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Research themes

NETSCC manages four distinct but interconnected evaluation research programmes. Within the distinct remits, each programme may fund research within the common themes of: technology evaluation, public health and health services organisation. Each programme also has overlaps with external funding opportunities.

theme Technology
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Health Services &
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Technology Evaluation

The technology evaluation theme covers evaluations into the efficacy, effectiveness, costs and broader imapct of healthcare interventions.
Unsure whether to apply to EME or HTA?
Please go to Technology Evaluations

Health Services & Organisation

The health services organisation theme covers evaluations with the aim of health outcomes by funding research that improves patient safety and service organisation, delivery and quality. Unsure whether to apply to HTA, HS&DR? Please contact us

Public Health

The public health theme covers interventions intended to improve the health of the public and reduce inequalities in health Unsure which programme to apply to? Please go to Research for Public Health

Interface with non-NETSCC managed programmes

Cancer Research

The NIHR HTA Programme ( and Cancer Research UK ( are both funders of late phase clinical trials and other well-designed studies in the NHS.

Unsure whether to apply to Cancer Research UK or HTA?
We have worked together with Cancer Research UK to produce guidance to help clarify some of the differences between the programmes in relation to the cancer research that they fund.  Please go to Cancer Research

Methodology Research

The NIHR Evaluation, Trials and Studies (NETS) programmes
Methods development, particularly in the context of a specific study, is often, and should continue to be, undertaken alongside other health sciences research projects.

MRC-NIHR Methodology Programme (MRP)
The MRP will be the funding mechanism for all MRC and NIHR methodological research projects where the primary purpose of the research is methods development and where the likely outputs of the research may be generalisable beyond a specific case-study.

Embedded methodological research often required to take forward a particular project or programme will continue to be funded by MRC and NIHR through their funding mechanisms for project or programme support.

Studies about patient reported outcome measures (PROMS)

The MRC-NIHR Methodology Programme (MRP) will fund validation work when it is part of the initial development study. The MRP may also ask researchers to add such validation work to a development study.

The HS&DR programme should not be seen as the automatic funder of studies to develop or validate PROMs but will consider such proposals, especially if linked to a clear and strong case of need. Note that the programme is a research programme and so projects it funds are expected to lead to published outputs.

The HTA programme may fund validation work as part of a feasibility study for a large trial, or when it is part of a bigger single HTA project - ie when it is clearly preliminary to or alongside an HTA evaluation study.  However the HTA programme will not fund standalone PRO validation studies as they are outside the programme’s remit.

NIHR Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) programme may consider validation studies in certain circumstances: where these are part of pilot work that will result in an application for a definitive study that has the potential for patient benefit; and where the applicant can make a sound case as to why this needs doing

Do you know which programme you to go to?

yes Then directly to the programme website:

We are happy to advise on queries about remit before submission


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The NIHR Evaluation, Trials and Studies Coordinating Centre (NETSCC), based at the University of Southampton, manages evaluation research programmes and activities for the NIHR.


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