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Research Capability Funding (RCF)

This guide will explain what Research Capability Funding (RCF) is, funding eligibility criteria and how to apply.

Research Capability Funding (RCF) is provided to research active NHS organisations by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).

BSW Research Hub and BSW Integrated Care Board use these funds to improve local health and care research infrastructure, to support the development of co-designed research projects, and to ultimately contribute to the health of our population through evidence generation and use within our health system.

What can be funded?

There are two RCF Streams you can apply for:

Stream 1 = NIHR pre-grant application development.

Funds can be used to free up time to prepare a national, externally funded and peer reviewed research grant application in the area of primary and/or community health and care. To turn an idea for a research project into a viable grant application, some preliminary work may be required. We call this “pump-priming”. Pump priming may include:

  • pilot work to generate preliminary or underpinning data
  • analysis of preliminary or underpinning data
  • literature review

Stream 2 = Early research development and/or infrastructure set-up.

Funds can be used for the co-development of research ideas or research infrastructure set-up that can help partner organisations to maintain research capacity and capability, for example:

  • stakeholder meetings
  • workshops with collaborators
  • patient and public involvement (PPI) work
  • time spent contributing to wider research needs, for example, in peer review panels
  • research-related time of administrative staff supporting NIHR funded staff in their NIHR-related work

What are the eligibility criteria?

Applications are welcomed from primary care, community care, charity or academic based research staff, who are appropriately experienced or supported.

Applicants will be expected recruit from and/or work with any of our primary and community health and care partner organisations based in Bath & North East Somerset, Swindon, and North Wiltshire.

Applications must:

  • address a primary and/or community care priority (national or local)
  • demonstrate a clear potential benefit/impact to primary and/or community health and care
  • improve patient population health
  • fit with NHS and HSC priorities and evidence that proposed work will lead to a viable research grant application
  • be feasible (both the work for the grant application and the proposed research project)
  • be value for money

We strongly encourage:

  • collaborative applications
  • applications that have the patient perspective as a clear priority
  • application that tackle inequalities

Is there a funding limit?

Funding requests can be up to £10,000.

How is RCF funded work managed?

All projects funded through this call will be performance managed by BSW Research Hub and if progress is not satisfactory, then the funding may be reduced or withdrawn.

At the time of the award each successful applicant will agree with BSW Research Hub, the key performance indicators for their work. At the end of all studies a final report will be required.

Projects should ideally start within 3 months of notification, and if the project has not started within 6 months, funding will be withdrawn.

How do I apply?

Please contact Dr Lisa Austin,, to arrange an informal discussion.

If, following the informal discussion, the proposed project is deemed to meet the eligibility criteria, download the application form below, and once completed, send to Dr Austin.

The application will then be reviewed by the BSW Research Hub Executive Committee. The committee consists of Dr Lisa Austin, our Research Manager, a representative from each of our partner organisations including BSW ICB, and a GP representative.

You will be informed of the outcome of your application within three weeks of the date of submission.

When is the application deadline?

Applications must be submitted to Dr Lisa Austin by 29th February 2024.

Download the application form below.

Application form

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