New Programme Director announced for NIHR Programme Grants for Applied Research

Elaine Hay Professor Elaine Hay has been appointed as the new Programme Director for National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Programme Grants for Applied Research (PGfAR).

Professor Hay is Professor of Community Rheumatology, Associate Dean for Research, Director of the Institute of Primary Care and Health Sciences, and Director of the Arthritis Research UK Primary Care Centre at Keele University.

NIHR PGfAR funds large, multidisciplinary programmes of research that will have practical benefits for patients and the NHS within three to five years.

Individual programmes consist of an interrelated group of high quality projects focused on a coherent theme, requiring multidisciplinary approaches such as clinical, health economics, statistics, qualitative and behavioural sciences.

This prestigious scheme is notable in its funding of NHS and academic partners to work together, addressing complex healthcare problems, in ways not always possible through other programmes.

Professor Hay said:

“I am honoured and excited by my appointment to the role of Director of the NIHR PGfAR scheme. I passionately believe that the best quality health care is delivered by organisations and individuals that are involved with research. I am particularly enthusiastic about the PGfAR programme, which, in my opinion, delivers research programmes that really improve health outcomes for patients.”

Professor Hay’s research focuses on investigating the efficacy and clinical effectiveness of non-pharmacological treatments for musculoskeletal pain and arthritis in primary care. Her research has contributed to national policies and international guidelines, and has influenced service redesign.

Professor Hay’s leadership roles include board membership of the NIHR School for Primary Care, UoA2 panel membership REF 2014, and Chair of Arthritis Research UK's Pain Clinical Studies Group. She is also an NIHR Senior Investigator.

Professor Hay’s priorities for the programme include developing and delivering a scientific strategy that addresses NHS England priorities and the major health challenges identified in the Futures of Health report and supporting applications that demonstrate a shift from the traditional disease-based approach to research to one that takes a broader, holistic perspective and works across clinical, organisational and professional boundaries.

Another key strategic priority for PGfAR under Prof Hay’s directorship will be to promote and support programmes that demonstrate novel research approaches to addressing applied health care questions. Professor Hay said: “I will welcome applications that, for example, use observational data and qualitative approaches to demonstrate patient benefit; employ public health and social care interventions to prevent the development, progression and impact of long term conditions; or use existing research data and routinely collected health care data to efficiently answer clinical questions.”

Professor Hay will succeed Professor Paul Little from 1st June 2018. Professor Hay said: “Professor Little’s leadership has, through supporting and facilitating applicants, succeeded in delivering programmes of the highest methodological quality, across a range of healthcare settings. I will strive to continue as Director by working with the research community to ensure potential applicants know how this funding stream works, are encouraged to take advantage of it, and benefit from the support available.”

PGfAR Competition 27 launches on Friday 1 June. Find out more and how to apply on the NIHR website.