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HRB Grants and Fellowships

Definitive Interventions and Feasibility Awards (DIFA) 2017
Project / Programme grants
Opening Date:
5 May 2016
Closing Date:
7 July 2016

The HRB now wish to invite applications to the Definitive Interventions and Feasibility Awards.

The overarching aim of the DIFA scheme is to achieve tangible benefits to patients, peoples’ health and health services through support of studies aimed at evaluating a full scale, definitive intervention of any appropriate design to provide high quality evidence on the efficacy, effectiveness, cost and broad impact of the intervention. To achieve a pipeline of such studies, both definitive interventions and feasibility studies conducted in preparation for a future definitive intervention, are supported.

Aligned with the objectives set out in the HRB Strategy, this scheme will support researchers and research teams to conduct high quality definitive intervention trials and feasibility studies in clinical and/or population health research and/or health services research that are relevant to health priorities internationally and or nationally, translates research discoveries and knowledge into new ways of treating patients, delivering care or changing behaviour to ultimately improve health outcomes and health service delivery. It will also support the conduct of trial methodology research within the context of proposed interventions.

Who should apply?

Applications should be made on behalf of a research team with the necessary breadth and depth of expertise in all the methodological areas required in the delivery of the proposed project. Appropriate multi and inter disciplinary involvement in the research team is essential and where relevant, experts in trial methodology, statistics, trial management, health economics, health service research, behavioural science, qualitative research methodologies, psychology, sociology etc. should be included.

The Lead Applicant will serve as the primary point of contact for the HRB on the award and during the review process. The Lead Applicant will be responsible for the scientific and technical direction of the research programme and has primary fiduciary responsibility and accountability for carrying out the research within the funding limits awarded and in accordance with the terms and conditions of the HRB.

What types of studies are funded?

  • Definitive interventions of any appropriate design, including randomised controlled trials and non-randomized trials, designed to assess the efficacy, effectiveness, cost and broad impact of a therapy or intervention.
  • Stand-alone feasibility studies conducted in preparation for a future definitive intervention. The sole intention behind the funding of these studies is to establish a pipeline for definitive interventions. Clear progression criteria to a substantive study are required. It is not possible to apply for a feasibility study and the definitive intervention at the same time.
  • Note: the scheme will also support Studies within a trial (SWATs) built into the main or feasibility study to explore primary trial methodology questions and costed within the funding envelope provided. Participation in International studies at feasibility stage to ensure progression to participation or with evidence of such the full scale study within Irish sites.


Submission and Deadline:

Applications must be completed and submitted through the HRB online Grant E-Management System (GEMS) ( and this system will close automatically at the stated deadline below. Prior to final submission to the HRB, all applications must first be reviewed and approved within GEMS by the signatory approver at the research office (or equivalent) at the Host Institution (see Appendix II of Guidance Notes). It is critical therefore that Lead Applicants leave sufficient time in the process for the Research Office (or equivalent) in their nominated Host Institution to review, seek clarifications and approve applications prior to the final submission date. This may involve being aware of and complying with any internal Host Institution deadlines for review and approval, distinct from the HRB deadline.

The deadline for submission of complete applications to the HRB is Thursday 7th July 2016 at 13.00.


The HRB held a webinar about this call on Monday 16th May 2016. Slides from the webinar can be viewed below. You can also listen back to a recording of the webinar at

Webinar recording:

The HRB is committed to an open and competitive process underpinned by international peer review. Following an initial eligibility check applications will be sent to international experts for analysis and comment. Shortlisted applicants will be given the opportunity to reply to peer review comments. Grant selection panels will then be established to consider the applications, the associated comments of the peer reviewers and the applicant’s replies to those comments with a view to making final recommendations to the Board of the HRB.

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