Wednesday, 21 December 2011

The call

Posted by Jean Adams

It’s Friday afternoon.  I am working at home and starting to go through the work-weekend transition.  Distracted by my twitter feed, I click through on a tweet from the National Institute for Health Research to their latest funding calls.  NIHR are one of the UK’s largest funders of health research and an important source of grants for developing and evaluating public health interventions.  But their application systems are notoriously long winded and each new application needs enthusiasm and stamina.  Obtaining an NIHR grant really is a marathon, not a sprint.
Geoffrey Mutai ran the fastest marathon ever in Boston 2011
As I wait for the page to load, I secretly hope there is not going to be anything remotely relevant to me.  I don’t need the extra work of another grant application right now.

I scan through the list of topics they are currently interested in.  Second on the list is “11/97 Parental incentives for increasingupdate of immunisations in pre-school children”.  As it’s Friday afternoon, my eyes and brain are beginning to disconnect.  I have to read the title of the call twice, but it really does say “incentives” not “interventions”.  I have just won a four yearfellowship to explore the use of financial incentives for health promotion, so incentives are my thing.  As I click through and wait for the details of the funding call to come up, I hope again that this is not going to be what I think it is.  I really don’t want to find something that I have to apply for.  My fellowship is starting next month and I want to get on with that, not get side-tracked by new grant applications.

The NIHR call is for work that is uncannily like the first 18 months of my fellowship programme.  They want an evidence synthesis of the effectiveness of incentive schemes for increasing uptake of childhood vaccinations.  Then some qualitative work exploring acceptability of this sort of incentive programme.  My fellowship doesn’t focus on childhood vaccinations, but it will start with an evidence synthesis of the effectiveness of health promoting financial incentives in general, followed by some qualitative work exploring acceptability.

My very first thought is to close the page and ignore it.  But I don’t.  I can’t.  I write a quick email to my incentives partner in crime asking if he’s seen the call and if he thinks we should go for it.

“Sure”, he messages back, “looks interesting and like we would be perfectly placed to deliver.  Let’s chat on Monday and get a team together.”

At least I still have my weekend.

No comments:

Post a comment