Clinical research using NHS resources

Researchers applying for funding to do clinical research in the UK need to complete a Schedule of Events Cost Attribution Tool (SoECAT) to be eligible for the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) portfolio and the support this provides.

Who needs to complete a SoECAT 

You must complete a SoECAT if:

  • you’re applying for clinical research funding, and
  • you will do your research in the UK, and
  • your research will use NHS resources, and
  • your research needs Health Research Authority approval.

If you meet these criteria, you must complete a SoECAT even if you don't think your clinical research will involve excess treatment costs (ETCs).

You do not need to complete a SoECAT if your research will take place outside the UK.

How to complete a SoECAT 

These are the steps you need to take when you apply for a Wellcome grant that includes clinical research.

  • Contact your local AcoRD specialist through your Study Support Service as early as possible in the application process. They can give advice on completing the SoECAT and provide a bespoke service to meet the needs of your study. There are different ways to contact a specialist, depending on where you are in the UK: 
  • Complete an online SoECAT. Excel versions of the form have been discontinued. If you don't have an account for NIHR's Central Portfolio Management System (CPMS) you will need create and activate one. See the user guide for instructions.
  • Request authorisation of your SoECAT.
  • When you have authorisation, send us the 'study information' and 'summary' pages from your SoECAT form as a single PDF with your completed grant application. We may ask for the full form later in the application process.
  • If we award you a grant you must upload a copy of your award letter to CPMS. In England, very expensive ETCs may need further assessment by an NHS panel.

Why you need to do this 

The SoECAT makes sure that costs are attributed:

  • in line with the AcoRD framework
  • consistently across the UK.

In England the tool also supports how ETCs are agreed and paid.

ETCs occur when patient care costs are higher in research than in routine care. The SoECAT is part of an agreed system paying ETCs, which reduces delays in research. 

In England, the service commissioner (for example the NHS or a local authority) is responsible for paying ETCs for non-commercial research.

More information 

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