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Research funds available to improve community services

Pharmacists can apply for two new pots of funding for research into how community pharmacy can improve public health and promote well-being, provided by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

As part of the NHS-sponsored ‘Community pharmacy; harnessing the potential for health and health care’, each fund aims to support research within one of two overall objectives; the first is to evaluate the impact of interventions delivered through community pharmacy on public health and the other aims to address knowledge gaps in community pharmacy and   identify ways to improve health and well-being in the community.

The NIHR has not put a figure on the funding available. A spokesman said that the institute prefers not to give guidelines on the amount of money available because it wants applicants to make accurate estimates of how much their project will cost. He added that most successful applicants for NIHR funding come from academia, or are experienced researchers.

“We are delighted,” says Beth Allen, head of research at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS), who has been campaigning for research funds for community pharmacists to develop and improve services.

“Successful applications will also present greater opportunities for pharmacies to participate in projects which will benefit their patients and provide development opportunities for the team,” 

In 2013, the UK Department of Health’s policy research programme (PRP) announced a similar fund supporting research into the role of community pharmacy in public health. The NIHR says it will work closely with the PRP to ensure that any commissioned research achieves value and results in new knowledge.

Applications for the public-health research funding must be submitted by 4 August 2014 while those for health services and delivery research must be received by 25 September 2014.

The RPS will support pharmacists wishing to apply for funding through Research Ready, an online self-accreditation tool covering the basic requirements for undertaking primary care research in the UK.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2014.11138316

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