Applying for R&D funding

The key to successful research is planning. It is important you have the right people in the correct roles. Usually, research teams are built with the following positions:

  • Sponsor – An organisation/company/group that takes on responsibility for Initiation, Management and financing (or arranging of financing).
  • Sponsor Representative – A person or representative of the sponsor organisation.
  • Chief Investigator – A healthcare professional who takes primary responsibility for the conduct of the trial.
  • Principal Investigator – A person who is responsible for the research at a participating site.
  • Project Data Manager/Controller – Organisation responsible for oversight and management of the data collected.

For some projects, there are additional roles that may need to be considered. It is important that you have the above roles planned before you apply for any funding and permissions. Please speak to our R&D team as soon as possible if you require BWC to sponsor your project.

Funding can come from a variety of sources including:

  • Commercial funders
  • Non-commercial funders such as charities, NHS hospitals and government departments.

A wide range of bodies fund research in the NHS. It is important to ensure that your project is attributed accurately to ensure that appropriate arrangements are put in place and R&D can help you with this.

As soon as you are aware you need to apply for funding for your research project, you must inform the R&D office. The R&D office may signpost you to the Research Design Service if required. The Research Design service can help with very early stages of protocol design and grant preparation.

R&D will require a draft proposal/grant application and any other documents you have in draft form to allow us to gain an understanding of the research you wish to run. For a step by step process, please see Grant Submission SOP.

For some non-commercial projects the Schedule of Events Cost Attribution Tool (SoECAT) will need to be completed. This is usually completed by the sponsor/CI. Completion of SoECAT at application for research funding will be required for studies eligible for the NIHR portfolio and the support this provides, which will include access to Excess Treatment Costs (ETC) payments under the new arrangements. Excess Treatment Costs is the name of the additional costs to the NHS when a patients involvement in research means their treatment is more expensive than if they had received the current standard treatment. ETC’s must be accurately identified during the funding application to ensure healthcare providers can be reimbursed by the appropriate funder when patients are recruited. This ensures the NHS can continue to provide research to all patients and not need to worry about how to manage the cost.

Determining who pays for different types of costs associated with different research is supported by guidance Attributing the Costs of health and social care Research and Development (AcoRD). To provide clarity, the HRA have created the SoECAT to ensure funds are attributed correctly. Completion of this tool becomes a standard part of the funding application this now applies to all new single or final stage funding calls for funders and partners. For these studies, submission of the tool, validated by the local AcoRD expert, will be a requirement for HRA permission. Having this standardised tool ensures all activities for Non-Commercial studies can be appropriately attributed in line with the policy. The costing methodology embedded into the cost attribution tool automatically generates a cost for the different study activities listed. ETC’s are calculated by the tool and is included in the study-specific record Central Portfolio Management System (CPMS). Using patient recruitment numbers, which are also tracked the same way, the Clinical Research Network can facilitate payments to reimburse ETC’s for all healthcare providers involved in the study. This simplifies research arrangements and avoids delays in patient accessing research.

AcoRD guidance

The AcoRD guidance provides a framework for the NHS and its partners to identify, recover and attribute the costs of health and social care R&D in a consistent way. It makes clear the distinction between the three costs:

  • Research cost – Cost of R&D itself and ends when the research ends. All activities that answer the research question are research costs.
  • NHS Support cost – Additional patient care costs associated with the research. Ends when the research ends even if the patient care involved continued to be provided.
  • NHS Treatment cost – Patient care cost that continued to be incurred if the patient care/service continued to be provided, even after the research had ended.

Annex A provides a list of common research activities attributed to research costs, NHS treatment costs and NHS Support costs.

Annex B contains frequently asked questions to help provide further UK specific information.

For more information, please contact the R&D office

Flowchart for funding applications that do not need SoECAT

No SoECAT flowchart

NIHR Funding

The National Institute for Health Research funds health and care research and translate discoveries into practical products, treatments, devices and procedures, involving patients and the public in all our work. We ensure the NHS is able to support the research of other funders to encourage broader investment in, and economic growth from, health research.

To keep up to date with upcoming funding calls please visit the dedicated funding calls section on the NIHR website.