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Future-Focused Leadership Programme - Application Guidance for Emerging Research Leaders


Published: 21 February 2023

Version: 1.2 - February 2023

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The Future-Focused Leadership Programme is open to our early to mid-career researchers on an academic track, taking up their first significant leadership and management roles. The programme will enable participants to collaboratively explore management and leadership in health and social care research and what it means at an individual, team, institution and system level in order to improve their leadership and management capability.

Overview of the Application Process (including key dates)


Online application


Opens 16 January 2024

Closes7 March 2024 - 1pm

Eligibility check


W/C 11 March 2024

Review and selection

Selection Panel

April - May 2024

Notify candidates


W/C 13 May 2024

Programme virtual launch


6 June 2024

Application Form

The form is divided into three different sections asking for information on your personal information, your role and existing leadership journey.

Part 1 - Your Personal Information

  • title
  • name
  • email address
  • contact number
  • location post code
  • host organisation

Part 2 - About Your Role

  • to apply for this programme, you will be asked to confirm you are an NIHR Academy Member with at least two years post-doctoral research experience
  • you will be asked to confirm the training award or the post you hold
  • for Post-doctoral researchers in an NIHR Research School, Biomedical Research Centres (BRCs), Applied Research Collaborations (ARCs) Patient Safety Translational Research Centres (PSTRCs) or Health Protection Research Units (HPRUs) you will be asked to provide the name of your Training Lead and their email address

Part 3 - Your Leadership Journey

  • Describe your current leadership role in your host organisation, including any experience of leading a team or supervision of other researchers. [Max 250 words - weighting 16.7%]

  • Provide a short summary of your academic career and wider leadership experience, including your collaboration experience and how you have developed partnerships with patients and users of research. [Max 250 words - weighting 16.7%]

  • Tell us why you believe this is the right time in your career to participate in the Future-Focused Leadership Programme and how it will benefit you. [Max 250 words - weighting 33.3%]

  • Describe how your participation in this programme would benefit NIHR. [Max 250 words - weighting 33.3%]

Completing the application

All questions are mandatory and you will need to supply answers for each question before moving on to the next section. You will be instructed when to use N/A in order to move forward.

Please ensure you have spoken to your Training Lead/Line Manager and they are aware you have applied for this programme as they may be contacted for confirmation purposes. We recommend you consider the following within your application:

  • adhere to word count
  • be clear and succinct
  • use open and honest reflection and consider your achievements and areas which could be improved
  • include your main aspirations for your leadership role

Equal Opportunities and Diversity

NIHR and the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) have a duty as a public body to promote equality of opportunity. All applicants will be contacted shortly after the closure date by NIHR Equality Monitoring. Monitoring ensures that all applications to NIHR Programmes are treated equally in terms of gender, ethnicity and/or disability.

The information you share with the monitoring system:

  • will be stored separately from your application
  • only be used for the purpose of monitoring equal opportunities
  • be kept securely and in confidence.

NIHR Privacy Policy

Our purpose for collecting information is to communicate with you about your application and have the necessary information to evaluate you for a fellowship. The data we collect here is collected in the public interest. Information provided here may be subject to Freedom of Information requests. 

Please read the information on the application form at the start of the process and if you require further details, you can contact the DHSC Data Protection Officer by email at:

Eligibility checking and panel assessment

  • the NIHR will complete an initial screen for eligibility
  • following this, each application will be reviewed and scored by two members of the selection panel which comprises of senior leaders within NIHR and partner organisations
  • all candidates will be notified of the outcome via email

Cohort 3 Timings

  • Candidates notified w/c 13th May 2024
  • Virtual launch workshop 6 June 2024 13:00 - 14:30

If you require any further information please contact the programme team by email on