MMU Research and Knowledge Exchange Blog

Funding opportunities, news and guidance from RKE at Manchester Metropolitan University

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Good News for Social Care Research

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) has announced that it will be allocating £20 million to social care research and training of researchers working in the field over the next 5 years, boosting research to improve adult social care across the country.

NIHR have said the money will allow it’s partners (which includes the University of Manchester and University of Birmingham amongst others) to carry out research into mental health, dementia and care homes – so now is a good opportunity to get networking!

£1.8 million of the fund will be dedicated to training researchers through the new NIHR Academy which was created last month.

The NIHR’s School for Social Care Research will be opening the call for proposals in Summer 2019.  


For further information please visit Research Professional or the NIHR website.


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New NIHR Funding Opportunities


National Institute for Health Research have just released new calls for funding opportunities around the theme: ‘Tabaco Cessation, Control and Harm Reduction Interventions’. 

The NIHR will be accepting applications that are in (or span across) the following participating programmes:

  • Public Health Research (18/162)
  • Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation (18/163)
  • Health Services and Delivery Research (18/164)
  • Health Technology Assessment (18/166)

If your research covers this thematic area and you would be interested in applying the NIHR will be holding a webinar to support the funding opportunities on Thursday 8th November 15:00-16:00. You will need to register for this and can do so here.

For more information about any of these calls please use the links above to visit the schemes or check the NIHR website.

The calls are currently open for first-stage applications and will close on 12th March 2019, 1pm. If you would like to apply to any of these schemes then please get in touch with your Research Development Team as soon as possible!

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NIHR Partnership Fellowship

The NIHR academy is now partnering with seven of the UK’s leading medical charities in order to offer a jointly funded Partnership Fellowship – available at both Doctoral and Postdoctoral levels. The partnership charities involved are:

nihr partnership fellowship

The aim of the fellowship is to; allow researchers the opportunity to build and maintain relationships with the NIHR and partners, enable engagement and input from patient groups and provide greater research exposure through media and communication channels.

The eligibility details for the scheme can be checked here. For full details of the scheme please visit the NIHR call.

Stage 1 Deadline: 18th December 1pm

If you would like to apply for this opportunity then please get in touch with your Research Development Team.


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Developing your NIHR Proposal

Last week the Research Design Service North West (RDS NW) hosted an event on developing funding proposals in applied health and social care. The event was aimed at academics putting their first bid in to any NIHR scheme – I went along to find out what NIHR are looking for.

What is the RDS?

The Research Design Service is a free service offered by NIHR to help you design and develop your research and offer methodological support to health and social care researchers. The service isn’t just for NIHR though, you can seek their advice for any funding application going to a national peer-reviewed funding programme.

The team are able to help develop your ideas, help you chose the correct funding stream and give advice to improve your research. They recommend getting in touch as soon as you decide you’d like to apply – at least 6 months in advance, if possible.

Woman taking notes - work, writing, laptop, notebook, write, wrist, working, business, electronics, fountain pen, jds,...

 Developing your research question

A well-structured question is an important aspect to your proposal and the RDS had a few good acronyms to help to guide your question formation, you should look to include the following elements:

PICOPopulation – Intervention – Comparison – Outcome

CIMOContext – Intervention – Mechanisms – Outcome

SPICESetting – Population – Intervention – Comparison – Evaluation

Hit all of the points in your chosen acronym and you should be well on your way to a clear and structured question.

Doctor suggesting hospital program to patient - doctor, medical, healthcare, clinic, hospital, treatment, senior,...

The Importance of PPI

Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) is a major focus for NIHR, they want to see bids that have been developed, not just with beneficiaries in mind, with them helping to shape the entire proposal. NIHR want to see that you’ve engaged with the public to understand what end users want to gain from your research, how it can improve the NHS and to make sure it’s an area worth researching!

Many proposals give PPI as an afterthought, simply conducting a few interviews and treating it as a tick box exercise but, on the Research for Patients Benefit panel (RfPB), 15% of reviewers are lay people and for them it’s an important issue. I met with a reviewer on the RfPB panel who explained the importance of being able to clearly understand the proposal (no unexplained acronyms or technical jargon!) and how lay reviewers often go straight to the PPI section to see what work you’ve already been conducting.

It’s important that you don’t treat this like a tick box exercise, like it or not PPI is here to stay. For anyone looking to carry out PPI work prior to an application the RDS offers a small pot of money (£350) to allow you to conduct some small scale work – see here for details.

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NIHR Funding Round-up


NIHR have multiple themed calls coming up over the next few months based around both Chronic Pain and Frailty. Below is a roundup of the opportunities available:

November Deadlines

Programme development grants – competition 23
Programme development grants for applied research – competition 28

Both of these calls have highlight notices on complex health and care needs in older people, and brain tumours. There is also a themed call on: promotion of good mental health and the prevention or treatment of ill health across the whole life course.

January Deadlines

18/153 Health Services and Delivery Research themed call: Frailty
18/154 Health Services and Delivery Research themed call: Chronic Pain

18/143/144 Health Technology Assessment themed call: Frailty (evidence synthesis/primary research)
18/145/146 Health Technology Assessment themed call: Chronic Pain (evidence synthesis/primary research)

March Deadlines

18/151 Public Health Research themed call: Frailty
18/152 Public Health Research themed call: Chronic Pain

 For more information on the calls use the links above. If you would like to apply for any of these grants then please get in touch with your Research Development Team.


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Latest NIHR Funding Opportunities


A number of new funding opportunities are available with the NIHR, please visit the links for further details about each scheme.

Health Services and Delivery Research Programme:

Health Technology Assessment Programme:

Invention for Innovation Programme:

Public Health Research Programme:

*Please note the three themed calls listed above are participating in: Promotion of good mental health and the prevention or treatment of mental ill health across the whole life courseThere will be a webinar held on 1st May to provide more information about the call.

If you would like to apply for any of these funding opportunities then please get in touch with the Research Development team via our email.

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NIHR Highlight Notice: Complex Health and Care Needs in Older People

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) welcomes proposals for clinical and applied health research into the evaluation of healthcare interventions, health services, social care or public health measures for older people with complex health and care needs. For this highlight notice, complex needs are defined as the presence of more than one health or social care need (impacting on health) as well as a depth of need in terms of the severity of the conditions or intensity of the needs.

The NIHR welcomes all relevant applications, and particularly those addressing the key themes:

Theme 1: Frailty

Theme 2: Transitions in care, service delivery and models of care

Theme 3: Medicines management/polypharmacy

Theme 4: Promoting healthy ageing/preventing ill health

Theme 5: Patient-centered decision making

Applications can be made at any time, as part of each programmes’ researcher-led workstream.

For more information on the Themes and application opening dates, please visit NIHR.

For advice on applying, please contact Kelly Lavender-Smith.