Internet Explorer is no longer supported by Microsoft. To browse the NIHR site please use a modern, secure browser like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Microsoft Edge.

Future-Focused Leadership Programme - Application Guidance for Leaders


Published: 30 August 2022

Version: 1.0 - September 2023

Print this document


The Future-Focused Leadership Programme is open to current leaders based within NIHR or delivering a national role for NIHR. You will be developing into or taking up leadership roles at a senior level and facing significant leadership challenges where support will be most needed and impactful.

The programme will enhance your skills in leading across organisational boundaries, leading strategy and change, and influencing others to achieve the strategic aims of NIHR.

Overview of the Application Process (including key dates)

Online application NIHR/Candidate Opens: 19 March 2024 at 12pm
Closes: 6 June 2024 at 1pm
Eligibility check NIHR June 2024
Review and selection Selection Panel July - August 2024
Notify candidates NIHR 9 September 2024
Programme virtual launch Candidate/Cappfinity 9 October 2024

Application form

The form is divided into 3 different sections asking for details 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

  • Are you a Research Professor or Senior Investigator?
  • Are you a Leader based in one of the NIHR Coordinating Centres? If yes, you will be asked to indicate which centre.
  • For all other NIHR Leadership roles, please provide your role title
  • Please provide the name of the Senior Leader at your host organisation who is sponsoring your application

Part 3 - Your Leadership Journey

  • Q.1 Please tell us how you lead at a national level for NIHR, have demonstrable leadership influence as part of NIHR or if you hold an NIHR Research Professorship or Senior Investigator award. Summarise your leadership role, the initiatives you are leading on and how these relate to NIHR strategic aims [Max 250 words]
  • Q.2 Please describe how your role involves collaboration with others outside of your host organisation, including the benefits and challenges of these different stakeholder interactions [Max 250 words]
  • Q.3 Describe your current leadership role in your host organisation, including any experience of leading a team or supervision of other researchers. You may wish to include quantitative information which indicates how many people you currently lead or supervise to demonstrate the scale of your leadership. [Max 250 words]
  • Q.4 Describe what type of leadership style you currently use. Providing real-life examples, what have been the benefits of this approach and what are the challenges [Max 250 words]
  • Q.5 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]
  • Q.6 Describe how your participation in this programme would benefit NIHR [Max 250 words]

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.

We recommend you do the following within your application:

  • utilise the full word count, this is a competitive application process with a limited number of places
  • be clear and fully articulate any abbreviations or acronyms in full the first time they are used
  • use open and honest reflection and consider your achievements and areas which could be improved
  • include your main aspirations for your leadership role

The role of the sponsor

Training Leads and Sponsors may be contacted for confirmation purposes. Please ensure you have spoken to the person, and they have agreed to undertake this role. The role of your sponsor is:

  • to support you with your application,
  • confirm they agree your readiness/ suitability to engage with the programme
  • verify their commitment to release you for the mandatory residential dates

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 is in the public interest and information provided may be subject to Freedom of Information requests. 

Please read the NIHR Privacy Policy and information on the application form at the start of the process.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 3 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 W/C 9 September 2024. 

Workshop Programme dates

Please note the below dates are subject to change. We ask that you hold the these dates before submitting your application.

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