Frequently asked questions
- What is NIHR CLAHRC West?
- How does NIHR CLAHRC West fit into the landscape with Bristol Health Partners and the West of England Academic Health Science Network (WEAHSN)?
- How is NIHR CLAHRC West funded?
- What is the membership of NIHR CLAHRC West Board and what is their role?
- What sort of projects does NIHR CLAHRC West undertake?
- Can I submit more than one project?
- How will NIHR CLAHRC West choose which projects to undertake?
- Is NIHR CLAHRC West like a funding body?
- What is the scale of the projects NIHR CLAHRC West is likely to support?
- Who can apply for NIHR CLAHRC West proposals?
- Can my employer be reimbursed for my time on an NIHR CLAHRC West proposal?
- What is the membership and terms of references of the Research Advisory Panels?
- How will priorities be determined by the RAP(p)?
- How will the outcomes of the call be communicated?
- What will happen if my proposal is successful?
- What happens if my proposal is considered to be a priority by the RAP(p) but not by the RAP(a) (or vice-versa)?
- When will be the next call for research proposals and ideas?
- Can I resubmit a previously unsuccessful application to a future NIHR CLAHRC West call?
- Can patients or members of the public apply?
- I think I might have an important topic but as a busy clinician/manager I don’t have much experience in completing application forms and I don’t have much time to spend on it.
What is NIHR CLAHRC West?
The NIHR Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRCs) were established to contribute to the vision of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research.
NIHR CLAHRC West commenced in January 2014, hosted by University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, acting on behalf of the collaborative partnership between local NHS organisations, universities, local authorities, third sector and patient/user organisations. The overall mission of the NIHR CLAHRC West is to actively engage with its partners in the conduct of applied health research and the implementation of relevant research evidence to improve health and healthcare across its area. Its ethos is to focus on research and implementation that is equitable (fair), appropriate (providing optimum advice or care at the right time and place for prevention or care), and sustainable (taking account of resource-use and future continuation).
There are three broad thematic areas of ‘improving the management of chronic diseases’, ‘public health interventions and population health’, and ‘mental health’. Public and patient involvement is integrated throughout its work, and a programme of research training will be developed in due course. NIHR CLAHRC West covers Gloucestershire, Bath, Swindon, parts of Wiltshire and Somerset, and Bristol.
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How does NIHR CLAHRC West fit into the landscape with Bristol Health Partners and the West of England Academic Health Science Network (WEAHSN)?
These organisations each have a particular function and are working closely together to ensure joined up working without duplication.
Bristol Health Partners is a formal legal partnership between NHS organisations, universities and the local authority in the city of Bristol to ensure a collaborative environment for research, innovation, clinical practice and education. The Partnership decided to take a population approach to its activities and developed and implemented the concept of Health Integration Teams (HITs). Groups of clinicians, researchers, commissioners, health professionals and patients/members of the public were encouraged to come together around key healthcare or public health challenges where they thought integration could make a difference to improving outcomes. Approved HITs have developed in a wide range of areas. The developments in Bristol Health Partners, particularly HITs, created the environment and formed the framework for the bid to NIHR for the CLAHRC West. More information about Bristol Health Partners is here. The development of HITs originating outside Bristol Health Partners is encouraged under the aegis of CLAHRC West.
The West of England Academic Health Science Networks (WEAHSN) aims to ensure the speedy adoption and diffusion of innovation across a large number of organisations with the aim of improving health and increasing wealth. They are predicated on partnership working and collaboration between the NHS, universities, the private sector and other external partners within and across AHSNs. The WEAHSN is operating across the same geographical area as the NIHR CLAHRC West. The two organisations have supported a clear joint initiative for patient and public involvement (PPI), and are working together on a number of projects. For further information, visit the WEAHSN website.
How is the NIHR CLAHRC West funded?
NIHR CLAHRC West was awarded the full funding from NIHR that was available from January 2014 to December 2018. This funding is matched with at least the same level of resource from the partner organisations. The aim of matched funding is to encourage and provide evidence of partnership working across our area. NIHR CLAHRC West funds will be used to fund research and research training, with matched funds to be used for research or implementation projects. NIHR CLAHRC West is developing close working relationships with its partners to ensure the money is used to best effect in improving patient and public health outcomes.
What is the membership of the NIHR CLAHRC West board and what is their role?
The membership of the NIHR CLAHRC West board comprises the following: Chair (Director of Public Health) and representation from the range of NHS organisations, universities, local authorities, third sector organisations and PPI representatives across the area. The NIHR CLAHRC West board provides a governance structure to support the Director in delivering the NIHR CLAHRC West proposal, as approved by NIHR. The board will:
- Ensure that NIHR CLAHRC West is effective in identifying appropriate research proposals and undertaking high quality applied health research across the west, as described in the proposal to NIHR.
- Ensure that NIHR CLAHRC West is accountable through University Hospitals Bristol for good stewardship and effective use of its NIHR and matched funding resources.
- Ensure there is a mechanism for representing the views of existing matched funding partners and potential partners of NIHR CLAHRC West, and those of wider stakeholders, including commissioners and providers of public health and NHS care, local authorities, higher education institutes, and other interested parties across the west country.
- Ensure that there is effective collaboration between NIHR CLAHRC West and WEAHSN and the West of England Clinical Research Network (WECRN).
- Ensure that intellectual property (IP) is managed effectively.
What sort of projects does the NIHR CLAHRC West undertake?
NIHR CLAHRC West has been set up to design and deliver research and implementation projects collaboratively. There will be calls for project proposals, when capacity allows, that are open to individuals working in NHS organisations, universities, local authorities, third sector and patient / user organisations in the NIHR CLAHRC West area. The first call was in 2014; the current call is in 2016. For details of the call and priorities for support, please see this document.
Can I submit more than one project?
Only one application to each call may be made by a lead applicant.
How will NIHR CLAHRC West choose which projects to undertake?
Decisions about which projects are selected will be made by the NIHR CLAHRC West Research Advisory Panel (RAP). The RAP is in three parts:
RAP(a) – Academic panel
To ensure that the highest quality applied health research is identified, the RAP(a) will assess proposals for academic excellence in an applied health context. The RAP(a) will determine whether the proposals are ‘robust’, ‘require further development’, or are ‘outside remit’. For proposals where the RAP(a) does not feel able to make decisions, a light-touch peer-review process may occur. The RAP(a) will rank the ‘robust’ proposals in terms of applied health research scientific quality and relevance.
RAP(p) – Patient, public and partner priorities panel
To ensure that the NIHR CLAHRC West research focuses on the most relevant research priorities of patients, members of the public, and its matched-funding partners, the RAP(p) will assess and rank proposals in order of priority. It will also indicate proposals that ‘require further development’ and identify ‘high priority’ areas with gaps in the portfolio.
RAP(f) – Final panel
The RAP(f) will make final decisions about the proposals and ideas to go forward, and the time-lines and levels of resources available. The RAP(f) will take into account the rankings and advice from the RAP(a) and RAP(p), information supplied on the quality of the evidence from the Evidence team, and available research resources. The RAP(f) will aim to achieve a balance between high scientific rigour and local priority.
Is NIHR CLAHRC West like a funding body?
No. All research projects undertaken with NIHR CLAHRC West are collaborative. There will not be awards of money given out to undertake research or implementation. NIHR CLAHRC West staff will offer methodological expertise and research staff time and expenses to design and deliver projects. Partner organisations will also provide resources (such as staff time or other resources) according to matched funding arrangements. NIHR CLAHRC West researchers are experienced in the key methodological areas needed to undertake high quality, robust applied health research (medical statistics, qualitative research, health services research/epidemiology, health economics and evidence synthesis).
What is the scale of the projects NIHR CLAHRC West is likely to support?
There are no formal limits to the scale and scope of proposals that can be submitted. However, for this second call, capacity in the CLAHRC is quite limited. Implementation proposals with clear evidence of support from partner organisations are likely to be most successful. Applicants are urged to read carefully the information provided about the type of proposal that comes under the NIHR CLAHRC West remit for this call. The CLAHRC West covers a wide geographic area across the west and is open to applicants from organisations in the west. NIHR CLAHRC West funding is most appropriate for projects with a clear question of relevance to public health or patient care that can be answered efficiently, or research that will provide evidence that can be put into practice (or investigate why this has proved difficult), or research providing data or evidence leading to proposals for larger scale studies or investigations of service re-designs or reconfigurations funded in collaboration with NHS organisations, local authorities, third sector organisatons or Universities in the west.
Who can apply for NIHR CLAHRC West proposals?
Anybody in an organisation in the geographical area covered by NIHR CLAHRC West can submit a proposal in response to the call. Applications for proposals can come from established groups such as the Health Integration Teams, or new groups or individuals from any of organisations mentioned above. Each application will go through the same rigorous process of review and evaluation by the CLAHRC West Research Advisory Panels.
Can my employer be reimbursed for my time on an NIHR CLAHRC West proposal?
NIHR funds will not be used for this purpose. NHS organisations, universities, local authorities and third sector organisations have agreed in principle that time spent on CLAHRC West activities may be included in their matched funding allocation. If your proposal is successful, NIHR CLAHRC West staff will discuss this with you and your employer.
What is the membership and terms of references of the Research Advisory Panels?
The role of the NIHR CLAHRC West Research Advisory Panel (RAP) is to provide advice to the Director to ensure that NIHR CLAHRC West is effective in identifying appropriate proposals and undertaking high quality applied health research across the West Country to improve public health and patient outcomes, as described in the proposal to the NIHR. The membership of each of the three parts of the NIHR CLAHRC West RAP will be:
Academic leads of the NIHR CLAHRC West themes (UoB); two methodology representatives from the matched-funding HEI partners (UoBath, UWE); and a representative from the NIHR Research Design Service.
At least one representative from each of the NIHR CLAHRC West matched-funding partners; two or three representatives of the joint PPI initiative, including members of the public.
NIHR CLAHRC West Board Chair, NIHR CLAHRC West Manager, NIHR CLAHRC West team leads, NIHR CLAHRC West Director.
How will priorities be determined by the RAP(p)?
The RAP(p) will use the knowledge of the priorities of the representatives of its matched-funding partners, and PPI organisations.
How will the outcomes of the Call be communicated?
All lead applicants will be contacted by the NIHR CLAHRC West team to discuss the outcome of their application. All applicants will receive feedback.
What will happen if my proposal is successful?
Lead applicants and co-applicants will be invited to a meeting with the relevant NIHR CLAHRC West research team lead to discuss the scale, scope, design and implementation of the project. These initial discussions will form the basis of a Research Collaboration Agreement that will be made between the Principal Investigator and CLAHRC West.
What happens if my proposal is considered to be a priority by the RAP(p) but not by the RAP(a) (or vice-versa)?
The RAP(a) will assess proposals on the quality of the research in an applied health context. We will ensure that comments about each proposal are noted and fed back to applicants. This will include suggestions from the RAP(a) in relation to potential improvements or alternative methodological approaches e.g. an initial systematic review if that would inform future primary research; and from the RAP(p) in relation to level of priority. The RAP(f) will make a final decision and the lead applicant of the proposal will be provided with feedback.
When will be the next call for research proposals and ideas?
The CLAHRC West is funded until the end of 2018. There may be capacity for one more call in 2017, but that depends on the number of projects supported in the 2016 call. Such a call may not happen.
Can I resubmit a previously unsuccessful application to a future NIHR CLAHRC West call?
That depends on the RAP assessment. If the proposal was ‘outside remit,’ the unsuccessful proposal is unlikely to be funded in a future round without considerable change. If the application is re-drafted following feedback received and changes made, the application could be submitted to a future call with appropriate explanation. It would be considered on an equal basis with all other applications received at that round.
Can patients or members of the public apply?
Patients and members of public are welcome to respond to the new Call for proposals. In addition, we will very shortly announce plans from our coordinated Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) team – People in Health West of England for opportunities for patients and members of the public to propose and develop research ideas. We will be running workshops across the West of England to support this process. This will be linked to the existing 2016 call, but will also encourage the development of other ideas and proposals. If you are interested contact Kim Thomas (phone 0117 3421251, email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
I think I might have an important topic but as a busy clinician/manager I don’t have much experience in completing application forms and I don’t have much time to spend on it.
We really want to encourage applications from people who have experience of commissioning and provision of health and care as it is likely that that is where the most impactful and addressable questions will come from. While the form looks quite long, it is made up of a number of relatively quick questions as well as summaries of the proposed project, and the FAQs do provide a lot of help. However, if you do feel you need help, the first point of contact is probably your organisation’s R&D team who should be able to support you. If there is not an R&D contact, then you can email email@example.com with specific questions. Then complete the form as best you can.