There are three main types of research funding:
There is a wide range of sources of funding and where to look for funding will mainly depend on:
- the size of the research project
- the type of research
- the research topic - organisations may fund researcher-led projects where the researcher suggests the topic; and/or commissioned research where the funder specifies the topic.
Research Funding Databases
The quickest and easiest way to find potential funders is to search databases. Most databases require a subscription. Most universities will subscribe to a grant finding database, for example:
A useful resource for finding charities that fund health research is on the Association of Medical Research Charities website.
The main sources are the Departments of Health for NHS research and the research councils.
Departments of Health
Funding policy and funding programmes may be national, or specific to one or more of the UK countries.
National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)
NIHR commissions and funds NHS, social care and public health research.
The role of NIHR is to develop the research evidence to support decision making by professionals, policymakers and patients, make this evidence available, and encourage its uptake and use.
See the NIHR website for:
Health & Social Care (HSC) Public Health Agency (PHA) Research & Development Directorate (Northern Ireland)
HSC R&D supports research that provides high quality evidence to improve care for patients, clients and the general population, and adds to our understanding of health, disease, treatment and care.
Research funding is one of the five strategic goals of the HSC R&D strategy: Research for Health & Wellbeing.
See their website for information about funding opportunities: www.research.hscni.net.
Chief Scientist Office (CSO) Scotland
CSO is part of the Scottish Government Health and Social Care Directorates. It supports and promotes high quality research aimed at improving the quality and cost-effectiveness of services offered by NHS Scotland and securing lasting improvements to the health of the people of Scotland.
The CSO's research strategy for 2010-2014 Investing in Research: Improving Health has four aims:
- securing benefit
- improving population health
- valuing and investing in NHS research
- building and sustaining skills.
See further information on:
National Institute for Social Care and Health Research (NISCHR) Wales
NISCHR is the Welsh Government body that develops, in consultation with partners, strategy and policy for research in the NHS and social care in Wales.
The goal of NISCHR is to fund today's research that will inform tomorrow's care and improve the health and wealth of the people of Wales.
The NISCHR research strategy for 2012 - 2015 Together for Research and Innovation sets out NISCHR's aims and activities under the broad headings:
- stimulating and rewarding excellence and innovation
- improving the research environment
- investing strategically in the future
See further information about Welsh government funding schemes.
The UK has seven research councils including the Medical Research Council (MRC), Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). Each year the research councils invest £3 billion in research. See more on:
- The UK Medical Research Council is a national organisation funded by the UK taxpayer. It promotes research into all areas of medical and related science with the aims of improving the health and quality of life of the UK public and contributing to the wealth of the nation.
- The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is the UK's largest organisation for funding research on economic and social issues. It supports independent, high quality research which has an impact on business, the public sector and the third sector.
- The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is the UK’s main agency for funding research in engineering and physical sciences. It invests around £800 million a year in research and postgraduate training, to help the nation handle the next generation of technological change.
CSP Charitable Trust (CT)
The CSP Charitable Trust supports physiotherapy education and research.
Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC)
AMRC is a membership organisation of the leading UK charities that fund medical and health research.
The AMRC website has a directory of member charities. Each member profile provides general details about the charity and a link to their research pages.
The Trust, hospital or organisation you work in may offer research funding. This funding is less likely to be advertised widely or in research funding databases.
Find out if the organisation you work for has a research & development office and how they disseminate information about funding. Search the website of the organisation for any research.
NIHR Research design service (RDS)
The NIHR RDS supports researchers to develop and design high quality research proposals for submission to NIHR and other national, peer-reviewed funding competitions for applied health or social care research.
There are 10 RDSs in England and each one has a website with a range of resources for researchers, including information about both national and local funding opportunities: see more information.
Council for Allied Health Professions Research (CAHPR)
Your local CAHPR hub is a useful resource for finding out about local funding opportunities: find out more about the regional hubs.
CSP professional networks
Many of the professional networks have small amounts of funding to support research projects in their specialist area of interest.
All research funders will require information about how research findings will be disseminated and the likely impact, and costs for dissemination should be included in proposals for research funding.
However, sometimes it is helpful to apply for additional funding from other sources to achieve greater dissemination and impact.
CSP Charitable Trust (CT)
The Conference and Presentation Award supports members to contribute to national or international physiotherapy or interdisciplinary conferences or meetings.
The Research Priorities Masters Dissemination Award supports members undertaking post-registration Masters research projects to disseminate their findings.
CSP professional networks
Many of the CSP professional networks have funding to support research dissemination.