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Public Health Intervention Development Scheme (PHIND)

  • Time remaining: 1d 23h 25m
  • Status: Open
  • Open date: 01 Nov 2016
  • Closing date: 12 Jan 2017 16:00 GMT
  • Type: Calls

The MRC Public Health Intervention Development scheme (PHIND) supports the early stages of development of interventions that address an important UK or global public health issue. Studies funded by the scheme will develop the necessary evidence to underpin the later development and evaluation of novel public health interventions.

The MRC PHIND scheme complements funding available from NIHR, MRC Global Health and other sources for subsequent stages of public health intervention development and evaluation. 


The scheme supports projects that will develop innovative new interventions that address an important UK or global public health issue, and seeks to encourage a novel, high risk approach to intervention development. Complex, population level interventions, with a focus on non-health care settings (such as: transport, education, employment, leisure and the built environment), are considered particularly suitable. Health care settings are not excluded, but projects should demonstrate potential for improved health of general, high risk or vulnerable populations.  In addition, proposals that align with the NIHR Public Health Research Programme or for MRC Global Health schemes are particularly welcomed.

Proposals should address the early stage of development of new interventions, ranging from primary research developing and designing the intervention to assessing feasibility, up to but not including pilot studies. 

Examples of the types of research within scope are:

  • qualitative and quantitative primary research
  • defining the intervention
  • specifying content
  • developing theory
  • modelling process and outcomes such as developing logic models
  • identifying components and their inter-relationships
  • developing procedures and protocols
  • assessing feasibility as a final stage of a proposal (see below for standalone feasibility studies)
  • creation of new interventions where active components of existing interventions are recombined to create a new intervention 

Where appropriate, investigators are strongly encouraged to include user participation in their developmental study, as absence of user engagement at an early stage can reduce the success of the intervention.

Proposals should demonstrate a pathway to further development and evaluation of the proposed intervention and criteria for progression to the next stage of development should be detailed within the Case for Support. To help fully evaluate the impact of PHIND awards, in addition to the standard MRC reporting conditions, grant holders will be required to inform the scheme manager of project outputs. 

The following activities are ineligible for support:

  • Interventions managing or treating clinical conditions or improving health services delivery should be directed to the relevant funding schemes: DPFS, MRC Global Health and NIHR schemes.
  • Systematic reviews and meta-analyses
  • Pilot testing or standalone feasibility studies should be submitted to the appropriate NIHR funding scheme
  • Adaptation of existing interventions for a new context or target population for which there is already an evidence base is not within the scheme remit and would likely fall under the remit of the NIHR Public Health Research Programme.  

Funding and eligibility

Applicants can apply for up to £150K for a maximum of 18 months. Funds may be requested to support costs attributable to the study including investigator and research staff time, consumables, equipment and travel.

The usual MRC funding and eligibility rules apply. Please see the Applicants Handbook (PDF, 694KB) and the Research Councils UK website for information regarding eligibility.

MRC University Units may apply for funding via this scheme; however, in line with MRC policy, the scheme is not open to MRC Units. For information on other eligible Research Organisations please see the RCUK website.

Assessment process

Applications will be directly assessed by a scientific panel, comprising a range of public health research and practitioner expertise, without additional external peer-review. The panel will have close links with NIHR and MRC global health to ensure the public health relevance of the proposal and to increase the potential success of future applications for piloting and evaluative studies.

The panel will assess applications against the following criteria:

  • The importance of the public health question and need for an intervention to address the issue(s)
  • The proposed approach including methodology, innovation and likelihood of the outcomes of the proposed study to fill a current gap in knowledge
  • The research team, research environment and stakeholder partners

How to apply

Proposals to PHIND must be submitted through the Joint electronic-Submission (Je-S) system.

Please use the Guidance Document (DOCX, 29KB) when preparing your application and case for support.

The application must consist of:

  • The Je-S Proposal Form
  • Case for Support (maximum 3 pages). This must follow the structure in the guidance document (DOCX, 29KB)
  • CV’s (maximum 1 page per applicant)
  • Publications (maximum 1 page per applicant)
  • Pathways to Impact (maximum 250 words)

In addition if applicable applicants can also attach:

  • Letters of Support
  • MICA Form
  • Cover letter for resubmissions

Applicants may find the following guidance helpful when preparing their application:

MRC Guidance on Developing and evaluating complex interventions Craig et al BMJ 2008;337:979-983

Six steps in quality intervention development (6SQuID) Wight et al J Epidemiol Community Health doi:10.1136/jech-2015-205952

Better reporting of interventions: template for intervention description and replication (TIDieR) checklist and guide Hoffmann et al BMJ 2014;348:g1687

A checklist to improve reporting of group-based behaviour-change interventions, Borek et al, BMC Public Health (2015) 15:963


Applications previously declined by the MRC or another research council or funder will not be considered by the MRC within 12 months (from the date of submission to the original research council or funder) unless invited (in writing) to resubmit by the MRC. Resubmissions must be substantially different and/or address specific concerns raised by the panel.

Submission deadlines and panel dates

The scheme will operate twice a year, with the scientific panel meeting held approximately 8 weeks after the submission deadline.

Application forms must be submitted by 4pm of your chosen deadline. No late submissions will be accepted for assessment.

Forthcoming deadlines for receipt of applications are:

  • 12th January 2017
  • 13th July 2017
  • 11th January 2018


If you have any queries about this scheme please contact