Credit Union.

The ‘credit union’: New help to fund Service user and carer involvement in research bids

Health and Social Care research bids are much more likely to be well designed and successful if service users or carers are involved from the very beginning. In the past it has been difficult to find funding to involve service users or carers in bids. But now there are two different ways you may be able to obtain funding for such early involvement.
For bids involving NHS partners and planned to be submitted to National Institute for Health Research funding streams (and Research for Patient Benefit in particular), the Research Design Service may provide funding for service user and carer involvement. Please contact the RDS on 01823 342792 or
For other bids, the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences has established a new ‘credit union’ scheme. A budget has been identified and members of HLS staff can request up to £250 per project to fund service user payments and expenses. Anyone drawing on the scheme is then expected to put a budget line for the credit union into their subsequent bid to external funders. The credit union budget line is expected to reflect approximately one half of one percent of the total budget of the bid, thus for a £100,000 bid the budget line for the credit union would be £500. Successful bids will therefore replenish the credit union funds to a slightly greater extent than their initial ‘loan’ to offset the inevitable unsuccessful bids which will return nothing to the fund. An application form is available here.
Some researchers have asked for guidance on payment rates for involving service users and carers. The Steering Group’s practice is to pay the visiting lecturers’ meeting rate (currently £19.57/hour) which includes reading and preparation time.
Contact Fiona Earlam on tel: 0117 32 88556 or email: for more information.