Do you have a research idea?

First steps: idea to application
An idea for a research project can strike at any time - but people often get stuck at the "what to do next" stage. The following points are put together from comments and talks by funders and researchers.

Is it research?
If your study is a pure service evaluation​ and not research then you do not need to obtain local R&D approval. The best way to determine whether your study is research is to use the HRA website tool.

The website will give you a report at the end which tells you whether it is research or not. Please send a screen shot of the result to RM&S for our records.​

What to do first 

●      You will need to do a literature (background) search to find out what other research has been done in similar areas, or if the idea is for a new product/device, to find out what is already available. The library can provide training on literature searching, and can also conduct searches for you. 

●      Talk to colleagues about your idea - do they think it's worth doing?

●      You can also talk to patients (and or friends/family) informally about your idea - do they think it's worth doing? Patient and public involvement is needed for grant applications, and will need to be developed more as your application progresses.

●      Think about who you can collaborate with - if you are inexperienced in research, you will need to collaborate with more experienced people - these may be within or outside of MYHT. One of our experienced consultants advises potential new researchers to "lash yourself to the mast of a successful research ship".

●      Write down your ideas. Help is available, but if you want to be successful in research you will need to learn the skill of writing good applications

●      Think about who you will need to involve, and what you will need (funding, equipment)

●     If your idea is for a new device/product, do not talk to any commercial companies without first discussing with the Research Management & Support team (the company and you will have to sign non-disclosure agreements before discussions can take place). Contact


Clinical trials toolkit


Things to be aware of

  • It takes time to develop a good application, and only the very best get funded
  • You will need the right team in order to carry out any research; this is one of the key things funders look for.
  • Start small; there are local funding schemes available that allow you to undertake preliminary or feasibility work, or to backfill clinical time.
  • If you have an idea for a larger (and expensive) study, you will need to talk to experienced colleagues and get their help and advice - be aware that they may need to be the named Principal Investigator on large applications.
  • People who succeed are those who take time to prepare the application, get the right people involved (relevant expertise) and have regular team meetings to discuss the project. You should not be the only person to have seen your idea before applying for funding.