Grant of Health Systems Research Initiative

The Wellcome Trust, the UK Department for International Development, the UK Medical Research Council and the UK Economic and Social Research Council are committed to strengthening the evidence base for improving health in low- and middle-income countries. Together we are investing a total of £15 million over three years to fund research aimed at providing evidence to strengthen health systems and improve health outcomes in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The £15m total funds will be allocated through three annual calls for proposals of £5m per call. The costs of each call will be shared between all four funders.

Health systems in LMICs face the challenges of substantial socioeconomic and health inequalities, rapid globalisation and evolving disease burdens. The aim of the scheme is to fund rigorous, high-quality research that will inform the delivery of evidence-based interventions or structural changes, and provide evidence that is of direct relevance to decision makers and users in the field, in overcoming these challenges.

The scope of the scheme covers a broad range of health systems research questions that address the following principles:

  • Health systems are broad and comprise many elements (e.g. governance, workforce, financing, information systems, products and technologies, and service delivery) and are affected by factors such as health education, community and individual action, the legislative and regulatory context and current and emerging social, economic and cultural circumstances. Applications from multidisciplinary teams are encouraged which address questions within this broader context.
  • All proposals should have health improvement as the main objective.
  • Research should generate practical solutions to implementing health system improvements, including technical, economic, and cultural or governance/managerial components of implementation and sustainability.
  • Projects should identify and address the key barriers to implementation of evidence-based interventions at local and national levels, paving the way for their successful adoption into routine practice with improved access and use by the populations in need.
  • Methodologies will need to be clearly explained and well justified as methodological rigour will be an important aspect of peer review.
  • Priority will be given to research that benefits the most vulnerable populations and/or those in poorly resourced settings.
  • No particular diseases or health-related problems are prioritised for this call. Projects should address ethical, economic, social, cultural and political aspects of the problem as appropriate to the research question.
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