Barts Health is changing the way research teams and investigators request approval to fill vacant research delivery posts funded through NIHR CRN and how we make decisions to submit business cases for new posts to the CRN.
Reason for change
Until 2021 CRN NT determined where this resource was placed within the Trust and whether research recruitment activity was sufficient to warrant the support provided. Since then the the operational management of CRN funding devolved to the Trust, with a requirement to have a documented, transparent process for decision-making in this regard.
The current establishment is based on historic models with vacant posts generally being filled with like-for-like replacements within the same research teams. This gives no Trust oversight of whether activities undertaken by individuals funded by CRN money are in line with ACORD principles or eligible for service support costs. There is also no flexibility within the current system to be responsive to changing needs for research support across the organisation, and the Trust remains reliant on the CRN for any additional funding it deems necessary.
From August 2023 we are piloting a new process where decisions on replacing vacant posts and the consideration of new business cases will be made by a newly formed CRN Funding Oversight Committee.
CRN Funding Oversight Committee
The aim of the new Committee is to ensure a fair and transparent distribution of CRN funds and growth across the trust, and that research recruitment can be flexible to the needs of local and/ or national strategies for research.
The Committee will include two Deputy Directors of Clinical Research, one of whom will Chair and one of whom will be from Nursing. Other members will include the NIHR Barts CRF Operations Director, the Associate Director of Research Development, and a JRMO Senior Finance Manager, plus administrative support. Arbitration or appeals, if required, will be directed to either the Director of Clinical Research or the Director of Research Development.
Meetings, to review funding requests, will take place on the first working Monday of each month.
Requests for new funding or renewal of vacant posts must be received a minimum of one week before a Committee meeting. They should be sent to BartsHealth.CRNSupport@nhs.net on the Barts Health CRN Funding Application form [DOC 184KB].
If you would like to speak to a member of the committee before submitting an application, please contact BartsHealth.CRNSupport@nhs.net
The following criteria will be used to assess a case for funding to either replace a vacant post or approve a new post:
- Alignment to the CRN NT high-level objectives. This will be a measure by which growth and application for an increase in funds from the CRN would be judged by; reaching underserved populations and NIHR Equality, Diversity and Inclusion strategy.
- Alignment to Barts Health 5-year Research Strategy (2019-2024) [PDF 555KB] and WeBelong culture.
- EDGE accuracy and engagement with reporting by the research team
- Research performance metrics (including the current portfolio, track record and future pipeline) including recruitment to time and target (commercial and non-commercial) over the last twelve months.
- Demonstrate that support is eligible for CRN funding (service support costs or Research Costs Part B for AMRC funders). If not eligible then funding to replace the post should be found from other sources.
- Consideration of the impact of not filling the vacancy - is this replacement like for like? - in the context of the current and future portfolio.
- Review of the request as part of the overall strategy; is there a greater need in another area?
- Demonstrate the person funded will be supported by an established network and appropriate managerial structure.
- Any new posts/promotions above an NHS Band 6 will need prior approval from the CRN NT.
Outcomes of the review by the CRN Funding Oversight Committee will be notified by email.
If an application for a new post is deemed eligible for CRN funding but there are no funds available within the existing CRN allocation to Barts Health, the Oversight Committee will support a submission for a new business case for funding to CRN North Thames.
If the Oversight Committee does not approve the application, the applicant will be notified by email with the rationale for this decision.
Appeals against the decision of the committee should be notified to BartsHealth.CRNSupport@nhs.net with a clear explanation of why you feel the decision should be overturned. Appeals will be brought to the attention of the Director of Clinical Research or the Director of Research & Development for a final decision.
- Barts Health has received the same amount of service support cost funding from CRN NT for 2023/24 as was received in 2022/23.
- If we are unable to fund new requests internally and we submit this application to the CRN there is no guarantee that there will be funding available from CRN NT or that they will approve it.
This is a pilot process and will be kept under constant review. Please provide feedback on the application form and the process to BartsHealth.CRNSupport@nhs.net