National Institute of Health Research

Funding streams

The Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation (EME) Programme has two workstreams: researcher-led and commissioned. The EME Programme also participates in the NIHR themed calls.

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Applicants can submit outline proposals to the researcher-led workstream at any time during the year, with three cut-off dates when applications will be considered by the EME Board. Calls run consecutively with one call closing as the next opens and on an anticipated annual cycle of March, July and November. For details on the current call please visit the researcher-led page. For any other queries please contact us.


The commissioned workstream welcomes outline proposals in response to specific research questions prioritised for importance by the EME Strategy Group. These calls are advertised three times a year.  More information about the remit of the EME Programme is available on the remit page.

Fast-track scheme

Most of the research supported by the EME Programme will follow the routine two-stage process of assessment before being funded, but we can speed up the handling of a topic if necessary.

Read more about the fast-track scheme

The fast-track scheme allows researchers to bypass some of the usual assessment process.

It provides an opportunity to submit a full proposal directly, shortening the total time from submission of an application to receipt of a funding decision by approximately 3 months in comparison with the standard route.

You should note that by choosing this route, your proposal will compete on equal terms with other full proposals that were shortlisted by the EME Board as outline applications. You should balance the need for a quick decision with the additional work required to submit a full proposal (without the advantage of early feedback from the EME Board).  In all cases EME will need to be convinced that you and your team have fully considered this.

It is intended that this route is only used where reducing the timescale will provide significant benefit, or exploitation of a narrow window of opportunity, for example:

  • where the application process adds significantly to the time taken to answer the research question;
  • when the study team have received previous funding from another funder, at an earlier stage, for the intervention being evaluated;
  • a pilot or feasibility study (which if positive would lead to an application to the EME Programme for a full study).
Should you decide that you would like to fast-track your application to a full proposal, you will need to discuss this with the EME secretariat initially. If it is agreed that the fast-track scheme is the most appropriate route, you will be provided with a link to access the full proposal web form.  The deadline for the submission of fast-track full proposals will be the same as that for outline applications.

Themed calls

The NIHR also issues cross-programme themed calls on an ad hoc basis. The themed call mode welcomes outline proposals in broad thematic areas prioritised for their public health importance.


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