Research Design Service: East Midlands
National Institute for Health Research

Latest News

PPIE annual reports - sharing knowledge, learning and good practice!

  Created on Monday, 19 Feb 2018. Posted in Public Involvement

Over the last three years the NIHR have publish the patient and public invovment and engagement section of annual reports from their over 100 funded centres, facilities, units and schools showcasing what activites and support are being provided across the country.

The main aim in doing this is to support and promote the sharing of knowledge, learning and good practice across the NIHR and beyond. 

All reports from the last 3 years can be found on the NIHR website.

Complex health and care needs in older people

  Created on Tuesday, 06 Feb 2018. Posted in Priorities

The NIHR has an on-going Highlight Notice is ‘Complex Health and Care Needs in Older People’.

The NIHR welcomes all relevant applications, and particularly those addressing the key themes identified at a stakeholder workshop:

  • Frailty,
  • Transitions in care, service delivery and models of care,
  • Medicines management/polypharmacy,
  • Promoting healthy ageing/preventing ill health,
  • Patient-centred decision making.

Researchers interested in this area should watch this useful video from Professors Chris Whitty, Bruce Guthrie and Tom Walley on the priorities that need to be addressed. 

CRN offer to the life sciences industry

  Created on Tuesday, 06 Feb 2018. Posted in Webinar

This webinar describes how the National Institute for Heath Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network supports the life sciences industry to deliver clinical trials in the NHS in England.

A common standard for the evaluation of public engagement with research

  Created on Tuesday, 06 Feb 2018. Posted in Public Involvement

Despite growing interest in public engagement with research, there are many challenges to evaluating engagement. Evaluation findings are rarely shared or lead to demonstrable improvements in engagement practice. This has led to calls for a common 'evaluation standard' to provide tools and guidance for evaluating public engagement and driving good practice. This paper proposes just such a standard. A conceptual framework summarizes the three main ways in which evaluation can provide judgements about, and enhance the effectiveness of, public engagement with research. A methodological framework is then proposed to operationalize the conceptual framework. The standard is developed via a literature review, semi-structured interviews at Queen Mary University of London and an online survey. It is tested and refined in situ in a large public engagement event and applied post hoc to a range of public engagement impact case studies from the Research Excellence Framework. The goal is to standardize good practice in the evaluation of public engagement, rather than to use standard evaluation methods and indicators, given concerns from interviewees and the literature about the validity of using standard methods or indicators to cover such a wide range of engagement methods, designs, purposes and contexts.

Writing an effective questionnaire

  Created on Tuesday, 30 Jan 2018. Posted in Guidance

Writing a good questionnaire is harder than it seems, which is why this guide from NHS England is a welcome new addition to their "Bite-Size" series.

Some of the advice may seem basic - for example "avoid using jargon".  But as it progresses, the guide takes us into more interesting territory, covering "cognitive testing", "gratitude bias" and "bipolar" versus "unipolar" scales.  That may sound as though the authors ignored their own advice to avoid using jargon.  But the terms are explained well, within a publication that - as with all Bite Size guides - is clear and concise.

If you need a questionnaire that patients can make sense of, and which will return a set of results that you can make sense of, this is the document to have ready to hand.

New pre-doctoral clinical fellowships

  Created on Wednesday, 24 Jan 2018. Posted in Funding

This award is being based on the in-practice fellowships which have been available for GPs for a long time. Below are a few pointers from TCC about the awards.

What will a good applicant look like?

  • The experience of candidates applying for this award is likely to vary but will broadly fall into three groups:
    • Some will need to undertake an entire formal Master’s degree
    • Some will need a little formal training (e.g. modules)
    • Some may wish to do short courses but will mainly need time to work up a PhD proposal
  • The key thing is that these applicants will need to demonstrate that what they are doing will make them competitive for an NIHR fellowship in the future

What will the application process involve?

  • This is a one stage process – there will be no interview
  • The applicant will need references from people that know them in a research capacity (as they won’t have much experience ‘on paper’). This is completely different from other NIHR schemes.
  • The forms will need sign off from a university head of department & sign off from the clinical employers to demonstrate they will support them at 0.5 FTE (or equivalent)
  • The bulk of the form will be about training and development (personalised to make them competitive). I.e. there will probably be no research plan as NIHR will not cover research costs (although some though of future research would be good idea).
  • The applicant will need to have an academic supervisor and a clinical academic mentor

To find out more about these pre-doctoral clinical fellowships watch the webnar and consult the NIHR website


Researchers are ‘missing a trick’ with public involvement

  Created on Monday, 15 Jan 2018. Posted in Public Involvement

A new HRA study has highlighted the fact that health researchers are 'missing a trick' by not demonstrating how patients and the public have contributed to the design and conduct of research.

The study showed that 63% of applicants claimed to have involved the public, but analysis revealed that only 36% of applications reflected the accepted definition of public involvement, with researchers often make simple statements along the lines of ‘Patients and carers were involved in the design of this study’. This makes it difficult to judge whether the involvement has shaped the study design in any way that would make it more ethically acceptable. 18% of researchers who described involvement in the design of their study were planning to do this after REC review. Good practice would be to include involvement before REC review, to improve the ethical acceptability of research and inform the ethical review process.

NIHR Clinical Research Network to support broader range of research studies

  Created on Monday, 08 Jan 2018. Posted in News Items

The NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) will be extending support into health and social care research taking place in non-NHS settings.

The change to the policy will mean the CRN can support research conducted outside of NHS settings, such as studies running in care homes or in hospices, which will answer important questions for those patient populations.  The CRN will also be able to better support research into public health, for example in schools and other community settings.

This change to the ‘Eligibility Criteria for NIHR Clinical Research Network Support’ policy is a way in which the NIHR is addressing the evolving health and care landscape and the changing needs of people and patients.

Phased rollout
The CRN will monitor the implementation of this policy change over a 12-month period, with a phased rollout from 1 January 2018.

Initially, CRN support will be extended to:

  • Public health research studies outside of NHS settings
  • Social care research studies outside of NHS settings, which are funded by the NIHR School for Social Care Research
  • Other studies taking place outside of NHS settings e.g. hospices

NIHR 2018 themed call: ‘Promotion of good mental health and the prevention or treatment of mental ill health’ across the whole life course

  Created on Monday, 11 Dec 2017. Posted in News Items

NIHR is welcoming proposals for clinical and applied health research that evaluate healthcare interventions, health services, social care or public health measures operating at either the individual, or the population level. Issues of particular interest include proposals that utilise new digital health technologies or investigate their effects

The remit for this call includes conditions listed in the Health Research Classification System (HRCS) category ‘Mental Health’. Studies may include individuals with co-morbidities included in HRCS category ‘Neurological’, provided the main focus remains the mental health condition. 

Applications are encouraged that include geographic populations with high disease burden which have been historically under-served by NIHR research activity. Relevant information is available as a guide for applicants (2015 Compendium).

Applicants should justify the importance of their proposed research and identify how these support aspirations for research in mental health set out in the Five Year Forward View For Mental Health and the ‘Framework for Mental Health Research in the United Kingdom’ led by the Department of Health.

For more information please see the specification document.
Participating Programmes:

  • Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation (EME)
  • Health Services and Delivery Research (HS&DR)
  • Health Technology Assessment (HTA)
  • Invention for Innovation (i4i)
  • Programme Grants for Applied Research (PGfAR
  • Public Health Research programme (PHR)
  • Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB)
  • Research Professorships
  • Clinician Scientist

New mental health research framework announced

  Created on Monday, 11 Dec 2017. Posted in Mental Health

Transforming mental health research over the next ten years to improve the care people receive is the focus of new recommendations published by the Department of Health. The NIHR, alongside Medical Research Council, the Wellcome Trust, the Economic and Social Research Council, MQ and the Alliance of Mental Health Research have funded the Framework for Mental Health Research, which sets out 10 recommendations to improve the impact of mental health research over the next decade. The framework - developed in collaboration with academics, clinicians, charities and people with mental health problems - has been published in response to a recommendation in the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health in 2016; representatives of the main funders will meet this month to discuss the recommendations.