Section 3: Types of application and application process

This page is currently being updated and for information only.

The first call for proposals


The first call for proposals will open on 9 May 2016. The deadline for receiving applications is 12.00 noon on 27 July 2016.


For this first call we are inviting applications for proposals relating to any of the 4 themes. These were briefly described above in Section 2 and are described in more detail in Annex 3.  This is because DRILL does not want to take for granted the priorities of disabled people just because we have already talked to some of you.  We want to know more about disabled people’s priorities. We think it is important that DRILL’s development is driven by the priorities of people ‘on the ground’, rather than by the Programme Board.


Before the second call for proposals (probably in April 2017), we will review the applications we received for this first round. We will engage with disabled people about the most important gaps to address next. This will help to narrow down and focus outcomes for applications in the second round. It’s likely that each year over the 4 years of the programme the project outcomes we will fund will become narrower and more tightly focused. All this will be done through engagement with disabled people.


Research projects and pilot projects


DRILL has funding to give to research projects and funding to give to pilot projects. Most of this document applies to both types of project, and both can be seen as forms of research. When we mean both we just refer to ‘projects’. But there are some differences. You will need to make clear in your application which type of project you are applying for.


The way we are defining the difference between the two types of project is as follows:


Research project: This is a project to find out about something, and develop new ideas and proposals about solutions that will have an impact, based on that evidence and findings the research produces.


Pilot project: DRILL pilot projects will test out ideas and proposals in real life. They are about putting into practice a potential solution. This is to see how well it actually works and whether things could be changed to make it work better. Often the ideas and proposals that would be piloted would first be identified through research.  So, if you are funded by DRILL to carry out research in this first round, you could then apply in a future round to carry out a pilot project to test out your findings. A pilot project could also be based on ideas and proposals arising from other research which is robust.  Exceptionally a pilot may involve just testing out a particularly strong new idea. This idea would need to be very well thought through. It would need to come up with a solution, or solutions, that will have an impact.


How much money we can award


There are three categories of grant:


  • Small research grants which can be up to a value of £40,000 each
  • Large research grants which can be up to a value of £100,000 each
  • Pilot projects which can be up to a value of £150,000 each


We have not made a decision about how many projects we will fund in this first round.  We are waiting to see how many applications we receive, what areas they cover and how good they are.


Application Process


There are two types of application you can make, depending on the type of project you are proposing:


  • Two stages: You can apply to DRILL through an application process that has 2 stages. All pilot projects and large research grant applications must be made this way.


If you want to apply using this process, you must send in your application for Stage 1 by the deadline of 27 July 2016 at 12.00 noon.


If your application is successful at Stage 1, you will then need to go through another stage. This will require you to make another application that gives more detail about your proposal.  You will know if your application is progressing to the second stage by the end of September 2016. We expect to be able to tell you the final outcome after Stage 2 by March 2017. This means the earliest your project could start should be by April 2017.


  • Fast Track: A Fast Track application is just for small research grants. The deadline for receiving Fast Track applications is also 27 July 2016 at 12.00 noon – the same deadline as for stage 1 applications. You will know if your application has been successful or not by the end of September 2016. This means the earliest your project could start would be November 2016.


What happens to your application


When we receive your DRILL application by the 27 July 2016 we will begin to look at it in depth.  This will take some time.  We do not know how many applications we will receive and we will need to consider each application in the same way so that we are fair. To do this we will use the assessment criteria which you can find in Section 4.


The DRILL Programme Officer will have the first look at your application and prepare a short report on your application that will be taken to your country’s National Advisory Group (NAG).  The NAG will use the assessment criteria and score your application alongside other applications received from your nation.


The NAG will come to a view about your application and make one of the following recommendations:


  • If your application is a Fast Track application should your project receive funding or not


  • If your application is a Stage 1 application should your project be invited to complete a Stage 2 application or not


The Central Research Committee (CRC) will receive all the recommendations from all four NAGs from Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England.  The CRC will review the recommendations of each of the NAGs and come to a decision about your application.


By the end of September 2016 you will know if your Fast Track application has been successful or not.  You will also know then if your Stage 1 application is being invited to progress to Stage 2.


What happens if you are successful


If you are successful with your Stage 1 application we will write to you by the end of September 2016 to tell you if you are being invited to now complete a Stage 2 application or not.  If you are not, we will tell you the reasons why.  If you are being invited to complete a Stage 2 application we will give you more information at this time.


If you are successful with your Fast Track application you will be told in writing by the end of September 2016.  Within two weeks of that letter you will receive a Letter of Offer and Terms and Conditions of your DRILL Grant.  Both documents will require you to confirm that you understand and agree to the content.   Before your grant commences you will need to sign and return the Letter of Offer.  The Programme Officer will work with you and be available to talk about the Letter of Offer and the Terms and Conditions.  If everything goes to plan, you will now be responsible for a DRILL Grant.  Your project can begin!


Your Letter of Offer and Terms and Conditions will form the basis of the responsibilities that having a DRILL Grant means.  This will include things like:


  • When your project will begin and end
  • How much money you are receiving as a grant and what it will be spent on
  • What will happen as a result of your project, how many people will be involved and in what way
  • How you will publish your findings and who you will share those with
  • How you intend to use the findings in the future


The Programme Officer will work with you throughout this time and beyond, providing help on behalf of the DRILL Programme.


DRILL will retain the ownership of intellectual property produced as a result of research or pilot projects funded by DRILL.  By this we mean that DRILL owns these and can make use of them.


There are a number of other things that you will need to do. A list of these is in the application form.


Support we can provide


What support Programme Officers can give you:

The Programme Officer for your country can help you with:


  • Providing any information produced by DRILL in accessible formats
  • Answering questions about DRILL, such as about the process of applying for a grant, what the themes and outcomes mean and do not mean, or how applications will be assessed, or explaining more about what we mean by terms like coproduction
  • Giving a general idea about the sorts of proposals that might get funding and things that probably will not. But they cannot say how likely it is that your particular proposal would get funding, unless it is certain that it definitely will not
  • Information about where to find good practice, or organisations, or potential partners that might be able to help with something if they do not know the answer themselves
  • Writing an agreement between all the partners about how they will work together (though this may come later, if you’re successful)
  • Support and advice when you are carrying out your project (if you are successful)


But Programme Officers can’t help you with:


  • Filling out the application form, unless it is to explain something you do not understand
  • Commenting on a draft of your application form to tell you how to make it stronger
  • Being a member of your partnership or, finding you partners, or being involved in developing your project


The Programme Officers for each country and how to get in touch is set out here.