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Targeting Health Needs Funding Call 2023/24 Guidance - Closing Date Friday, 4th November



We are pleased to announce that a further Targeting Health Needs (THNs) funding call is open to applications with funding to be awarded in 2023/24. The total spend for this call has been capped at £215,000. Due to contractual arrangements, funding will be for one year only and each bid cannot exceed £30,000.

The focus of the THNs funding call 2023/24 will be expanding the reach of NIHR Portfolio studies to under-served communities within the North East and North Cumbria (NENC) - Bringing clinical and applied research to under-served communities with major health needs.

This call will be open to the following regional priority areas:

  • Mental health - including applications that may be hosted outside of mental health teams e.g. mental health in a specialty or following a particular physical health event
  • Dementia care - including applications with a community/social care aspect
  • Improving population health - prevention, early detection and effective management of the biggest causes of premature mortality: cancer, cardiovascular, diabetes, respiratory disease and obesity
  • Deprived (Deep End) and hard to reach communities with major health needs

These areas have been identified following consultation with the Applied Research Collaboration (ARC), Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) and considering the priorities of the Integrated Care System North East and North Cumbria.


  • Should define the under-served community they plan to engage
  • Are encouraged to use learning from the scoping report to engage with under-served communities and/or specialty areas.

Should previous applicants wish to apply it is recommended that they contact prior to submitting an application.

Key objectives of the awards

  • To facilitate delivery of research
  • To increase recruitment to NIHR Portfolio studies;
    • Within a geography that has previously been under-served by research activity
    • In more than one regional partner organisation
    • Within at least one specialty area including primary care, public health and social care

CRN NENC will give preference to bids which:

  • Look to extend recruitment/add new recruitment sites to an existing NIHR Portfolio study which supports the aim of conducting research in areas which which have been historically under-served by research activity or where there is an unmet need
  • Target more than one priority area e.g cross specialty/setting working
  • Engage meaningfully with the under-served communities within the NENC region
  • Can show collaboration with other organisations, specialties, NIHR platforms, charities and the voluntary sector to develop their bids
  • Use digital technologies, remote care or digital recruitment strategies to enhance their recruitment potential.
  • Have been co-funded, or are in the process of being co-funded. Research Delivery Awards or other CRN NENC funding sources are not considered as co-funding.

Funding principles

This funding is part of the CRN NENC core funding allocation. As such, the principles which apply to other elements of infrastructure funding also apply here. The following should be considered before making an application:

  • Each bid must not exceed £30,000 spend
  • All costings must be within the Agenda for Change (the main NHS pay system)/Higher Education Institution salary range
  • Successful applicants are expected to report on the progress of their project (quarterly) to achieve one or more of the key objectives
  • Funding;
    • Must be used in line with agreed budget plan
    • Must be used within 2023/24 and cannot be carried over
    • Must be used for NIHR study delivery only
    • Should not in any way be used to contribute to commercial research

THNs awards cannot be used to fund:

  • Employer on costs
  • Estates/indirects
  • Computer hardware, software, licencing
  • Workshop and/or training events
  • Venue hire
  • Refreshments
  • Vouchers (participants)
  • Transcription costs
  • Advertising/promotional materials
  • R&D fees
  • Travel expenses
  • Mobiles

Applicants are asked to provide contact details for Finance and/or Contracting links for the organisation to which funds will be transferred should the application be successful.


Potential applicants are encouraged to discuss their applications with the relevant Specialty Lead, Research Delivery Manager, Research Operations Manager in advance of making a submission. Contact details can be found at the bottom of this page.

Awards process and timeline


Please apply using the online application form. Applications will close on 4th November 2022.

Applications will:

  • Show likely positive impact on;
    • Recruitment in area of priority health need and/or
    • Work in a new setting or accessing an under-served research population
    • Evidence of engagement and collaboration with relevant:
      • Partner organisations, specialty group,
      • Primary care/Public Health/Social Care/non-NHS organisations (if appropriate)
    • How applicants intend to mitigate risk of underspend
  • Require sign off by R&D Director/Manager, organisational lead or proposed budget holder.

Bids will be considered by a funding review panel which will include CRN NENC; Clinical Director, Chief Operating Officer, Targeting Strategic Theme Leads, Executive Lay Member and Specialty Group Lead.

Please note: due to the likely number of applications it will not be possible to provide specific feedback to applicants.

Checklist for applicants

Before an application is submitted, please ensure consideration has been paid to the following aspects;

  • Does the proposal clearly meet one of the areas outlined in the guidance?
  • What is the planned impact, how will this be measured?
  • Are you confident the funding can be spent in-line with your proposal?
  • Are you clear who will host this funding, and has the organisation agreed?
  • Does this approach have support from the relevant R&D/I department?
  • Is this fully and correctly costed with a financial breakdown, staff grades etc?


12/10/2022: Targeting Health Needs funding call opens
4/11/2022: Call closes to applications
By 11/11/2022: Funding review panel convened to consider applications
16/11/2022: CRN NENC Executive decision making board
By 22/12/2022: Applicants, R&D Directors/Managers, Specialty Group Leads, Research Delivery Managers/Research Operation Managers advised of outcome
1/04/2023: Awards commence
31/03/2024: Awards complete spend

Speciality Leads and associated Research Delivery/Operations Managers

Research Delivery Manager: Gillian Johnson 


Research Delivery Manager: Hilary Allan  


Research Delivery Manager: Justine Smith -  


Research Delivery Manager: Nicky Cunningham -   


Research Delivery Manager: Penny Williams -   


Research Delivery Manager: Sharon Dorgan -  

  • Research Operations Manager: Kim Shirley 
    • Public Health and Prevention: Awaiting confirmation of start date, please contact Sharon Dorgan


Research Delivery Manager: Clare Aitken  

Research Delivery Manager: Steve Pratt -  

Research Delivery Manager: Susan Ridge -