The NIHR Schools for Primary Care Research (SPCR), Public Health Research (SPHR) and Social Care Research (SSCR) (“three Schools”) have joined together in a unique collaboration between leading academic centres in England to collaborate on an ambitious programme of collaborative research to improve mental health and wellbeing in underserved populations. Building on the success of the NIHR SPHR Public Health Practice Evaluation Scheme (PHPES) and as part of this exciting programme of work we have developed a new programme to address the challenges faced by front line health and care professionals, wherever they work: in local authority teams or other departments; in the third sector; in the private sector, or in the NHS and other social care settings.
The Mental Health Practice Evaluation Scheme aims to support the three Schools work in partnership with professionals across a range of sectors, in order to evaluate innovative local projects, policies, strategies or initiatives (hereafter called ‘interventions’) that improve mental health and wellbeing in underserved populations.
Full details of the scheme can be found in the guidance document.
Please note: The deadline for Expressions of Interest (EOI), which are mandatory, is 5pm Friday 8th October. The deadline for full applications is 5pm Friday 5th November. Please return your completed form (which will be sent following the EOI) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What the scheme offers
The scheme offers health and care practitioners working in any sector in England, an opportunity to:
- Collaborate with leading health and care researchers to evaluate mental health interventions. This can take the form of evaluation of local initiatives and/or multi-site comparative evaluations.
- Generate and share mental health research that could support more effective policy or practice nationally.
- Provide evidence on the feasibility, affordability, effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of mental health interventions.
- Explore the possibility that an innovative mental health intervention may be replicated in other areas.
- Receive funding to cover the cost of the evaluation (between £50k and £250k); most awards will be towards the upper end of this range (£150k – £250k).
The funding scheme is open to studies of populations with high mental health burden/need which have been historically underserved by research activity or where there is an unmet need as defined by the NIHR heatmaps (see guidance document), although not all evaluations need to be hosted in this way and collaborators outside of these areas are welcome.
Special consideration should be given to the inclusion of people from socioeconomically disadvantaged groups and other underserved communities that are more affected by mental health problems.
Ideally, we would like collaboration across more than one School, but we will consider excellent proposals that only include one school. We can also assist with arranging links across the Schools.
Types of evaluation
A range of research may be funded and can include:
- Evaluation of the effectiveness* of existing intervention or treatment where evidence of effectiveness is lacking.
- Evaluation of the effectiveness* of implementation or roll-out of a new intervention
- Small scale piloting or feasibility testing of a novel intervention.
- Analysis of existing data, evidence scoping or simulation modelling to inform intervention development.
This list is not exhaustive and we encourage applications proposing innovative and novel ideas.
* Effectiveness in this context encompasses efficacy, effectiveness, and implementation effectiveness. Evaluations should focus on a health-related outcome, and be accompanied by process evaluation where feasible. Health economic evaluation of all interventions is encouraged. We encourage evaluations of interventions across multiple sites where feasible and appropriate to improve generalisability. We also encourage use of rigorous research designs employing random allocation where feasible and appropriate controls, or observational designs that can evaluate interventions as natural experiments.
The three NIHR Schools value collaboration and partnership working. Therefore, professionals should play an active role in the research process. School members will design and conduct the evaluation and most of the research costs will be funded. However, the successful partner organisation(s) will be expected to make a contribution to the research. This may include financial resources and/or staff time, for example, seconding a member of staff to be actively involved in the research process, joint data analysis and interpretation, and ensuring the best use of local knowledge and data. The scheme does not provide funds for external organisations or groups to conduct evaluations independently.
The application process
Registering your interest
The first step is to register your interest in applying to the scheme by completing a short EOI to check eligibility: Expression of Interest (EOI) Form, this can be complete by either the researcher or practice partner.
|28th September 2021||Call launch|
|8th October 2021||Completion of EOI form|
|5th November 2021||Deadline for applications|
|30th November 2021||National-level peer (practice and academic) review of applications. Expert panel to rank and prioritise for funding. Feedback to unsuccessful applicants|
|1st January 2022||Successful Mental Health Practice Evaluation Scheme projects begin|
For full details and guidance, please read the guidance document.