NIHR funding programmes

NIHR funding programmes

The National Institute for Health (NIHR) funds a range of research programmes to produce evidence that enables professionals, policy makers and patients to make informed decisions about healthcare.

They advertise a variety of different types of calls for research through their nine funding programmes:

  • commissioned calls that addresses specific topic areas
  • researcher-led calls allow researchers to directly propose questions
  • themed calls to meet an identified health challenge or government priority.

Below is a brief overview of each programme. The NIHR Website hosts all the funding opportunities currently available and detailed information on eligibility, scope and criteria.

NIHR’s research funding opportunities and career development opportunities for health and social care researchers information booklet is available here.

For current funding deadlines, please see the NIHR Funding Deadlines Calendar hosted by RDS-SW.


Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation (EME)

What it funds: Ambitious studies evaluating interventions with potential to make step-change in the promotion of health, treatment of disease and improvement of rehabilitation or long-term care. Within these studies, EME supports research in the mechanisms of disease and treatments.

Duration and funding vary.

Health Services and Delivery Research (HS&DR)

What it funds: research to produce evidence on the quality, accessibility and organisation of health services.  This includes evaluations of how the NHS might improve the delivery of services.  The audience for this research is the public, service users, clinicians and managers.

Award available: average £260K; Duration: typically up to 5 years

Health Technology Assessment (HTA)

What it funds: Research that delivers information about the clinical and cost effectiveness of developments in healthcare technology, including drugs, devices, procedures, settings and screening.

Duration and funding vary.

Invention for Innovation (i4i)

What it funds: Preclinical and clinical development of innovative medical technologies. The expected output is an advanced or clinically validated prototype medical device, technology or intervention.

Duration and funding: Up to 3 years; funding varies.

Programme Development Grants

What it funds: Preparatory research that will  strengthen the basis for a full Programme Grant application.

Duration and funding: £20-£100K; 6-18 months.

Programme Grants for Applied Research (PGfAR)

What it funds: Research that will deliver findings with practical application within 3-5 years of a programme’s end (typically though improved healthcare or better healthcare delivery).

Duration and funding: Period and level of funding depends on nature of proposed work, in particular whether a fully powered evaluative study is included. Funding above £2.5 million will be unusual.

Public Health Research (PHR)

What it funds: Research to inform the delivery of non-NHS interventions intended to improve the health of the public and reduce inequalities in health.

Duration and funding: Average £700K; Duration is typically up to 3 years.

Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB)

What it funds: NHS research. Projects funded are for regionally derived applied research in health services and social care.

Duration and funding: The funding available for individual projects is up to £350,000 for up to 36 months (Refer to programme guidance for further information on funding limits).

NIHR Academy

The NIHR Academy is responsible for development and coordination of NIHR academic training, career development and research capacity development.

The NIHR Academy plays a pivotal role in attracting, training and supporting the best health and care researchers to tackle the complex challenges of the future and complements the additional NIHR investment in world-class research facilities and a skilled research workforce.

The purpose of the NIHR Academy is to develop a highly-skilled academic research workforce capable of advancing the best research which improves health, and benefits society and the economy.

View more information about the NIHR Academy and the programmes available

NIHR School for Social Care Research (SSCR) commissions social care research projects.

If you are interested in applying for NIHR funding find out how we can help with your research application.