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Methodology Underpinning Patient Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs)

The MRC, through the MRC-NIHR Methodology Research Programme (MRP), wishes to develop a portfolio of research aimed at improving the methodology underpinning the application and evaluation of PROMs in health research and health care decision making.


PROMs are an assessment of health status and health-related quality of life that comes directly from the patient. Lord Darzi's NHS Next Stage Review indicates that they will be increasingly used in the evaluation of health care technologies and healthcare services, and they also contribute to regulatory decision making. Ensuring the validity and robustness of PROMs is therefore vital in enabling these measures to have maximum impact on research outcomes and health care decision making.

PROMs were also identified as an area of specific interest to the UK Office for Strategic Co-ordination for Health Research (OSCHR) methodology work stream, which the Medical Research Council (MRC) leads on behalf of the OSCHR partnership. The MRC-NIHR Methodology Research Panel is the main oversight mechanism for MRC activities in methodology research.

As an initial scoping exercise to developing a programme of research in this area, MRC organised a workshop in January 2009 aimed at engaging the UK research community and key stakeholders in outlining the research opportunities and key priorities for UK PROMs research (Workshop report).


Highlight Notice

Based on the key issues to emerge from the workshop in January 2009, the MRP wishes to support high quality, investigator-led, methodological PROMs research through a Highlight Notice. In particular, and in line with the key research issues and decision-makers needs identified in the workshop report, the MRC wishes to encourage methods development research aimed at

  • improving the generation and validation of PROMs
  • improving the interpretation and evaluation of PROMs


PLEASE NOTE: This highlight notice will not support applications focused on the generation of new PROMs or the modification of existing PROMs. Only research applications which focus on the development of novel methods will be encouraged.

In accordance with the remit of the MRP, applications should focus not on the application of existing research methods, but specifically support PROMs methods development research where the proposed outputs are generalisable beyond an individual case study and where methods development is the primary purpose of the research.


Application process and schedule

The titles of all applications in response to this highlight should be prefixed with HPRO: when filling out the JES form, and on any attachments, e.g. “HPRO: A method for…”


  • All applications must be approved by the Methodology Theme Lead prior to submission.

Contact: Dr David Crosby


Applications are invited through the normal MRC funding schemes and will be considered at the regular MRP Panel meetings. These will be in competition with other applications received, but the Panel will be mindful of the strategic importance of this area Click here for details on available grants.


Contact and guidance

It is essential to discuss your proposals with MRC Head Office at an early stage, please contact:

Contact: Dr David Crosby


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