What is pharmacy research?
We believe that pharmacists have a hugely important role to play in managing health needs and improving the health of people across the UK. And we also believe that high-quality research exploring the way in which pharmacy and pharmacists can do this is central to driving those improvements.
For this reason we fund research exploring pharmacy and the work of pharmacists. This could be looking at the work of community pharmacists, particular medication combinations in hospitals, the role of pharmacy in primary care – anywhere where pharmacists are working. Our research could be looking at the role and responsibilities of pharmacists, or the detail of specific medicine safety issues in oncology. Whatever the subject, it will be driven by ensuring that there is a robust evidence-base within pharmacy, and research that can help enhance the contribution pharmacists make to the health of the nation. This is what we mean by pharmacy research.
Are you a charity?
Yes, PRUK is a charity. This means that all our activity has to be designed to deliver our mission and charitable goals. These were set out when we were first established and registered with the Charity Commission – you can find out a bit more about this here: https://beta.charitycommission.gov.uk/charity-details?regid=1148335&subid=0
Our Board of Trustees have overall responsibility for our work, including setting our strategy and ensuring that we are meeting our objectives. You can find out more about our Trustees here: http://pharmacyresearchuk.org/about-us/our-trustees/
And you can find our strategy, which sets out how we are working to meet our charitable goals, here: http://pharmacyresearchuk.org/our-research/research-strategy/
The Trustees employ a small staff team (currently three people, one full-time and two part-time) to manage the charity’s activity and grant portfolio, and we have an expert Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) to advise us and ensure we are following the very best practice in academic research. You can find out about our staff team here: http://pharmacyresearchuk.org/about-us/our-team/
And our Scientific Advisory Panel here: http://pharmacyresearchuk.org/about-us/our-scientific-advisory-panel/
We are proud to be a member of the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC), which means we adhere to best practice in assessing applications for research funding in a fair and robust manner, and work closely with other charities to deliver the highest standard of research.
Where do you get your funding from?
Pharmacy Research UK was set up back in 2012 when a number of different trusts all funding elements of pharmacy research agreed to pool their resources. The largest of these was part of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) and so led by them a new, independent charity called Pharmacy Research UK was set up, and all the previous organisations disbanded and put their resources into the new organisation. The resources that were transferred over when we were set up are still what we use to fund our research now. Those funds are managed for us by an investment company, in line with an ethical investment policy agreed by our Trustees, and we use this to fund research and pay for our activities. You can find out more about our finances in our Annual Report and Accounts, which we submit to the Charity Commission every year, and publish here: https://apps.charitycommission.gov.uk/Showcharity/RegisterOfCharities/CharityWithoutPartB.aspx?RegisteredCharityNumber=1148335&SubsidiaryNumber=0
Do you accept donations?
We definitely do! We are fortunate that the investment that we maintain allows us to continue funding a baseline of research each year. However additional funding can help us to have so much more impact. We work with partners who generously match-fund our awards so we can increase our impact, and have been fortunate to receive support from organisations like the Leverhulme Trust, who have funded hugely successful grant programmes for us. As our investment allows us to cover our core costs any donations can be targeted directly at specific research programmes and can make a massive difference.
Are you part of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society?
No, PRUK is a separate, independent charity. We are very grateful to have desk space in the RPS’s offices, and we have always had very strong ties with the RPS, but we have a separate staff team, separate governance and separate funding. We work closely with the team at the RPS to make sure that we are focusing on the right issues and offering the support that pharmacists need, but our work is guided by our charitable objectives and our trustee board.
What sort of research do you fund? Do you fund drug development and trials?
We don’t fund drug development or trials. We only fund applied and translational research, rather than basic science. The research we support is very specifically focused on the work of pharmacists and how they can improve the health of the nation. We’ve funded research across a huge range of different areas, all aimed at investigating and improving how pharmacists can deliver the best possible impact for patients. This can range from exploring the specifics of the safe use of particular medications, to the design of pharmacies to improve patient experiences. You can find more about the sort of research we have funded here: http://pharmacyresearchuk.org/our-research/our-projects/.
Do you have to be a pharmacist to apply for research funding?
Some of our awards are specifically targeted for pharmacists, but not all. We run ‘developmental’ awards which are aimed at supporting more pharmacists to get involved in research and build the pharmacy research workforce of the future. These developmental awards are specifically for pharmacists, but we do run other awards that are open to any researcher to apply. Many of our project and partnership awards are open to other health service researchers, as long as the focus of that research is on pharmacy and how it can help improve public health.
Do you only fund research in the UK?
Our grants are limited to research led from the UK. We have funded research involving international partners, or with an international element to the focus of the research, but to receive funding it needs to be supporting a UK pharmacist to develop their research skills, and / or supporting pharmacy in the UK to improve patient outcomes. Some researchers may work in partnership with other international institutions, but the work would need to be led from within the UK to receive funding. We will only contract with a UK based institution.
When do you run your funding calls?
Currently, we launch our annual developmental award round in January, with a deadline in April. Alongside this we work with partner organisations and run other awards in line with their timelines – for example, we are partnering with Diabetes UK in 2019 to offer a pharmacy focused research award. That award will be processed through Diabetes UK’s grant round running from December to June. You can keep an eye on our website, or our social media pages, or sign up to our newsletter, to ensure you get all the info about our awards.
What are your funding priorities and how do you decide who gets funding?
Guided by our charitable objectives and discussions with stakeholders we set a research strategy highlighting some key priority areas. You can find more information on this in our research strategy here: http://pharmacyresearchuk.org/our-research/research-strategy/
Applications should show how they fit within those priority areas, but they will then go through a rigorous assessment process to ensure fair, open and robust funding decisions are made. Generally for research projects this will include external peer review, assessment through our Scientific Advisory Panel, interviews with applicants and a final funding ratification from our Board of Trustees.
How much funding do you award each year?
The amount we are able to offer each year varies depending on the applications we receive, and the partnerships we have in each year. For 2020 we’re currently estimating that we’ll be awarding around £275,000 of new research awards, and much of this will have matched funding from our partners.
How do I find out if I’m eligible for funding?
Each of our calls will give full details of how to apply, who is eligible and what sort of research falls within the remit of our funding. Some of our partnership awards have specific criteria, for example, to apply for our joint award with the College of Mental Health Pharmacy (CMHP) you would need to be a member of the CMHP. For our joint award with Diabetes UK, you need to meet the criteria set out in the Diabetes UK grant policy, and need to be delivering pharmacy research related to diabetes.
You can look at the application details for all of the awards in our research pages here: http://pharmacyresearchuk.org/for-researchers/personal-awards-2/.