Identifying important research questions: Have your say!

HealthThrough the commissioned workstream, the HTA Programme identifies and prioritises NHS evidence needs and advertises calls for research proposals to address these.
In order to identify important research questions the HTA consult widely with stakeholders within the NHS and NIHR, external organisations representing health professionals and patients and carers and, with policy-makers. If you have a suggestion, please visit the HTA website and complete the electronic research suggestion form.

What makes a good research question?

• Important to the NHS
• Focused on patients, clinical outcomes and quality of life
• Supported by current evidence (e.g. a systematic review)
• Timely, so that the research will continue to be needed following completion of the study
• Structured to provide a clear, well defined research question (e.g. using the PICO format)
If you would like to find out about opportunities for getting involved in identifying topics for HTA research, please contact Faye Gowing or call her on 02380 597701.

suggest research button

Find Out How The HTA Programme Can Help You Achieve Impact And Shape The NHS!

NIHRRegistration is now open for the Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Conference!

The two day event, to be held in London on the 9th - 10th October 2013 will provide an ideal opportunity to learn more about how the HTA Programme can help researchers achieve impact and shape the NHS with presentations by Professor Dame Sally C. Davies, Chief Medical Officer for England, Professor Sir Michael Rawlins, president of the Royal Society of Medicine and Professor Jon Nicholl, Professor of Health Services Research in the School of Health and Related Research.

The event will also look at clinical effectiveness research and the impact the HTA Programme is having on clinical and public health research.

For more information and to book your place please visit the conference website:

Latest Health Funding Opportunities

Funding Opportunities (Projects and Programmes) 

1.      NIHR Invention for Innovation (i4i) – Challenge Awards (Closing Date: 29 May 2013, 1pm)

The NIHR i4i Challenge Awards seeks to identify those medical technologies with the greatest potential clinical benefit, along with how they might be integrated into clinical decision and treatment pathways and be implemented on a large scale. Research proposals are invited from NHS organisations or other providers of NHS services in England, in cooperation with commercial and Higher Education Institution (HEI) partners as appropriate, to develop non-pharmaceutical, implantable technologies for sight or hearing loss.

2.      DH Academic Health Science Centres competition (Closing Date: 31 May 2013) 

The Department of Health has launched a new, open, two-stage competition to designate Academic Health Science Centres (AHSCs) in England.

The role of the newly designated AHSCs will be to increase strategic alignment of NHS providers and their university partner, specifically in world-class research, health education and patient care, in order to improve health and healthcare delivery, including through increased translation of discoveries from basic science into benefits for patients.  AHSCs will be able to realise their potential as drivers of economic growth through research partnerships with commercial life science organisations.  Designation will be for five years from 1 April 2014.

The closing date for submission of the Pre-qualifying Questionnaire by NHS provider/ university partnerships in England that are interested in being considered for AHSC designation is 31 May 2013 at 1.00pm.

The NIHR Central Commissioning Facility (CCF) is managing the call and designation process on behalf of the Department of Health.

3.      NIHR/MRC EME Programme – Commissioned work stream (Closing Date: 3 June 2013, 1 pm)

The Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation (EME) Programme invites research proposals to evaluate innovative and novel healthcare treatments and tests delivered through industry-academia-NHS collaborations, which address priority areas of unmet need in the following areas:

• Alcohol and substance misuse in younger people (to exclude nicotine)

• Radionuclide imaging in non-malignant disease

4.      NIHR Health Technology Assessment Programme – Commissioned call for proposals (Closing Date: 29 August 2013, 1pm)

The NIHR Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Programme invites research proposals in the following area: Multiparametric MRI in planning epilepsy surgery.

5.      NIHR Health Technology Assessment Programme – Primary care research Commissioned calls (Closing Date: 29 August 2013)

The NIHR Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Programme invites research proposals on the following areas:

•  Immunisation of Children and Young People Looked After By the State

•  Feasibility of psychosocial interventions for preventing blood borne virus infection in people who inject drugs

•  Peer support for breastfeeding maintenance

•  A prognostic tool to aid clinical management decisions in acute ankle sprain

•  Prognostic models for people with advanced cancer

•  Suspected acute pulmonary embolism in pregnancy

•  Mechanical Insufflation-Exsufflation devices for assisted cough in neuromuscular disease

•  Early pulmonary rehabilitation after an exacerbation of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

•  Interventions to enhance engagement in exercise referral schemes

•  Non-neuroleptic mood stabilising medication for challenging behaviour in adults with intellectual disability

The deadline for submission of outline proposals is 29 August 2013 by 1pm.


 Funding Opportunities (Fellowships) 

1.      Royal College of Radiologists Constance Thornton fellowship (Closing Date: 7 June 2013)

The Royal College of Radiologists invites applications for the Constance Thornton fellowship. This supports a research project or furthers a radiological interest in the UK or abroad. Preference will be given to applications centred either on cross-sectional imaging or paediatric radiology, and especially to projects likely to lead to publication.

Application is open to members and fellows of the college’s faculty of clinical radiology who hold a clinical radiology post in the UK.

The fellowship is worth £3,000.

2.      Medical Research Council Population health scientist fellowship (Closing Date: 19 June 2013)

The Medical Research Council invites applications for its population health scientist fellowship. This fellowship provides support for research and specific training for pre- and postdoctoral researchers and clinical scientists, including specialist trainees, general practitioners, dentists, nurses, midwives and members of the allied health professions. Disciplines relevant to the scheme include: social, clinical, life course and genetic epidemiology; biostatistics; health demography; medical sociology; health psychology; medical anthropology; human geography; health economics. The research fellowship provides the opportunity to spend time in an overseas research centre, a second UK research centre or UK industrial centre. MRC would normally support with justification one visit, which may be no longer than 12 months.

Science graduate applicants should hold a PhD or DPhil in a relevant discipline. Applicants who hold a research-oriented master’s degree will also be considered. Medical or dental graduates should be post-registration up to and including specialty registrar grade. Nurses, midwives and members of the allied health professions must have completed their professional training and hold a master’s degree, or equivalent postgraduate research-oriented qualification. Fellows may be based at UK universities, medical or dental schools, Research Council institutes and units, charity-funded research centres, or other approved academic institutions.

The fellowship lasts for up to three years. At the postdoctoral level, the award covers salary, training costs, consumables, travel costs and capital equipment, and all other relevant costs under full economic costs. At the predoctoral level, the fellowship includes salary up to NHS consultant level, and a research training support grant of up to £15,000 per year.

3.      Medical Research Council Early career fellowship in economics of health (Closing Date: 19 June 2013)

The Medical Research Council invites applications for its early career fellowship in economics of health. The scheme enables individuals to undertake challenging projects in excellent research and training environments in the UK. MRC aims to strengthen capacity in health economics by attracting early postdoctoral researchers trained in economics research methods to apply their skills to health economics problems. The fellowship helps individuals begin to establish a research track record in the field and to undertake further training.

The competition is open to applicants with some advanced training in any field of economics who can demonstrate the transferability of their research skills to the field of the economics of health. It is also open to applicants who have recently transferred to health economics and require further advanced training. Those with prior training in econometric methods are particularly encouraged to apply. Applicants must either have a PhD or expect to do so by the time of take-up of the award, and must not have more than four years’ postdoctoral experience.

The fellowship is for a period of up to three years.

4.      Medical Research Council  Methodology research Fellowship (Closing Date: 19 June 2013)

The Medical Research Council invites applications for its methodology research fellowship. The scheme is aimed at researchers with a grounding in health research, not necessarily in a methodological discipline, to enable them to move from postdoctoral scientist to an independent researcher in their chosen research field.

The scheme is open to applicants who wish to pursue development, validation and application of innovative methodologies in one or more of the following disciplines:

•health economics;

•biostatistics and bioinformatics;

•modelling, decision sciences and epidemiology;

•clinical trials;

•behavioural sciences;

•health psychology;

•qualitative methodologies and mixed methods;

•medical sociology;

•medical geography.

Science and social science graduates should hold a PhD or DPhil in a relevant discipline and have between three and six years’ postdoctoral experience. Applicants who hold a relevant research-orientated master’s degree will also be considered. Other relevant disciplines include those that support clinical research directly, as well as nurses, midwives and members of the allied health professions. Medical or dental graduates should be post registration, including specialty registrar. Applications from MRC fellows and postdoctoral researchers returning from overseas are particularly welcome. Fellows may be based at UK universities, medical or dental schools, hospitals, general practices, research council institutes and units, charity-funded research centres, or other approved academic institutions.

The fellowship lasts up to four years and provides the fellow’s competitive salary and necessary research and other costs allowable under full economic costs. The fellowship also provides the opportunity to spend time in an overseas research centre, a second UK research centre or UK industrial centre.

5.      Medical Research Council Career development award in biostatistics (Closing Date: 19 June 2013)

The Medical Research Council invites applications for its career development award in biostatistics. This aims to support outstanding individuals who have recently completed their PhDs and who are working in, or seeking to move into, statistically based health-related research in the UK. It provides up to four years of support for the development and investigation of innovative statistical methods and their application in clinical research. The award also provides the opportunity to spend time in an overseas research centre, a second UK research centre or UK industrial centre in year two or three of the award.

The scheme is open to individuals with PhDs in statistics, biostatistics or a related discipline and less than four years of postdoctoral experience. Candidates without medical statistical experience are welcome to apply. Applicants have no residential restrictions and may come from any country. The fellowship covers salary, research training support costs, annual travel or overseas costs, equipment, and all other relevant costs under full economic costs.

Funding Opportunities (Studentships)


1.      Alzheimer’s Society PhD studentship grants (Closing Date: 31 May 2013)

The Alzheimer’s Society invites applications for its PhD studentships. These provide funding for new PhD  studentships in the areas of cause, cure, care or prevention of dementia. Applications should be made by the prospective supervisor. Up to £85,000 may be requested to cover a fixed stipend, fees,  materials  and consumables.

2.      Parkinson’s UK PhD studentship (Closing date: 17 June 2013)

Parkinson’s UK invites applications for its PhD studentships. These are offered to outstanding students undertaking research into Parkinson’s. Funding is available over three years to students based at UK higher education institutions and provides:

•a stipend of £15,000 per year (or £16,000 per year if in London);

•full PhD tuition fees at the UK/EU rate;

•a contribution of up to £10,000 per year towards research costs.

Students from outside the EU are welcome to apply for this scheme on a full fee-paying basis. Home and overseas students must have a first or upper second class honours degree in a relevant subject. Applications must be made by the potential student’s supervisor, who must hold a tenured position at a UK university, hospital or research institute.

3.      Arthritis Research UK PhD studentships (Closing date: 7 Aug 2013)

Arthritis Research UK invites applications for its PhD studentships. These are awarded to university departments for projects that have clear relevance to the aims of Arthritis Research UK and provide training in research in a multidisciplinary environment.

Applications may include a named student or, alternatively, students may be recruited after the studentship is awarded. Proposals may also be submitted for collaborative studentships by universities with an industrial sponsor. Awards consist of a tax-free incremental stipend, worth a maximum of £23,673 per year, UK tuition fees and limited running costs over three years.

Monthly Bid Writing Surgery with Martin Pickard

Do you need expert advice on a research proposal? The next bid writing surgery will be held on Thursday 14 February.

Dr. Martin Pickard (Grantcraft) is an external consultant employed by the University of Lincoln with over 25 years’ experience in writing and advising on grants and tenders for EU and other funders.  He has worked extensively across Europe with a number of universities, research institutes and industrial firms, and provides a bespoke bid writing support service for external research funding applications.

Martin’s monthly bid writing surgery will give staff an opportunity to access his 25 years of experience in supporting bids for external funding. Availability is limited. Contact Research and Income Generation Support if you wish to book an appointment to speak to Martin about a bid to any funder. Each appointment lasts around 45 mins to 1 hour.

NIHR Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRCs)

NIHRNIHR Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRCs) undertake high-quality applied health research focused on the needs of patients and support the translation of research evidence into
practice in the NHS.
CLAHRCs are collaborative partnerships between a university and the surrounding NHS organisations, focused on improving patient outcomes through the conduct and application of applied health research. They create and embed approaches to research and its dissemination that are specifically designed to take account of the way that health care is increasingly delivered across sectors and a wide geographical area.

The nine CLAHRCs, established in October 2008, are now in the final year of their five year funding.


New CLAHRCs competition

A new, single-stage competition to designate and fund NIHR CLAHRCs opened on 9 January 2013.
£120 million is available to fund up to twelve collaborations that can demonstrate a very substantial portfolio of world-class applied health research, particularly research targeted at chronic disease and public health interventions, and a track record in translating research findings into improved outcomes for patients.

The closing date for submission of applications by NHS Organisations or providers of NHS services in England is 13 May 2013, 1.00pm.


For more information click here