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The NIHR-MRC Trials Methodology Research Partnership has made available funds for small pump-priming grants of between £2000 and £10000 specifically for methodology research projects relevant to Low and Middle Income Countries.

The way clinical trials are designed, conducted, analysed, reported and interpreted should continually be questioned so that they are optimal and responsive for a broad range of stakeholders. As such, the past decade has seen the new field of clinical trials methodology research – research about the way we design, conduct, analyse, report and interpret trials. A new MRC/NIHR Trials Methodology Research Partnership (TMRP) was initiated in June 2019 to increase capacity for trials methodology research, with the following Working Groups: Stratified Medicine, Health Informatics, Adaptive Designs, Outcomes, Trial Conduct, Health Economics, Statistical Analysis, and Global Health.

The Global Health Working Group aims to ensure that the voice of those working in clinical trials in low and middle-income countries (LMICs) is heard, as it cannot be assumed that the same methods will be important, relevant or acceptable in every context; clinical trials methodology researchers in low resourced settings may both benefit from, and contribute to, ongoing developments in clinical trial methodology research globally.

To build a global health trials methodology research community, the Global Health Working Group will aim to raise awareness of the field and scope of clinical trial methodology research to those in LMICs, signpost them to the other working groups of the TMRP and provide freely accessible information on a dedicated website, Global Health  Methodology Research, hosted by The Global Health Network.

We are delighted to announce that the TMRP has made available funds for small pump-priming grants of between £2000 and £10000 specifically for methods research relevant to LMICs. These may be used for three types of activities:

  • To cover the costs of conducting a new small trials methodology research project (typically proof-of-principle studies to facilitate further funding through other funders)
  • To host a local, national or regional workshop/meeting about trials methodology research with a view to subsequently developing a project
  • To fund an exchange visit(s) to or from another TMRP member/partner working on the same project or with a view to developing a collaborative project

The grant application should be for either a research project, travel or a workshop, not a mixture.

Priority areas of trials methodology research have been identified from a LMIC survey by Rosala-Hallas et al 2018 in collaboration with the Global Health Network, including: appropriate choice of outcomes (developing appropriate objectives, standardising outcome sets, identifying patient-important endpoints) and methods for staff training (e.g. cost-effective and purposeful methods, blended learning incorporating new technologies). However, the pump-priming grants do not need to be limited to these topics.


To qualify for these grants the lead applicant should:

1) Be a member of The Global Health Network (if you’re not already, just sign up now – it’s free.)

2) Be employed either by a non-commercial organization in a low or middle-income country (details of LMICs are available here or by a non-commercial UK institution.)

3) For exchange visits, be eligible for a visa for the host country. The awardee will be responsible for obtaining a business visa for travel to the host. The TMRP can send a letter of invitation but will take no further part in obtaining the visa. If the awardee is refused a visa, the award will be forfeited.

We are particularly interested in supporting networking within the TMRP. So, your application may be enhanced by inclusion of other individuals from other TMRP working groups. Please contact the group directly or us should you need an introduction.

PLEASE NOTE: these grants are intended for activities relating to questioning / understanding / optimising trial methods (i.e. RESEARCH ABOUT TRIAL METHODS). Applications relating to trials/studies that do not include exploration of the trials methods themselves are not eligible.

What is included

Funds for the scheme are limited and will be awarded competitively. Each budget will be assessed individually by the panel of judges. The following costs are included:

  1. 1.     For research projects:

Directly Incurred Costs: costs that are explicitly identifiable as arising from the conduct of a project, are charged as the cash value actually spent. This may include: printing, communication, patient/participant compensation (e.g. travel, catering for interviews), transcription/translation services, directly incurred staff costs dedicated to the project (e.g. research staff, temporary administration staff, or bought in services), computer software licenses, cloud storage, small equipment (e.g. voice recorders). All Items requested should be itemized, including how the value was estimated.

Indirect Costs:LMIC applicants should calculate indirect costs as follows: Up to 20% of the total cost of the LMIC Directly Incurred costs can be requested as an additional contribution to indirect costs/overheads. If successful, LMIC awards will be paid at the start of the project.

Eligible LMICs are listed on the following list here

For UK costings 100% of directly incurred costs can be requested with the exception of travel and subsistence costs to an overseas institution which can only be requested at 80% of total value. Estates and indirect costs will not be awarded. UK costs will be invoiced at the end of the project.

  1. 2.    For workshops:

Venue hire, catering, printing (e.g. of programmes, flyers, other promotional materials), audio-visual equipment, subsistence and associated expenses of speakers, and other reasonable administrative costs connected with running a workshop and publishing proceedings.

No indirect or estate costs / overheads can be requested for Workshop award applications. 

Travel and subsistence costs for UK researchers to visit an overseas institution can only be requested at 80% of total travel cost.

  1. 3.     For exchange visits:

Travel (standard-class rail and economy air fares, visa, transport to/from home and/or workshop airport), conference or training course fee (if the relevance to the proposed research can be demonstrated), accommodation (bed and breakfast), subsistence other (lunch, dinner).

No indirect or estate costs / overheads can be requested Travel award applications. 

Travel and subsistence costs for UK researchers to visit an overseas institution can only be requested at 80% of total travel cost.

What is not included

  • Directly Allocated Costs: i.e. costs of resources used by a project that are shared by other activities, e.g. investigator or core staff salaries
  • Capital equipment (e.g. computers, laboratory equipment)
  • Per diems
  • For workshops: bags

Application process

You would need to provide the following information in English:

  • Proposed methodology research study, workshop or travel plans
  • Budget
  • The lead applicant’s CV

 A listing of the application form questions can be found here. All application should be submitted online following the link below.

Deadline by midnight (GMT) 1st March 2020.

Click here to apply

Terms and conditions

  • Applicants may submit multiple entries, but only one will be funded per round/grant call.
  • The maximum award is £10,000.
  • Applications will be assessed by a panel comprising the Global Health Working Group co-leads, the TMRP Executive Committee and/or invited reviewers from other Working Groups of the TMRP. Reviewers’ decisions are final.
  • Applicants will be informed of the outcome of their application no later than the 30th April 2020.
  • The Partnership will issue a Research Collaboration Agreement contract (drafted and executed by University of Liverpool) which must be signed by a formal representative of the Host Institute (usually the research manager at the University or similar of the Lead Applicant).
  • 20% of the award will be retained until a post-project/event/visit written report or publication (final or draft) is submitted by the awardee (within a limit of 6 months of the end of the award period) summarising the outputs and/or relevance to trials methodology research. This report (or link to subsequent publication) will be published on the websites of the TMRP and The Global Health Network.
  • We advise a maximum award lengh of 12 months.
  • A ‘Statement of Expenditure’ or list of transactions will also be required.
  • Any published or presented material from these grants will need to acknowledge the Partnership funding support – including statements such as “This work was supported by the MRC-NIHR Trials Methodology Research Partnership (MR/S014357/1 Global Health AWARD)”.

Enquiries about the application process may be directed to Dr Gill Cooper at