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Identification and comparison of key criteria of feedback of funding decisions: Mixed methods analysis of funder and applicant perspectives

Identification and comparison of key criteria of feedback of funding decisions: Mixed methods analysis of funder and applicant perspectives
Identification and comparison of key criteria of feedback of funding decisions: Mixed methods analysis of funder and applicant perspectives
Objective: This study investigated the content, quality and value of feedback given to applicants who applied to one of four research programmes in the UK funded (or jointly funded) by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

Methods: A mixed-method phased approach was conducted using document analysis and an online survey. Phase 1 examined 114 NIHR applicant feedback documents comprised of written feedback from funding committees and external peer reviewers and a conceptual framework of the key components of feedback was developed using content analysis. Phase 2 was an online survey completed by 113 NIHR applicants. Frequencies of responses to closed questions were calculated. Perceptions of quality and value of feedback were identified using content analysis of open-text responses.

Results: In phase 1, a conceptual framework was developed with seven overarching categories: ‘Study structure and quality’; ‘Team and infrastructure’; ‘Acceptability to patients and professionals’; ‘Study justification and design’; ‘Risks and contingencies’; ‘Outputs’; ‘Value for money’. A higher frequency of feedback was provided at Stage 2 and for successful applications across the majority of components. In phase 2, frequency data showed that opinion on feedback was dependent on funding outcome. Content analysis revealed four main themes: ‘Committee transparency’; ‘Content validity and reliability’; ‘Additional support’; Recognition of effort and constraints’.

Conclusions: This study provides key insights and understanding into the quality, content, and value of feedback provided to NIHR applicants. The study identified key areas for improvement that can arise in NIHR funding applications, as well as in the feedback given to applicants that are applicable to other funding organisations. These findings could be used to inform funding application guidance documents to help researchers strengthen their applications and used more widely by other funders to inform their feedback processes.
Health services administration & management, Qualitative research, Statistics & research methods
2044-6055
Fackrell, Kathryn
47992aeb-c6a0-44a2-b59c-8b53d7a70520
Meadmore, Katie
4b63707b-4c44-486c-958e-e84645e7ed33
Recio Saucedo, Alejandra
d05c4e43-3399-466d-99e0-01403a04b467
Bull, Abby
392ffd4a-38bc-4a80-abd9-cfdfc05c3ada
Fraser, Simon
135884b6-8737-4e8a-a98c-5d803ac7a2dc
Blatch-Jones, Amanda
6bb7aa9c-776b-4bdd-be4e-cf67abd05652
Fackrell, Kathryn
47992aeb-c6a0-44a2-b59c-8b53d7a70520
Meadmore, Katie
4b63707b-4c44-486c-958e-e84645e7ed33
Recio Saucedo, Alejandra
d05c4e43-3399-466d-99e0-01403a04b467
Bull, Abby
392ffd4a-38bc-4a80-abd9-cfdfc05c3ada
Fraser, Simon
135884b6-8737-4e8a-a98c-5d803ac7a2dc
Blatch-Jones, Amanda
6bb7aa9c-776b-4bdd-be4e-cf67abd05652

Fackrell, Kathryn, Meadmore, Katie, Recio Saucedo, Alejandra, Bull, Abby, Fraser, Simon and Blatch-Jones, Amanda (2021) Identification and comparison of key criteria of feedback of funding decisions: Mixed methods analysis of funder and applicant perspectives. BMJ Open, 11 (9), [e048979]. (doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2021-048979).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Objective: This study investigated the content, quality and value of feedback given to applicants who applied to one of four research programmes in the UK funded (or jointly funded) by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

Methods: A mixed-method phased approach was conducted using document analysis and an online survey. Phase 1 examined 114 NIHR applicant feedback documents comprised of written feedback from funding committees and external peer reviewers and a conceptual framework of the key components of feedback was developed using content analysis. Phase 2 was an online survey completed by 113 NIHR applicants. Frequencies of responses to closed questions were calculated. Perceptions of quality and value of feedback were identified using content analysis of open-text responses.

Results: In phase 1, a conceptual framework was developed with seven overarching categories: ‘Study structure and quality’; ‘Team and infrastructure’; ‘Acceptability to patients and professionals’; ‘Study justification and design’; ‘Risks and contingencies’; ‘Outputs’; ‘Value for money’. A higher frequency of feedback was provided at Stage 2 and for successful applications across the majority of components. In phase 2, frequency data showed that opinion on feedback was dependent on funding outcome. Content analysis revealed four main themes: ‘Committee transparency’; ‘Content validity and reliability’; ‘Additional support’; Recognition of effort and constraints’.

Conclusions: This study provides key insights and understanding into the quality, content, and value of feedback provided to NIHR applicants. The study identified key areas for improvement that can arise in NIHR funding applications, as well as in the feedback given to applicants that are applicable to other funding organisations. These findings could be used to inform funding application guidance documents to help researchers strengthen their applications and used more widely by other funders to inform their feedback processes.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 13 August 2021
e-pub ahead of print date: 17 September 2021
Published date: 17 September 2021
Additional Information: Competing interests All of the authors are employed by the Wessex Institute, University of Southampton and worked within the National Institute for Health Research, Evaluation, Trials and Studies Coordinating Centre (NETSCC) at the time when study was conducted. This work was supported by the NETSCC through its Research on Research Programme. SF is also employed by the University of Southampton as an Associate Professor of Public Health and KF also holds a postdoctoral Fellowship funded by the NIHR. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.
Keywords: Health services administration & management, Qualitative research, Statistics & research methods

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 451476
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/451476
DOI: doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2021-048979
ISSN: 2044-6055
PURE UUID: e80aea64-5897-42fe-8264-033ac1d49b8b
ORCID for Katie Meadmore: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-5378-8370
ORCID for Alejandra Recio Saucedo: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-2823-4573
ORCID for Simon Fraser: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-4172-4406
ORCID for Amanda Blatch-Jones: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-1486-5561

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 30 Sep 2021 16:31
Last modified: 22 Oct 2021 01:42

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