Clinical research requires a significant amount of resources, and so for anything other than small-scale exploratory work you’re likely to need to apply for an external source of funding.
When to secure funding
It’s essential that funding is in place before submitting applications to review bodies for approvals. If funding is not secured and the funding body later needs changes to be made to the project then any associated documents would need to be resubmitted to the review bodies.
Accurate costing is fundamental to the success of your project, as this will ensure that the appropriate funding arrangements are put in place.
Details on cost attribution are available in the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Schedule of Events Cost Attribution Template (SoECAT) guidance.
There are a wide range of bodies, both commercial and non-commercial, that fund health research. The Health Research Authority (HRA) has collated a short list of potential funders.
The Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) also has a helpful list of members who fund medical research and innovation.
In Kent, Surrey and Sussex, funding opportunities are often offered through the Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) and the local Clinical Research Network.
Advice about applying for research grants or fellowship schemes
Applying for funding is intensely competitive and your chances of success are likely to be increased if you consider the following:
- Research is a team effort, and funders want to see evidence that your department is committed to the project.
- Funders will be more confident in your project being a success if they can see evidence of it being thought through to its conclusion. Therefore specialist input, such as biostatistics, needs to be accessed in the planning stages of the project. Having a plan for dissemination of the results is also important.
- The project needs to be outcomes-focused, e.g. how will you achieve change in clinical practice?
- Research needs to be appropriately funded. Money for patient care should not be used for research.
- If the intervention you are proposing has a cost, then health economics evaluation is needed.
- If tax-payer money is going to fund the research then the public have a right to be involved in the research. This involves not just patients (current or future), but their carers and families as well as voluntary agencies and other interested parties.