Health Systems Research Initiative: Providing Evidence to Strengthen Health Systems in LMICs

Deadline: 30 January 2018

The Department for International Development (DFID), the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Wellcome Trust (WT) jointly fund the Health Systems Research Initiative.

Aims

The funders aim for a significant majority of research projects within the portfolio to focus on low-income countries.

  • Generate evidence on how to strengthen and improve health systems for people living in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Use a health systems approach to inform the delivery of evidence-based interventions or structural changes. Proposals must demonstrate how interventions relate to and affect wider elements of a health system such as governance, financing, health workforce, information systems, service delivery etc.
  • Provide evidence that is of direct relevance to decision makers and practitioners in the field.

Type of Grants

  • Research Grants: (Applications for research grants will be subject to a 2-stage review process. Only those successful at the outline stage will be invited to submit a full application and final funding decisions will be made in October 2018). The duration of a research grant is usually up to 3 years, with a maximum duration of 5 years. Small and larger-scale projects are invited. As a guide, applicants should note there is approx. £4m available for Research Grants under this call. Funders would like to fund 5-10 projects.
  • Foundation Grants: (Applications for foundation grants will be reviewed at the October 2018 panel meeting following which funding decisions will be announced). The duration of foundation grants is between 12-18 months, with a maximum budget of £200k each. The purpose of a foundation grant is either:
    • to conduct preliminary studies needed before a full research grant proposal can be designed, this can include work to evaluate existing interventions or pilot and feasibility work to inform plans for future research.
    • to explore possible health system innovations, under researched areas or creative approaches that have the potential to be developed further, however such proposals should also have practical applications and should not be purely conceptual.

Research impact

  • Applicants must identify the potential impacts of their research on policy and practice and outline clear relevance to decision makers and practitioners.
  • Projects should identify and address the key barriers to implementation and uptake of evidence-based interventions at local and national levels, paving the way for their successful adoption into routine practice with improved access and use by the populations in need.
  • A central component of this research programme is to build evidence within health systems.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Priority will be given to research that benefits the most vulnerable populations and/or those in poorly resourced settings. Whilst the funders recognise that many of the world’s poor live in middle-income countries, it is a specific objective of this programme to increase the body of research that is specifically relevant to low-income countries, whether through research in those countries or the ability to demonstrate the relevance of experience from middle income countries to low income countries. Applicants must illustrate how the proposed study will strengthen local LMIC health systems.
  • If the Principal Investigator (PI) is based in the UK, there must be a clear partnership with, and scientific leadership from, co-investigators (Co-Is) based in the countries where the project will take place. The proposal should demonstrate how capacity building for junior UK and developing county staff will lead to developing future scientific leadership. Good examples of capacity-building include;
    • Co-design of research and implementation
    • Field-based research methods training for developing country partner staff
    • Opportunities for staff to author/co-author journal and conference papers and participate in national and international conferences.
  • UK investigators should demonstrate an understanding of the national and local health systems context, and work harmoniously and effectively with local stakeholders to ensure the research programme does not undermine local research capacity. These factors will be taken into account by the commissioning panel.

How to Apply

Applicants can apply electronically via given website.

Eligible Countries: Afghanistan, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Armenia, Albania, Angola, Kenya, Bolivia, Algeria, Bangladesh, Tajikistan, Cabo Verde, Antigua and Barbuda, Benin, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Argentina, Bhutan, Congo, Azerbaijan, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Belarus, Burundi, Egypt, Belize, Cambodia, El Salvador, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Central African Republic, Georgia, Botswana, Chad, Ghana, Brazil, Comoros, Guatemala, Chile, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guyana, China (People’s Republic of), Djibouti, Honduras, Colombia, Equatorial Guinea, India, Cook Islands, Eritrea, Indonesia, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Kosovo, Cuba, Gambia, Kyrgyzstan, Dominica, Guinea, Micronesia, Dominican Republic, Guinea-Bissau, Moldova, Ecuador, Haiti, Mongolia, Fiji, Kiribati, Morocco, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Nicaragua, Gabon, Lesotho, Nigeria, Grenada, Liberia, Pakistan, Iran, Madagascar, Papua New Guinea, Iraq, Malawi, Paraguay, Jamaica, Mali, Philippines, Jordan, Mauritania, Samoa, Kazakhstan, Mozambique, Sri Lanka, Lebanon, Myanmar, Swaziland, Libya, Nepal, Syrian Arab Republic, Malaysia, Niger, Tokelau, Maldives, Rwanda, Ukraine, Marshall Islands, Sao Tome and Principe, Uzbekistan, Mauritius, Senegal, Viet Nam, Mexico, Sierra Leone, West Bank and Gaza Strip, Montenegro, Solomon Islands, Montserrat, Somalia, Namibia, South Sudan, Nauru, Sudan, Niue, Tanzania, Palau, Timor-Leste, Panama, Togo, Peru, Tuvalu, Saint Helena, Uganda, Saint Lucia, Vanuatu, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Yemen, Serbia, Zambia, Seychelles, South Africa, Suriname, Thailand, Tonga, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uruguay, Venezuela, Wallis and Futuna, United Kingdom

For more information, please visit MRC Call for Applications.

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