Application and Costing of NIHR Research Grant Bids

Types of NIHR grants

A. Programme Grants

Programme Grants for Applied Research are prestigious awards of up to £2m over a period of three to five years.

The aim is to provide evidence to improve health outcomes in England through promotion of health, prevention of ill health, and optimal disease management (including safety and quality), with particular emphasis on conditions causing significant disease burden, where other research funders may not be focused, or there is insufficient funding available

B. Health Technology Assessment (HTA)

The HTA programme produces independent research about the effectiveness of different healthcare treatments and tests for those who use, manage and provide care in the NHS.

There is no limit to the amount of funds that can be applied for. The HTA programme funds on the basis of the scientific merit of the proposal and the team put together to carry out the study but it must demonstrate value for money to the NHS. There are no fixed limits on the duration of projects.

C. Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB)

This programme is intended to support research which is related to the day-to-day practice of health service staff and is capable of showing a demonstrable impact on the health or health care of users of the service.

Grants are funded to a maximum of £250,000 and can be up to 36 months in duration.

D. Invention for innovation (i4i)

This funding aims to improve the speed with which inventions can be turned into new products that health services require. i4i funding consists of four streams depending on the development stage where costs vary between £100,000 to £300,000 and funding varies from between 50% to 100%.

E. Policy Research Programme (PRP)

The Policy Research Programme (PRP) is a national programme of research dedicated to providing an evidence base for policy-making in the Department of Health.

F. Research for Innovation, Speculation and Creativity (RISC)

The aim is to fund new and radical ideas for health research that have potential for high impact but which are unlikely to fair well in traditional peer review processes. The RISC programme is complementary to RfPB programme as it provides a response mode funding stream for applications that are too speculative for RfPB.

A maximum grant of £200,000 will be awarded and projects can be up to 18 months in length.

G. NiHR Senior Investigators

This is actually an application to become a Senior Investigator of the NiHR. The most tangible benefit of being an NIHR Senior Investigator is membership of the NIHR College and the award of a £15,000 a year personal discretionary fund to support his or her research work.

In addition the Trust receives £75,000 per Investigator within their FSF funding from which the Trust passes on £50,000 to the Senior Investigator to be utilised on Research.

The Costing of Applications

When applying for funds it is essential that NUH Finance and R&D departments provide input into the submissions to establish correct cost information and governance.

Guidelines on the NIHR and websites should be read before beginning the on-line submission.

Essentials for a successful submission are as follows:

  • All relevant parties must meet AT LEAST TWO MONTHS before any deadline to discuss the costs of any potential bid. This is to ensure clarity as to which costs are Research, Service Support or Excess Treatment Costs (ETC). If there are any significant ETC costs then a business case must be submitted first to the PCT to ascertain whether they would fund.
  • The Relevant parties which attend costing meetings are the Chief Investigator, Research Manager, TCLRN Lead RM&G Manager and the Non Commercial R&D Finance Manager.
  • Where there is both Nottingham University and NUH involvement, separate calculations are required for each organisation since the University costs are at 80% FEC whilst NUH costs are at 100%. Submissions on-line combine these costs.
  • NUH aspects are referred to NUH R&D Finance to determine accurate costs.
  • University aspects should be referred to the Nottingham University Finance team so that a Full Economic Cost figure can be generated from their pFACT and supplied to NUH R&D Finance.
  • The study protocol is submitted to the R&D department for their approval and determining of staff time.
  • Non staff costs will be sought from relevant departments; Radiology, Pharmacy, Pathology and the Clinical Trials Unit (CTU). The departments will ensure that the workload generated by the studies can be accommodated.
  • An appropriate element of overhead recovery must be included. Contact the R&D Finance department who will calculate the amount. Overheads that must be recovered include Governance, R&D Finance costs, Financial Management of the income and cost transfers, Contract costs etc.
  • Other than HTA submissions, bids are submitted by Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH) even if the majority of costs may be incurred by Nottingham University.
  • There are specific deadlines for submissions and notification of successful bids:

Administration once grants have been awarded

  • It is essential that the Principal Investigator named on the submission notifies the R&D department and R&D Finance of the outcomes so that the necessary administration arrangements can be arranged.
  • Subcontracts must be prepared where applicable with the University of Nottingham (or other such parties) and the costing prepared as part of the bid process is revisited and used as a basis of any agreement.
  • NIHR grants are paid by instalments direct to NUH Cashiers. There is no requirement to invoice the NiHR for these funds.
  • Finance will set up cost centres so that income can be recorded correctly and that the research funds are ring-fenced. Any invoices from subcontract parties (e.g. Nottingham University) will be coded here in addition to the cross charge of NUH costs.