NIHR Three Schools: Dementia Research Programme - Seed Fund


  • The NIHR Three Schools’ Dementia Research Programme invites applications for seed funding to develop proposals for research projects to address priorities for improving the lives of people with or at risk of dementia, family and other carers. Proposals should be co-developed with people with dementia and/or carers.

    We are seeking applications for small and preparatory activities to develop subsequent, larger research proposals to this Programme, other National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) programmes or to other funders.

    This is one-stage call for applications to start from mid-February 2024.

    Applications should be submitted by 15.30 on Wednesday 17 January 2024.


The NIHR Research Schools for Primary Care (SPCR), Public Health (SPHR) and Social Care (SSCR) (“three Schools”) have joined together in a unique collaboration between leading academic centres in England to collaborate on a programme of work funded through the NIHR on dementia.

The Three Schools’ Dementia Research Programme aims to develop the evidence base for dementia-related practice in England by commissioning and conducting high-quality research. The Programme builds on research within each School and will carry out research to address key gaps in the evidence base, working collaboratively across primary care, public health and social care.

The three Schools are committed to commissioning primary and secondary research across the spectrum of dementia-related practice, across different groups, settings and using a range of methodologies. Research could involve any aspect of prevention, diagnosis, treatment, support or care, and related health and social care services. All applications must demonstrate relevance for, and potential to improve, dementia-related practice and outcomes for people in England through the research proposals that will develop from their proposed activities.

Following a call for research proposals in 2023, a further call for proposals is expected to be launched in July 2024.


Please email and the most appropriate person will reply as soon as possible.


To support endeavours to develop user-informed research proposals, we are seeking applications for preparatory activities that lead to the development of research proposals. Funding could be used to, for example, bring together collaborators with people with dementia and/or carers to identify research priorities and develop research questions, or carry out scoping and consultation activities with these groups.

This call is therefore strictly for applications that are collaborative between academic and non-academic partners.

Funding of research through this Programme also requires collaboration between at least two members of different NIHR Schools. Collaborators from outside the three Schools are permitted.


Selection criteria

Applications will be assessed against the following criteria:

  • feasibility of developing a robust high-quality research proposal with the potential to impact the lives of people with dementia and their carers as a core outcome from planned activities;
  • collaboration and engagement with people with dementia, carers and professionals;
  • clear aims and objectives with methods to achieve them;
  • relevance to dementia-related practice;
  • collaboration across the Three NIHR Schools;
  • strength of the applicant team;
  • value for money.


Applicants can start from mid-February 2024 but must commence no later than 1 May 2024.

Applications should be no more than 8 months in duration.

Applicants should set out a timeline and budget that separates activities up to 30 April 2024 from those that will take place from May 2024.

Funding available

The Three School’s Dementia Research Programme expects to commission a range of applications.

The maximum budget for each application is £20,000.

This Programme does not provide full economic costs or overheads for this call.


Applications received by Wednesday 17 January 2024 will be reviewed by a Commissioning Panel.

Decisions and feedback are expected to be sent out by late early February 2024, with a view to finalising applications that are shortlisted for funding for contracting processes soon after.

Contractual arrangements

Research agreements will be between the NIHR School for Social Care Research on behalf of the three NIHR Schools and the host organisation. NIHR SSCR’s terms and conditions will apply.

Application process

Applications should be submitted using the “Seed Fund Proposals” form and submitted using the following link by 15.30 on Wednesday 17 January 2024: