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Funding Opportunities

The National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) has the following funding streams which have calls advertised throughout the year (both researcher-led and commissioned):

I4i – Invention for Innovation -  http://www.ccf.nihr.ac.uk/i4i/Pages/Home.aspx

Supporting either early or late-stage product development, i4i is positioned to transform the translation of healthcare technologies for increased patient benefit through:

  • Guided progression of innovative medical product prototypes, and
  • Provision of business advice to the medical technology professionals it funds.

Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation (EME) Programmehttp://www.eme.ac.uk/index.asp

The EME programme is broadly aimed at supporting 'science driven' studies with an expectation of substantial health gain and aims to support excellent clinical science with an ultimate view to improving health or patient care. Its remit includes clinical trials and evaluative studies, in patients, which evaluate clinical efficacy of interventions and which may also add significantly to our understanding of biological or behavioural mechanisms and processes. The EME programme funds research through both a commissioned and researcher-led work-stream.

Research for Patient Benefithttp://www.ccf.nihr.ac.uk/RfPB/Pages/home.aspx

There are ten regional funding committees to commission local health service research. Budgets are in proportion to the regional population. The national budget is £25 million per annum. Individual research projects can last for up to 36 months with a budget of up to £250,000.

The main aim of the RfPB programme is to support projects in Health Services Research and Public Health. Projects can be either quantitative or qualitative, and should aim to:

  • study the way that NHS services are provided and used
  • evaluate whether interventions are effective and provide value for money
  • examine whether alternative means for providing healthcare would be more beneficial in terms of cost and effectiveness
  • formally assess innovations and developments in healthcare which will benefit of patients.


  • funds research related to day-to-day practice in areas identified and developed by health service staff
  • includes high quality academic input
  • selects proposals for funding on the basis of the quality of the research proposal and its relevance to the broader NHS

Programme Grants for Applied Research -  http://www.ccf.nihr.ac.uk/PGfAR/Pages/Home.aspx

(PGfAR) are prestigious awards of up to £2m over a period of three to five years, directed towards leading researchers who can demonstrate an impressive track-record of achievement in applied health research. Each programme funds a series of related projects, which form a coherent theme in an area of priority or need for the NHS.

Nested within the PGfAR programme is the Programme Development Grants scheme. This initiative offers investigators the opportunity to undertake preparatory research that will position them to submit a competitive Programme Grant for Applied Research application.

Health Technology Assessment (HTA) programme - http://www.hta.ac.uk/

The HTA programme funds research to ensure that healthcare professionals, NHS managers and the public and patients have the best and latest information on the costs, effectiveness and impact of developments in health technology. The programme:

  • Commissions response-mode Clinical Trials to investigate issues that are directly relevant to clinical practice in the NHS. 
  • Commissions primary research and assesses the effectiveness of new technology through Technology Assessment Reviews for the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).
  • Works with the NIHR Clinical Research Network to identify and fund clinical trials of importance to a network's topic area.

Service Delivery and Organisation (SDO) Programme  - http://www.sdo.nihr.ac.uk/

The SDO programme commissions research on the way health services are organised and delivered by the NHS. The research is designed to help health practitioners, managers and policymakers improve the quality of patient care, the efficiency of health services and, ultimately, the health of the public.

Public Health Research (PHR) Programme -  http://www.nets.nihr.ac.uk/programmes/phr

The Public Health Research (PHR) programme commissions research to provide new knowledge on the benefits, costs, acceptability and wider effect of non-NHS interventions e.g. prevention of obesity in children and speed humps for the prevention of road traffic accidents.

The PHR programme mainly works in responsive mode, taking applications for both primary and secondary research and assessing them at regular intervals. The programme funds primary research at all phases but especially pragmatic evaluation studies.  

Health Services Research (HSR) Programme http://www.nets.nihr.ac.uk/programmes/hsdr

The HSR programme provides funding across a broader range of health services research than is already covered by other NIHR programmes. The funding available for the programme will be up to £5 million and it is intended to lead to an increase in service quality and patient safety through improved ways of planning and providing health services.

The HSR programme will fund research mainly through a researcher-led work-stream, whereby grants are provided for both primary and evidence synthesis on topics proposed directly by researchers, on an ongoing basis. The programme may also advertise calls for research proposals on specific topics. 

NHS Physical Environment Research Programme


The NHS Physical Environment Research programme funds research that benefits patients by improving the way property and facilities are managed and maintained and promoting safe, high quality and best value design in the healthcare environment.

National Horizon Scanning Centre - http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/haps/index.aspx

The National Horizon Scanning Centre appraises new technological developments to provide the Department of Health and policymakers with information on their implications to the NHS both in clinical and economic terms. The centre's appraisals include new medicines, medical devices, diagnostic tests and procedures, surgical and other interventions, rehabilitation measures and new public health and health promotion messages.

NIHR also has training fellowships for medical professionals and related disciplines:

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Last updated - 16 March 2015
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