Research Design Service: West Midlands

In this week’s newsletter:

Latest NIHR funding calls
Fuding calls from other bodies
Latest fellowships
Blogs and articles
Workshops and events
NIHR and RDS news



Latest NIHR Funding Calls

NIHR Health Determinant Research Collaborations

The NIHR wishes to fund a second round of innovative research collaborations between local government and the academic sector that focus on improving the wider determinants, or drivers, of health. Health Determinants Research Collaborations (HDRCs) provide new research funding to embed a culture of evidence-based decision making within local government, boosting local authorities' capacity and capability to conduct high-quality research to tackle health inequalities.

HDRCs are a new element of NIHR-funded research based in local government. Their purpose will be to help enable local authorities to become more research-active, using evidence to inform their decision making by undertaking research and evaluation relating to their activities, including synthesising and mobilising existing evidence. In this, it will build on the wealth of knowledge that authorities already have regarding their local areas and enable what is being done to be more readily researched and evaluated. HDRCs will focus on what can be done to address the wider drivers of population health and health inequalities, explicitly addressing the needs of disadvantaged groups and areas within the relevant geography. Central to this will be a strong focus on health inequalities and actions to tackle the particular issues faced by disadvantaged groups and areas.

Deadline for proposals: 18 April 2023
Find out more here


NIHR Funding deadlines calendar

For an overview of the year’s NIHR calls and ongoing opportunities, please view the online calendar:


Funding calls from other bodies

UKRI Advancing precision medicine

UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £20 million over 2 rounds of this funding opportunity. The funding opportunity will fund projects focusing on developing digital and data-enabled tools as well as multi-modal approaches. The aim of this competition is to award innovation projects that focus on novel digital and data-enabled tools to:

  • more accurately diagnose conditions and stratify patients to the most appropriate treatments
  • increase the application of integrated and multi-modal approaches to determine risk and diagnosis and to predict prognostic outcomes Proposals must demonstrate how it addresses an unmet clinical need or responds to NHS demand signalling.

Deadline for proposals: 8 March 2023
Find out more here

MRC Public Health Intervention Development

Apply for funding for the early-stage development of an intervention that seeks to address a UK or global public health challenge. MRC is looking to support the early-stage development of interventions that seek to address either UK or global public health challenges. This might include qualitative and quantitative primary research and the development of theory and logic models. However, emphasis should be placed on developing the intervention.

This opportunity supports the incorporation of systems thinking in addressing public health challenges. It is justifiable to focus on just 1 aspect of a system as long as the wider systems context is recognised, for example, in the framework for evaluation. It also encourages the use of multidisciplinary teams and co-production with users and other relevant stakeholders, such as policy makers.

Deadline for proposals: 8 March 2023
Find out more here

Alzheimer’s Society: Project grants

Project Grants are for researchers to carry out world-class dementia research. These flexible grants can include funding for pilot, springboard, and seed funding applications. Applicants may apply for direct costs of up to £400,000 to support their research including staff salary, consumables, and equipment. Funding is available for up to three years depending on the project type. However, we support researchers and their research teams to work flexibly to meet personal circumstances.

Deadline for proposals: 24 March 2023
Find out more here


Latest fellowships

NIHR Pre-Doctoral fellowships (PLAF, PCAF)

NIHR Pre-doctoral fellowship
NIHR Pre-doctoral Fellowships are designed to support people who are looking to start or advance a career in health and social care research methodology within the UK. Applicants should either have completed or are about to complete their undergraduate degree in a relevant subject, or already hold a master’s level degree (or currently undertaking one).

Deadline for applications: 16 March 2023

Pre-doctoral Local Authority Fellowship (PLAF)
The NIHR Pre-doctoral Local Authority Fellowship (PLAF) scheme supports the academic ambitions of individuals wishing to develop as health and/or social care researchers whilst remaining employed, or at least engaged, within local authorities or local authority supporting services. These fully funded fellowships enable awardees to retain their existing employment contracts and salaries, whilst protecting their time to undertake a bespoke programme of relevant Masters level training and to prepare an application for a subsequent PhD fellowship. Applicants must, however, be employed by: (a) a local authority; (b) a provider of local authority commissioned services; (c) a non-profit organisation (such as a charity) that provides services on behalf of a local authority, or supports a local authority in meeting its objectives.

Deadline for applications: 26 March 2023

Alzheimer’s Society: Fellowships

Dementia Research Leader Fellowship
For experienced dementia researchers looking to make the step to research independence. Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Research Leader Fellowships are for exceptional researchers who want to build on several successful years of research and are ready to begin an independent research career. The scheme is designed for research leaders who have the ambition and skill to conduct excellent quality and innovative research, build a positive research culture, and drive change for people affected by dementia.

Postdoctoral Fellowships
For early career researchers looking to explore a research idea with a supervisor. Alzheimer’s Society Postdoctoral Fellowships are ideal for anyone early in their research career. This fellowship allows exceptional early career researchers and final-year PhD students to apply for research funding to pursue a novel research idea and build their independent research portfolio. This fellowship is flexible and can cover a range of career stages.

Clinician and Healthcare Professionals Training Fellowship
For clinicians or healthcare professionals looking to begin a career in dementia research. Alzheimer’s Society’s Clinician and Healthcare Professionals Training Fellowships are ideal for all professionals working in clinical and health services who are looking pursue a PhD. Applicants are expected to maintain and develop their professional practice-based skills during the course of the Fellowship, and up to 20% of their Alzheimer's Society funded time can be spent in NHS sessions or equivalent.

Career development grant
For post-doctoral researchers working towards research independence. Alzheimer’s Society Career Development Grants offer one year of funding to support post-doctoral researchers and fellows with the next stage of their career. Alzheimer’s Society Career Development Grants offer one year of funding to give promising postdoctoral researchers and fellows the dedicated time needed to gather data for their independent research and build their CV in preparation for the next stage of their career. These grants are also open to post-doctoral clinicians and allied health professionals.

Post-CCT career development grant
For clinical early career researcher (ECR) working towards research independence. Alzheimer’s Society’s Post-CCT Career Development grants offer one year of funding to allow promising clinical researchers to gather data and build their CV in preparation for the next stage in their career. Applicants must be early career researchers, and must not already be in open-ended, university-funded posts. They also need to have received their certificate of completion of training (CCT) in their medical specialism. Applicants must have completed their PhD at time of application.

Clinical training partnerships
For clinical academics wanting to increase the number of clinicians and health care professionals in dementia research. Alzheimer’s Society Clinical Training Partnerships are available for institutions with the capacity and infrastructure to support multiple clinical PhD candidates. This scheme aims to work in partnership with institutions that wish to increase the numbers of clinicians and healthcare professionals working in the field of dementia. We wish to work with institutions that have high-quality research ideas, to attract outstanding clinicians or practitioners to undertake dementia research.

Deadline for proposals:24 March 2023


Blogs and articles

King’s Fund podcast: Charting the nation’s health

What can data tell us about the health of our nation, and the state of the system meant to help us get better, and stay healthy? In this episode, Siva Anandaciva sits down with Chief Data Reporter at the Financial Times, John Burn-Murdoch.

Find out more here

NCRM blog: Creative methods: How to capitalise on creativity in participatory research

Lenka Janik Blaskova (University of Exeter) looks at the issue of capitalising on creativity in participatory research and and reports on a recent webinar organised by NCRM’s Collaborative and Participatory Methodological Special Interest Group. The article highlights useful approaches for researchers who wish to adopt or evaluate creative methods in research.

Find out more here


Workshops and events

NCRM webinar series: Data resources for mental health and wellbeing research

What: A two-part webinar series will explain how to access and use datasets on mental health and wellbeing. Organised by the Data Resources Training Network (DRTN), the free series begins on Monday, 6 March with a webinar on secondary, quantitative data. The speakers will be Sally McManus from NatCen, Eoin McElroy from Ulster University and Mark Elliot from The University of Manchester. To complement the series, NCRM has collated a suite of resources relating to mental health and wellbeing, which will be launched to coincide with the events.

When: 6 March 2023
Where: Online

Find out more here


NIHR and RDS news

NIHR blog: Why reaching out to communities is key to putting people first in research

Jeremy Taylor, NIHR’s Director for Public Voice, looks at the progress made in improving how the NIHR works with patients and the public, as well as what needs to be done to reach out to communities so that research can be truly inclusive.

Find out more here

NIHR webinar: Embedding PPIE in your research

This webinar will demonstrate how to integrate PPIE into your research and focus on working with underserved groups or topics. The difficulty facing research teams, especially early career researchers, is when and how to use the public and patients. We know that the communities mostly likely to experience health inequalities and benefit most from research are the underserved and underrepresented. The webinar will explore ways of answering the following questions:

  • How would you target a group/community to participate in your research?
  • What tools, techniques and partners would you enlist to make sure your target community is able to get involved in your research?
  • How would you know if you got it right?

Date/time: 13:00-14:00 on 21 February 2023
Where: Online
Find out more here

NIHR webinar: Discover funding opportunities for qualitative researchers

What: This webinar is hosted by the Qualitative Workstream of the NIHR Methodology Incubator and the NIHR Academy. The webinar aims to support the careers of qualitative and mixed methods researchers by outlining funding opportunities for health and care research. Speakers will provide an overview of funding schemes including personal fellowships, small project grants, large research programmes and grants for methods research. Participants will hear from NIHR Senior Investigators, Directors of funding schemes as well as people who manage schemes and sit on funding committees. You will have an opportunity to ask questions to the speakers in a Q&A session at the end.

When:10:30-12:30 on 7 February 2023
Where: Online
Find out more here

Job opportunity at NIHR: Communications and Engagement Manager - Public Partnerships

Vacancy for a Communications and Engagement Manager to support the Public Partnerships improvement function at NIHR. 
The closing date is 13.02.2023 with interviews w/c 20.02.2023
See here for more information and the link to apply


Support and training available from the Clinical Research Network West Midlands

Support and advice is available from the CRN WM Study Support Service Team for any study that is potentially eligible or applying for CRN Support. This includes providing cost attribution advice to support researchers in completing their grant applications and authorising the Schedule of Events Cost Attribution Tool (SoECAT), navigating the approvals process, accessing training provided by the Network, identifying and supporting the management of excess treatment costs, and can highlight further support within the Network to support study set up and delivery to time and target. Once open to recruitment, we will stay in contact and continue to support optimisation of recruitment to your study.  Once closed to recruitment we may ask you to share lessons learned to better advise other study teams in the future.

Training available from the CRN WM Study Support Service Team ranges from basic Cost Attribution, SoECATs, IRAS/ HRA process, Amendments, Research Passports (HR Good Practice), Capacity and Capability and the use of EDGE for study set up and management. If you are interested in any of these or a tailored training session to suit your needs then please contact us to discuss.

The CRN WM Digital Portfolio Maps have been developed to inform Researchers and Healthcare Professionals of the research studies available locally (West Midlands) and nationally:


Website: CRN West Midlands (