Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care


Funding Round Three (FR3)

The SPCR has made £200,000 available to each of the 9 member departments to support the development of new collaborative research programmes in key strategic areas, in line with the applications for the renewed School. The aim of the funding is to help develop or strengthen new or existing collaborations, with the goal of leading to ongoing programmes of research. These collaborations can be within the SPCR or outside the SPCR. Collaborations with the wider primary care community, for example with physiotherapy, nursing or pharmacy, are particularly welcome.

All academic, research and teaching staff employed by PCPH are eligible to apply for this funding.  As the goal of this funding is to develop ongoing programmes of research and promote success in future grant applications, we will be looking for evidence of commitment to building on the immediate application and driving forward a planned programme of research.  Thus, although participation by Early Career Researchers (ECR) is welcomed, we expect applications to be led, or jointly led, by Mid-Career or Senior researchers.  Where an ECR is leading an application, we expect to see evidence of strong senior support, including a commitment to continuing the programme of work after the end of this FR3 funding.

Strategic Priorities & Collaborations

This funding round is aimed at promoting the strategic research priorities of PCPH and the SPCR, as described in the SPCR renewal bid. 

For PCPH, objectives particularly relevant to this funding round include:

1. Strengthen key collaborations and cross-cutting research themes in our key topic areas, namely ageing, digital health, mental and sexual health, e.g. with the School of Public Health Research (SPHR), School of Social Care Research (SSCR), North Thames Applied Research Collaboration (ARC), Biomedical Research Centres (BRC) and the new UCL Institute of Healthcare Engineering (IHE) leading to multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional large grant applications aligned to NHS need and NIHR policy, which will strengthen the evidence for primary care practice and build capacity across multiple professions.

2. Strengthen and develop our innovative work aligned to NIHR strategy and NHS priorities within the NHS Long term plan, including innovations in digital health, addressing the needs of older people with complex needs/multi-morbidity, parity of esteem with mental and physical health and integrated health and social care.

In addition, our strategic research objectives for the next 5 years include:

1. Developing and strengthening our methodological expertise;

2. Further embedding PPI into all our activities, and moving toward PPI input into governance and accountability at every level;

3. Expanding capacity building in academic primary care nationally in our key research themes;

4. Strengthening and developing collaborations with the RCGP and SAPC;

5. Expanding our international collaborations in Primary Care;

6. Influencing policy at source, particularly in the fields of digital health, ageing, long-term conditions, mental and reproductive health.

SPCR priorities are:

1. Globalisation, health and inequalities.

2. Changing patterns of morbidity and mortality.

3. Challenges around new technologies.

4. Workforce and skill mix in primary care.


The assessment criteria for this call will be:

a. That the proposed work forms part of a strategically important programme of work, which fits with the mission and research priorities of the SPCR and PCPH.

b. That there is evidence of existing / previous research which the proposal builds on.

c. That there is a clear trajectory to future competitive grant funding applications, with plausible reasons for considering that funding the proposed work will materially improve the chance of success in such future applications, and a commitment by the team to take this programme of work forward.

d. Development of collaborations.  This can be a strengthening of existing collaborations, or development of entirely new ones.  The collaborations may be within the SPCR or across the wider primary care community.  The important feature is that these collaborations are necessary for the strategic development of the proposed research programme, and that demonstrating successful working relationships will promote the likelihood of success in future applications for competitive funding.

e. The aims and objectives are clearly described and are appropriate for the study.

f. The methods are suitable for the aims and objectives, and are likely to answer the research questions posed.  This funding stream may be appropriate for work that can be hard to fund from traditional funding sources, including work that uses methods relatively unfamiliar to NIHR / the biomedical research community.  What is important is that the methodology is robust and appropriate for the aims and objectives of the study. Within this, please consider:

i. Target population and inclusion / exclusion criteria (appropriate? Feasible?)

ii.Recruitment methods (appropriate? Feasible?)

iii.Intervention (clearly described?)

iv.Comparator or counterfactual, if relevant.

v.Outcomes and outcome measures

vi.Data collection

vii.Data analysis

viii.Sample size (if relevant)

g. The suitability of the team to undertake the work, including appropriate mix of expertise.

h. The involvement of PPI, both in developing the application and in taking the work forward, if funded.

i. Feasibility of proposed work, with realistic timelines and project management

j. Identification of risks with appropriate risk mitigation

k. Value for money

Assessment Process

All applications, including those where UCL staff are co-investigators on an application led by another SPCR department, will be reviewed and scored against the criteria by at least two senior PCPH academics and a PPI representative. Final ranking decisions will be made at a panel meeting to be held on 19 October, with the panel made up of members of the PCPH Board, plus PPI. Funding will be provided to the top-ranked proposals until the funding has been fully allocated, or until no further applications are deemed fundable.  Where a project is co-funded by other SPRC departments, the final decision on whether the project will go ahead will be dependent on the outcomes of all contributing departments. 

Funding Collaborations

There are two different mechanisms for funding collaborators on the FR3 applications, depending on whether the proposed collaboration is with another SPCR member or external to the School.

Collaborations with other SPCR departmentsWhere a collaborator is a member of another SPCR department, that department will be expected to cover the costs incurred by that department, out of their own £200,000 allocation. As each department will have their own decision-making process, and may reach different decisions about which projects to fund, UCL applicants are advised to negotiate carefully with SPCR collaborators and ensure they understand the process that the collaborator department is following. UCL applicants should be clear with their collaborators that the final decision on which projects are funded will be made by the PCPH Panel which will meet on 19 October.  Where UCL is the lead on a project, it would be sensible to include in the application the mitigation measures if a collaborator department decides not to fund a project which UCL agrees to fund. Where a UCL applicant is a Co-I on an application led from another SPCR department, they should discuss with the lead applicant what the impact of UCL deciding not to fund that project would be on the overall application, and what the UCL applicant would do under those circumstances (withdraw from the project, continue unfunded, other).

Collaborations outside the SPCR. The cost of collaborations with people or departments who are not part of the SPCR will be covered from the UCL allocation of £200,000. 



01 August 2021

Submit to UCL internal panel

8 October 2021

Applications allocated to UCL panellists

11 October 2021

UCL panellists review and score applications

12 October – 18 October

UCL Panel meets and ranks applications

19 October

Applicants informed of outcome, including panel comments for action prior to submission to SPCR

20 October

Final submission of UCL supported applications to SPCR

31 October 2021

SPCR Board/Funding Panel meeting to confirm decisions


Outcome communicated and if successful, award letters issued

01 December 2021

Awards may start from

01 January 2022

Awards must end by

31 December 2025

Project duration

Up to 36 months

Costing Timeline



JM/BP to create costings on Worktribe and make any necessary amendments/recommendations.
Contact the Pi’s if applicable and liaise regarding any issues

01.09.21 - 24.09.21

Costings finalised and ready for submission

27.09.21 - 06.10.21

Submit application to UCL internal panel


Application Forms & Guidance

Funding Round 3

An application comprises: