Created on Wednesday, 11 Apr 2018. Posted in Funding Tips
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:
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).
Website: NIHR Fellowships
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 service users, managers, commissioners 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.
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.
Introduction is critical at outline! You need to state the justification for the project, why it needs doing and why now.
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.
Aims and objectives: ideally have 1 aim and a few objectives with each objective explicitly linked to a phase, study or method
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!
Time: HS&DR projects are monitored at 6 monthly intervals so think about how this will fit in with your project stages.
Public involvement: It is really important that you consult the evidence users right from the process of setting the research question through to conducting the research itself to mobilising the knowledge from that research. 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.
Knowledge mobilisation: Think about how to mobilise the knowledge from your project, particularly consider it for the life time of the project rather than just an end of project activity. Consider the different target audiences and use creative means to get the information disseminated (ie beyond traditional journal and conference reporting).
Created on Tuesday, 13 Dec 2016. Posted in Funding Tips
Innovative study designs involving stratification, the use of routinely collected digital data or novel methodologies are strongly encouraged.
Average cost £1 million (£150,000 - £3 million) over an average duration of 42 months
Send an A4 summary in PICO format (with intro and background) to the panel to see if in remit
Tips for success:
Created on Monday, 07 Nov 2016. Posted in Funding Tips
HTA the largest of the NIHR programmes and is the last stage in the translational pathway. The scheme funds definitive studies looking at effectiveness, costs and broader impact of healthcare treatments and tests.
There are no fixed limits on duration or funding but value for money must be demonstrated. The application process can take of 12 months and there is a 25% success rate for second stage submissions.
To be successful in getting funding you’ll need to convince the panel of the:
Quantify the health burden, how many people are eligible to use the new intervention (rare conditions research can be funded if there is a severe impact to health that would be improved by an intervention).
Quality of life is very important as many people have co-morbidities. Years gained and outcomes of ‘major events’ are all important measures (lives saved often inappropriate).
The panel isn’t interested in how much the disease costs, so much as how much could be saved by the intervention. It is hard to get data on impact measures such as changes to NIHR staffing, equipment, training etc but they’d all be relevant.
Impact on society can also be used here ie an intervention that could enable patients of working age to go back to work or increase productivity.
The research question must be important to clinicians. Ideal is if you can show variation in clinical decision making or show an uncertainty in clinical guidelines as this provides a powerful evidence of need.
If research recommendations aren’t available it is possible to generate them yourself by carrying out surveys and priority-setting exercises.
Value for Money
Cost per patient recruited good marker to see if the research is worth the cost (>£1,000 per patient). Trials costing more than £2-3 million need to be really important or show big impacts. However trials need to be deliverable for the money so if you cost too low your bid is also likely to fail.
When justifying the cost make is clear and explicit how it will work – flash statements won’t work, they need to be backed up with arguments.
If you get public involvement wrong you won’t get funded. So ensure you are measuring patient centred outcomes to give you the best chance to recruit patients and minimise drop out during the trial.
Make sure you have solid feedback and dissemination plans in place.
Created on Thursday, 16 Jun 2016. Posted in Funding Tips
The following documents tips and highlights from the NIHR Fellowship webinar (16 June)
Tip 1: You must demonstrate impact in your application
Fellowships like any other NIHR funded projects have to fall within the remit of the NIHR. This means that they have to be people based, applied health or social care research projects with the potential to have impact on the needs of the public within 5 years of completion.
Tip 2: Demonstrate that you have the commitment and potential to be a leader
The NIHR ‘fellowships for all’ are aimed at doctoral level and above and are personal research training awards. They require various levels of experience and research outputs but the panels are all looking for evidence of a candidate’s commitment to a research career and their potential to inspire others and become a future leader.
Tip 3: Embed public involvement throughout your application
As with other NIHR funding streams the fellowships take public involvement very seriously. It is important not only that you have thought about involvement but it needs to be woven throughout your application and not added as an afterthought! The RDS administers a small Public Involvement Fund award which can be used to enable early public involvement activity in the design process and may serve to strength your bid substantially.
Tip 4: Have you application peer reviewed!
Remember the plain English summary is the first thing that the panel will be reading. You need to make sure that it’s well written and concisely conveys your ideas. Something that is being advised more and more is to have your application peer reviewed, be it by supervisors, senior academics, mentors, colleagues or the RDS. Constructive feedback will only prove to strengthen your application and get you thinking about the issues that your project faces from a different perspective. Ideally you’d resolve any flaws before submitting to the panel giving your application the best chance of success.
Tip 5: Do your research and look at past funded fellowships and feedback documents
Of course it always helps to know your audience. The NIHR TCC website holds lists of previous award holders, panel members and funded topics. There is also a collection of chaired reports from the panels which list general feedback on common mistakes made in applications. The recent fellowship webinar which inspired this blog along with audience questions is also posted on the site and can give you vital background information to inform your application.
More generally fellowship application success depends on 5 areas: PPPTS
P – Person:
Where are you in your research career? Your CV, outputs and network/collaborations will all create a story and need to show your journey towards a research career. Sometimes you may need to do some additional work to make yourself fellowship ready! But remember that outputs are not exclusively journal publications they can be posters, conference presentations and other engagement activities.
P – Project:
As with other funding streams you’ll need to demonstrate a need for the research and show that the methodology suggested will answer the question. Very important is that it is achievable within the timeframe. Evaluation is also an important part of the project.
P – Place:
Pick the right place for you - ask: Is this a leading centre for my type of work? Do they have experience of successful NIHR fellows?
You need somewhere that has a good name but also shows commitment to helping researchers develop their career.
The fellowships are research training awards and as such training plays a vital role in the application. The training must be at the appropriate level and can vary from training in a specific skill or method to help with your research project; to management and leadership training so that you can inspire others. The timing of the training is also really important and should be scheduled before you need the ‘new skill’ in the project. It is also encouraged that candidates think outside the box and search for appropriate external sources of training rather than stick to what is offered by their hosting institute.
S – Supervision:
Don’t choose your supervisor as an afterthought – you have to work long periods together and they need to have the time to support you. It is possible to have more than one supervisor and they can be from different locations, however each must bring something unique to the table that will help support your mentorship.
Fellowships are about the development of a person.
Applications need to show how gaining the award will have an impact on you and take you to the next step of being a research leader.
Writing an application takes time so get in touch with your RDS as soon as possible to talk over which fellowship would suit you best and get the ball rolling. For those that get invited to interview RDS can provide you with a mock interview experience so that you are fully prepared on the day! Our panel will put you through the rigours of an interview and ask the tough questions that you might be faced with on the day.
Created on Thursday, 21 Apr 2016. Posted in Funding Tips
The following is a summariy of Professor David Armstrong's key points on the renewed programme!
RfPB is a small grants programme with the top limit of £350,000 for projects. It is seen as a conduit to the bigger programmes such as HTA and PHR.
High risk studies that are open ended and inductive in approach aren’t what the funding stream is looking for. However below is a list of examples that would be considered:
RfPB is also seen as a programme that previous fellowship applicants can access and new investigators can be named as the PI on the bid as long as they are part of a solid team.
Panels will be looking at the bids and judging:
The new 2 stage application process has been introduced to try and make the process easier to access and to speed up the pace of the whole application process.
At stage 1 only half of the application process needs to be completed – aim/question, background and methods.
The panel at this stage is looking at:
Formative feedback will be given to successful projects on how to improve the bid to have a better chance of success in the second stage. It’s very important that researchers act on the feedback.
The turnaround to the second stage is only 4-6 weeks but submission can be deferred to the next round if there are issues getting the costings sorted. With the new system the programme is hoping to have a 50% success rate of those submitting to the second stage.
Patient involvement and benefit has always been central to the RfPB but rather than being constrained to the public involvement section of the application form the panels are being encouraged to broaden what is considered. Projects that answer the following questions in their bid are more likely to be reviewed positively.
The programme director has also heavily emphasised the importance of avoiding ‘me too’ applications. He describes these as one arm bandit applications where a known intervention is applied to a new disease or different population. These applications are increasingly being seen as a waste of money – applying logic to the situation can often predict the answer without any need to do the research. The examples he gave were CBT or exercise having a proven effect and so there is no need to trial it for every disease in every population to know that it will probably provide some improvement.