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45 Learnings from a portfolio analysis of the UK’s two largest palliative and end of life care research funders
  1. Kay Lakin1,
  2. Sabine Best2,
  3. Claire Vaughan1,
  4. Briony Hudson2,
  5. Sam Watson1,
  6. Howard Simons1,
  7. Dawn Biram1,
  8. Hannah Thomas2,
  9. Sarah E Thomas1 and
  10. Sam Ahmedzai3
  1. 1National Institute for Health Research, UK
  2. 2Marie Curie, UK
  3. 3National Institute for Health Research Clinical Research Network


Introduction The demand for palliative and end of life care is increasing with an ageing population. NIHR and Marie Curie are the two largest funders of palliative and end of life care research in the UK. We wish to understand more about how funds are being deployed so that research support needs and evidence gaps can be identified, understood and addressed. We analysed the current funded research portfolio to identify synergies, opportunities for shared learning, and support strategic decision making.

Aims To understand what has been funded in palliative and end of life research between 2011 and 2018, identify gaps for future research and areas for further support and investment

Method Portfolio analysis of joint funded research. 1) Identifying the joint NIHR and Marie Curie funded portfolios (2011 – 2018), 2) developing coding frameworks, 3) Coding the funded portfolios, 4) Descriptively analysing funded portfolios and mapping against identified research priorities.

Results Existing frameworks for coding research do not provide the granularity or context needed to draw conclusions from the funded portfolio. Summaries submitted within research funding applications did not consistently provide the information necessary for categorisation. We present a set of coding frameworks and portfolio analysis of the findings, areas for future consideration and learning from the process.

Conclusion Undertaking a joint portfolio analysis requires categorising research appropriate for palliative and end of life care research. We demonstrate a pragmatic and practical approach to categorise research, and describe a snapshot of the joint NIHR and Marie Curie portfolio.

Impact Our findings will have relevance to other research funders and researchers in terms of helping to categorise research for portfolio analysis and insight, and identifying areas of unmet need in palliative and end of life care research.

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