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NIHR’s response to COVID-19

The NIHR is playing a critical role in the fight against COVID-19. We are funding, enabling and delivering ground-breaking research that is helping to save lives in the UK and around the world. Our research is informing government policy, and providing NHS doctors and nurses with the tools they need to prevent and treat COVID-19.  By being embedded in the NHS, we are able to be respond quickly and prioritise research based on science, relevance and feasibility; research studies that we identify as urgent public health studies. Now that vaccines are in widespread use, our attention is increasing is on the long-term consequences of COVID-19.

NIHR publishes latest annual report

The report celebrates how NIHR funding and support continues to have a lasting impact on our health and social care system. It details our world-class and ground-breaking research that is delivered by the talents and expertise within NIHR and the collaborations and partnerships we have forged. In addition to showcasing the breadth of areas NIHR provides funding and support, over 100 of our major research achievements are featured in the report, organised under the NIHR’s six core workstreams. The report also gives an insight into the shifting focus to COVID-19 research as we came to the end of 2019/20.

“Dipping our feet into research”: Find out more about the experiences of the Discovery Group as they analysed media coverage of Covid-19   

The Discovery Group was a service-user led research project, which explored media coverage of Covid-19 in different countries. Service users and staff at the Forensic Service, Roseberry Park Hospital (Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust) decided to “dip their feet into research” as a way to stay motivated and engaged, despite the difficult loss of freedom that came with lockdown restrictions in spring 2020. Service users reported that leading their own research helped to occupy their time, and many would be keen to design and deliver research again in future.  You can read their full report here:

Celebrating Language Diversity in the North East & North Cumbria

People across the North East and North Cumbria speak many languages from all over the world and, of course, lots of local dialects. It’s important that everybody’s voice is heard in health and social care research, so that we can all live healthier, better lives for longer. To celebrate UNESCO International Mother Language Day (21st February), NIHR’s Research Design Service NENC and Clinical Research Network NENC want to explore our region’s language diversity. Click here to join in by adding your languages and dialects to the virtual map. All you need to do is click the pink “+” button to add a post, and type in your location (your city/town/village – no need to add your exact address). Once you select your location, your new post will pop up. Type in the names of any languages or dialects that you speak. Add as many as you like, including any languages you speak at home or with your family, or any languages you’re learning, even if you only know a little. Feel free to add more text to tell us a bit about yourself or your language skills. Click off the post anywhere onto the map behind it (or on a mobile device tap ‘save’), and your post will be saved for everyone to see.

If you would like to get involved and have your say on health and social care research, then we would love to hear from you. Email and to say “hello”, “bonjour” or “السلام عليكم”, and find out how you can use your voice to help change lives across our region.

New fellowship opportunities for individuals working in local authorities

The NIHR Academy has launched a pilot pre-doctoral fellowship scheme for those working in local authorities and local authority supporting services.
Designed to support the development of credible ‘practitioner academic’ career pathways within local authority settings, these fellowships will allow awardees to retain their existing employment contracts and salaries, whilst protecting their time to prepare an application for a PhD fellowship and undertake a fully funded programme of relevant Masters level training.
This will increase the capacity of local authorities and local authority supporting services to generate and support research that will help tackle the complex health and care challenges of the future.

NIHR’s annual Research for Social Care call funds over £2 million of new social care research

The NIHR’s Research for Social Care call (RfSC) has funded £2.19 million of new research into adult social care, as part of NIHR’s commitment to improving social care through high quality evidence and building capacity for research in this field. Eight new projects have been funded, ranging from research into parenting support for young fathers in prison to investigating better ways to identify people who may have problems with gambling. The projects are also diverse in their methods, and together will generate evidence to improve, expand and strengthen the way adult social care is delivered for users of care services, carers and the public.

NIHR Standard Application Form guidance changes

Please note changes to the NIHR Standard Application Form guidance.  A new resource has been made available via a link from the Guidance for applicants on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion for study participants, The INCLUDE Ethnicity Framework. This aims to help trial teams think carefully about which ethnic groups should be included in their trial for its results to be widely applicable, and what challenges there may be to making this possible. INCLUDE is an NIHR initiative, funded by the CRN.

Current Stage 1 and stage 2 EDI guidance section / wording 1 and stage 2 EDI guidance section / wording 

Guidance for applicants on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion for study participants

Every person eligible to take part in research should be offered the same opportunity of taking part in that research regardless of: Geographical location; Age; Disability; Gender reassignment; Marriage and civil partnership; Pregnancy and maternity; Ethnicity Religion or belief; Sex; Sexual orientation; Socioeconomic status and Access to health or social care.  Useful links to the toolkit for increasing participation of BAME groups in health and care research and the INCLUDE Ethnicity Framework, which aims to improve trial delivery for under-served groups.  All NIHR applications are expected to include information about how this data will be collected. Applicants should demonstrate how these factors have been considered and addressed in their proposal, including steps taken to ensure the research sample is representative of the population the study is targeted at.  Applicants need to explain who they are planning to recruit to ensure inclusivity of study participants and justify and explain any exclusions, for example by completing an Equality Impact Assessment. Additionally, applicants should demonstrate that all potential recruiting locations have been considered and the research is deliverable to those areas.

Helpful links: and

NIHR issues guidance to ensure research protected in a ‘second wave’

The NIHR has issued guidance to protect both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 research during a ‘second wave’ of high COVID-19 activity.  The guidance states that research staff funded by NIHR should not be deployed to front line duties except in exceptional circumstances. This is in contrast to the ‘first wave’ when many staff from the NIHR’s Local Clinical Research Networks and Clinical Research Facilities were deployed to the clinical front line in anticipation of heightened need.

RDS Blogs: From the RDS desk

Each month, the Research Design Service, brings you handy tips, insights and experiences of the funding application process. The blogs touch on various themes in the design process and highlight what you need to know before you make a research application.

In this month’s blog, our RDS NENC specialist advisor in statistics, Professor James Wason, discusses how funders are always looking for efficiencies and value for money in any research and the interest in innovative trial designs.

Check out the previous blogs below:

April 2021: Getting Knowledge Mobilisation Embedded in Research

March 2021: Reprioritising public health and supporting good quality NIHR PHR applications

February 2021: The role of qualitative research in informing health economic evaluations

January 2021: “I can’t hear you, you are on mute’’: navigating RDS virtual meetings

December 2020: Qualitative Research and PPI – Some similarities, quite a lot of differences