Applications Invited for NIHR Third Call for Global Health Research Groups Programme

Last date: 
Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Detailed Description

About the Organization:

National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is a United Kingdom government agency which funds research into health and care. The NIHR was established in 2006 and is funded by the Department of Health and Social Care. They are the nation's largest funder of health and care research and provide the people, facilities and technology that enables research to thrive. Working in partnership with the NHS, universities, local government, other research funders, patients and the public, they deliver and enable world-class research that transforms people's lives, promotes economic growth and advances science.


The NIHR Global Health Research Units and Global Health Research Groups awards form a key part of the NIHR Global Health Research commitment to ODA. The Global Health Research Units and Global Health Research Groups offer is unique for NIHR in that they provide funding to support not only delivery of research that will improve health outcomes for people living in LMICs, but also strengthens crucial research capability and capacity in resource-poor settings, in particular, training and capacity-building in both academic research and programme support functions. Together these provide a vital and sustainable platform for future research in those countries.

The NIHR is pleased to launch a third call for Global Health Research Groups that will meet the aims and ambitions set out in the following call specification. The call will have two closing dates to reflect the different challenges research teams may face in developing high quality applications during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Aims: Global Health Research Groups

Building on the NIHR GHR principles above, the strategic aim across the Global Health Research Groups programme is to:

  • address locally-identified challenges in LMICs through equitable research partnerships between researchers and institutions in the UK and ODA-eligible countries
  • to generate the scientific evidence that can improve health outcomes for people in low resource setting through improving practice and informing policy.
  • Strengthen research and research management capacity and capability to support future sustainability of research in partner countries.
  • These strategic level aims are the same for the Global Health Research Units and Global Health Research Groups. The core differences lie in the status of the research partnerships at start-up, the scale and extent of the research and partnership ambition, and the likely impact of work programme outputs.

Global Health Research Groups are defined as a partnership of specialist researchers within universities and research institutes in LMICs and the UK:

  • either new to delivering applied health research globally, or expanding to new global partnerships to deliver applied global health research addressing unmet needs in new health areas or geographies in ODA-eligible countries;
  • who, through a planned start-up phase, will develop or expand equitable research partnerships and networks, to undertake LMIC-led needs analysis designed to refine relevant research questions and priorities through engagement with policy makers, evidence users and local communities, as appropriate;
  • who will establish a new programme of applied health research delivered through ambitious, structured plans for e.g. scoping studies, needs analysis, economic analysis, pilot studies and potentially trials;
  • who are able to develop the strength of the partnership to improve practice and inform policy based on scientific evidence;
  • who will set up and deliver a focussed programme of capacity and capability strengthening at individual and institutional level appropriate to the respective goals.

Budget / length of funding

Through this call, awards up to £3 million over a period of up to 3 to 4 years are available to NIHR Global Health Research Groups.

The amount requested and the length of the funding period should be fully justified according to the nature of the proposed research.

Applicants will need to reflect the costing of the initial start-up phase within their proposed budget. See the more detailed NIHR GHR Finance Guidance for further information.

Key criteria for funding:

Applications for Global Health Research Groups will be required to describe how they address the following key criteria for funding:  

  • Excellence
  • Equitable Partnership
  • Effectiveness
  • Capacity Strengthening
  • Stakeholder and Community Involvement
  • Impact and Sustainability

In scope: Global Health Research Group awards will support:

Applications which:

  • Propose applied health research programmes that primarily and directly address the challenges faced by people and patients in ODA-eligible country/ies.
  • Include multi-disciplinary applied research teams with relevant expertise and a track-record of ensuring research is transferred into benefits for patients.
  • include relevant engagement with policy makers, patients and the public, civil society organisations and charities throughout the life of the proposed programme.
  • Demonstrate equity and collaboration in programme leadership, decision-making, capacity strengthening, governance, appropriate distribution of funds, ethics processes, data ownership, and dissemination of findings.
  • Propose a coherent and sustainable plan for capacity and capability strengthening at individual and institutional level.
  • Demonstrate the strength of institutional commitment to the research partnership.


ODA eligibility -

  • The NIHR Global Health Research programme supports high-quality applied health research for the direct and primary benefit of people in low-and middle-income countries (LMICs) on the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) list, using Official Development Assistance (ODA) funding.

In order to be eligible to receive NIHR Global Health Research funding, applications must demonstrate how they meet ODA compliance criteria and outline:

  • Which country or countries on the OECD DAC list of ODA-eligible countries will directly benefit?
  • How the application is directly and primarily relevant to the development challenges of those countries?
  • How the outcomes will promote the health and welfare of people in a country or countries on the OECD DAC list?
  • Where some elements of the research are not undertaken in an ODA-eligible country during the course of the award (including where a country graduates from the DAC list during the lifetime of the award or there is a need for specialist expertise) the application must clearly state the reasons for this with due consideration to the benefit of the research to ODA-eligible countries.


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