Before you apply FAQs

We’ve pulled together answers to the most common questions we receive from Trust staff considering applying for a grant.

Can't find what you're looking for? Email our grants team at grants@imperialcharity.org.uk

General FAQs

What is a grant?

You can apply for funding from us to help improve patient care and staff experience within the Trust. This funding is awarded to you as a grant: a set amount of money you can spend, and do not have to pay back. You’ll just need to follow our Terms and Conditions when you accept it.

What funding is available?

We currently have four grants programmes you can apply to:

  • If you’re looking for funding to support a patient, check out our Patient hardship grants
  • If you’re looking for funding of up to £10,000 to improve patient care or staff wellbeing, check out our Small grants
  • If you’re looking for funding for research, check out our Research Fellowships
  • If you’re looking for funding for an innovative project to improve health and social care, check out our Innovate at Imperial grants

You can also see our Other Funding opportunities page for info on other funding that may be available.

How do I apply for a grant?

If you’re intending on applying for an Innovate at Imperial grant, you must first submit an Expression Of Interest (EOI). We’ll then let you know if we can invite you to make a full application. Visit the relevant programme webpage to find out how to access the relevant EOI form and when you can submit it.

If (and only if) you are invited to apply, you can then fill in an application via our online portal Flexigrant. We’ll let you know any relevant deadlines when we invite you.

If you’re applying for a Patient hardship grant or a Research Fellowship, you don’t need to submit an EOI, and can fill in an application via our online portal Flexigrant when you’re ready. You can apply for a Patient hardship grant at any time. Research Fellowships have one deadline per year – find out more here.

What is an EOI?

Our Expression of Interest (EOI) is a form we ask you to complete if you’d like to apply for a Small grant or Innovate at Imperial grant. It’s the first step to help us find out more about your project idea, so we can advise if we can provide support. Visit the relevant programme page to find out how to access the relevant form.

You should also complete an EOI form if you’re not sure which grant programme is most appropriate for your idea, or if you’d like to access a Special Purpose Fund. We’ll get back to you with further advice. The form you need for this can downloaded here.

Who can apply for a grant?

For most of our grants, you must be a permanent member of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust staff to apply.

Our Research Fellowships have different eligibility criteria. Please see the FAQ in the Research Fellowships section below.

What is Flexigrant?

Flexigrant is the online application system we use. Click here to access the homepage. You can then register for an account, or log in, and find the application forms for our grant programmes.

I’m having trouble with my Flexigrant account.

Follow this link to log in to your account. If you’ve forgotten your password, click the ‘Forgot Password?’ link on the bottom right of the page to be emailed a reset password link.

If you’re still having issues, please contact us.

I want to apply for a Patient hardship grant

Our most asked questions are answered below. More detailed information is available on our dedicated Patient hardship grant page.

Who can apply?

If you are a member of staff at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, then you can apply for a grant on behalf of your patient/their family.

We do not take applications directly from patients. If you are a patient in financial hardship because of your hospital treatment, please speak to a member of Trust staff in your healthcare team who can apply on your behalf.

How much can I apply for?

You can apply for up to £1,500, split across different types of costs. We’ve created this guidance to help you work out how much to apply for on behalf of your patient.

Can the grant be used to reimburse my patient/family member for costs they’ve already incurred?

The grant can only pay for items that are bought after the date of the award, except where we are paying for accommodation that had to be booked in an emergency. In that case we'll retrospectively reimburse the patient and/or family.

I can’t get my patient’s signature. Is this a problem?

Applications need to be signed by the patient to comply with the Data Protection Act 2018, and to give us consent to use their personal information to process their application. If the patient is unable to sign themselves, a ‘Responsible Other’ can sign on their behalf - for example, their parent or guardian, or partner. If you need to apply in an emergency, and aren’t able to obtain this signature, please contact us.

My patient doesn’t have a bank account. What can we do?

If the patient/family member doesn’t have a bank account to receive a BACS payment, we may be able to arrange for them to receive their grant in cash. This is done via the hospital’s cashier and can only be made in £100 instalments. You will need to collect the cash and pass it to the patient. Please contact us and we’ll advise if we can arrange this with you.

My patient needs their grant urgently. What can we do?

We aim to respond to an application within two working days. We then arrange payments fortnightly, as part of a fortnightly payment run. If the patient/family member is in an emergency situation and requires a quicker response to their application, please contact us and we’ll do our best to accommodate. We may also be able to arrange a faster payment, though this is only is excpetional circumstances and is not possible on Fridays.

How will my application be assessed?

Once you submit your application on Flexigrant, we’ll assess it within two working days. We’ll need to make sure your application’s eligible for support, meets our criteria and is reasonable. We'll also check it has the necessary signatures. We may need to ask you for more information, or to make an award that is different to what you’d applied for.

I want to apply for a Research Fellowship

Please see our FAQs below, and also visit our dedicated Research Fellowships page, where you can find more information and our detailed Guidance Notes and Sample Application Forms.

How does a fellowship work?

A fellowship means you can take time out of your substantive job role or training programme to complete a research project and develop your research skills.

Our fellowships are for you to collect sufficient pilot data to make you a strong PhD candidate, or for you to undertake further research and develop a proposals for an NIHR-supported clinical lecturer/senior lecturer post or similar award.

Our fellowships provide the funding for your salary and related research expenses. Your substantive position will need to be backfilled, or if you’re a doctor, you’ll need to arrange to be out-of-programme.

You’ll need to discuss any potential application with your Trust line manager, Divisional Research Manager and training programme director (where appropriate) to gain support for your application and organise the necessary arrangements in good time.

What are the two types of fellowship?

We have two types of fellowship:

  • A Pre-Doctoral Fellowship, for people who haven’t completed a PhD. You can apply if you're a medic or a healthcare professional outside of medicine (for example, a nurse, midwife, allied health professional, pharmacist, research practitioners, psychologists, and health scientists).
  • A Post-Doctoral Fellowship, for people who have completed a PhD. You can apply if you're a healthcare professional outside of medicine only.
Am I eligible to apply?

To apply for both types of fellowship, you need to be a UK resident. You also need an employment contract with Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust (ICHNT), noting that you currently deliver services for Trust patients. You need to be in position at the time of your application.

If you're employed by another NHS Trust but your Trust has a Service Delivery Agreement with ICHNT, you must demonstrate that you spend at least 80% of your work time at one of ICHT hospitals, and/or directly care for ICHT patients. Please email us before you apply, describing your current employment situation, so we can confirm your eligibility.

If you're employed by Imperial College only, you are not eligible to apply. Past and current academic clinical fellows are also not eligible.

We know that working arrangements can be complicated, and endeavour to assess eligibility on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us if you have any queries, so we can provide you with tailored advice.

Please note that Post-Doctoral Fellowships are open to healthcare professionals outside of medicine only.

Am I able to undertake a fellowship part-time?

Yes. Your fellowship can be up to 12 months (carrying out your fellowship at 1 WTE) or up to 24 months (carrying out your fellowship at min 0.5 WTE).

What costs can I include in my application?

The funding covers your basic salary plus on-costs (London weighting, superannuation, employer’s NIC) and related research expenses for the duration of your fellowship.

Please see our Guidance Notes on our Research Fellowship page for a detailed table of costs that can and can't be supported.

For any items over £250, you need to attach relevant quotes to your application form. You must ensure you understand and comply with the Trust's Procurement Strategy or the College's Purchasing Regulations, especially for items that cost £5,000 or over. More information can be found on the Trust or College intranet, and your relevant Purchasing department will be able to support you.

Is support available to help me with my application?

We recommend you reach out to the following key contacts if you’d like support:

  • If you work in Nursing and Midwifery

Professor Mary Wells, Lead Nurse for Research, mary.wells5@nhs.net,

  • If you’re an allied health professional

Dr Caroline Alexander, Lead Clinical Academic for Therapies, caroline.alexander1@nhs.net

  • If you’re a medic

Professor Jeremy Levy, Director of Clinical Academic Training, cato@imperial.ac.uk,

All applicants are advised to discuss applications with the Divisional Research Managers, who are here to help:

CATO run an annual series of events to support applications for research funding, including ‘Preparing for a Pre-Doctoral application’ and ‘Academic Opportunities for doctors’. Find out more here.

You can also contact us at any point, and we’ll offer any help/signpost you to the right place.

If successful, when would I be able to start my fellowship?

You usually have up to six months to start your fellowship. You’ll need to arrange your back-fill or your out-of-programme request. Our fellows usually start in September/October.

Why do I need to back-fill my current post?

Back-fill for your current post needs to be arranged so that service delivery to patients is not compromised when you take time out for your fellowship. Back-filling ensures your role and responsibilities are covered by someone else, and that you can return to your post when you complete your fellowship.

If successful, will I be able to postpone the award?

We encourage you to apply only if you intend to start your fellowship in the financial year advertised. This is an annual fellowship funding programme.

In exceptional circumstances we can delay the fellowship, but this is not guaranteed, and you must notify us of any disruption as soon as possible.

My out-of-programme request requirements are restrictive. Can I still apply?

We are aware that some out-of-programme requests for doctors in training have different timelines to the length of the application process. Please inform us before you begin your application if there’ll be an issue for you to take up a fellowship within the financial year of the application round.

What can I do if my circumstances change?

If you apply, and your circumstances change during the assessment process or after you're successful, you must inform us as soon as possible. We aim to be as flexible as possible.

Your grant cannot be used to pay for maternity leave, paternity leave or long-term sick leave. These matters lie with your employer. We can issue a no-cost extension to extend your fellowship or to pause it for a limited period if necessary.

Can I resubmit my application if it is unsuccessful?

We do allow unsuccessful applicants to reapply to future grant rounds, as long as the proposal is significantly different from your previous application and takes into consideration the feedback provided by the Research Fellowship Committee.

I have funding pending/secured from elsewhere. Can I still apply?

We ask all applicants to be as transparent as possible during the application process. If you have submitted an application elsewhere, please detail this in your application and when you expect to receive notification of the outcome. Please notify us immediately if you receive notification of an award in order to withdraw/decline your application to us. If you’ve already secured funding from elsewhere you should not apply.

Can I combine this fellowship funding with other funding I have from another funder?

Please email us before you apply, detailing your situation as clearly as possible. We will then advise you accordingly.

We do not supplement existing grants (whether the grant is from the charity or elsewhere). Our fellowship funding must include your salary and related research expenses. Applications are considered independently, and funding must not be dependent on another funding source.

If I am successful, what are the reporting requirements?

You’ll need to submit an End of Grant report when you complete your project, and we may ask you to complete a Progress Report as you go along. Additionally, we ask you to complete an annual Post-Fellowship Report for up to three years after you’ve completed your fellowship. Find out more about our Reporting here.

How do the finances work?

After you’re awarded a fellowship, the relevant finance department at the Trust will give you a cost centre code and an account code. (If you plan to carry out the bulk of your research at the College, the relevant finance team there will give you a funding code). You’ll make any purchases/code any spending against these codes. The Trust/College will then invoice us quarterly and in arrears, and this spending will be reimbursed.

How will my application be assessed?

Applications are scored across four categories by our Research Fellowship Committee:

  • Quality of the applicant
    Have you produced a clear and coherent proposal, showing attention to detail in response to all questions? Have you clearly presented your personal qualifications and experience, and the relevance of these to the proposed area of research? Have you allocated a sufficient number of hours per month to achieve the project aims?
  • Quality of the project
    Does the project seem sufficiently important with regard to number of potential beneficiaries, the research being conducted and alignment to charity/BRC strategic objectives? Have you presented measurable aims and identified significant outcomes? Is your project achievable in the time given? Are your costings well thought through and reasonable? Have you presented a sound methodology?
  • Quality of the supervisor(s)
    Have you provided a convincing case for the choice of supervisor(s)? Have the supervisor(s) allocated sufficient hours to oversee the project? Are the qualifications and experience of the named supervisor(s) satisfactory in relation to the project?
  • Quality of long-term career plans
    Have you made a good case for the importance of this fellowship to your future career? Have you provided/identified a clear long-term pathway for your career? When addressing questions in the application form regarding your career goals, it is important to demonstrate how the fellowship position will support your progression on a clinical academic career path. The committee wishes to see a clear and considered response to taking on future study. This should be reflected both in response to your personal career pathway and the future development of your area of research.

​​​​​​​

I want to apply for an Innovate at Imperial grant

Please see our FAQs below, and also visit our dedicated Innovate at Imperial page, where you can find more information and our detailed Guidance Notes and Sample Application Form.

What is innovation?

Innovation is about doing things differently or doing new things to make a positive change. This includes testing or transferring ideas from one setting to another to improve health and social care delivery. It could be a novel drug, device, app, model of care, set of behaviours or way of working that is directed at improving outcomes, efficiency or experience. These innovations can range from incremental to radical.

Your Innovate at Imperial proposal must demonstrate the potential impact of your project on improving the safety and quality of patient care within a service, and evidence the need for funding to explore the feasibility of these proposed changes. 

Am I eligible to apply?

Applications are welcome from any permanent member of staff at ICHT. You can be from any staff group.

Please note: you’re not eligible if you hold an honorary Trust contract only.

You can only be involved in one application – whether you’re the lead applicant or a co-applicant. If you’ve already been awarded an Innovate at Imperial grant, you can’t apply again until you’ve completed your current project.

Is my project eligible for funding?

To be eligible for Innovate at Imperial funding, your project must:

  • relate to one or more of Imperial Health Charity’s strategic objectives
  • develop and test innovative approaches to improve health and social care (this includes hospital processes, staff wellbeing, patient safety or patient care)
  • address a problem that is concise, defined and measurable
  • describe fully the evidence underpinning the problem
  • identify and describe the most appropriate methodology for delivery and include a robust evaluation plan (for an example of methodology, see the Trust’s QI resources)
  • accelerate progress (rather than supplement funding for established work)
  • be delivered within a realistic budget and timescale, including set-up and evaluation phases
  • be delivered within an 18-month period
  • provide a rationale for disseminating results or plans to scale the innovation
  • be team-led.

We will not consider applications:

  • that are scientific and/or medical bench-based research
  • that supplement a fellowship or active research
  • if you and your team have previously been awarded an Innovate at Imperial grant.

This is not exhaustive however, which is why you must first submit our online Expression of Interest form. From there, we’ll be able to understand your project idea and provide further advice. If we can, we’ll then formally invite you to apply.

What is the application process?

There is one call for applications each year, and two stages to the application process.

First, we’ll ask you to submit an Expression of Interest form via our online system Flexigrant, so we can determine if your proposal is eligible, or if we can direct you to alternative sources of funding. If you are shortlisted, you’ll be invited to submit a full onlinw application. Applications will then be assessed by our Innovate at Imperial Review Panel.

Deadlines are published on our dedicated Innovate at Imperial webpage.

Is support available to help me with my application?

We can offer support with your application. Please email us and we’ll redirect your query to the most appropriate person within the charity or within the Trust's Strategy, Research and Innovation team.

What costs can I include in my application?

Our funding can cover:

  • a new role, including salary and superannuation, London weighting and employer's NIC
  • focus group costs, including room hire and refreshments (provided these are not excessive)
  • reasonable travel within Greater London for the project team members to attend meetings with north west London partners
  • reasonable volunteer expenses and/or consumable costs for PPI studies
  • reasonable open access publication costs.

Please see the Guidance Notes on our Innovate at Imperial webpage for a detailed table of costs that can and cannot be supported.

For any items over £250, you need to attach relevant quotes to your application form.

You must ensure you understand and comply with the Trust's Procurement Strategy or the College's Purchasing Regulations. More information can be found on the Trust or College intranet, and your relevant Purchasing department will be able to support you.

How do the finances work?

After you’re awarded a grant, the relevant finance department at the Trust will give you a cost centre code and an account code. (If you plan to carry out the bulk of your research at the College, the relevant finance team there will give you a funding code). You’ll make any purchases/code any spending against these codes. The Trust/College will then invoice us quarterly and in arrears, and this spending will be reimbursed.

How will my application be assessed?

Applications are scored across four categories by our Innovate at Imperial Review Panel:

  • IHC’s strategic objectives
    Does the project meet one or more of the Charity’s strategic objectives?
  • Quality of application/project
    Does the project address a problem that is concise, defined and measurable? Is the need for the project sufficiently evidenced? Is the timeliness of need clearly described? Will the project, in concrete ways, accelerate progress to develop and/or test an innovative approach to improve health and social care, that could include hospital processes, patient safety, or patient care? Does the project demonstrate wide consultation? Is the project outward looking and/or have intersectoral ambitions? Have the necessary ethical and/or internal approvals been identified and/or secured? Does the project have high probability of being sustained after Charity funding has ended? Does the project have appropriate dissemination activities?
  • Appropriate measures and success criteria
    Is the project’s timescale realistic? Have appropriate measures been included and are they SMART? Is the proposed evaluation approach fit for purpose; will it be able to show that the project has been a success? Is the proposed evaluation approach proportionate to the grant request?
  • Value for money
    Are project costs reasonable? Are the project benefits commensurate with the grant request? ​​​​​
Can I resubmit my application if it is unsuccessful?

If you’re unsuccessful the first time round, we’ll provide you with feedback from our Innovate at Imperial Review panel. Depending on the feedback, you may be invited to resubmit at the next round.

If I'm successful, when would I be able to start my project?

You have six months to activate your grant, by submitting your Grant Start Certificate and confirming your Grant Start Date and End Date. You'll need to comply with any conditions before starting your project and spending any of your grant. You must complete your project within 18 months of starting it.

If I'm successful, what are the reporting requirements?

You’ll need to submit an End of Grant report when you complete your project, and we may ask you to complete a Progress Report as you go along. Additionally, we reserve the right to request post-award reporting for up to three years after you’ve completed your project. Find out more about our Reporting here.

Key resources

Patient hardship grants

Check our guidance to help you work out how much to apply for on behalf of your patient.​​​​​​

Click here to see our workflow showing how these grants work, from application to payment

Click here to access the online application form

 

Research Fellowships

Use these links to download our RF resources:

Pre-Doc Guidance Notes

Pre-Doc Sample Application

Post-Doc Guidance Notes

Post-Doc Sample Application

Click here to see our workflow showing how these grants work, from application to payment

Access the online application form on Flexigrant here

Innovate at Imperial grants

Visit our online portal Flexigrant to complete your Expression of Interest

Click here to download our Guidance Notes

Click here to download our Sample Application Form

Click here to see our workflow showing how these grants work, from application to payment