21/37 Application Development Award – Core outcome data sets for population health research

The Public Health Research (PHR) Programme is accepting stage 2 applications to this Application Development Award – Core outcome data sets in population health research (with a focus on wider determinants).

In order to apply you will need to carefully review the:

Commissioning brief

If research trials use agreed sets of outcome measures then trials can, more easily, be brought together and analysed in order to further explore and expand the evidence. In addition the choice of outcome measures impacts on the relevance of research outcomes to policy and decision makers.

The COMET Initiative works to bring together people interested in the development and application of agreed core data sets. These sets represent the minimum that should be measured and reported in all clinical trials of a specific condition, but core outcomes sets are also suitable for use in routine care, clinical audit and research other than randomised trials. The existence or use of a core outcome set does not imply that outcomes in a particular study should be restricted to those in the relevant core outcome set.

Rather, there is an expectation that the core outcomes will be collected and reported, making it easier for the results of studies to be compared, contrasted and combined as appropriate – while researchers continue to explore other outcomes as well.

However the datasets collected by COMET are aimed at individual level, biomedical research.

The PHR Programme is interested in exploring how core outcome datasets can be developed for population health research with a particular focus on the wider determinants of health.  This should build upon well-established datasets such as the Public Health Outcomes Framework (PHOF).

This funding opportunity is for applications of up to £50,000 over a maximum of six months. The aim of this Application Development Award scheme is to provide funding for underpinning development work that will add to the current knowledge base and will ultimately support and inform applications to a future funding call aimed at developing core outcome datasets. The Programme is only interested in core outcome datasets for research on the wider determinants of health.

Possible areas of work for the Application Development Award may include (but are not limited to):

  • Methods of, and processes for, developing core outcome data sets for population health research on the wider determinants.
  • Identification of stakeholders that need to be involved so that the outcomes included are relevant to policy and decision makers (applicants are encouraged here to consider both health and non-health sector stakeholders).
  • Methods for identifying and prioritising those wider determinants whose research could most benefit from the development of core outcome datasets.
  • Assessing the scope for indicators of inequality / disadvantage to be built into such datasets.

The forthcoming funding call on the development of core outcome datasets is still in development. However, if you have specific questions about this funding call, please contact phr@nihr.ac.uk and we will answer where possible.


In proportion with the level of funding available, this is a direct to stage 2 funding opportunity. Applications received by 12 August 2021 will be assessed by a sub-committee of the PHR Programme Prioritisation and Funding Committee in October 2021.

Applications will be assessed for importance to public health, scientific quality, feasibility and value for money. Successful applicants will be expected to begin the work within two months of the funding decision being communicated. Successful applicants will be expected to produce a final report to be published on the NIHR website. Any other outputs (e.g. journal articles) must be accessible in line with NIHR’s Open Access policy.

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