Research Design Service: East Midlands
National Institute for Health Research
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Health Services and Delivery Programme funding tips

  Created on Tuesday, 13 Mar 2018. Posted in Funding Tips

The health services and delivery programme is all about the organisation of care and effectiveness and cost effectiveness of different models of care. The goal is to produce evidence for managers and clinical leaders!

HS&DR has a budget of around £60million a year which is spread over a commissioned and researcher-led stream. The average duration is 24 months for £260K, using mainly mixed methods.

  • Commissioned workstream focuses on evaluating models of service delivery and interventions which have the potential to improve service effectiveness, efficiency and productivity
  • Researcher-led workstream focuses on research into the quality, appropriateness, effectiveness, equity and patient experience of health services.

Key criteria for the commissioning board: durability and continued relevance (3-4 years’ time)

There is a high drop-out rate for projects! 20% fails to fall within either the programme or call remit. For those that are in remit 1 in 2 projects will get shortlisted and 1 in 2 of the shortlisted projects actually get funded. Once through remit a project has 25% chance of being funded.

Types of projects sought:

  • Ambitious large-scale studies of national importance that are solution based
    (HS&DR get a lot of organisational case studies that define the problem very well but don’t provide actionable findings)
  • Range of studies (including evidence syntheses costing around £100K) looking at what works, what works best and at what cost.

Hints for the application form:

Introduction is critical at outline! You need to state the justification for the project, why it needs doing and why now.

  • It’s not enough to say that the issue is common or serious you must explicitly say which of the 7 HS&DR NEEDS are being addressed.
  • If you have pilot date include it in the introduction

Team: make sure you state the expertise of your team explicitly in the application as the panel won’t ready CVs to establish if a team can deliver on the project.

  • Project management expertise is important
  • NHS, policy or public co-applicants can significantly strengthen your team

Aims and objectives: ideally have 1 aim and a few objectives with each objective explicitly linked to a phase, study or method

  • Keep it simple – a strong, tight narrative makes it readable and understandable and can demonstrate that it’s achievable.
  • Keep a good balance between being achievable and moderate risk.
  • When you have risk show that you are aware of it, can manage it and have a rescue plan in mind if things go wrong.
  • Ideally underpin your work with theory and an appropriate framework for the intervention. Ensure you demonstrate that you are using it rather than just referencing it.

Money: asking for too little is riskier than asking for too much! Cheap isn’t value for money, the right amount to deliver the project is!

  • Value for money is usually negotiated after it’s been agreed that there is a need for the project and the methods will deliver solutions.
  • Make sure you cost in the direct costs of good public involvement and any advisory groups you use.

Time: HS&DR projects are monitored at 6 monthly intervals so think about how this will fit in with your project stages.

  • Budget time for writing! The final report is the size of a PhD!

Public involvement: Sometimes projects are too technical to attract public involvement during the work-phase, but it can be very well used in the dissemination side of your project.