Research Capability Funding

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

We 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.

The principles of our spending decisions can be found in this briefing paper.

Details about how we have spent RCF compared with our spending plan can be found in this report paper.

We divide our budget into separate categories of spend, each with a different aim that contributes to both the NIHR and local health system vision.

Please see below for details on each category. Application deadlines, forms and guidance will be shown within the details of each category.


Responsive Call

Next Deadline = 5pm 17 June 2024

We are pleased to announce our new application process for our RCF Responsive Call. Please find our updated application form and guidance below.

Please note if you have already started to develop your application for January’s call using the old application form and guidance you will not be penalised for this.

This is funding provided to support the development of a research project. We are looking to support the co-development of a specific research question that is relevant to health & care into a strong NIHR grant application.

There are two types of Responsive RCF you can apply for:

Type 1 = £3,000 to start co-development of research ideas (e.g. stakeholder engagement, PPI)

Type 2 = NIHR grant application writing. This can include activities that will help write a high quality NIHR application (e.g. preliminary data collection, literature review)

Read the guidance for applicants, and please check the list of activities we aren’t able to fund using RCF, then download the Type 1 or Type 2 application forms and submit to

The third responsive call this year will close 5pm 14th October 2024.

Launching Fellowships

Next Deadline = TBD

This scheme is to support early career, post-PhD researchers to establish their academic career, enhance their publication record and develop their first research grant application (e.g. an NIHR Fellowship or RfPB). We are very proud to be associated with our Launching Fellows who are outstanding individuals who we believe will become the research leaders of the future. We offer up to 18 months funding for applicants from University of Bristol and UWE Bristol.

More information can be found in the guidance.


Academic Career Award

This award is for academics from the University of Bristol and the University of the West of England.

Dates for the award:

  • Internal application deadline: 27th November 2023
  • Nominated candidates informed: 4th December 2023
  • Interview: 11th December 2023
  • Award starts: 1st January 2024

This award supports Senior Research Fellows and/or Senior Lecturers who are not core funded by their University employer. This award will enable academics to dedicate time to activities that support their career stability e.g. applying for research grants or Advanced Fellowships.

These Awards are intended to help reduce the pressures of short-term contracts by awarding funding equal to 50%WTE of the recipients’ salary over an 18 months duration.

Please speak to your line manager about this award if you are interested. Further guidance and the application form are below:


Researchers in Residence

Researchers from local Universities are embedded into commissioning teams in BNSSG ICB, thus gaining a thorough understanding of commissioning intentions, and how evidence is used in practice. These roles provide time to foster partnerships with commissioners, co-produce NIHR research applications that are NHS focussed, act as a conduit between NHS staff with research ideas, and the academic community who can develop those ideas into research grant applications.

Further Information

Researcher in Residence posts are a great way to create direct impact, build networks for future work, and to be a part of how evidence is used in the new Health & Care System. If you would like to learn more about the opportunities, please contact

If you are an ICB employee with an opportunity for a Researcher in Residence, please complete the attached form which can be found here and email it to the BNSSG ICB Research Team at


Bridging Funding

Next Deadline = 1st of each month

Covering salary costs of researchers who are between NIHR grants, to ensure they do not face redundancy whilst waiting for the next NIHR funded post to be set up. You can download the application form below.


Maternity Cover/Sickness

Next Deadline = 1st of each month

Back-filling key NIHR-grant funded posts left temporarily vacant during the award period by a member of staff taking maternity, paternity, or long-term sick leave, where absence will seriously compromise success of NIHR-funded research. You can download the RCF Application Bridging Mat and Sick.


Requests for extensions to existing RCF awards

Next Deadline = 1st of each month

Providing shorter term support for researchers whose grant application was delayed due to unforeseen circumstances. You can download the RCF Application Bridging Mat and Sick.


Career Development Posts

Next Deadline = N/A Internal University process

Funding for an academic to develop and establish a specific area of work within one of our partner University departments. The ICB receives proposals from the University of Bristol and UWE Bristol.

If you are interested in this kind of funding please speak to your relevant contact below:

  • University of Bristol: CAPC = Katrina Turner
  • University of Bristol: PH = Rona Campbell
  • Primary Care Mental Health = Nicola Wiles
  • UWE Bristol = Boudewijn Dominicus


Departmental Development Posts

Next Deadline = N/A Internal University process

Funding for methodologist posts within departments who will support a wide range of academic colleagues across a range of research interests with their research – recent examples are a Health Economist, a Medical Statistician, and a Realist Methodologist.

The ICB receives proposals from the University of Bristol and UWE Bristol. These are strategic investments to build capacity within University departments and within the local Health Services.


Grant support from the Clinical Effectiveness & Research team

RCF contributes to the salary costs of various research-related, administrative and research support staff who work to ensure the quality of grant applications, submitted, and the quality of our grant hosting service. We have joint posts with our Partner Universities with staff working for both the ICB and the University of Bristol or UWE Bristol.

Our job is to make academic health science thrive locally, so if you have ideas of how we could support you better, please do let us know as we always seek to improve our services.