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1 Mar 2021

Open Funding Competition 2021 – call for proposals now open

Open funding competition 2021

We are delighted to launch our Open Funding Competition for 2021.

Our vision is to achieve ‘better, fairer health and care at all ages and in all places’. To support this, we are inviting original and high-quality applied research proposals focussed on regional health and care priorities for the benefit people living in the North East and North Cumbria region, and beyond.

We encourage and welcome applications from a wide range of collaborations. These could include proposals from the NHS, social care, local authorities, CCGs, charities, voluntary sector organisations, businesses and universities.

All proposals must have a Lead and a Co-Lead from within the region. One must be a university representative and the other from another organisation category, but either can be the Lead.

Next steps

We will need you to submit an initial registration of interest and a brief summary of your proposal, before you apply.

You can submit your registration of interest between Monday 1 March and Friday 30 April 2021.

Follow this link to access the online form.

Once your registration has been approved, we will send you a full application pack. The closing date for submission of a full funding application is 12pm on Wednesday 30 June 2021.

What is applied research?

Proposals should aim to improve health and social care outcomes in communities and sectors facing the greatest challenges, as well as generate original applied research outputs.

The competition focuses on:

  • Maintenance and improvement of health and well-being in the ‘real world’ rather than looking at biomedical indicators of disease states or symptom severity.
  • Long term conditions or states, mental health, service delivery or access, prevention and inequalities (but not campus-based science or translational clinical research into biomarkers or medical interventions)
  • Groups of individuals with a common link, but this can be through important health and social characteristics (other than a diagnosis or symptom) such as health or social care needs, employment etc.

There is no preferred evaluation method, but this should be appropriate for the research question and target population. Assistance with study design can be requested during registration.

Before registering, please explore our website for more information about our remit and the work which is currently supported by our themes. You might also like to take a look at the range of projects we funded through our 2020 Competition.

Funding and costs

A maximum of £60,000 funding over two years will be available, but it is expected that costs for most proposals will be lower and all will be scrutinised for value.

Proposals must be formally costed and agreed by a responsible finance officer in the host organisation. A matched support estimate is required, such as the cost for time that applicants will spend on the project.

Other essential criteria

The full proposal must include evidence of Public Involvement / Community Engagement, and a plan for impact on health and/or care within the region.

Proposals must be linked to an ARC NENC theme and include evidence of support from the relevant theme Lead or Deputy Lead (if they are not already involved).

The themes are listed below:

Multi-morbidity, Ageing and Frailty
Supporting Children and Families
Prevention, Early Intervention and Behaviour Change
Integrating Physical, Mental health and Social care
Inequalities and Marginalised Communities
Knowledge Mobilisation and Implementation Science
Enabling Methodologies (including data science)

Further information on what will be required within your full proposal will be included in the application pack.


  • Registration for the competition is available online between 1st March and 30th April 2021
  • An application pack will be sent to you following registration
  • The closing data for submission of an application is: 12pm (noon) on 30th June 2021
  • Proposals which are submitted without prior registration will not be processed
  • Applicants will be informed of the outcome in November 2021
  • Projects must aim to start between 1st December 2021 and 31st March 2022.

Find out more

Follow this link to watch a useful Q&A webinar which explains the process

Follow this link for FAQs relating to the competition process

Follow this link to register your proposal


If you have any questions about this process, please email [email protected]