Pilot Project Grants

We believe that excellent research underpins clinical best practice. HIS runs a pilot scheme which aims to encourage clinical researchers to formulate and refine a hypothesis in the form of a preliminary project. Proposals must show an understanding of the clinical practice of infection prevention and control directly relate to nosocomial infections. 

  • Total funding available: £10,000 pa
  • Maximum size of award: £5,000
  • Duration: 0.5 - 2 years
  • Minimum size of award: £500
  • Availability: two awards per year
  • PI must be UK or Ireland based


The submission deadline for the HIS Pilot Project Grant Scheme for 2023 has now closed


Frequently asked questions

Am I eligible?

All HIS members, who have been members for a minimum of 2 consecutive years are eligible to apply to this fund and awardees may re-apply once every 3 years.  Where the Primary applicant is a novice researcher they must be supported by an experienced co-investigator. Where the Primary applicant is not clinically active, a Co-Investigator should be appointed who is actively involved in healthcare infection prevention and control, as  per the Society’s terms and conditions. Applications must be from non-commercial research organisations and applicants must be public sector employees.

What type of project would be funded?

The scheme can be used to:

  • Fund small (local) pilot research projects to answer well-defined and concise IPC/HCAI questions.
  • Create proof of principle data to underpin external applications for additional funding
  • Build new collaborations between clinicians and researchers
  • Provide access to funds for hypothesis testing
  • Encourage innovative and interdisciplinary research in infection prevention and control
  • Build consortia for specific funding calls


Restrictions: Funding is not available:

  • For the commercial exploitation of work already being undertaken, or intellectual property protection;
  • For studentships or fee waivers for students;
  • For equipment purchase only
  • To purchase contracted-out services
  • For indirect and estates costs
  • As start-up funds for new staff
  • As honorarium payments to visitors or fees for undertaking teaching
  • To buy-out PI staff time

Please see 'How to apply' for the scoring criteria related this this scheme.

What costs do you fund?


We will only pay the direct costs of research at UK and Irish Universities.
The UK higher education funding bodies provide funding for directly allocated and indirect costs associated with charity-funded research.
In England, this funding is called the Charity Research Support Fund. Similar funding is provided by the Scottish Funding Council, Higher Education Funding Council for Wales and the Northern Ireland government.  Higher Education Authority block grants support research costs within the Republic of Ireland.

Research costs in the NHS

For research conducted within the NHS, we follow AcoRD principles for non-commercial studies available here
For non-commercial studies the normal funding arrangements for research, NHS Treatment and NHS Support costs are:

  • Research Costs - are usually met by grant funders through the award of a research grant. However, there are some specific research activities where, in England, the costs will be met by the Department of Health.
  • NHS Treatment Costs - met through the normal commissioning process.
  • NHS Support Costs - met from the R&D budget by the Health Departments of the United Kingdom.

Areas for expenditure within a project may include:

  • Purchase of equipment which is necessary for the pilot project activities
  • Consumables, where these are solely and necessarily used for the pilot project
  • Employment of casual staff (including summer students provided the project results do not form part of their thesis), where it can be shown this is the most effective way to undertake the work.
  • Contribution towards the involvement of a research nurse
  • Support for alternative modes of developing research projects such as networks, away days or sandpits.

Costs may be requested for materials and consumables, travel and subsistence directly-related to the project and directly-incurred staffing costs. Grant funds are not intended for significant capital expenditure, but requests for modest capital equipment funding may be considered (on a case by case basis), where appropriate.  Requests for travel, accommodation and subsistence costs should be guided by the Society’s travel and expenses policy. Costs should be explained in the Justification of Resources and all expenditure items must be purchased by the host institution.

Scoring Criteria

The application must:

  • Address current and important clinical problems that lead to an improvement in patient outcomes
  • Demonstrate clear pathways to achieve outputs required by HIS e.g. attracting external funding or the potential to create demonstrable impact to the patient.
  • Build upon clinical observations and use innovation in research or clinical practice
  • Offer comprehensive justification of the funds requested.
Score Assessment
0 -3 This proposal is scientifically or technically flawed
4 -7 This proposal does not meet one or more of the assessment criteria, or is a request for funding outside of the scheme remit
8 - 11 This proposal meets all assessment criteria but with clear weaknesses
12-15 This is a good proposal that meets all assessment criteria but with minor weaknesses
16-20 This is a strong or very strong proposal that broadly meets all assessment criteria
How to apply

Your application must be reviewed and approved by your host organisation. The application and terms and conditions require signatures from an authorised authority within your institution who undertakes financial management of award, in addition to a Director of Research, Dean of Medicine or equivalent.
Applications must be sent to grants@his.org.uk

The following items must be included in your application:

  • Completed application form (including signatures)
  • Abridged 2 page C.Vs for all applicants
  • Letters of support
  • Ethics applications and risk assessments
  • Terms and conditions signed by all applicants

Application forms and terms and conditions are available below.

Next steps:

  • Applications will be triaged for completeness, eligibility and fit to the HIS remit.
  • Applications will be sent the Research Committee for peer review, who will meet to discuss the applications.
  • The Research Committee will make a recommendation to the HIS Council regarding the proposal to fund.
  • All remaining applicants will be notified of the outcome.


Project management and monitoring

The following Conditions of Funding are absolute and apply in all cases unless otherwise stated:

Reporting on project outcomes

Successful applicants are required to report on project outcomes (including publications and follow-on funding). Failure to report the outcomes of your project may result in your department being ineligible to receive HIS funding in the future. 

In line with the Society’s terms and conditions, publications resulting from the research must be submitted to the Journal of Hospital infection for first refusal.  Grant holders will be required to acknowledge HIS funding in oral and poster presentations, and may be asked to present at a HIS meeting or conference.

Research Integrity

Projects are supported on the understanding that all applicants are familiar with the MRC’s policies and guidance on research ethics and research integrity and that the PI has taken ethical considerations into account in the project design, and has or will receive relevant formal ethical review and sign-off by  the relevant research ethics committee and governance committees  (and any relevant external committees), prior to the commencement of the research. The responsibility for identifying and responding to ethical considerations, referring them for review, and securing approval before the research commences lies with the PI: failure to do so can constitute misconduct.


Projects should be completed within 24 months of the grant start date.  Grant holders may apply for a no cost extension in line with the Society’s terms and conditions.   

Please note: COVID-related research should completed within 12 months of the project commencement date. Please email HIS Research, Awards and Evidence Manager at grants@his.org.uk with further questions.

Example timeline

Timescales / deadlines



Funding stream announced

By 1 February 

Application received

Late March- April

Applications received in February assessed at Committee meeting


Award allocation

By October 

Project must start

By end of October following year

Funding to be spent