created on Wednesday, 05 Jul 2017. Posted in Funding

From this month, (nearly) all fellowship applications will follow a two stage process. This new form will be an adapted version of the NIHR Standard Application Form. Provisionally, the two stages have been divided like this:

Stage 1

  • Application summary
  • CV (this will be extended from previous years)
  • Research background
  • Plain English summary and scientific summary
  • Detailed research plan
  • Training and development plan (this is likely to be extended)

Stage 2

  • PPI
  • Detailed budget
  • Management and governance

Doctoral awards will be invited to submit a stage 2 application after a shortlisting meeting. Post-doctoral awards will be invited to submit a stage 2 after peer review. Feedback won’t be provided between stages and it won’t be possible to revise the research plan between stages.


Charities' Funding Contributes to UK Medical Research Excellence

  Created on Tuesday, 20 Jun 2017. Posted in Funding

New figures reveal that AMRC members funded over £1.6 billion of medical research across the UK in 2016, the biggest proportion of public funding, compared to £1.04 billion from the National Institute for Health Research, and £0.93 billion from the Medical Research Council. 


New Director announced for Research for Patient Benefit Programme

  Created on Monday, 15 May 2017. Posted in Funding

The new NIHR Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) Programme Director is Professor Sue Ziebland from the University of Oxford.

Sue Ziebland is Professor of Medical Sociology and Director of the Health Experiences Research Group (HERG) in the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford. She is also a Senior Research Fellow at Green Templeton College, Oxford, and has been an NIHR Senior Investigator since 2013.

Professor Ziebland is one of the founding members of the team that collects and analyses patient narratives for the public-facing website healthtalk.org. Her research interests include how patient narratives can stimulate service improvements and better clinical training; and how the internet is changing healthcare and relationships with health professionals. Her international work includes a comparative study of help-seeking and health system response in Sweden, Denmark and England.


Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) Tier 3 Funding review published

  Created on Tuesday, 02 May 2017. Posted in Funding

In competition 26 RfPB introduced a high risk funding tiers (Tier 3), this report identifies what has been currently funded via tier 3. Tier 3 funds projects that are higher risk and further away from patient benefit, the report additionally looks at the pathways the studies take to achieve patient benefit.  

  • Tier 1 (up to £350k) for research that has a clear and close trajectory to patient benefit, such as a definitive trial.
  • Tier 2 (up to £250k) for research proposals which are feasibility studies.
  • Tier 3 (up to £150k) for research which is on a pathway to patient benefit yet further from it

To date 21 projects have been funded under tier 3 accounting for 22% of all RfPB funded projects.

The funded projects fall into the following research types:

  • 3 systematic reviews
  • 7 developing and refining interventions
  • 1 meta-analysis
  • 1 realist synthesis
  • 1 economic evaluation
  • 6 secondary data analysis (including developing predictive models and needs assessments)
  • 2 diagnostic accuracy studies

Covering four types of research topics and designs:

  1. Therapeutic – concerned with developing and evaluating interventions to improve patient benefit
  2. Diagnostic – concerned with ensuring patients are appropriately classified to receive the above intervention
  3. Needs assessment – concerned with assessing the needs (usually of interventions) in a particular patient population
  4. Evidence synthesis.

NIHR to launch a streamlined application process

  Created on Monday, 27 Mar 2017. Posted in Funding

The NIHR is launching a streamlined application process for researchers applying for funding. The streamlined, two-stage form will be rolled out across NIHR research and training programmes from May 2017

The revised standard application form will ask for information once, at the point it is required to make either shortlisting or funding decisions. Any information provided during Stage 1 of the process will be automatically available for Stage 2 to avoid repetition and facilitate completion of the application. Applicants will be provided with clear, concise guidance about how to use the forms, including resources provided by INVOLVE about how to set out public involvement plans and present a Plain English Summary.


Patient and Public Involvement Award EM AHSN

  Created on Monday, 13 Mar 2017. Posted in Priorities | Funding

EMAHSN have opened a third round of funding, following previous successful bursaries for up to a further ten East Midlands groups. Each successful group will receive £1,500. This is a vital contribution for many groups and will contribute towards meeting running costs. The funding will support their fantastic work to promote innovations and the adoption and spread of best practice within patient, carer and public involvement in healthcare delivery and health research across the East Midlands.

Groups can apply for funding up until the 5 May 2017. EMAHSN launched the fund because it recognises that many voluntary groups find it difficult even to cover basic costs such as travel and members’ out-of-pocket expenses. Many groups exist to make sure that experiences of patients and public are at the heart of future decisions about health services – something that is central to EMAHSN and that it wants to encourage and sustain.

Applications for the grants will be considered by the East Midlands PPI Senate, an independent expert group of patients and public with varied health service user experience. The senate supports health and social care organisations to embed patient engagement.

Full details and application for a bursary award