Applying for research grants

It seems fitting that I start this section of the blog with how we actually came to receive the Clinical Pharmacy Research Grant in the first place! Many pharmacists doing research will have experience of conducting quality improvement research such as audits and service evaluations, all of which come part and parcel (I think) of being a good pharmacist and ensuring that you’re delivering high quality use of medicines, regardless of your setting.

However, research as defined by the NHS goes one step further. It aims to create new knowledge where there is none or little, and often this is also beyond the remit of our usual day jobs. Research grants therefore, are fundamental in ensuring that researchers are able to answer these questions and provide them with the time and resources that they need.

Locating research grants to apply for can be quite daunting, but the more general research grants for health are becoming more accessible to pharmacists, such as the opening up of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) clinical research fellowships for pharmacists in 2013. I’ve provided some links as a useful starting point at the end of this entry if anyone is interested in exploring funding sources for research themselves.

However, I’m going to focus on our funders for the rest of these entries and the process that the team and I went through to apply for the Clinical Pharmacy Research Grant from Pharmacy Research UK and the UK Clinical Pharmacy Association (UKCPA). However, I will highlight that Pharmacy Research UK in a non-commercial partner of the NIHR, and therefore the process we went through will be very similar for other funding bodies.

I’ve written five entries (in order of importance) to help others who are starting on this journey:

  1. Your research question
  2. Get help!
  3. Patient and public involvement
  4. The application form
  5. After application

On writing these posts (which I broke down into 5 individual entries when I realised how long they were!), I acknowledge that this might be quite daunting. Good research takes time, and when I started out this journey, I didn’t realise how long it was going to be. However, I’m hoping that by explaining what to expect about the process when looking to apply for funding getting you getting frustrated. Most activity happens in flurries with breaks in the middle, so the process isn’t continuously intense. The purpose of this entire blog post is also designed to help, almost a compilation of things I wish I had known before I started, in the hope that others don’t have to do the same levels of data gathering I did.


Links to funding sources

NIHR funding opportunities (general)

NIHR clinical research fellowship applications article in the Pharmaceutical Journal

Pharmacy Research UK

Royal Pharmaceutical Society Research and Evaluation pages 

Royal Pharmaceutical Society Research Funding handbook (members only)

The National Pharmacy Association’s Health Education Foundation

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