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HRB Grants and Fellowships

Definitive Interventions and Feasibility Awards (DIFA) 2018
Project / Programme grants
Opening Date:
1 November 2017
Closing Date:
13 December 2017
Application Restrictions:

Update 27 November 2017

You can view a webinar that outlines some of the key features of this scheme at the link below. (Registration is required, but this is a very short process.)

Scheme summary

The overarching aim of the Definitive Interventions and Feasibility Awards (DIFA) scheme is to deliver tangible benefits to patients, people’s health and health services. The scheme supports evaluations of full-scale, definitive interventions of any appropriate design. In order to achieve a pipeline of such studies, the scheme supports feasibility studies conducted in preparation for a future definitive intervention. Costs for studies on methodology research within a trial are eligible for reimbursement.

Details about this scheme

DIFA supports researchers and research teams to conduct high-quality definitive intervention trials and feasibility studies. Outputs should provide evidence on the efficacy, effectiveness, cost and broad impact of the intervention. Applications should be in the areas of clinical research, population health research, or health services research. Applications should:

  • Be relevant to health priorities internationally and/or nationally
  • Translate research discoveries and knowledge into new ways of treating patients, delivering care or changing behaviour.


Applications should demonstrate how they could ultimately improve health outcomes and health service delivery. We expect that evidence supporting the case for specific interventions has been gathered systematically, i.e. as systematic reviews or other evidence synthesis formats. Simple literature overviews are not sufficient.

The DIFA scheme supports the conduct of trial methodology research within the context of proposed interventions. The scheme funds:

  • Definitive interventions of any appropriate design aimed at assessing the efficacy, effectiveness, cost and broad impact of a therapy or intervention. This includes randomised controlled trials and non-randomised trials.
  • Stand-alone feasibility studies conducted in preparation for a future definitive intervention. The HRB’s sole aim in funding these studies is to establish a pipeline for definitive interventions.
  • Studies within a trial (SWATs) built into the main study or the feasibility study to explore primary trial methodology questions. Costs for proposed SWATs must fall within the parameters of the overall funding available.
  • Participation in international studies at feasibility stage or participation in full-scale international studies subject to evidence of the feasibility in Irish sites.


Who can apply?

Researchers should be at mid-stage or senior stage in their career. It is strongly recommended that the Lead Applicant should have experience in the conduct of interventions.

The research team should demonstrate the necessary breadth and depth of expertise in each of the methodological areas required for the delivery of the proposed project. Appropriate multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary involvement in the research team is essential.                               

Pre-Application Submission and Deadline:

The DIFA scheme will use a two-stage application process consisting of:

1.       Open call for Pre-application stage.

2.       Invitation of selected applicants to submit a Full Application.

Pre-Applications must be completed and submitted through the HRB online Grant E-Management System (GEMS) ( and this system will close automatically on Wednesday 13 December 2017 at 13:00

The application must have been reviewed and approved by the signatory approver at the research office (or equivalent) in the host institution before it is submitted to the HRB. Therefore, applicants should ensure that they give the signatory approver sufficient time before the scheme closing date to review the application and approve it on GEMS. Please note that many host institutions specify internal deadlines for this procedure.

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