Our approach to research funding

Carmel Hughes is Professor of Primary Care at the School of Pharmacy, Queen’s University Belfast, and a Trustee and Chair of the Dunhill Medical Trust’s Research Grants committee. Writing a grant can be daunting, especially if you’re not sure how grant committees work and what committee members are looking for in research applications. Carmel explains the steps and measures a committee goes through when deciding whether or not to fund a grant proposal. She also describes the numerous types of projects and Fellowships the DMT offers to early career researchers.

In her talk, Carmel provides a comprehensive overview of the DMT’s approach to research funding. She starts by covering the diverse types of research grants we offer, including seed funding, feasibility studies and intervention development, as well as PhD studentships and postdoctoral Fellowships co-funded with organisations such as the British Geriatric Society and the Royal National Institute for Deaf People.

Carmel then, step by step, walks through the application and review process, discussing how funding decisions are made. For example, committee members are looking to see whether an application aligns with DMT’s strategic framework, is of high scientific quality, adequately involves older people in the research, takes advantage of multidisciplinary collaboration and shows a commitment to equality and diversity. Deciding which applications are accepted is a big decision. Carmel ends her talk by explaining how committees make informed and fair decisions, highlighting the importance of peer review, impartiality, accountability, and managing conflicts of interest. 

Watch the recording

If you cannot see the embedded video below, then you can watch the recording on YouTube at this link.

Meet the speakers

Professor Carmel Hughes

Carmel Hughes is Professor of Primary Care at the School of Pharmacy, Queen’s University Belfast. She was the first pharmacist to have been appointed to a Harkness Fellowship in Healthcare Policy, the only pharmacist to receive a Primary Care Career Scientist Award and a former Cochrane Fellow. Her research interests centre on prescribing in older people, intervention development and evidence-based healthcare. She is an Editor for the Effective Practice and Organisation of Care (EPOC) Cochrane review group and Senior Editor for Pilot and Feasibility Studies. She has been a member of the United Kingdom (UK) Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 Sub-panel 3. She is currently a member of the International Scientific Council (ISC) of the Louvain Drug Research Institute (LDRI, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences External Advisory Board and the International Advisory Board of the School for Primary Care Research (funded by the National Institute for Health Research-NIHR). Carmel is a Trustee and Board Member of the Dunhill Medical Trust, a leading UK charity which funds research focusing on older people, a member of the NIHR Programme Grants for Applied Research Stage 2 Sub-Committee and a non-Executive Director of the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust.