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HRB Grants and Fellowships

Research Programme for the Taskforce on Staffing and Skill Mix for Nursing 2017
Project / Programme grants
Opening Date:
16 December 2016
Closing Date:
31 January 2017


As outlined in Research-Evidence-Action, HRB Strategy (2016-2020), Focus Area 3 concentrates on supporting the needs of the Irish health and social care system. Activities and supports in this focus area have a short-medium term and a more applied perspective, and are designed in close collaboration and partnership with healthcare decision makers in order to ensure that the research is more responsive to priority themes and topics and to accelerate knowledge translation. Under Focus Area 3, the HRB may from time to time announce calls for targeted research to solicit and fund research applications in a particular area of health where there are knowledge and/or research capacity gaps related to current/anticipated policy and/or programme development as defined by policy makers and knowledge users. The HRB is pleased to announce a Targeted Research Call to undertake a 3 year research programme to inform both the development and evaluation of safe nurse staffing policies. 

Scope of Call:

Set against the backdrop of the publication of the Interim Report and Recommendations on Safe Nurse Staffing and Skill Mix for General and Specialist Medical and Surgical Care Settings in Acute Adult Hospitals in February 2016  (Department of Health, 2016), and aligned with the objectives set out in its recently published Strategy (2016-2020) to support applied research that is more aligned with the needs of national policymakers, the HRB is collaborating with the Department of Health to support a research programme for safe staffing and skill mix for nursing.  This research programme will build on the pilot implementation and evaluation of the safe nursing framework in medical and surgical inpatient wards in acute hospitals to include a longitudinal analysis of the national implementation, impact and cost of the safe nurse staffing framework as well as develop and evaluate a safe nurse staffing framework for two additional areas within the Irish healthcare System. 

Aims and Objectives

The aim is to undertake a three year programme of research that underpins the implementation and evaluation of safe nurse staffing staff policy frameworks in three distinct areas.    This includes:


  1. Evidence reviews and evaluation for the development of two safe nurse staffing and skill mix frameworks;
  2. The impact of implementing a pilot of the two safe nurse staffing and skill mix Frameworks (specifically Nursing Hours per Patient Day NHPPD as applicable) on nurse-sensitive patient outcomes measures, staff outcome measures and organisational factors;
  3. Measure the economic impact of implementing the Frameworks using appropriate economic evaluation techniques;
  4. Using implementation science methods, provide an evidence-based assessment of the adoption and implementation of the frameworks in practice to guide future national roll-out decisions
  5. Develop and commence a longitudinal analysis for national evaluation of the frameworks including the impact and cost of the safe staffing policy frameworks.

Funding available

The maximum amount that can be requested from the HRB is €900,000 (inclusive of overheads). Aligned with the critical timelines for the development, implementation and evaluation of these Frameworks, it is envisaged that the programme will have a term typically spanning June 2017- May 2020.

Who should apply?

The Host Institution for the award should be a recognised research institution in the Republic of Ireland approved by the HRB for the management of HRB awards. The Principal Investigator must demonstrate that they have the skills, knowledge and supports necessary to direct the proposed research and to be actively engaged in carrying the research through to completion. Applicants must demonstrate clearly that their research team contains the necessary breadth and depth of expertise in all the methodological areas required in the development and delivery of the proposed project.

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 Principal Investigator 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 31st January 2017 at 13.00.

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