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Researcher Guidance for Public Health and Social Care Excess Treatment Costs (ETCs)


01 December 2018


v5 June 2022



The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and NIHR are piloting interim arrangements for the year beginning 1 April 2022 to support non-NHS Excess Treatment Costs (ETCs) for research into public health and social care (non-NHS intervention costs). A longer term policy is currently being developed for 1 April 2023 onwards, but all funding decisions made during this interim period will remain unaffected. This replaces the previous arrangements for supporting public health intervention costs managed by Public Health England (PHE).

Whilst it is expected that as a matter of principle the organisation responsible for commissioning the service being researched should pay intervention costs or provide equivalent resources, where this has not been possible public health and social care research studies funded by non-commercial funders may be eligible for support from DHSC. Please direct any queries about available funding and eligibility to the relevant NIHR Programme.

Excess Treatment Costs are defined as the difference between treatment costs and the costs of existing standard treatment. For the purposes of this guidance, non-NHS ETCs are interventions or services that are outside of the remit of the NHS (generally Local Authority commissioned) and not covered by existing arrangements for payment by service commissioners.


The role of the NIHR Local Clinical Research Network (LCRN)

Support with the submission of the full funding application

The research lead will need to make contact with the LCRN when the research funder has invited them to submit a full funding application. A lead LCRN based in the study lead’s geographical area will provide support for multicentre studies.

The LCRN will assign an AcoRD Specialist to support the research Sponsor with the completion of the Schedule of Events Cost Attribution Tool (SoECAT). The SoECAT captures details of the activities undertaken in the research study to allow cost attribution. It must be signed off by the AcoRD specialist and submitted alongside all applications for new single stage calls and invitations to submit a final application.

Support when funding has been awarded

When research funding has been awarded the LCRN can help with inclusion of the research onto the NIHR portfolio and arrange for provision of ongoing support in line with DHSC eligibility criteria.

If ETCs have been identified for the study, once funding has been successfully secured the AcoRD Specialist will submit the SoECAT and accompanying documentation to the NIHR Clinical Research Network Coordinating Centre (CRN CC) Triage Team for review to determine the majority commissioner responsible for funding the ETCs.

The commissioner is dependent upon the service under study. Once the Triage process is complete, a commissioning decision email will be issued, and the study record will be updated in the NIHR Central Portfolio Management System (CPMS) to reflect this.

The process for applying for ETC support for public health and social care research studies

When the research funder has confirmed the award and the commissioning decision has been determined as non-NHS Public Health and Social Care following ETC Triage, the research lead will need to complete the DHSC non-NHS ETC funding application form if they wish to apply for DHSC funding.

The grant award letter, protocol, SoECAT and DHSC non-NHS ETC funding application form will be attached to the commissioning decision email copied to DHSC. Once completed, the research lead will need to submit the application form to DHSC for review.

For further queries and guidance please email in the first instance.

Useful links

SoECAT templates