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Future-Focused Leadership Programme - Frequently Asked Questions


Published: 05 April 2023

Version: 1.2 - April 2022

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What is the Future-Focused Leadership Programme?

The Future-Focused Leadership Programme (FFLP) has been developed specifically for the NIHR following an in-depth analysis to understand what makes a successful leader within NIHR and offers delegates the opportunity to explore new thinking on how to lead in the 21st century.

This is an immersive programme and facilitates the development of network building amongst delegates and the application of learning to real-time leadership activity, which is based on the NIHR Leadership Framework.

Who can apply?

The FFLP is available to two different audiences: Emerging Research Leaders (ERL) and Leaders. Applicants apply to be considered to participate in the programme and applications are reviewed by a selection committee.

How do I know which stream I am eligible for?

To be eligible for the ERLs stream you must be:

  • an NIHR Academy Member
  • an early to mid-career researcher
  • at least two years post-doctoral

To be eligible for the Leaders stream you must:

  • currently lead at a national level for NIHR, have demonstrable leadership influence as part of NIHR or hold an NIHR Research Professorship award. For example, you might be a Chair or Co-Chair of a governance board, or leading an NIHR strategic work stream which involves different parts of NIHR/its partners
  • be able to show how your leadership contribution relates to the strategic aims of NIHR
  • able to identify leadership challenges from your NIHR role that you can work on as part of the programme

Am I an NIHR Academy Member?

We would consider you a NIHR Academy Member if you are one of the following:

1. In receipt of funding from NIHR Academy, i.e. one of our fellowships.

2. Based in NIHR Infrastructure or an NIHR School and meet all of the following criteria:

  • be undertaking a formal training/career development award, which should meet all of the following criteria: be competitive, include a training/ development plan and have a defined end point (such as an application for further funding)
  • receive at least 25% funding from the NIHR for salary/stipend over the lifetime of the individual’s award
  • be hosted in a setting with a remit for research capacity development

For Applied Research Collaborations (ARCs) and Health Protection Research Units (HPRUs), funding can be from NIHR or from an official collaborating partner.

My NIHR Academy award is coming to an end. Am I still eligible to apply for the ERLs stream?

To be eligible for the ERLs stream, you will need to have a minimum of six months remaining on your postdoctoral funding or NIHR personal award from the start date of the leadership programme.

How long is the programme?

The programme's duration is 12-months. 

How much does it cost?

The programme is free for eligible participants, however any travel costs are the participants responsibility.

How do I book travel for FFLP activities?

Travel costs and arrangements are an individual’s responsibility and are not paid for or organised by NIHR.

Travel plans will need to be booked following your normal travel procedure and will be at your own/host organisation’s cost, unless you are a public contributor. Please discuss these arrangements with your supervisor or line manager.

The programme has a variety of in-person and online activities. In-person workshops will be delivered at a residential venue and you will be responsible for travel arrangements. The following will be included in the programme:

  • Day 1 - refreshments, lunch, evening meal and overnight accommodation
  • Day 2 - breakfast, refreshments, and lunch

How do I apply?

You apply to the programme through our award/research management platform, ARAMIS.

How is the programme structured?

The programme incorporates a range of development opportunities including: residential workshops, 360 feedback activity, action learning sets/ peer support and individual coaching.

What are the key programme dates?

Please note the following dates are subject to change. Application submission for the programme will open as follows:

Emerging Research Leaders 

Cohort 3




Virtual Kick Off 


6 June 2024 - 13:00 - 14:30

Residential 1 - Leading Self 

TBC - 2 day in person event

September 2024

Residential 2 - Collaborate 

TBC - 2 day in person event

November 2024

Residential 3 - Leading beyond authority

TBC - 2 day in person event

February 2025

Virtual programme close


May 2025


Cohort 3




Virtual Kick Off 


October 2024

Residential 1 - Leading Self 

TBC - 2 day in person event

January 2025

Residential 2 - Collaborate 

TBC - 2 day in person event

April 2025

Virtual programme close


September 2025

Am I eligible if I attended the previous Leadership programme?

The target audiences for each stream of the programme are the same and the aims of the new programme are broadly similar, so you may not get anything new from this programme. We will therefore prioritise those who have not accessed the leadership programme previously.

If you participated as an ERL in the programme previously and are now in a role where you are leading nationally for NIHR, you are eligible to apply for the FFLP Leaders stream.

How does the new programme differ from the previous leadership programme?

The aims of the new programme are very similar to the previous programme, however it has been developed based on input from key stakeholders and is built around key Leadership Pillars.

The programme incorporates virtual workshops alongside a residential programme and in-person coaching sessions.

Is the programme COVID-19 secure?

Any changes to the government guidance would be reflected in the delivery of the programme to ensure the safety of all participants.What reasonable adjustments can be made?

We aim to ensure the programme is as accessible to participants as possible. We have ensured that all virtual workshops are captioned and for any in-person events access to a translator can be provided and paid for by the NIHR.

What reasonable adjustments can be made?

We aim to ensure the programme is as accessible to participants as possible. We have ensured that all virtual workshops are captioned and for any in-person events access to a translator can be provided and paid for by the NIHR. 

Alternative carer or child-care costs

If you usually care for or support someone (for example a disabled person or a child) and attendance of a FFLP residential means that you are unable to do this, we will reimburse reasonable costs of providing necessary alternative care whilst you are away. You will need to discuss any arrangement in advance, and be able to provide evidence of the costs, such as an invoice.

Accompanying carer

If it is necessary for an informal (unpaid) carer (such as a relative or friend) to accompany you on to a FFLP residential, they will be permitted to share your accommodation and their travel expenses will be covered.

Personal assistants and support workers

If you use a personal assistant or support worker to accompany you, their expenses and costs can also be covered. Please discuss any such arrangement in advance. For NIHR Academy to reimburse these costs you will need to provide evidence of the expenditure, such as an invoice. We can also pay the personal assistant or support worker directly.

What happens if I can’t attend one of the programme residentials or activities?

In applying for the programme, you are expected to ensure that you have availability to attend all of the residentials and activities that form part of the programme. A copy of the attendance policy is available within the application form and each applicant is expected to read and acknowledge this before submitting their application. However, we accept that extenuating circumstances may arise which may prevent your attendance. In such an instance, we would expect you to give as much notice as possible: you will be expected to contact the programme provider to discuss the situation and determine the best approach going forward.