Clinical Study Grants

For clinical trials and observational studies of specific patient groups costing more than £300,000 or lasting more than 3 years.

Award specifications

The clinical study grant supports funding for over £300,000 for:

  • Interventional clinical trials: trials of specific interventions or pathways of care for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease. Interventions include drugs, surgery, devices, psychological, physical and educational interventions.
  • Observational studies of specific patient groups that are hypothesis led and address a defined clinical question(s) over a fixed timescale (up to 5 years). The population of interest should be a patient population, who will usually be recruited within the NHS. The study should have a predefined outcome(s) that will lead to changes in clinical management directly or will inform the development of a clinical trial to test an intervention.
  • Clinical studies can include a mechanistic evaluation, either as a substudy within a clinical trial or as part of an observational study.

The scheme does not support funding for population based cohort studies or patient based cohort studies focusing on open ended epidemiological questions, or whose main focus is genetics/genomics or other omics analyses (please apply for either a Special Project Grant or a Programme Grant). For programmes of experimental medicine or programmes of clinical research, please apply for a Programme Grant.

Clinical Study Grants cannot be renewed.

If you are unsure which scheme is appropriate for your clinical study application, please contact us.

Entry requirements

  • The principal investigator will be a senior researcher working in an established research institution in the UK. S/he must have a strong track record of grant support, usually from us, and an internationally recognised research profile.
  • Any multicentre interventional clinical trial, while remaining under the scientific control of the principal investigator, should usually be managed by a UKCRC-registered Clinical Trials Unit (CTU) and should usually include a member of the CTU as a co-applicant or principal investigator unless there are clearly justified reasons for not doing so.
  • For multicentre observational studies, applicants should consider a mentorship arrangement with a CTU. We will judge the need for this arrangement on a case by case basis.

Grant duration

  • Usually up to 5 years, with regular progress reports, initially annual reports. We may consider a staged award based on proof of adequate recruitment and progress.

Award may include

  • Staff salaries. For example: research fellow, clinical trial co-ordinator, research nurse, where fully justified.
  • Research consumables directly attributable to the project.
  • Research equipment essential for the project.

International collaborations

Studies funded by the BHF must have a UK-based principal investigator. The BHF will consider applications for international studies where the chief investigator and lead institution are based in the UK and the study is relevant to the UK population. Funding for that part of the study carried out abroad should be sought from the overseas investigators, although exceptionally the BHF will consider funding the overseas arm(s) of a UK led study.

The BHF will also consider proposals to support the UK recruitment arm of an internationally led study where the study is relevant to the UK population; again, a UK-based principal investigator is required.

Each project will be considered on a case by case basis and applicants interested in submitting a proposal for an international study should contact us for advice.

Co-funding arrangements

BHF is prepared to consider joint funding arrangements, including the possibility of jointly funding studies with international agencies.  Joint funding requests will be considered on a case by case basis. You should contact us to discuss your proposal before applying for funding. 

How to apply

Applications are assessed in a two stage process: an outline application followed by a full application if the outline is successful. Outline applications are considered throughout the year, and you will usually receive a decision on submitting a full application within 6 weeks of the outline submission.

Full applications will be assessed by the Clinical Studies Committee, which meets twice a year.

Preliminary outline proposals

The first step involves review of a preliminary outline of the study. Please complete an online preliminary application form following the instructions in the GMS User Guide.

Additional information

You will be asked to attach a single PDF document to your online application form containing the following information:

  1. Project title.
  2. Name, Department and Institute for each co-applicant (maximum of 10 co-applicants allowed).
  3. Background to the study including an explanation of its importance and novelty.
  4. Hypothesis to be tested.
  5. Study design, inclusion and exclusion criteria, sample size, power calculations and outcome measures.
  6. Evidence of feasibility of target recruitment.
  7. If international sites are involved, details of the proposed UK and international recruitment targets. 
  8. A timeline for the study. 
  9. List of key relevant references.
  10. Categorised summary of total expected costs and anticipated contribution from NIHR CLRN, or any other funder (e.g. UK or non-UK co-funder). See Costing a Clinical Study for further information.
  11. Name and type of contribution from any commercial collaborator (e.g. drug company) if relevant. See BHF Commercial Company Guidelines for further information.
  12. A list of relevant grants held and publications for the principal investigator.

Sections 1-7 together must not exceed 4 A4 sides, and sections 8 to 10 must not exceed 1 side each. Section 12 is limited to 2 sides.

Please use Arial font size 12 or the application will be rejected prior to formal consideration.

Full applications

Once a preliminary application is approved you should submit a full application:

Additional information

You will be asked to attach a single PDF document to your online application form containing the following information:

  1. For resubmissions, include an unedited copy of the original feedback and your original rebuttal, followed by a detailed response, limited to 3 sides of A4, explaining how the revised application has changed from the original submission.
  2. Abstract of the proposed investigation in 200 words or less.
  3. Background to the project. Include an explanation of what health problems are being addressed and the clinical impact of these health problems. Include details of systematic reviews and ongoing trials that are relevant to the proposed study.
  4. Scientific principles/rationale underlying the proposed research. Explain if the application addresses a novel approach.
  5. Hypothesis to be tested.
  6. Questions to be addressed.
  7. Pilot data. Provide details of the results of all pilot and feasibility studies that support the full study.
  8. Study details including all information listed in the Clinical Study Guidelines (Interventional Study) or in the Clinical Study Guidelines (Observational Study)
  9. Expected value of results.
  10. List of key relevant references.
  11. The contribution to be made by each co-applicant and collaborator (maximum of one A4 side).
  12. List of principal investigator’s and co-applicant(s)’ relevant publications.
  13. Brief CVs (2 A4 sides including e-mail address) of named staff for whom salary is requested.
  14. Supporting letters from collaborators.
  15. Quotes obtained for relevant equipment.
  16. Valid copy of ethical approval.

Please also complete the following forms and include them in your application PDF:

For resubmissions, please ensure you have updated the Plain English Summary and PPI sections.

Sections 2-9 must not exceed 10 A4 sides. The PDF file size must not exceed 20MB.

Please use Arial font size 12 or the application will be rejected prior to formal consideration.

Decision process

Outline applications

Outline applications will be reviewed throughout the year. If your outline application is approved, you will be invited to submit a full application.

We ask that you allow up to four weeks for your outline to be considered as well as sufficient time to prepare a full application after receiving feedback. This means that outline applications submitted after the 9th July 2018 will not qualify for a full application submission to the November 2018 committee, but will need to be submitted to a committee in 2019.

Full applications

There are two funding rounds a year for full applications for Clinical Study Grants; the cut-off dates for full applications for 2018/19 are no later than 5pm on:
  • Wednesday 15th August 2018 for the November 2018 Clinical Studies Committee
  • Wednesday 30th January 2019 for the May 2019 Clinical Studies Committee
  • Wednesday 31st July 2019 for the October 2019 Clinical Studies Committee.

We will acknowledge receipt of your application within 24 hours and we will advise when you can expect the result.

Please ensure you leave sufficient time for your application to be approved by all signatories when submitting via GMS.

A decision will be reached by the Clinical Studies Committee, which meets twice a year (in May and October/November).

If your full application is rejected, you may be allowed to reapply. If you reapply within 6 months of the committee decision you can submit a revised full application omitting the outline stage. If you intend to reapply 6 months or later after the committee decision, you will need to submit an outline application for approval first.

As Clinical Study Grants are rarely awarded without revision, the application should usually be submitted around 12 months before the expected start date.


Apply online