The Government's investment in health research in England is channelled through the Department via its Policy Research Programme and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and the Medical Research Council. Their usual practice is not to ring-fence funds for expenditure on particular topics: research proposals in all areas compete for the funding available. Each organisation welcomes applications for support into any aspect of human health and these are subject to peer review and judged in open competition, with awards being made on the basis of the scientific quality of the proposals made.
NIHR programmes identify and prioritise topics for research taking account of the views of those who work in, manage and develop policy for the national health service and of patients and the public. The NIHR website (www.nihr.ac.uk) provides an overview of the institute's role and functions and detailed descriptions of its various funding streams.