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About the HS&DR programme

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 HS&DR > About the HS&DR Programme > How the programme operates > Selection process

Selection process

Under the researcher-led workstream, the programme will accept applications on topics or research questions identified by researchers for both primary research and evidence synthesis studies. Under the commissioned workstream, the programme sets the topic or research question of each call in the commissioning brief.

Applicants submit research applications to the programme via an electronic application form. In any twelve-month period, there will normally be three cut-off dates for the researcher-led workstream; and three rounds of commissioned calls (though more than one topic may be advertised at once).

NHS organisations, universities and other organisations are eligible to apply, but the applicant must demonstrate an appropriate mix of expertise within the research team.

The assessment process is as follows:

  • All outline proposals are reviewed to check they are within the programme and call remit and to identify any that are clearly not competitive*.
  • Outline proposals are then prioritised for the importance of the research to the NHS, and in the case of the commissioned workstream, their relevance to the commissioning brief.
  • The Panel for the relevant workstream recommends which outline proposals should be shortlisted.
  • Shortlisted outline applicants are requested to submit a full proposal and will normally have eight weeks to do so
  • Full proposals are reviewed by a number of external reviewers from various disciplines relevant to the particular topic, research question and other aspects of the proposal. Most applications are also reviewed by a public contributor.  
  • The Board for the relevant workstream recommends proposals for funding. In many cases, this will be conditional upon certain issues being addressed.

Download diagram showing HS&DR funding process (pdf, 93kb)

Both Boards and the Panel are composed of academics with expertise across a range of relevant disciplines, NHS managers, clinicians and public contributors. This is the standard process, but it may vary according to the requirements of a particular funding call. Please read carefully the guidance relating to the particular call or cut-off date to which you intend to apply, as guidance may vary from call to call or between commissioning briefs under one call.

*Please note: ’Non-Competitive’ means that a proposal is not of a sufficiently high standard to be taken forward for further assessment in comparison with other proposals received because it has little or no realistic prospect of funding. This may be because of scientific quality, cost, scale/duration, or the makeup of the project team).

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The NIHR Health Services and Delivery Research (HS&DR) Programme is managed by the NIHR Evaluation, Trials and Studies Coordinating Centre (NETSCC). NETSCC is part of the University of Southampton funded by the NIHR, with specific contributions from the CSO in Scotland and NISCHR in Wales and the HSC R&D Division, Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland.

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