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IAT Competition Research Themes



  1. Platform Science and Bioinformatics

There have been rapid recent advances in high throughput technologies that allow large-scale assessment of disease process. This has been exemplified by advances in genomic medicine, and the advent of large-scale genomic diagnosis resulting from the 100,000 genomes project. NIHR previously and successfully introduced a genomics ACF in the IAT competition. We aim to build on this success, broadening out the opportunity to also include the biology of transcriptomics, metabonomics, proteomics, and critically, the underpinning sciences of bioinformatics essential for the utilisation of the technology. Access to, and availability of, vast population-level data sets ('big data') could also provide the basis for research to inform approaches to prevention, diagnostics, and treatment. NIHR believes that Platform Science and Bioinformatics has the capacity to become a flagship theme area. ACF and CLs supporting this theme could be held in an underpinning science area e.g. pathology, or in a clinical speciality in which the technology can be effectively applied.

  1. Therapeutics or Clinical Pharmacology

Therapeutic opportunity exists beyond clinical pharmacology in GMC specialities where application of therapeutics is key. ACF and CLs supporting this theme could therefore be held in clinical pharmacology, or another speciality linked to therapeutic developments.  Biomarkers are critical in therapeutic development so these ACF and CL posts could be linked to platform science and bioinformatics. Likewise, the development of digital therapeutics support tools would be within remit.

  1. Complex Health Needs in Age-Related and Chronic Disease

This theme would include research that helps to understand and manage multimorbidity, highlighted by the “Futures of Health Report” as a major and growing health challenge in areas such as the ageing population and chronic disease. ACFs and CLs appointed to these theme posts could be held in, e.g. geriatric medicine, or in a GMC speciality where age-related or chronic disease morbidity represents a critical component e.g. diabetes, cardiology, general practice, orthopaedic surgery, etc.

  1. Dementia

Dementia remains a key theme for NIHR. ACFs and CLs could be held in a number of GMC specialities e.g. geriatric medicine, old age psychiatry, neurology, histopathology or clinical radiology, etc.

  1. Medical Education

Medical education research focuses on the education and development of clinicians and clinical teams across medical training and continuing professional development and research may draw upon sociology, psychology, anthropology, economics, or linguistics, as well as disciplines such as management and business. These ACF and CL posts could be held in any GMC speciality.

  1. Acute Care

ACF and CL posts supporting the acute care theme may be held in a range of GMC specialties, which are relevant to the management of the acutely ill patient. These could include, but are not restricted to, emergency medicine, intensive care medicine, anaesthetics, and acute care surgical specialties.

  1. Mental Health

ACF and CL posts may be held in a number of GMC specialties, which may include e.g. general psychiatry, child and adolescent psychiatry, forensic psychiatry, old age psychiatry, psychiatry of learning disability, or medical psychotherapy.

Research capacity in primary care remains low and NIHR strongly encourages partnerships to consider general practice posts to support the above research themes where appropriate.

In 2015, the NIHR issued a Themed Call for research into the evaluation of interventions or services delivered for older people with multimorbidity. NIHR recognises that multimorbidity is one of the biggest challenges facing health care and there exists a need for research in this area that extends beyond the elderly population. NIHR welcomes competition bids that have a multimorbidity component and support any of the above themes.