You can apply if you:
- are a member of NHS staff, staff contracted to the NHS or working in the care or public health sectors. This includes, but is not limited to:
- allied health professions
- healthcare scientists
- clinical psychologists
- registered public health practitioners
- others, in either primary care, secondary care, community care or public health
- are working at consultant level or in other senior roles, for example Agenda for Change Band 7 or above
- are working at a senior level with specialised knowledge and demonstrable capacity for professional independence and leadership
- hold a PhD, MD or equivalent, for example three years’ consolidated research time where you have been the intellectual drive behind a project and achieved strong outputs from your research experience
- are not undertaking any substantive research activity.
There are no eligibility rules based on time since applicants obtained their PhD or MD. However, applicants without a significant break in research activity will need to articulate the added value of the award, for example:
- how this scheme will put them on a research trajectory they were not currently on
- why this scheme is a more suitable option compared to other schemes they are eligible for.
Applicants without a significant break in research activity are encouraged to investigate other existing schemes, for example, MRC’s clinician scientist fellowship or NIHR’s advanced fellowship.
Applicants will usually have limited or no research funding. We expect you will have less than half a day per week dedicated to research within your current contract. For example, one programmed activity (PA), a week within your current job plan.
We welcome proposals from applicants with more dedicated research time, but you should ensure that you articulate the added value of the award. For example, to support you in working in new environments or with new research partners.
Eligible research partners
You must have at least one research partner. The research partner must have a proven track record of securing funding and delivering high-quality research. The research partner must be able to provide a suitably stable environment for the duration of the award. This is typically evidenced by holding funding for the duration of the planned partnership, from funders such as:
- UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)
- significant third sector research funders.
They must also be based at an organisation eligible to hold research council funding. This includes but is not limited to:
Your research partner must hold a contract of employment with the host research organisation for the duration of the award.
You must include the research partner within the application as a co-investigator. The research partner must provide a letter of support indicating how they will support you throughout the duration of the award.
Support you need from the host research organisation
You should hold a contract of employment or an honorary contract with the host research organisation for the duration of the award. Please note there is no requirement to relinquish your NHS (or equivalent employer) post in order to take up the award. The host research organisation must:
- be eligible to hold research council funding (this includes NHS bodies)
- be registered in the Joint Electronic Submission system (Je-S)
- accept responsibility for administering the award, including making local arrangements where necessary to, for example, make payments to the NHS Trust to support backfill appointments
- demonstrate appropriate support (such as access to facilities) to enable you to successfully undertake your project.
All applications must be approved by the appropriate administrative authority on behalf of the host institution. Administrative authorities are responsible for ensuring salaries and resources cited in the proposal are enough to undertake the proposed research.
Find out more about eligible organisations.
You must include a letter from the host institution confirming its support and approval as part of your application.
Support you need from your employer
The NHS organisation (or equivalent, such as a local authority, care organisation, Public Health England) that employs you must provide a letter of support. It must:
- confirm that you will have protected research time and will therefore be released for the proportion of time funded by MRC and the NIHR
- include clear and feasible plans for your time to be backfilled, especially for applicants from niche specialties where this will present challenges
- guarantee that you can re-enter the clinic full-time without any loss of career progression or status at the end of the award if you choose to do so.
As a condition of the award, we will ask for a copy of your NHS job plan to confirm the number of research PAs.