As a major public sector organisation within the NHS, the Trust is publicly accountable for all resource use. Research conducted within the Trust therefore needs to be reviewed for feasibility to ensure the study is fully costed with clear agreements as to how the expenditures are to be covered. Funding can be by a research grant or be covered under clinical care costs as agreed with the relevant department. For example, some research may involve procedures which are already included in standard clinical care.
Applying for a grant
The Research Office knows the various types of grants available. More importantly, it can facilitate the sign-off by the Trust required for these grants and help you with your application. Our Grants policy explains the process in more detail.
You will need to contact the Trust Research Office at least 4 weeks before a grant application deadline. The team will need this time to review all requirements have been met and ensure:
- you have grant authorisation from the Trust – senior manager and director approval from both Directorates of Finance and Research
- you have a Schedule of Events Cost Attribution Template (SoECAT) attached to the application
- research procedures and staff time are properly itemised
- you have not missed any hidden costs
- you have appropriately classified costs as research, treatment and support costs, as per the Department of Health’s policy – AcoRD guidance gives you more details
- these costs are properly documented in your paperwork.
It is imperative you contact the Trust Research Office at the outset of grant preparation. The Trust will not sign off on grant applications until all costs have been identified and accepted. If a last minute application is submitted – having not been vetted – then applications will state they have not been assessed and authorised by the Trust. Grant applicants who are given funding are not guaranteed to receive authorisation by the Trust.
How much will my project cost?
Research protocols usually detail the science of the study and may not cover all the detail required for organisational feasibility and costing, especially the hidden costs often associated with research. The Research Office will go over your project with you to ensure you calculate all costs, including the following:
- Staff time (including employers’ costs of NI and pension increments) for you as Chief Investigator and for all others involved, including support departments.
- Statistical analysis or other specialised research support, often chargeable beyond initial consultation.
- Other Trust support services such as pharmacy, radiology, medical physics and the pathology lab. All departments within the Trust have internal charging structures, so you must ensure each research activity cost is covered.
- Consumables and equipment, such as computers for staff engaged in research, printing costs of questionnaires, telephone and postage costs, containers for samples, and courier costs if transferring data off site.
- Accommodation and space needed – where will the research be conducted? Will some activity take place within clinics? Is there sufficient space in the clinic to include the additional research activity? Is there sufficient time in the clinic to include the additional research activity?
- Trust overheads – non-charity and non-NIHR grants will need to have overheads applied.
- Archiving – research documentation must be archived separately from routine clinical data.
It is also important to ensure that all costs are categorised correctly before submitting your grant and meet the strict criteria from the Department of Health. The Research Office can assist with this but will need to work with you from the outset. If costs are categorised incorrectly, you may end up with less money than you asked for and render your project unfeasible.
- Many charities issue grant calls in specific areas.
- Commercial companies will sometimes supply grants for product development.
- NIHR offers different funding streams covering different types of research.
- King’s Health Partners Research and Development Challenge Fund awards small grants for basic science projects.
- The KCL Research Professional database lists grants which are available for both KCL and Trust employees at the Weston Education Centre Library at the Trust’s Denmark Hill site.
- The Research Design Service London assists researchers in applying for grants likely to be eligible for NIHR portfolio adoption.
- If your project is on the NIHR Portfolio then you may be eligible for support costs to help with recruitment.
You can also discuss with your Research Facilitator which funding source would be suitable to apply for.
All grants need to be authorised by the Trust. When you start writing your protocol, please contact the Research Office.