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  developing leaders in clinical and applied health and social care research

Research Professorships

The NIHR Research Professorships funds research leaders in the early part of their careers to promote effective translation of research ('bench to bedside’ [T1] and 'campus to clinic' [T2]), strengthening research leadership at the highest academic levels.

The posts aim to:

§      enable outstanding early career academics to spend a fixed 5-year period dedicated to translational (T1 or T2) research at Professorial level.

§      facilitate strong research leadership and develop research capacity in areas critical to accelerating the transfer of research ideas into improved health.

These awards are open to health researchers and methodologists with an outstanding record of clinical and applied health research and its effective translation for improved health. Competitive candidates need to  demonstrate a steep career trajectory, on course to becoming the country's most outstanding research leaders. They will currently be at consultant grade or equivalent, and be at an early stage having spent no more than five years at their current level of seniority (whether as a Professor, Reader, Senior Lecturer/Fellow, Clinician Scientist, Group Leader or similar). Nominees should be working in the fields of experimental medicine, public health medicine, health services research or methodological research.

A continuing link with service delivery will be essential. Research Professorships will therefore be funded to continue to spend up to 2 sessions per week delivering service directly or, if the candidate is not a health professional, an equivalent time collaborating with service. Non-NHS institutions must provide a statement from an associated NHS service provider explaining how the provider will empower the individual to promote translation at a local level directly or in collaboration.

Each award of around £1.5m over 5 years, consists of a package to support a Professorship, a Post-Doctoral appointment, research running costs, a travel fund, access to the NIHR Leadership Programme and the opportunity for a sabbatical, as well as the basic salary costs of the individual plus indirect costs (for the HEI nominating body only).

2013 Competition
Five NIHR Research Professorships were successful in the third round, this round closed on 12 December 2012. For news on Round 4 see the NIHR TCC website.


Research Area

Research Project

Professor Persis Amrolia, University College London

Persis Photo

Transplantation Immunology

To develop novel cell therapies to improve outcomes after stem cell and organ transplant.

Professor Amrolia's research aims to harness the power of the immune system to prevent virus complications and malignancy after transplantation. He is establishing a programme of clinical trials translating T-cell therapy from "bench-to-bedside".

Professor Louise Howard, Kings college London 

Louise Howard Photo


Perinatal Mental Health

Mental health problems in pregnancy and the postpartum period have potential adverse consequences for women, their infants and their families.  Professor Howard’s research aims to contribute to the evidence base on effective and safe ways of treating mental health problems in the perinatal period. Her research will include studies on the risks and benefits of medication, and the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of complex non-pharmacological interventions. 

Mr Peter Hutchinson, University of Cambridge

PH photo




Head injury: monitoring and optimising cerebral metabolism to improve outcome

Head injury is a major cause of morbidity and the commonest cause of death under the age of 40 years. Our research aims to increase the understanding of the pathophysiology of this heterogeneous condition using imaging and monitoring techniques (brain pressure, oxygenation and chemistry) and to apply novel medical and surgical treatment strategies to improve outcome. The studies also provide a platform for training the next generation of academic surgeons.

Dr Alison Simmons, University of Oxford

Alison Simmons Photo.1

Gastrointestinal Disease and Inflammation

Re-define Crohn’s at a molecular level to identify new biomarkers and therapies

Crohn’s disease is a debilitating inflammatory bowel disease with limited treatment options. This research will use molecular techniques to re-stratify this disease to define patients amenable to new treatment approaches, and to develop new therapies for Crohn’s patients.

Professor Jim Wilde, University of Sheffield

JimWild photo

MRI Physicist
Pulmonary Imaging


Translating novel pulmonary MR imaging methods in to clinical practice

Jim Wild is a magnetic resonance imaging physicist, who has developed imaging techniques for respiratory and pulmonary vascular disease using proton and hyperpolarised gas MRI. In this project he will work with clinicians in the NHS to establish these methods as non-ionising clinical imaging modalities applied to a wide range of pulmonary diseases.

Results of previous competitions
The tables below give details of the individual Research Professors.

  NIHR Research Professors – Round 2, 2012


Research Area

Research Project

Prof. Ashley Adamson, Newcastle University

Obesity, Diet

Prevention of obesity at family, community and national level and treatment of obesity in individuals.

Obesity is one of the major public health challenges facing the UK. Professor Adamson’s research aims to contribute to prevention of overweight and obesity and to the treatment of obesity. Her research will explore changing eating behaviour in population settings, supporting individual behaviour change and gathering evidence to inform policy by robust evaluation of dietary interventions.

Dr Rebecca Fitzgerald, University of Cambridge



Oesophageal disease and Gastrointestinal Oncology


Improve outcomes from oesophageal cancer through innovative screening and surveillance tests.

Cancer of the oesophagus is a global problem with a high mortality due to late diagnosis. Dr Rebecca Fitzgerald plans to extend her novel approach for detecting precancerous cells in Barrett’s oesophagus to molecular tests for early detection of squamous cell cancer of the oesophagus. For higher risk cases Rebecca and her team are developing molecular imaging tools to define areas for biopsy and treatment.

Dr Alastair Hay,
University of Bristol


Primary Care, Paediatric Respiratory Tract Infections

Reducing the burden of paediatric respiratory tract infections to the NHS.

Community, primary and secondary care services are frequently overwhelmed by children with infectious illnesses, most commonly respiratory. Children also play a key role in the transmission of infection both to other children and adults. Presentation to primary care often results in the use of antibiotics, many of which are unnecessary, and promote illness medicalisation and bacterial resistance. The overall aim of this Professorship is to reduce the burden of respiratory tract infections in children to the NHS.

Prof. Richard McManus, University of Oxford


Cardiovascular Disease, Pregnancy, Primary Care


Improving outcomes in Hypertension and Pregnancy through self-monitoring of blood pressure.

High Blood Pressure affects over seven million people in the UK and is an important risk factor for heart attack and stroke. In pregnancy, high blood pressure can lead to significant problems for women and their babies. Professor McManus’ programme of work evaluates how involving people in monitoring their own blood pressure might lead to better diagnosis and control of high blood pressure in both hypertension and pregnancy.

Prof. Andrew Peet, University of Birmingham

Paediatric Oncology

Improving the diagnosis and treatment of childhood cancer through functional imaging.

Imaging is essential for diagnosing cancer and planning treatment but current methods have significant imitations. Professor Peet’s group have been developing functional imaging techniques, which probe tumour properties, allowing improved diagnostic accuracy and the tailoring of treatment to the individual. Future work will concentrate on translating these advances into routine clinical practice.

  NIHR Research Professors  Round 1, 2011                                            


Research area

Research project

Prof. James Bainbridge, University College London, Moorfields



Prevent blinding retinal diseases by developing effective new treatments including gene and cell therapies.

The majority of people with sight impairment are affected by disorders of the retina, which is the layer of light-sensitive nerves in the eye. Professor Bainbridge aims to develop effective new treatments, including gene therapy and cell transplantation surgery.

Prof. Nadine Foster,  Keele University

Musculoskeletal, Physiotherapy

Ensure GPs and physiotherapists offer treatments and services that help people with musculoskeletal pain and disability, so they can cope with and reduce pain, preventing common joint and back pain from restricting their lives.

Professor Foster’s research will support the development, piloting and testing of treatments and services for common and costly musculoskeletal problems in primary care, including lower back, knee and shoulder pain. She will develop and test the clinical and cost-effectiveness of different treatments and services, including early identification of musculoskeletal problems, support for patients of working age, and approaches that better match patients to the right treatments.

Prof. David Jayne, University of Leeds

Colorectal Surgery

Develop better bowel cancer treatments, via translational research, into new surgical techniques including robotics, biosensors and fluorescence-guided surgery.

Professor Jayne’s research focuses on new developments in minimally invasive surgery with the aim of bringing innovation in engineering and the biological sciences from "theory to theatre". In this, he hopes to advance current surgical approaches to cancer for the benefit of patients and healthcare providers.

Dr Marian Knight, University of Oxford

Perinatal Health Services Research

Improve outcomes for infants following surgery in the first year of life by enhancing the evidence-base for choice of surgical strategies.

Dr Knight will lead research aiming to improve care for pregnant women and babies with life-threatening illnesses, particularly focusing on helping babies to recover from early surgery.

Prof. Louise Robinson, Newcastle University

Mental Health, Neurology

Improve the health and wellbeing of older people and the quality of community care they receive, especially for people living with dementia.

Dementia presents one of the major care challenges for the 21st century. Professor Robinson’s research aims to improve the quality of community care for people with dementia and create a skilled and motivated NHS workforce to deliver such care.

Prof. Anne Schilder, University College London


ENT Health Services Research

Develop the evidence base for Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) medicine and surgery, ensuring new and current treatments in ENT are tested and evaluated so that patients can benefit from the best treatments in the field.

ENT problems such as hearing loss, dizziness, and sinus and ear infections are among the most common health problems affecting people of all ages. Up until now, little rigorous research has been done into exactly how effective treatments for ENT conditions are. Professor Schilder will be leading a programme of clinical trials across the UK to test and evaluate new and current treatments in ENT. 

Dr David Sharp, Imperial College London

Neurology (Traumatic Brain Injury)

Improve recovery from traumatic brain injury by enhancing the function of intact brain regions so people can regain independence and improve their quality of life.

Dr Sharp’s research focuses on diagnosing and treating the effects of head injury on the brain. He works with civilians and soldiers, aiming to minimise the long-term disability that traumatic brain injury often produces. His research will allow treatment to be targeted, and recovery enhanced.

Prof. Justin Stebbing, Imperial College London


Translate findings from basic cell biology science into new treatments for cancer.

Professor Stebbing’s research will help people living with cancer to have a better quantity and quality of life, by overcoming resistance to chemotherapy and hormonal therapy. His research aims to integrate laboratory science and clinical work to produce newer targeted therapies by utilising a new approach that focuses on a newly identified genetic tumour signature.