Collaborative Doctoral Awards in Patient-focused Research (CDA) 2021 (next call expected to launch Q4 2024)

The Collaborative Doctoral Awards in Patient-focused Research (CDA) scheme aims to support excellent doctoral training programmes for a cohort of individuals including those from academic health-related disciplines and particularly those from health and care practice, such as medics, nurses and midwives, pharmacists, dentists and allied health professionals, in the conduct of patient-focused research. This will create expertise, within this mixed cohort, to advance, apply and transfer knowledge from research into impacts on patient health and patient care.

Each Collaborative Doctoral Award will provide support for the training and the research projects of four or five PhD candidates. 


Additional Information

The main objectives of the scheme are:

  1. To provide individuals with research and professional expertise, competencies and experience to embark in different career roles in the health sector;
  2. To build capacity among health care professionals and other health-related disciplines by increasing the number of highly skilled researchers who will lead and support patient-focused research and/or translate the findings for a greater impact on patient health;
  3. To attract and train people, currently working in a healthcare setting, to doctoral level, resulting in better integration between research and health care, improved quality of care and outcomes and a more attractive work environment;
  4. To increase and/or strengthen cross-sectoral and cross disciplinary collaborations among investigators, experts and stakeholders aimed at addressing important health challenges at national and/or international level in the context of patient-focused research.



Each award must have a Leadership Team which will include a Lead Applicant and one or two other individuals (Co-Lead Applicants for the purpose of the application process). The members of the leadership team will hold equal Co-Directorship of the Doctoral Programme. The team members must span a breadth of disciplines and professions with skills and expertise which complement one another in order to together lead the scientific and technical direction of the overall doctoral programme.

The leadership team must demonstrate 

  • Strong track record in patient-focused research demonstrated by their contribution to knowledge, research outputs  and expertise in accelerating the transfer and application of research evidence into real-world applications;
  • Complementarity of disciplines, skills and expertise as relevant to the research and training programme, including from under-represented professions/disciplines relevant to the strategic leadership of the programme;
  • Clear strategic vision of the research programme;
  • Strong collaborative and networking expertise;
  • Strong track record in training supervising and mentoring early and mid-career researchers.

The team will lead a consortium involving different Partners such as researchers either as academics  or health and care practitioners; health and care practitioners – in practice only; Public and Patient Involvement (PPI) contributors; knowledge users; stakeholders from private sectors and/or other stakeholders or experts. Together, these partners will bring the relevant resources, knowledge and expertise to the PhD training experience.

Please note: Directors or Co-Directors of CDA Programmes awarded in 2018 and 2019 will not be eligible to apply as members of a leadership team in the 2021 round of the call.


All applications must be made using the HRB Grant Electronic Management System (GEMS) GEMS will close automatically at the deadline. The Collaborative Doctoral Awards in Patient-focused Research scheme will use a two-stage application process consisting of:

  1. Open call for Pre-application stage (Stage 1)
  2. Invitation of selected applicants to submit a Full Application (Stage 2).

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.



Dr Brian Nolan, e: bnolan(at)


Opening date
13:00 28-09-2020
Closing date
13:00 17-12-2020
Invitation to full application: Late February 2021
October 2021
Decision expected
November 2021