Research Design Service: East Midlands
National Institute for Health Research

Latest News

BestEvidence - new free web-based mobile app

  Created on Monday, 16 Apr 2018. Posted in News Items

BestEvidence is free web-based mobile app that facilitates real-time searching (at the point of patient care) for the best available research evidence to inform health care decisions. 

BestEvidence can be accessed via the browser on you smartphone or tablet at  (To add the BestEvidence icon to your phone just select “Add to home screen” from the browser menu.)  

New NIHR Fellowships

  Created on Wednesday, 11 Apr 2018.

The provision of the NIHR Fellowship Programme has changed. Here are the new four levels of fellowship available and a diagram mapping how the old schemes fit with the new programme.

Aim: To support individuals with the potential and on a trajectory to become future leaders in NIHR research.

Funding: Four levels of NIHR Fellowship award are available:

  • Pre-Doctoral Fellowship
    • 1 year (between 50 and 100 WTE)
    • aimed at getting necessary skills and experience required to undertake a PhD
    • will only fund applications which address one of the named strategic themes in the call
    • applicants need to demonstrate commitment and potential to develop as a future leader in research relevant to NIHR
    • covers individual's salary, training and development costs up to £5,000 and mentorship costs up to £1,000
  • Doctoral Research Fellowship
    • 3 years (between 50 and 100 WTE) clinical applicants can include up to 20% clinical time as part of the fellowship
    • assessment looks for high quality research proposal, sound training and development programme along with commitment and support arrangements from supervisory team
    • covers full salary, full research, training and development costs
  • Advanced Fellowship
    • 2-5 years (between 50 and 100 WTE), clinical applicants can request 20-40% time dedicated to clinical service/development (cost will be covered by the fellowship)
    • assessment looks for high quality research proposal, strong and appropriate training and development plan, high level of support from host organisation and mentoring team.
    • individuals are eligible to be awarded up to 2 Advanced Fellowships sequentially
    • covers full salary, full research, training and development costs
  • Development and Skills Enhancement Award
    • 1 year (between 50 and 100 WTE but max duration is 1 year regardless of WTE)
    • assessment looks for clear articulated plan for how the award will support an application for future funding, list of skills and experience that will be gained with the award
    • researchers can receive several awards over the lifetime of career, but must be a member of the NIHR Academy to apply
    • host organisations will be expected to match the level of funding, award will cover the salary, training and development costs up to £5,000 and mentorship costs up to £1,000

At each level of fellowship there will be opportunities to apply for jointly funded fellowships with either a charity or industrial partner. Additional specific eligibility criteria will be available for co-funded fellowships.

Process: The majority of fellowships will be awarded in response mode but a strategic component will also be introduced. Strategic themes will form the areas that will be prioritised for any given round of funding (areas of high importance, specific research skills or methodologies, or professional groups).

Key tips:

  • Application forms will use the current NIHR Standard Application Form
  • 2 rounds per year for Doctoral and Advanced Fellowships, reapplication only after 12 months
  • Candidates can apply a maximum of two times for the same fellowship (applications deemed fundable but below the funding cut off will not count towards the maximum of 2 application attempts)
  • Applicants can select any percentage option between 50 and 100% WTE
  • Post doctoral fellowships will be assessed depending on where you are in your career (different panels depending on stage of post-doctoral career)
  • There is funding for a support post available as part of the Advanced Fellowship but the justification for the support will be assessed as part of the review process

Website: NIHR Fellowships

UK Biobank expanded to cover mental health with help from NIHR researchers

  Created on Tuesday, 10 Apr 2018. Posted in Mental Health | Toolkit/Database

Mental health information on more than 150,000 people is now available in the UK Biobank for research into mental health disorders, thanks to work supported by the NIHR. Professor Matthew Hotopf, Director of the NIHR Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre, who chaired the expert working group that developed the questionnaire, said, “Our study suggests that UK Biobank could be a powerful tool for mental health research, and since it is open to all health researchers for work in the public good, we hope to inspire both existing and new users of UK Biobank.”

Costing an NIHR grant

  Created on Monday, 09 Apr 2018. Posted in Costing

Working out the costings for an NIHR grant should be done with experts in the leading institution where the money will be held, but if you want an overview of what kinds of things can be costed into a bid and how accurate your costings are expected to be then take a look at the NIHR's finance document.

UK Standards for Public Involvement in Health Research

  Created on Tuesday, 27 Mar 2018. Posted in Public Involvement

A set of national standards designed to improve the quality and consistency of public involvement in research has been developed through a UK-wide partnership over the last 18 months building on previous work in this area. The partnership brings together members of the public with representatives from the National Institute for Health Research (England), the Chief Scientist Office (Scotland), Health and Care Research Wales and the Public Health Agency (Northern Ireland), working with an independent expert.

The standards aim to provide people with clear, concise benchmarks for effective public involvement alongside indicators against which improvement can be monitored. They are intended to encourage approaches and behaviours that will support this.

The six standards are a description of what good public involvement looks like, designed to encourage self reflection and learning. They are not designed as rules, or to provide fixed ideas about public involvement in research.

  • Inclusive opportunities
  • Working together
  • Support and learning
  • Communication
  • Impact
  • Governance

Guidance on co-producing a research project

  Created on Tuesday, 27 Mar 2018. Posted in Co-production

Published by INVOLVE Co-producing a research project is an approach in which researchers, practitioners and the public work together, sharing power and responsibility from the start to the end of the project, including the generation of knowledge.

This guidance is a first step in moving toward clarity about what is meant by co-producing a research project. It explains the key principles and features of co-producing a research project and suggests ways to realise the principles and key features. The guidance also outlines some of the key challenges that will need addressing.

New NIHR Highlight on how commissioners use research evidence

  Created on Tuesday, 27 Mar 2018. Posted in News Items

Researchers want their work to be used and useful, but may not always understand the context in which decisions are made. Most health and care organisations aim to base decisions on the best available evidence, but accessing and interpreting the right evidence at the right time is hard. Researchers need to do what they can to make their research as useful as possible to those making decisions under pressure.

The NIHR has funded six particular studies in the past five years on the use of evidence by commissioners. This research highlight includes studies into the behaviour of individual managers and the way in which commissioning organisations make sense of and use research information when making decisions.


How to disseminate your research

  Created on Tuesday, 27 Mar 2018. Posted in Dissemination

Effective dissemination is about getting the findings of your research to the people who can make use of them, to maximise the benefit of the research without delay. The NIHR have released a guide for researchers who are applying for funding or have research in progress. It is designed to help you plan your dissemination and give your research every chance of being utilised.

New NIHR Dementia Researcher website

  Created on Friday, 23 Mar 2018. Posted in Dementia

Despite dementia being one the biggest global health challenges we face – five times fewer researchers choose to work in dementia than cancer. A key objective of the new website is around addressing this issue by encouraging and supporting emerging talent to get involved in dementia research.

The website, developed by the office of the National Director for Dementia Research, provides a variety of support and resources for early career researchers – covering everything from jobs and funding opportunities, how to produce grant proposals, opportunities to ‘ask a dementia expert’, and a range of podcasts.

The site also features an online community – helping early career researchers to stay in touch or collaborate with their peers, share ideas and best practice, or network through the website’s forum and messenger service.

HRA: New templates published to streamline commercially sponsored trials set-up

  Created on Friday, 23 Mar 2018. Posted in News Items

The HRA has welcomed two new agreement templates that will make it easier for life-changing medicine and vaccine research and development to take place across different parts of the UK.

The February 2018 Model Clinical Trials Agreement (mCTA) and Clinical Research Organisation Model Clinical Trials Agreement (CRO-mCTA) replace country-specific versions and mark a significant step in streamlining commercially sponsored trial set-up across the UK health service, cutting out unnecessary administration.

The latest templates will be able to be used across the whole of the UK and have been updated to reflect current practice and regulations. The templates, guidance document and information on how to give feedback can be found in the ‘templates and supporting documents’ section of IRAS Help pages.