NIHR Evidence Synthesis Groups

Closing Date: 14/03/2022

Grant scheme for groups with the necessary information science and health economics capabilities and capacity to undertake evidence syntheses for the NIHR Evidence Synthesis Programme.

Established in 2006 and primarily funded by the Department of Health and Social Care, the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) funds health and care research in the UK.

NIHR’s Evidence Synthesis Groups grant scheme wishes to identify suitable applicant groups to undertake evidence syntheses for the NIHR Evidence Synthesis Programme (ESP). This portfolio of evidence syntheses will add to and complement reviews currently produced across the NIHR in all four nations of the UK.

The ESP requires a range of evidence syntheses products. This will require a balance between research that will be of immediate use to the Departments of Health and Social Care, and key stakeholders/audiences across the UK, alongside evidence that will contribute to building and enhancing world knowledge. All topics will take account of the Best Research for Best Health: The Next Chapter publication (which sets out how NIHR aims to address health and social care challenges across the UK and further afield) and other evolving NIHR priorities.

The aim of the reviews undertaken by the Groups is to address knowledge gaps or to answer a specific need for the programme’s healthcare, public health and social care stakeholders/audiences. These will be areas of importance to policy makers and will have a direct impact on decision-making, patient and client care, reducing inequalities, and identifying future research needs.

The products will likely vary from a short, urgent ‘rapid review’, through to a priority living systematic review which will be updated during the life of the contract, depending on the needs of the customer. The reviews will be commissioned on a call-off research contract arrangement and will include research areas identified and prioritised by the NIHR using established robust processes.

In all cases, the output will be an evidence synthesis that is, in most cases, a comprehensive review of published literature with explicit search strategy, appropriate range of sources, and critical assessment of quality of evidence and strength of findings. This will not be restricted to systematic reviews based solely on clinical trials, and the programme is not specifying a methodology for synthesis; this will depend on the subject and nature of available evidence. Methodological improvements, such as a study within a review, are encouraged alongside the research topic being synthesised.

The ability to respond rapidly, as well as with a long-term strategy for research priorities is essential. Subject experts may need to be co-opted by the group for particular topics. Networking and mentoring between the commissioned research groups are encouraged in order to share best practice and build a future sustainable community of researchers undertaking evidence syntheses.

Successful applicants will be expected to deliver approximately three to five evidence syntheses a year depending on the size and complexity of the reviews. Therefore, an adequate core team needs to be demonstrably in place at the start of the contract.

Funding body National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)
Maximum value £2,500,000
Reference ID S23372
Category Economic and Social Research
Science and Technology
Medical Research
Fund or call Fund