General and Education Trust Fund (GET)
The BDA General and Education Trust Fund exists “to advance education and other charitable purposes related to the science of dietetics”. The Trust can make grants to any individual or organisation engaged in dietetic research or related activities.
The Trust is separate to the BDA and is managed by the Trustees, some of whom are members of the profession and some who are independent. The Trustees may allocate funding as long as the outcome 'advances the science and practice of dietetics' and meets the other criteria in the guidance for applicants.
Grants can be made for running costs, project costs and help with salaries. The Trust does not make grants for buying buildings; expenses for post-graduate qualifications; support dietetic students in training; or fund conference attendance, unless the attendee is presenting a poster, a lecture, leading a workshop etc. and the conference will promote the science of dietetics or dietetic practice. If a grant funded project generates income the Trust Fund may require income to be shared accordingly.
The Trust cannot give grants for every project put forward, even though the projects may meet its criteria. In some cases, only partial support may be offered, or grants may be made subject to conditions which must be met. The types of applications which have been successful in recent years include
- funding for a study trip to the USA to evaluate diabetes management;
- a research project to evaluate the impact of clinical placements on professional training;
- ‘start up’ funding for a post to monitor developments in clinical effectiveness for dietitians.
When applications are rejected it can be for a variety of reasons. It is sometimes because
- An application for research does not have a sufficiently rigorous methodology;
- An application is not clearly going to benefit dietetic practice; or
- A project is too local and funding is sought to fund activities which should be supported by another organisation (e.g. the NHS).
“The award from the Trustees was extremely helpful and it enabled me to convert a pilot study for a randomised control trial on evaluating preoperative oral supplements in people who were losing weight into a fully powered trial. This allowed me to answer a research question and develop my research investigating the use of oral nutritional supplements to assist people with cancer preoperatively.” - Dr Sorrel Burden, University of Manchester
"I was very honoured to win a GET award and it has been a very valuable experience for me in many ways. The award allowed me to set up a small study to explore an idea that seemed very important to dietitians but hadn’t been previously investigated. I’m always talking about the limited evidence in some areas of dietetics but the award gave me a chance to try and address this by gathering evidence that was highly relevant to a specific area of practice. My study collaborators and I were fortunate to publish the results in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics so it was good be able to share our findings with others at the end of the study. The applications to the GET are also evaluated by other dietitians so this gave me some confidence that they would fully understand my proposed study and hopefully recognise why it might be worth investigating. It is a bit daunting to know your ideas are being examined by others but knowing that the assessors included experts in my profession really helped. The process also seemed more straightforward than submitting to other larger grant-giving organisation and completing with thousands of others. The findings from our GET-funded study have generated interest from others working in this area and opened up other opportunities including with local patient groups, student projects and potential follow up studies. So, although our funding and study have ended, the associated work is continuing and hopefully, in time, it will make a small contribution to improving how we practice and the lives of some of the people we work with." - Dr Angela Madden, University of Hertfordshire