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NIHR Advanced Fellowship Round 10 Guidance Notes


Published: 04 April 2023

Version: Round 10

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This document provides full details of the NIHR Advanced Fellowship and the NIHR Population Health Career Scientist Awards, describes the means by which applications for these schemes should be submitted, and details how they will be assessed. Applicants must ensure they have read this guidance before submitting an application. Applicants are advised to refer to this guidance when completing each section of the application form.

NIHR Fellowships Programme

The NIHR Fellowship Programme provides funding and support to individuals with the potential, and on a trajectory, to become future leaders in research within the NIHR's remit.

The NIHR Fellowship Programme has been designed to support people at various points on their research career development, from initial pre-doctoral training through to senior postdoctoral research. Four different types of Fellowship are available:

  • Pre-Doctoral Fellowship
  • Doctoral Fellowship
  • Advanced Fellowship 
  • Development and Skills Enhancement Award


NIHR Postdoctoral Opportunities

There are a number of post doctoral awards available through the NIHR, a brief summary of these awards is below:

Advanced Fellowship (AF)

Supports individuals undertaking research in any scientific discipline or sector that can demonstrate a contribution to improving health and/or care.

Population Health Career Scientist Award (PHCSA)

Supports senior academics that are undertaking research delivered outside of NHS settings which aims to address the wider determinants of health. Additional details of the PHCSA are available on the NIHR website.

These guidance notes provide information for individuals and their host organisations submitting an application to the Advanced Fellowship or PHCSA.

Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation (EME) and Advanced Fellowship (EME-AF)

Supports individuals that are conducting a large clinical study.  Successful applicants will receive salary and research training and development through the Advanced Fellowship and research project funding through the NIHR EME programme.

Advanced Clinical and Practitioner Academic Fellowship (ACAF)

Supports health and care professionals (excluding doctors and dentists, but including individuals registered with the UK Public Health Register) who are developing practitioner academic careers, undertaking health or care research whilst progressing their clinical or practice career. This Fellowship is not open to doctors or dentists. More details for the ACAF are available on the NIHR website.

Advanced Local Authority Fellowship (ALAF)

Supports individuals in local authority settings who are developing practitioner academic careers undertaking health or care research whilst progressing their practice career. There are more details for the ALAF are available on the NIHR website.

Applicants are advised to consider carefully which post doctoral award would best support their needs and are welcome to contact NIHR to discuss the post doctoral opportunities further to support this decision.

These Guidance Notes provide information for individuals and their host organisations submitting an application to the Advanced Fellowship and the PHCSA. 


NIHR Academy Strategic Themes

The NIHR has identified broad Strategic Themes which represent key priority areas for research. Applications received under these Strategic Themes will still have to meet the same quality threshold required for funding but will be given priority if the number of fundable applications exceeds the maximum that can be funded.

The Strategic Themes are:

  • Social care
  • Public health
  • Mental health
  • Health data science

If you are proposing research which fits within one or more of these themes you should indicate this on the application form.


Industry Opportunity

The NIHR wants to promote and increase the number of people with the necessary skills and experience to work at the interface between Higher Education Institutes (HEIs), industry and the NHS. Therefore, we are encouraging applicants to think about how they can involve an industry partner in their application where relevant. Fundable applications which include industry co-funding between 25% and 50% of the total will receive prioritisation where the number of fundable applications is greater than the budget allows. If you are applying with industry co-funding, please indicate in the ‘Application Summary Information’ section. Under the subheading ‘Partnership Fellowship’ please select ‘Industry other’. Please note that you should only select this option if your industry partner is co-funding your application.


Population Health Career Scientist Award

The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) wishes to develop and enhance research expertise in the most important areas affecting population health by supporting the next generation of independent public health research leaders.

The NIHR Population Health Career Scientist Award (PHCSA) is a UK-wide initiative to support independent researchers who are emerging as future leaders in research focused on the wider determinants of health. There is a desire to attract applicants representing the wide range of disciplines which undertake research in areas which impact the determinants of health. These areas can include, for example, environmental science, mathematics, architecture, engineering, geography, education, social sciences, social policy and the arts.

If you are applying for the PHCSA, please indicate this in the ‘Application Summary Information’ section by selecting the PHCSA option from the ‘Application Type’ dropdown box.


Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation (EME) and Advanced Fellowship Joint Application

The NIHR and MRC are keen to explore new ways to support the development of capacity and expertise in conducting clinical trials. It is recognised that NIHR Advanced Fellowships award funding for salary, but that the scale of the awards cannot always support the research costs of a large clinical study.

This is a pilot call in collaboration with the EME, offering NIHR Advanced Fellowship applicants the opportunity to apply for separate project funding to deliver and gain experience of leading a clinical study. NIHR will fund the salary costs and training and development of the applicant; whereas EME will fund the research costs.

There is more information about the EME programme and how to apply available.

For the EME/AF joint call, a single application form will be submitted using the Research Awards Lifecycle Management System (REALMS). You must register or log-in to REALMS to complete and submit your application. The applications will be assessed by a joint committee of members from the EME and Advanced Fellowship committees.


Multiple Long Term Conditions – Multimorbidity (MLTC-M)

For Round 10 of the Advanced Fellowships, we particularly welcome applications from researchers looking to undertake research in multiple long-term conditions or ’multimorbidity’ (MLTC-M). The terms ‘multiple long-term conditions’ or ‘multimorbidity’ refer to the existence of two or more long-term conditions in an individual. The NIHR is using the definition set out in the 2018 Academy of Medical Sciences policy report, Multimorbidity: a priority for global health research, which is:

  • The co-existence of two or more chronic conditions, each one of which is either:

    • a physical non-communicable disease of long duration, such as a cardiovascular disease or cancer
    • a mental health condition of long duration, such as a mood disorder or dementia, or
    • an infectious disease of long duration, such as HIV or hepatitis C.

Improving the lives of people with MLTC-M through research is an area of strategic focus for NIHR as outlined in Best Research for Best Health: The Next Chapter. NIHR has also defined a strategic framework for MLTC-M research.

For applicants looking to move their research career into the area of MLTC-M, the transitional element of the Advanced Fellowship which is typically used by individuals looking to transition into applied health or social care research from a basic science or non-health/care research background could be utilised.

If you are applying for an Advanced Fellowship under the topic of MLTC-M, please indicate this in the ‘Application Summary Information’ section by selecting this option from the’ Career Stage’ dropdown box.

NIHR Themed Calls & Highlight Notices

In addition to Strategic Themes, the NIHR Fellowship Programme also participates in NIHR-wide themed calls, which are prioritised by the Chief Medical Officer/Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and advertised across all NIHR programmes.

Sustainability Themed Call: NIHR has issued a cross-programme call for research into the evaluation of interventions or services to support the delivery of a more sustainable UK health and care system, including mitigating the effects of climate change on health and care delivery.

There are two current themed calls. These are:

  • Brain Tumours Highlight Notice: This highlight notice indicates the continuing interest of NIHR in receiving research proposals in this area, and it encourages collaborative applications that demonstrate how they build on recent initiatives and investment in the area made by the NIHR, the Medical Research Council (MRC) and other research funders.
  • Sustainability Themed Call: NIHR has issued a cross-programme call for research into the evaluation of interventions or services to support the delivery of a more sustainable UK health and care system, including mitigating the effects of climate change on health and care delivery. 

Details previous calls can be found on the NIHR themed calls website.

Whilst applications within a Themed Calls or Highlight Notices are encouraged, they won’t be prioritised in the same way as Strategic Themes. In all cases it should be noted that if you are not applying under a Strategic Theme or Themed Call you should not be put off applying. The majority of awards will still be researcher-led: that is, the applicant proposes the area of research rather than responding to a particular call or theme.

NIHR Remit for Personal Awards

All research funded by NIHR Academy Programmes must fall within the following remit:

1. The overall remit of the NIHR is early translational (experimental medicine), clinical and applied health research, and social care research.

  • Proposals must have clear potential for directly benefiting patients/service users, carers and the public (but recognising the training element of the research)
  • Proposals can involve: patients/service users and/or carers; samples or data from these groups; other people who are not patients/service users and/or carers; populations; health technology assessment; or health or care services research

2. At doctoral-level, early translational (experimental medicine) research is not within remit. Doctoral-level early translational (experimental medicine) research is funded through the NIHR early translational (experimental medicine) infrastructure and particularly the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) training programmes

For Advanced Fellowships, early translational (experimental medicine) research is within remit. A clear and plausible path to patient /service user, carer or public benefit must, however, be demonstrable.

3. NIHR does not support basic research or work involving animals or their tissue.

4. If the work involves biomarkers:

  • Research that tests whether application of new knowledge can improve treatment or patient outcomes, and has obvious direct potential benefit, is within remit; this might include application of known biomarkers, or other prognostic factors, to refine and test novel therapeutic strategies.
  • Research that aims only to elucidate mechanisms underpinning disease or identify risk factors for disease or prognosis (including search for biomarkers) is out of remit.

5. The NIHR is also prepared to support high quality educational research (defined broadly as education for health and care providers) and methodological research. It is expected that the research will have the potential to have practical application and the potential impact on patients/service users, carers and the public must be made clear.

Applications for Global Health research are out of remit for the NIHR Fellowship Programme.

Applications are welcome from individuals working in any scientific discipline or sector that can demonstrate a role in, and contribution to, improving the health and/or care of the population served by the health and social care system in the UK.

Annex A further on in these Guidance Notes lists FAQs in relation to remit.

Advanced Fellowship

This is a postdoctoral Fellowship and aimed at anyone with a PhD who hasn’t yet been awarded a Chair. Whether you are someone who has recently been or about to be awarded a PhD, or someone with several years of postdoctoral experience you will be eligible to apply for an Advanced Fellowship.

Applicants will need to state what they wish to use the Advanced Fellowship for and the impact it will have on their career if successful. Whilst the scope of what an Advanced Fellowship can be used for is broad, you are asked to indicate which of the following uses of an Advanced Fellowship best describes your application.

If you don’t fit with one of these areas, please contact the NIHR who will be happy to discuss your proposed application with you.

  • For individuals who have recently completed or soon to be awarded a PhD but haven’t yet established themselves as an independent researcher.
  • For individuals either starting to establish themselves as an independent researcher, or who are already established as an independent researcher but are not yet recognised as an international leader in their field.
  • For individuals looking to transition into applied health or social care research from a basic science or non-health/care research background.
  • For those individuals who are seeking to re-establish their research career following a significant career break.

Applicants who are active clinicians (defined as being either a registered doctor, dentist or other registered healthcare professionals eligible to apply for the Integrated Clinical Academic programme) or social workers, are able to request up to 40% of their time be dedicated to clinical service/development/practice, which will be covered by the Fellowship.

Fellowships are between 2 and 5 years Whole Time Equivalent (WTE) in duration and may be taken up on a part-time basis between 50% and 100% WTE (Annex D).

The Advanced Fellowship has been designed to be flexible to meet the needs of individual applicants, however this means that careful thought is needed as to the amount of support and duration of fellowship being requested. Requests should be justified and evidence based, and demonstrate the desired impact the fellowship will have on the applicant’s career trajectory.

Individuals are eligible to be awarded up to two Advanced Fellowships sequentially, not normally totalling more than 8 years WTE of funding.

Advanced Fellowships are available to start between April 2024 and September 2024.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Proposed host must be an English or a participating devolved nation HEI, NHS body, social care organisation or other provider of health and/or care services.
  • Applicants must hold a relevant PhD or MD, or have submitted their thesis for examination at the time of application. Applicants must have been awarded their PhD or MD by the time they attend interview.
  • Individuals must not already hold a Chair at the point of application.
  • For clinical applicants only: completion of relevant pre-registration training.

For applicants who haven’t been awarded their PhD or MD, their primary supervisor will be required to be added to the application form as a participant to confirm that the thesis has been submitted for examination. Written evidence of the award from the awarding body of the PhD or MD will be required prior to attending for interview.

Please note that only applicants with research PhDs are eligible. Professional doctorates are not accepted. Please speak to NIHR should you have any queries about your eligibility.


Applications to the NIHR Advanced Fellowships must be based in the UK at their Host Organisation for the duration of the fellowship, except for travel for research, training or development activities as outlined within the proposal. Applications in which the fellow is living overseas from their Host Organisation will not be supported.


Advanced Fellowship Applicants Making a Transition

The Advanced Fellowship can be used by people to support a transition in their research career as described above. This may be from an area of basic science or non-health/social care related research into a research area within NIHR’s remit. Applicants aiming to use the fellowship in this way must clearly articulate how the research project and training and development programme proposed will enable them to make the transition and must also describe the direction they see their research career going in as a result of the fellowship.

Individuals with experience in applied health/social care or clinical research can look to utilise the Advanced Fellowship to transition to become a future health/social care research leader competent in clinical trials. In this case the fellowship should provide a period of intense training in a wide range of subjects relevant to clinical trials and applicants are encouraged to partner with a Clinical Trials Unit (CTU) and undertake masters level training where appropriate. Applicants are strongly encouraged to read the additional guidance for applicants looking to include research and/or research training relevant to clinical trials in their fellowship application, particularly the key skills for competent clinical trialists.


Knowledge Mobilisation

Knowledge from research that NIHR funds is not always taken up where it is most needed, which limits the realisation of its potential value. In order to address this, one of the uses of the NIHR Advanced Fellowship is to enable awardees to undertake innovative knowledge mobilisation (that is, to support the more effective use of research knowledge) whilst simultaneously researching implementation processes and impacts. This type of activity can also be referred to as implementation and implementation research.

Through innovative practice and systematic study of that practice, the aim is to advance knowledge and understanding about research use, influence and impact. As such, this scheme is unique in requiring awardees to both carry out knowledge mobilisation and to research the process, thereby contributing to practise and to research knowledge about implementation.

These Advanced Fellowships in Knowledge Mobilisation will be available for a maximum of 24 months full time (part time options between 50% and 100% available). Individuals previously granted an NIHR Knowledge Mobilisation Fellowship or an NIHR Knowledge Mobilisation Research Fellowship are ineligible for funding through this scheme.

There is a drop-down box in the Application Summary Information section of the application form where you can indicate if you are applying for an award in Knowledge Mobilisation.

Further information for those applying for a Knowledge Mobilisation Advanced Fellowship can be found in Annex E.


Partnership Fellowships

The NIHR is partnering with a number of industry and charitable organisations to offer jointly funded NIHR Partnership Fellowships

Pfizer Industry Partnerships

For Round 10 of the Fellowships Programme, the NIHR will be partnering with Pfizer. For Advanced Fellowships, opportunities will be available to propose research in a number of areas including Atopic Dermatitis, the most common inflammatory skin condition; Alopecia Areata, a common cause of immune mediated non scarring hair loss. Other areas of relevance will be Vitiligo, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBS), and Idiopathic Inflammatory Myopathies (IIMs)

Awards Available

1 Advanced Fellowship

Charity Partnerships

For Round 10 of the Advanced Fellowships, the NIHR will be partnering with the following charities for fellowships based in England. Applications based in the participating devolved nations are not eligible:

  • Moorfields Eye Charity
  • MS Society
  • Rosetrees Trust

The application process for these fellowships is the same as for our standard Fellowships and successful applicants will become members of the NIHR in the same way as successful applicants to our standard fellowships. This is in addition to additional benefits that come from being funded by the charity partner.

We would strongly encourage all applicants interested in applying for an NIHR Charity Partnership Fellowship to contact the NIHR in the first instance to discuss their application and answer any questions. Applicants should take note of the specific eligibility criteria for the relevant charity, alongside the NIHR Fellowship eligibility requirements. We would also strongly encourage interested applicants to contact the relevant charity partner to discuss their research area of interest further. All queries about the application process should be directed to the NIHR.

Moorfields Eye Charity

Research Area

Moorfields Eye Charity is interested in funding research in eye health, vision research, ophthalmic related service improvement, education or clinical practice.

Please note that applicants will normally be hosted by either the Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust or its main HEI partner (University College London). If hosted by another institution a direct collaboration with and benefit to Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust must be demonstrated in order to be eligible to apply for a Partnership Fellowship.

Contact Details:

Name: Martin Cordiner
Role: Funding Manager
Tel: 0207 566 2565
Moorfields Eye Hospital website

MS Society

Research Area

The MS Society is interested in funding research that falls within their Research Strategy remit.

Contact details:

Name: David Coutts
Role: Senior Research Manager
Tel: 020 8438 0822
MS Society website

Rosetrees Trust

Research Area

Our overall aim is to fund translational research in any clinical area that has a clear plan and trajectory to deliver patient benefit within the short to medium term. We are very keen to build relationships with our grant holders with a view to providing longer-term funding to exceptional candidates.

Contact Details:

Name: Dr Vineeth Rajkumar
Role: Head of Research
Tel: 0208 951 2588
Rosetrees Trust website


Applying for a Partnership Fellowship

The submission procedure and deadline for applying for jointly funded NIHR Charity Partnership Fellowships is the same as the standard NIHR Fellowship application. Please indicate in the ‘Application Summary Information’ section and under the subheading ‘Partnership Fellowship’ the name of the charity or industry partner you are applying to for the jointly funded Partnership Fellowship.

Any jointly funded Fellowships will be offered at the same funding level as any other NIHR Fellowship and under standard NIHR terms and conditions, except where additional terms and conditions are specified by the joint funder.

NIHR Charity Partnership Fellowships will follow the same review process as standard Fellowships, with all applications being considered by the NIHR alongside each other. The Charity Partner will review the application as part of its own approval process. This means that in the situation where there are more fundable applications to a NIHR Charity Partnership Fellowship than there are fellowships available, the remaining fundable applications will be considered as standard NIHR Fellowships.
Please note that if you are applying for an NIHR Charity Partnership Fellowship, your information (including your NIHR application form and subsequent progress/annual reports) will be shared with the charitable organisation as part of the review process and ongoing monitoring of the award.


Assessment Criteria

Applications for Advanced Fellowships are assessed on the following criteria:


  • Relevant previous research experience and/or training suitable for undertaking the research described within the application.
  • High quality outputs from previous research experience and training relative to career stage and background.
  • On a trajectory to become a future health/social care research leader
  • For early career postdoctoral applicants or those transitioning into applied health/social care research; evidence of commitment to a career as a researcher in applied health or social care research.
  • For more experienced postdoctoral applicants; evidence of independence or starting to establish independence as a researcher, including establishing collaborations and building research capacity.


  • Relevance of research to patients/service users, carers, the public and health and/or care services.
  • Suitability and standard of methodology and research design to answer research question being proposed.
  • Likely impact of the research to patients/service users, carers, the public and health and/or care services.
  • Appropriate and meaningful patient/service users, carers and public involvement.
  • Quality and scope of review of existing evidence.
  • Quality of plain English summary.
  • The amount of support requested (both financial and duration of the Fellowship) is justified and evidence based.


  • Quality and relevance of the academic training proposed.
  • Suitability and experience of research support and mentoring team.
  • Standard and level of host organisation’s support and commitment to the applicant, including evidence of supporting other early career researchers.
  • Track record of Host Department(s) in the research area being proposed.
  • Evidence of the host organisation(s) commitment to creating and maintaining an inclusive and supportive research culture, including evidence of commitment to the principles of equality, diversity and inclusion and research integrity.

Start Dates

Fellowships must start on the first of the month and, for this round, fellowships will be available to start between 1st April 2024 and 1st September 2024. Applicants looking to start their fellowship later than 01 September 2024 should apply to the next round of the competition, launching in October 2023.


Part Time Options

Applicants can select the WTE they wish to hold the fellowship at between 50% and 100%. Applicants for Advanced Fellowships, which are between 2 and 5 years WTE, will need to select the number of WTE years and % WTE requested, and the total duration of the award will be automatically calculated in months. Please see Annex D in these Guidance Notes.

When considering the length of Advanced Fellowship, both in terms of WTE and the length of the award, careful thought should be given to the following:

  • clear justification for the total WTE requested (between 2 and 5 years), in terms of what the funding will enable you to do (both research and training) and more importantly what the impact of this will be on your career, and
  • how the fellowship will be managed over the total duration of the award, taking into account, especially for longer awards; how the research and training programme will adapt to advances in the field, and also how suitable management and governance arrangements will be maintained over the whole duration of the award.

Scope of Funding

  1. Applicants need to identify an eligible Host Organisation which will act as their employer for the duration of the Fellowship. Any organisation wishing to host an NIHR Fellowship must be able to provide the applicant with a contract of employment for the duration of the award and be capable of fulfilling the role of research sponsor as set out in the Research Governance Framework for Health & Care. Further guidance on the roles and responsibilities of a research sponsor can be found on the Health Research Authority’s (HRA) website. Host Organisations can either be a recognised HEI, NHS body, social care provider or any other organisation which provides health or social care services and is based in England or a participating devolved nation and in receipt of public funding (for example, social enterprises or local authorities). Applicants with a non-HEI Host Organisation should include details of a partner HEI(s) in the ‘proposed training and development programme’ question of the application form.

  2. An NIHR Fellowship award requires that the award holder has a contract of employment with the host organisation for the duration of the Fellowship. The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) will enter into a Fellowship contract with the host organisation. Government procurement transparency regulations require the publication of all contracts made with the DHSC to be made available on the DHSC website. Confidential information including research proposals (excluding the Plain English Summary, which will be published), detailed finance information, bank details, and departmental staff names (other than the award holder’s name) will be removed from the published versions.

  3. NIHR Fellowships are individual training awards which will offer funding towards the salary costs of the individual, and the costs of an appropriate research project and training and development programme.

  4. The costs that will be met by the Fellowship awards differ slightly depending on the type of host employer that is chosen by the applicant (i.e. HEI, NHS or Other). These costs are summarised in Table 1 below.

  5. For non-clinical/practice applicants, the Fellowship does not include or pay for any activities other than the research and research-related training proposed in a successful application.

  6. For Advanced Fellowship applicants who are active clinicians/practitioners, it is possible to request up to 40% of time be dedicated to clinical/professional service/development, which will be covered by the Fellowship. In this situation it should be made clear within the application how any clinical/practice time being covered by the Fellowship links to and is complementary to the research being proposed. It is also possible to undertake a Fellowship less than full time to allow for clinical/practice service/training to take place outside of the Fellowship. In this situation no justification or link to the research is required.

Summary of Fellowship Costs 

Fellowship costs

Higher Education Institutions (Proportion funded)

NHS/other organisations (Proportion funded)

Salary costs



Travel, subsistence and conference fees

80% (with the exception of conference related costs, which are paid at 100%)








Patient and public involvement



Other direct costs



Patent and legal



Sub contracts



Training and development (but not any travel or subsistence which should appear in Travel, subsistence and conference fees)



HEI indirect costs



Commercial indirect costs



Other partner organisation indirect costs




Applicants from the Devolved Administrations

Potential applicants for Advanced Fellowships from Wales or Northern Ireland must contact their respective government office to discuss their intentions before completing the application form (this is not necessary for the PHCSA which is open to applicants from Wales, Scotland, NI and England). Potential applicants must also inform their Research and Development (R&D) office of their intention and seek their advice before completing an application for this programme. Scotland is not participating in the programme in this round.

The declaration for applicants from the Devolved Administrations must be completed by an authorised representative of the research and development function from the devolved country you are applying from. Applications from the Devolved Administrations received without this declaration completed will be considered ineligible.
Please note that successful applications from applicants based in Wales or Northern Ireland will be managed by their R&D office. Applicants should seek their advice on the appropriate title to use and access to training opportunities post-award.

Welsh Devolved Administrations Contact Details

Welsh Government
Department for Health and Social Services
Research and Development Division
Cathays Park, Cardiff, CF10 3NQ
Contact: Marc Boggett
Health and Care Research Wales website

Please note that the Welsh Government is only able to support a limited number of successful applications per call. The Welsh Government will support at least one applicant recommended for funding, but additional awards are dependent on the availability of funds. Successful applicants from Wales will receive a Welsh Government grant award and become members of the Health and Care Research Wales Faculty. Awards will be finalised based on standard Welsh Government and Health and Care Research Wales Faculty terms and conditions.

Northern Ireland Devolved Administrations Contact Details

Health & Social Care R&D Division of the Public Health Agency Northern Ireland
12-22 Linenhall Street, Belfast, BT2 8B
Telephone: 028 9536 3490

Applicants from Northern Ireland should seek guidance from the Northern Ireland office before applying. Clinical applicants from Northern Ireland looking to make an application should discuss further with the Northern Ireland office if they are looking to undertake any clinical service during the time of the Fellowship.

Application Procedure and Selection Process

  • The NIHR uses an adapted version of the NIHR Standard Application Form (SAF). The application form needs to be submitted by the published deadline.

  • The NIHR can advise on eligibility and remit enquiries, as well as answer queries you may have when completing the application form but cannot comment on the design and/or methodology of specific research projects. Please contact the Research Design Service (RDS) for help and advice with research design and methodology.

  • All applications for Advanced Fellowships undergo an initial screen for eligibility and compatibility with the NIHR remit. Following this, applications are reviewed by the selection committee before a decision is made as to which applications are to proceed to the next stage. This is peer review by external experts, and if successful at this stage will proceed to an interview by the selection committee.

  • If you are successful in being selected for an interview, you will be interviewed by the selection committee. Details of current committee membership can be found on the NIHR’s website. You will be asked to give a 5-minute presentation to the selection committee that will be followed by 20-35 minutes of questions depending on the level of award.

  • Selection committees will make recommendations for funding that will be considered by the Chief Scientific Adviser and the Director for the DHSC Science, Research and Evidence (SRE) Directorate. Once confirmed, the funding decisions will then be communicated to applicants.

  • Applicants will be informed of the outcome of their application by email when all required processes are complete.

  • The selection process and subsequent management of the Fellowships will be managed by the NIHR (with the exception of devolved nation candidates, who will be managed by their local devolved nation’s office). PHCSAs will be managed by NIHR regardless of whether the host is in England or a devolved nation.

  • All documents must be submitted in English.

  • Fellowships cannot be deferred unless for statutory reasons.

  • If applicants are successful in being awarded an NIHR Fellowship while simultaneously being involved in another NIHR research training award competition, they will be asked to decide which programme they would like to continue with and will be withdrawn from the other.

  • Research projects undertaken as part of a NIHR Fellowship may be included on the NIHR Portfolio

Rules on re-applications

Unsuccessful applicants will only be able to apply to the same fellowship on one further occasion and not to the same scheme within 12 months of making the first application. There are some exceptions to this which are explained in Annex B. 

Application deadlines and timetable

Your application must have been submitted by the deadline and the signatory must have approved your application by this time using the Academy Research Awards Management Information System (ARAMIS) online application system. All components of your application, including supporting documents for the Uploads section, must be submitted by the deadline.


Applicants are asked to keep the interview dates available to attend an interview in Leeds. Please note these dates are subject to change.

Competition opens for applications for Advanced Fellowships and PHCSA applications: 4 April 2023
Advanced Fellowship and PHCSA closing date for submission of online application: 6 July 2023 by 1pm
Interviews held in Leeds: 17-18 January 2024
PHCSA interviews held via Zoom: November 2023
Awards start on 1st of month: 1 April 2024 to 1 September 2024

Registering, Completing and Submitting the Application


All applications must be completed and submitted via the online application system.

Before you can start an application, you will be required to register on the system. You will be asked to supply a valid email address and to complete some basic information. Once this has been submitted you will receive an email confirming your registration and a temporary password. You should follow the instructions in the email to log onto the system.

Once signed into the system you will be able to update various details including your CV (in ‘manage my details’) and apply for any open applications. To start an application, you will need to go to ‘My Applications’ and select ‘New Application’. You should then select the level of fellowship you wish to apply for from the list provided. After answering all the eligibility questions, you will be able to start completing the online form. Please make sure you read all available guidance text including this document as well as any online instructions thoroughly whilst you are completing the form.

Completing and submitting the form


You will need to complete all of the mandatory sections of the form and enter under the ‘Participants and Signatory’ section the names and contact details of participants and the signatory. Once all other parties have made their contribution, you will be required to ‘Submit’ the application to the signatory for final sign off before the closing date. Please note that you will need to read and be aware of the roles of participants and the signatory as described in these Guidance Notes.

You will only be able to press the ‘Submit’ button, which will send the application for final sign off by the signatory when:

  • all mandatory sections of the application form are complete.
  • all participants have agreed to be part of your application.
  • the signatory has agreed to their role.
  • the Head of Department has completed the ‘Host Organisation Support Statement.

Please note that when completing the application form, you are advised to validate your application as you go. You will find a Validation Summary button in the left-hand menu. This section will detail any points within your application that are either incomplete or incorrect. Failing to validate your answers may result in you being unable to submit your application by the required deadline.


You are required to supply the names and email addresses (if not already registered on the ARAMIS application system) of the individuals who will be undertaking ‘participant’ roles as part of your application. Everyone named in this section will be acting as a ‘participant’ to your application and will need to agree to be part of this application. Participants are required to review the declaration for the role before confirming participation as part of the one-click ‘confirm’ process.

By confirming participation, participants are acknowledging their involvement and input into this application and agree to be involved in it before it is submitted. You must ensure all participants are happy for your application to be submitted before submitting it on the online system. Details of the individual who will be required to approve your application after submission (the signatory) should be entered in the ‘Participants & Signatory' section. Please note it is often the case that one of the participants named in this section is also named in the ‘Participants and Signatory’ section of the form.

Required Participants (as applicable to the proposal):

  • Devolved Administrations: this participant is only mandatory if you are applying for an Advanced Fellowship from a devolved nation. This needs to be an authorised signatory of the research and development function of the devolved country you are applying from.

  • Primary Supervisor: if you are an Advanced Fellowship applicant and currently registered for a PhD/MD programme or masters leading to a PhD your supervisor will need to declare that the information supplied in your research doctorate is a current and accurate reflection of its current status. If you have indicated that your research degree has not yet been awarded in the research degree section, then it is mandatory to include your primary supervisor in the application.

  • Research Support: the individual(s) providing Research Support (mentorship) must confirm that they have read the application and the guidance notes and are willing to act as your mentor for research and career development and agree to abide by the conditions under which an award may be granted.

  • Host Organisation Administrative Authority or Finance Officer: the Administrative Authority or Finance Officer for the employing host must confirm that they will ensure the accuracy of the financial details of the application and that the host organisation is prepared to carry out this research at the stated costs and to administer the award if made.

Participants must confirm their participation in your application before you will be able to press the submit button. They will have no further action to take in the submission process. It is recommended that you contact your participants as early as possible to ensure they understand any action they must take before you can submit the application. 


You are required to supply the name and email address (if not already registered on the ARAMIS application system) of the individual who will be ‘signing off’ your application. Once their contact details have been entered, the signatory will be invited to log into the system and confirm their participation.

The signatory will be required to agree to the role being asked of them in the application before the application is submitted by the applicant, and then approve the final version of the application after it has been submitted via the online system, i.e., the signatory must have agreed to participate and complete their sections before the applicant is able to press the submit button and send the application for signatory approval. The signatory must approve the application AFTER the applicant has selected the submit option but BEFORE the application submission deadline. Please see the 'Application Submission Process Flow Diagram’ in Annex C further on in these Guidance Notes. The signatory approval will result in the application being submitted to the NIHR. All parties (applicant, participants and signatory) will be notified of this with an automated system generated email.

NIHR will not accept any applications unless fully approved by your signatory prior to the 1pm deadline. No exceptions will be made.

Required Signatory

You will be required to include the Head of Department from your Host Organisation. The Head of Department from the host organisation (in which this award will be based) must confirm that they support this application and that, if funded, the research and training will be supported and administered in the named organisation and that the applicant for whom they are responsible will undertake this work. As such, the Head of Department will be required to complete questions in the ‘Training & Development and Research Support’ section of the application.

Once the application is ready (see list of required steps under the ‘applicant’ heading above), you will be able to ‘Submit’ the application for final sign off by the signatory. At this point, the signatory will be prompted to log back into the system and approve the finalised application. The application will not be submitted to the NIHR for consideration until all the required signatory has approved the final version. When the signatory presses the approve button, the application will be submitted to NIHR.

Please note that all of the steps described here need to take place before the deadline of 1:00 pm on 6th July 2023. No exceptions will be made. Should you require assistance in completing the online form, please contact the NIHR at 0113 532 8410 or by emailing

Completing the Application Form

1. Application Summary Information

Host Organisation

Please give details of the organisation who will be the contractor if the project is funded.

Please note that we expect the applicant’s proposed host organisation (substantive employer) to act as the contractor.

Please also bear in mind that:

  • the contractor is expected to respond to annual financial reconciliation exercises, provide the final financial reconciliation statement for the project and to provide ad hoc requests for financial information during the lifetime of the project, and
  • In the same way, the contractor is expected to respond to any queries relating to Intellectual Property, commercialisation and benefit realisation.

If the name of your Host Organisation does not appear in the pre-populated list, please email.

Research Title – 300 word limit

The project title should state clearly and concisely the proposed research. Any abbreviations should be spelled out in full.

Research Type

Select the appropriate research type. If you are not sure which category to select, choose the closest match to your project as this can be adjusted later. NIHR definitions of these terms can be found on the NIHR Glossary.

Application Type

Please indicate the type of Fellowship you are applying for using the drop down lists available. Please ensure you have read the relevant guidance above before selecting your responses to these questions.

Proposed Start Date

Please note this should be from the 1st of the month regardless of whether this is a working day or not. Please be realistic about your possible start date taking account of the necessary contracting, and staff recruitment prior to starting your project.

WTE of Award

Awards can only be undertaken with the WTE options given.

Please select whether you wish to hold the Fellowship on a full-time basis, or part-time basis at 50% WTE or above. Please also select the duration of award between 2 and 5 years WTE.

For non-clinical applicants the Fellowship does not include or pay for any activities other than the research and research-related training proposed in a successful application. All other activities must be undertaken outside the percentage time declared as the basis of the Fellowship.

For clinical/practice applicants applying for an Advanced Fellowship, up to 40% of time can be allocated to clinical/practice for service and/or training.

You should indicate in the Training and Development section of the application if you are requesting time for clinical sessions to be covered by the award.

2. Applicant CV

Please note some of the responses to these questions are automatically pulled through from information you have entered in the ‘Manage My Details’ or ‘Research Outputs’ page.

The ‘Publication Record’ section of the form is automatically populated from publications added into the ‘My Research Outputs’ page of your ARAMIS account.

Degrees and Professional Qualifications

Please give the full details of any completed higher degree(s) and, where relevant, the full details of any higher degree(s) you are currently undertaking.

Present and previous positions

When entering details of your current and previous positions please indicate at what percentage (WTE) in each post you were undertaking research. For example, if you were a Clinical Lecturer and undertook research for 2.5 days a week and clinical/practice work for 2.5 days per week; please enter 50% for that position. If you have worked part time at 60%, and undertook research for half of that time, please enter 30% for that position.

Research grants held

Details of all relevant grants obtained in the last five years should be provided, including personal research training awards or Fellowships, plus any additional previous grants relevant to this application. Please indicate clearly any co-applicants and provide brief details of the nature and full extent of your involvement (for example, project design, project management, day-to-day running, data collection, data analysis, writing papers for publication etc.).

Please also include in the ‘Role in Research Grant’ box for each entry: registration number and name of registry and the DOI of the main related publication. Where the study is still ongoing or final results have not yet been published, please provide an estimated publication date. This is in line with the NIHR policy on clinical trial registration and disclosure of results.

It is recognised that the outputs in terms of grants and publications will vary depending on your experience, profession and level of award being applied for. Linking to and using the response to the ‘Applicant Research Background’ section you should highlight the impact of outputs listed under research grants and make the case for why your experience and outputs make you suitable for the fellowship being applied for.

Please note that your research grant record must be completed within the application form and not via the CV section on ARAMIS.

Publication Record

The publication record is automatically populated from the information added to the Research Outputs section of your ARAMIS account. To update, please ‘save and close’ your application, return to the ‘home’ screen and select ‘Research Outputs’ from the left-hand menu.

When publications have been added, the Lead Applicant name can be edited to show in bold within application forms via the ‘Assign Grant Contacts’ option.

To ensure publications display correctly, with all of the required information, applicants are strongly advised to use the ‘import’ function and import their publications from Europe PMC.

Do not include abstracts, conference proceedings or articles in preparation. If relevant, details of these may be included in the ‘Applicant Research Background’ section. Details of articles which are in press and have been accepted as final by the publisher may be included. Depending on professional background and expertise, applicants are not necessarily expected to have an extensive list of publications.

Only publications relevant to your application should be included.

Relevant Prizes, Awards and other Academic Distinctions

Please provide details of any awards or distinctions that would be relevant to your application including details of what the award was for.


The NIHR is an ORCID member and encourages all researchers to obtain this persistent digital identifier that distinguishes you from every other researcher. You must include an ORCID ID in your application. Without it, your application will not be validated and you will not be able to submit.

3. Applicant Research Background

Professional background

Select the one option which best describes your professional group. This will determine the options that appear below for your professional background.

Please describe your research career to date – 1000 word limit

Please use this question to describe your research experience and career to date and how this makes you suitable for this award, and to undertake the research being proposed. Please include the following:

  • research you have led or made a significant contribution to (making clear what your role was), the research methods you have experience of, and the impact and outputs of the research you have been involved in (linking to details given in your CV), and
  • any other relevant experience such as supervisory, management, teaching, public engagement and involvement, or leadership experience.
    Other skills and experience which highlights your suitability for the Advanced fellowship , and which demonstrates your potential as a future health or social care research leader.

Impact of Fellowship

Please describe the impact this fellowship will have on your career, noting a fellowship should provide you with a step change in your career trajectory. You should also provide some justification for the resources and length of funding you have requested in the context of the impact this will provide.

Has this application been previously submitted to this or any other funding body? – 500 word limit

Select ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to indicate whether this or a similar application has previously been submitted to this or any other funding body. This must include any previous submissions for an NIHR research training award, even if the proposed research has changed. Please detail the title of any previous submission(s), the funding body and scheme, the outcome and the date this is due if a decision is pending. If the application was unsuccessful, please indicate why and detail how this application differs from previous submission(s) and how any feedback received has been used to inform this application.

Mitigating Factors - 500 word limit

Please use this question to detail any mitigating factors you wish to make the Selection Committee aware of. NIHR wants to know about any circumstances so that they may take them into consideration during the assessment of your application. Mitigating factors may include:

  • career breaks due to parental leave, or periods of illness
  • reduced time spent undertaking research due to a disability or caring responsibilities. This could include any physical or mental difficulty that may have impacted your research career. These are situations that have a significant impact on your ability to undertake research, and
  • reduced opportunities to career support (for example, mentorship) and limited opportunities to undertake prior research and training.

Please also use this section to detail any other factors that may have impacted your research career not listed in the examples provided. The impact on your career to date will be specific to your particular circumstances but could include such impacts as limited opportunities to obtain grant funding, or fewer publications. In general terms, mitigating factors should be significant, and relevant.

NIHR acknowledges that you may be reluctant, or uncomfortable disclosing relevant information that is sensitive. However, you should bear in mind that that we are unable to take into account factors that you do not disclose. Please be assured that information provided by you is sensitive and will be treated confidentially and in line with General Data and Protection Regulations (GDPR).

Please also use this section to indicate any specific impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on your application.

4. Plain English Summary of Research

The importance of a plain English summary – 600 word limit

A plain English summary is a clear explanation of your research.

Many reviewers use this summary to inform their review of your funding application. They include clinicians, practitioners and researchers who do not have specialist knowledge of your field as well as members of the public. If your application for funding is successful, the summary will be used on the NIHR and other websites.

A good quality plain English summary providing an easy to read overview of your whole study will help:

  • those carrying out the review (reviewers and board and selection committee members) to have a better understanding of your research proposal;
  • inform others about your research such as members of the public, health and social care professionals, policy makers and the media;
  • the research funders to publicise the research that they fund.

If it is felt that your plain English summary is not clear and of a good quality, then you may be required to amend it prior to final funding approval.

It is helpful to involve patients/service users/carers/members of the public in developing a plain English summary.


When writing your summary consider including the following information where appropriate:

  • aim(s) of the research
  • background to the research
  • design and methods used
  • patient/service user, carer and public involvement
  • dissemination

The plain English summary is not the same as a scientific abstract - please do not cut and paste this or other sections of your application form to create the plain English summary.

Further guidance on writing in plain English is available online at NIHR Make it Clear.

For further support and advice on writing a plain English summary, please contact your local Research Design Service.

Scientific Abstract- 500 word limit

The scientific abstract should be a clear and concise scientific summary of the Detailed Research Plan.

The following is a list of potential elements/headings that might be included depending on the design of the proposed research, the setting and programme being applied to, and whether it is for primary research or evidence synthesis. It will be for researchers to decide the appropriate elements to be included in the scientific abstract and could include elements outside this list. Applicants may find the guidance on the EQUATOR Network website useful:

  • Research question
  • Background
  • Aims and objectives
  • Methods
  • Timelines for delivery
  • Anticipated impact and dissemination

Detailed Research Plan – 5000 word limit

Using all of the headings (in the order presented) and guidance below, please use this section to clearly explain your proposed research. As this is the main part of your application detailing your proposal which will be considered by the reviewing selection committee you should ensure that the information is accurate, succinct and clearly laid out.

The NIHR expects appropriate and relevant involvement of patients/service users, carers and the public and other key stakeholders in the research it supports. It is essential to set out your plans to involve patients and the public in this application. Your patient/service user, carer and public involvement plans will be assessed by the funding committee including patients/service users, carers and public members.

Information and resources to assist you can be found on the INVOLVE website.

In this section it is important that you identify all stakeholders who are relevant to your research proposal. For each stakeholder group you need to be clear about how they benefit from your proposed research and, where appropriate, how they have been involved in the development of the application, as well as the plans for their involvement in the proposed research.

If the research you are proposing includes a clinical trial, feasibility study or pilot study, or if your area of research is related to clinical trials, you are strongly encouraged to read the NIHR Clinical Trials Guide for Trainees before starting an application.

Guidance for applicants on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion for study participants

Every person eligible to take part in research should be offered the same opportunity of taking part in that research regardless of:

Applicants should demonstrate how these factors have been considered and addressed in their proposal, including steps taken to ensure the research sample is representative of the population the study is targeted at. Applicants need to explain who they are planning to recruit to ensure inclusivity of study participants and justify and explain any exclusions, for example by completing an Equality Impact Assessment. Costs associated with inclusivity, which may include, but are not limited to justified translation of research participant material into other relevant languages, would be expected and where appropriate should be included in the detailed budget section under ‘Other Direct Costs’. Additionally, applicants should demonstrate that all potential recruiting locations have been considered and the research is deliverable to those areas.

Helpful links:

NIHR Promoting equality, diversity and inclusion in research

NIHR Involve Diversity and Inclusion

What is the problem being addressed?

Provide a clear explanation of the health or care problem to be addressed, the impact on patients/service users, carers as well as health and care services, and how this research would fill a demonstrable evidence gap.

Why is this research important in terms of improving the health and/or wellbeing of the public and/or to patients/service users, carers and health and care services?

It is essential that you clearly identify the health and care need your research meets or contributes to. Please outline the anticipated value or contribution the study will provide.

Review of existing evidence: how does the existing literature support this proposal?

Explain why this research is needed now, both in terms of time and relevance. We will only fund primary research where the proposed research is informed by a review of the existing evidence. Early career Advanced Fellowship applicants can propose to undertake a systematic review as part of the fellowship, provided it is well justified.

What is the research question/aims and objectives?

Please summarise the research question/key aims and objectives.

Project Plan

Provide an expert description of the project plan of investigation plus any additional points required to support statements made in the previous sections, and include any key references required to justify the points made (for example, in the use of particular outcome measures or methods of analysis). You should include where applicable; study design, justification of sample size, selection and exclusion criteria, methods of data collection and analysis, and justification for your choice of methodology.

Summary of patients/service users/carers/public as research participants: the successful recruitment and retention of study participants is strategically important for the NIHR. If your proposed study involves patients/service users/carers/public as research participants, please use the following bullet points to summarise their characteristics and what would be expected of them throughout the research project life cycle. The potential burden on study participants can then be understood as well as whether or not the proposed strategies are practical, inclusive and feasible. Please also signpost to where further information on these points can be found in the detailed research plan and application.

Please make sure your summary covers:

  • inclusion and exclusion criteria to help ensure that certain groups were not being excluded without justification
  • recruitment method and consent process to ensure it is practical and fair
  • type and content of participant information materials
  • overview of research methods to capture data from participants and their frequency, for example questionnaires/tests/intervention/focus groups/ interviews
  • study participant support to consider how drop-out and issues of participation would be handled/helplines/ other access arrangements required
  • methods for sharing study progress and findings with study participants
  • payments, rewards and recognition for study participants.

Setting/context: please describe the health or social care service setting or context in which the study will take place, such as the organisation or service type.

Dissemination, Outputs and anticipated Impact

The purpose of this section is for the applicant to describe what the outputs of the research might be, how these will be disseminated and what impact there might be. Please consider the following questions when completing this section:

  • What do you intend to produce from your research?

    How will you inform and engage patients/service users, carers, NHS, social care and the wider population about your work?

    How will your outputs enter our health and care system or society as a whole?

    What do you think the impact of your research will be and for whom?

In describing the anticipated impact of the expected outputs on the health and care of patients/service users, carers, the public, and on health and care services, please consider; patient/service users, carer benefit; changes in NHS and/or care service (including efficiency savings); commercial return (which could contribute to economic growth).

Project Management

Please outline the processes that will be put in place to ensure the research described will be well managed. This should complement your research timetable upload. See the section further on in these Guidance Notes titled Uploads.


Outline any ethical and/or other regulatory issues, and arrangements for handling them. If there are no plans to obtain ethical review, this must be clearly justified. (Note that work outlined in your application/protocol must adhere to the Research Governance Framework). Further guidance on the approval process is available from the Health Research Authority (HRA). The MRC and the HRA have designed a tool to help you decide whether you need ethical approval. However, if you are unsure whether your research requires ethical approval, please contact the HRA directly and they will be able to advise.

Success Criteria

Please set out the measurements of success you intend to use and also the key risks to delivering this research and what contingencies you will put in place to deal with them. This section should identify appropriate actions that would reduce or eliminate each risk or its impact.

Patient and Public Involvement

Please describe how patients/service users, carers and the public have been involved in developing this proposal – 350 word limit

You should describe who has been involved and why this is appropriate, what role(s) they have they played and what influence or change has happened as result of their involvement.

Please describe the ways in which patients/service users, carers and the public will be actively involved the proposed research, including any training and support provided – 350 word limit

a)PPI approach, management and support

  • Explain why your approach to patient/service user and public involvement is appropriate for this proposal. In your description you will need to say who will be involved and why.
  • Please use this opportunity to describe how you plan to manage and coordinate the patient and public involvement activities in your project.
    Describe how you will support and enable patients/service users, carers, the public and members of relevant communities to contribute to your research (e.g., access, payments, training).
  • We would also encourage you to outline plans for the capturing, evaluating and reporting the impact of patient/service user and public involvement activities.
  • Patients, service users, carers and the public can be involved in every stage of a research project, from developing a proposal through to dissemination and evaluation. There are also further resources to support the design of your PPI.

b) A summary of PPI activities

Please provide a summary below of the proposed PPI activities embedded throughout the research project life cycle. Please clearly signpost to other sections of the Detailed Research Plan where the PPI is described further in relation to the relevant project stage, for example, dissemination, intervention design, data collection and analysis.

If it is considered not appropriate and meaningful to actively involve patients/services users, carers and the public in your proposed research, please justify why - 350 word limit

Complete/justify as necessary.

Training and Development and Research Support

Proposed training and development programme – 1000 word limit

Please use this section to detail the training and development you will undertake as part of the Fellowship. This should cover both the training you may need to undertake the research being proposed but also training designed to support your development as a future health\social care research leader.

Training may include, but is not limited to formal courses, training in specialist skills and research methodologies, placements with other research groups or centres, leadership skills,conference attendance and overseas research visits. Training could also include development of education and teaching skills to support overall career development. It is important that the Training and Development Programme is tailored to your specific needs and complements the research being proposed as part of the Fellowship.

It is important that the Training and Development Programme is tailored to your specific needs and complements the research being proposed as part of the Fellowship.

For clinical/practice applicants (including social care practitioners), please also use this space to indicate if you will be using the award to undertake clinical/practice sessions. Advanced Fellowship applicants can request up to 40% be allocated. It should be made clear what percentage of time is being requested and how any clinical time being covered by the Fellowship links to and is complementary to the research being proposed.

It is also possible to undertake a Fellowship less than full time to allow for clinical service/training to take place outside of the Fellowship. In this situation no justification or link to the research is required.

Research support - 250 words per justification of participation

The individuals you list here are required to complete the ‘Participants and Signatory’ section of the application form. Funding for research support is available for travel and subsistence only (for the applicant) and does not support any fees the individuals who provide research support may wish to charge the applicant.

Applicants should detail individuals providing research support and mentorship. Although we acknowledge that formal supervision may not be appropriate for all Advanced Fellowship applicants, we believe that the applicant will benefit from research support or mentorship. In this context, the research support or mentorship role will encompass providing you with support throughout your Fellowship in both your research endeavours and your overall career development. It is a two-way process that may be challenging for both parties. For this reason, choosing who will provide research support will require a great deal of thought. The individuals who provide research support may or may not be based in your host organisation. They should, however, have a clear understanding of the research process, the demands your chosen area of training and development are likely to place on you, and your particular strengths and weaknesses.

Research support is referred to in the literature as ‘mentorship’ and there are numerous models to be found that could be employed. Clearly describe how the proposed arrangements will support your overall development and provide an initial assessment of the time that will be allocated to the research support process.

Collaborations – 600 word limit

Explain what collaborations you intend to establish to support your research and, if applicable, your training and development programme. This may involve short visiting placements (for example, an Overseas Research Visit), or secondments in new (to the applicant) research environments, for example, clinical trials units or NIHR Biomedical Research Centres.

The NIHR is particularly keen to enhance the cadre of researchers equipped to work at the HEI, NHS, social care and industry interface, translating ideas into new treatments/practice and products from which patients can benefit. Therefore, where appropriate, you should consider any industry collaborations you may wish to establish during the course of your Fellowship. You should include; the training and development the collaboration will provide; the facilities and expertise you will have access to; and how the collaboration will strengthen links between academia, industry and the NHS/social care.

Host Organisation support statement – 1000 word limit

The statement is completed by the Head of Department and should detail how the organisation(s) are going to support the applicant in partnership to successfully complete their research and the training and development programme. This statement should be tailored specifically to the applicant, their research and training needs, and include how the organisation(s) intend to support the applicant to develop their research career in the long-term.

NIHR sees the responsibility for training the next generation of research leaders as a joint enterprise with host organisations. Therefore, information should also be provided on the organisation’s track record of supporting early career researchers, such as evidence of bridging or other support provided to fellows upon completion of an award.For Advanced Fellowships over 3 years in duration there is an expectation of significant additional host organisation support, for example, this could be providing additional research assistant(s)/PhD student(s) to the Fellow if successful.

In addition, the statement should show/provide evidence of the host organisation(s) commitment to creating and maintaining an inclusive and supportive research culture, including evidence of commitment to the principles of equality, diversity and inclusion and research integrity.

Statements may wish to refer to the principles and best practice outlined within relevant Charters and Concordats in these areas, such as the Researcher Development Concordat and Advance HE’s Equality Charters. It should be noted that being a signatory to Concordats or holding bronze/silver status from the Equality Charters isn’t a requirement of funding and evidence can be provided through other means.

Host Organisations are expected to comply with the relevant Principles and Obligations for clinical academic training and it is recommended Host Organisations read the following information resources, where relevant, before completing the statement of support.

For medics and dentists, please read the information on the NIHR’s principles and obligations webpage for medicine and dentistry.

For all other professions, please read the NIHR guidance for other health social care professionals

NIHR expects that all commitments made to the applicant within this statement will be honoured for the lifetime of the award.

Detailed Budget

Justification of costs

  • Please provide a breakdown of research costs associated with undertaking the research and provide justification for the resources requested. This should include the following costs: staff costs, travel and subsistence, dissemination costs, equipment (including lease versus purchase costs), consumables, patient/service users, carers and public involvement (PPI) and any other direct costs. For help with estimating PPI costs please see the INVOLVE cost calculator.

  • When justifying staff costs you should also provide the % amount of time input of each member of staff and link this to the specific area/work package of the proposed study where this input will be taking place.

  • You should indicate here how this research will potentially benefit the NHS, social care and/ or public health. For example, where appropriate, describe the likely cost savings or benefits in terms of numbers of patients/service users/carers supported or treated, treatment times etc.

  • You should describe the value for money of the conduct of the proposed research.

  • Please provide a breakdown of the NHS costs associated with undertaking the research and provide justification for the resources required. If there are no NHS Support or Excess Treatment Costs associated with the research, you must explain why you think this is the case.

  • Please provide a breakdown of any non-NHS intervention costs and provide justification for the resources required. Non-NHS intervention costs should include costs incurred in delivering the intervention which would continue to be incurred after the trial, should the intervention become standard care.
  • NIHR Fellowships are not project or programme grants; therefore, extensions to the duration of awards to allow for completion of research and/or training and development are not permitted. This doesn't affect suspensions of awards to allow for periods of maternity, paternity, adoption or sickness leave.

Detailed Budget Breakdown

The finance section should provide a breakdown of costs associated with undertaking the research as described in the proposal.


  • The information entered in this section should provide an analysis of the total funds requested to undertake the research proposed and should be based on current prices. These costs will be used to assess value for money.
  • It is in the best interest to undertake a thorough, realistic and accurate costing. You must provide a clear and full justification for all costs including NHS/social care costs. You must also ensure that you include all costs including those required to secure good research management.
  • Costs must be provided at current prices. An adjustment for inflation will be made annually thereafter at rates set by DHSC. Whilst allowances for incremental increases should be included on the form, nationally or locally agreed pay increases should be excluded.
  • Years should be calculated starting from the anticipated start date of the proposed research. For example, if your research is expected to start on 01 April 2024 then its second year starts 1st April 2025.
  • Further itemisation of costs and methods of calculation may be requested to support the application at a later date.
    Payments will be made to the contracted organisation only and the contracted organisation will be responsible for passing on any money due to their partner organisation(s).
  • Appropriate sub-contracts must be put in place for any element of the research which is to be paid to another organisation.
  • NHS Support Costs, including costs for social care research, are funded via Clinical Research Networks. Researchers should contact their local NHS R&D Department initially and, if they are unable to help directly or if there is no local NHS R&D Department, contact their Local Clinical Research Network.
  • All applications are expected to have appropriate HEI, NHS, social care, commercial. and other partner organisations input into the finance section of the application form.
  • There is no need to individually itemise costs where the total is below £1,000.


Higher Education Institutions (HEIs):

Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) should determine the Full Economic Cost (FEC) of their research using the Transparent Approach to Costing (TRAC) methodology. For HEIs, up to 80% of FEC will be paid, provided that TRAC methodology has been used.

NHS bodies and other providers of NHS or social care services in England:

  • For applications where the contractor is an NHS body or provider of NHS or social care services in England, up to 100% of direct costs will be paid.
  • If you are a commercial organisation/consultancy, please fill in direct costs and commercial indirect costs. Indirect costs should be charged in proportion to the amount of research staff effort requested on the funding application form. Up to 100% of costs will be paid.

Other Partner Organisations:

  • If you are another partner organisation (e.g., charity or non-governmental organisation [NGO]), please fill in direct costs and other partner organisations indirect costs. Indirect costs should be charged in proportion to the amount of research staff effort requested on the funding application form. Up to 100% of costs will be paid.


These are costs that are specific to the research, which will be charged as the amount actually spent and can be supported by an audit record. They should comprise:

I) Details of Posts and Salaries

This section presents an overview of salary costs for the applicant and other support/shared staff contributing to the research, including normal salary increments broken down individually.

  • The Applicant
    Please state the proposed salary point and scale at the start of the fellowship. Please note immediate promotion to a higher grade as a result of securing a fellowship will not be funded. Please do not include any Clinical Excellence or Discretion/Merit awards or discretionary points. NIHR agrees to fund consultant salaries at a full-time rate equivalent to 10 Programmed Activities per week.

  • Support Staff
    Support staff (research assistants) can be requested as part of an Advanced Fellowship application. This is usually limited to the equivalent of 1 member of staff for a period of 3 years. Any requests for support staff over this limit will need to be extremely well justified. There is also an expectation that the Host Organisation will match any requests for support staff over and above the usual limit.

Please include all members of staff working on the research by clicking ‘add staff details’ or editing a current one. Where applicants are already receiving salaries funded by NIHR, these should be declared in the application.

The Apprenticeship Levy can be included in the salary costs where relevant.

II) Salary Costs

This section specifies the annual costs of the applicant and other staff contributing to the research. You should now allocate the individual staff member costs to each year of the research, allowing for increments. Use current rates of pay (basic salary, geographical allowance and on-costs; any additional allowances being received for other activities within your current pay are ineligible) and build in any known annual increments (again at current rates). You will not be able to claim for pay awards retrospectively, once your research is underway.

Please note the salary figures need to be calculated using the current annual costs (basic salary, geographical allowance and on-costs), %WTE and number of months. If the research lasts for several years and an individual’s involvement varies over the course, it may be necessary to explain fully in the justification of costs section the % WTE and months per year for an individual staff member.

It is important to double check that the % WTE, total months and yearly costs information are consistent with the information presented in ‘Details of Posts and Salaries’ (‘Details of Posts and Salaries’ should show the full current staff costs independent of % WTE etc, whereas the yearly costs in ‘Salary Costs’ depend on % WTE etc).

Please ensure that you check the ‘Type of Cost’ box which describes the employing organisation for a member of staff as this impacts the level of funding provided. Staff employed by a HEI are funded at 80% of cost and staff employed by NHS, social care, commercial or other partner organisation at up to 100% of cost.

Please note that this section also includes ‘Shared Staff Costs’ which is located under directly allocated costs in some other funders’ applications. These are costs of an institution’s research resources which can be charged to the research on the basis of estimated use, rather than actual costs. These may include IT technicians, laboratory staff, and costs of pooled staff efforts. HEI indirect costs cannot be claimed on these shared costs.

The NIHR reserves the right to question any costs deemed excessive, and will not fund:

  1. Contributions for individuals providing research support (previously referred to as mentors), supervisors and/or other collaborators involved in the research
  2. Administrative or secretarial support
  3. Whole or significant percentages of support posts over and above those permitted by the scheme
  4. Technical or research support staff whose costs are funded through institutional indirect costs (HEIs only)

III) Travel, Subsistence and Dissemination Costs

This section includes journey costs, subsistence and dissemination costs, including conference fees. Where applicable, you will need to include the travel and subsistence costs of your Project Advisory Group, Steering Committee and/or Data Monitoring & Ethics Committee. Travel and subsistence costs relating to dissemination should also be included here, as should costs relating to overseas travel. Where applicable, you will need to include the travel and subsistence costs relating to meetings with individuals providing research support. Please note that mentors’ (including supervisors and individuals named as providing research support) expenses will not be funded.

If a cost relates to travel, subsistence or fees for a conference please select ‘conference’. Costs relating to conference attendance will be funded at up to 100% for all employing/host organisation types. Conference costs don’t need to be individually itemised for each conference. The justification box should detail the conferences the costs will cover.

  • Journey Costs

Enter the total cost of transport for all journeys for destination/purpose. If travel is by car, apply your institution’s mileage rates (however this should not exceed HMRC approved mileage allowance payments, which is 45p per mile for the first 10,000 miles and 25p thereafter).

Travel by the most economic means possible is encouraged. NIHR programmes do not usually fund first class travel.

  • Subsistence

Subsistence covers accommodation (if necessary) and meals associated with the travel, excluding any alcoholic beverages.

  • Conference Fees

Conference related costs (including all related travel and subsistence as well as conference fees) cannot exceed £2,000 per each full time equivalent year of funding.

  • Dissemination costs (in addition to conference costs)

Any large costs should be further detailed with a breakdown of constituent parts or a timescale profile of the costs. Meetings to share best practice, training events and events to disseminate research findings must be run at the lowest possible cost with minimal catering. ‘Conferences’ which are described as such are not eligible for funding.

IV) Equipment

Essential items of equipment plus maintenance and related costs not included as part of estates should be input in this section. These can be lease or purchase costs. The purchase cost of pieces of equipment, valued up to £5,000 excluding VAT, will be considered.

Pieces of equipment costing more than £5,000 to purchase will usually need to be leased. Where applicants are leasing equipment with a purchase price of more than £5,000, a comparison of leasing verses purchasing costs must be provided in the ‘Justification of Costs’ section.

Items of equipment valued at £250 or more must be itemised separately; however grouping same type equipment is permitted. Costs of computers are normally restricted to a maximum of £1000 each excluding VAT and a statement of justification must be included, in the relevant ‘Justification of Costs’ section for any purchase above this limit.

Equipment must exclude VAT, but if your organisation is unable to reclaim/recover the VAT on a piece of equipment, you should check the box ‘VAT cannot be reclaimed’.

You will need to seek expert advice from the organisation purchasing the equipment regarding its VAT status. If you check the ‘VAT cannot be reclaimed’ column, VAT at 20% will automatically be calculated into the overall cost of that item.

V) Consumables

This section includes non-reusable items specific to the research. Please itemise and describe the requirements fully (e.g., postage, stationery, photocopying). These items should be research specific, not just general office costs which should be covered by indirect costs.

VI) Patient/Service User, Carer and Public Involvement

Please itemise and describe fully the costs associated with patient/service user, carer and public involvement. These are likely to include individual travel, out of pocket expenses, payment for time and any relevant training and support costs. Costs related to study participants should not be itemised here.

If voluntary, charity, or community groups are supporting the research via activities such as facilitating contact with potential participants, hosting research activities, or providing advice, an adequate budget must be included to compensate for their time and resources.

INVOLVE have produced a number of useful payment-related resources.

VII) Other Direct Costs

These are costs, not identified elsewhere, that are specifically attributed to the research. For example, costs associated with the use of research facilities, external consultancy costs, computer licensing, recruitment and advertising costs. Please note that for organisations claiming indirect/overhead costs, costs such as recruitment of staff, and general training (for example, in common IT packages) are costs that should be covered by the indirect costs element of the award being sought and should not appear in this section.

Applicants should no longer include open access costs as part of their application. From the 1st of June 2022, all eligible awards contracts issued across NIHR Programmes, NIHR Personal Awards and NIHR Global Health Research Portfolio will have an Open Access Envelope allocated to them on top of the award value, which is ring-fenced for open access costs of peer reviewed research articles that arise directly from the research funded by the award in question. Please see the guidance for Open Access Publication funding for further details.

External Consultancy costs must be fully justified in the ‘Justification of Costs’ section. Please specify the hourly rate and the number of hours and note that consultants must not be people who are already employed by the applicant’s institution. If they are, any costs should be entered as direct costs in the ‘Details of Posts and Salaries’ and ‘Annual Costs of Posts’ sections.

A Note on CTU costs in Personal Training Awards

Costs claimed should be for the additional support from the CTU for the necessary expertise that the trainee cannot provide themselves. For example, part time support from a trial manager, database manager, and statistician are all costs that could potentially be included. The level of support and input from the CTU will likely vary depending on the level of fellowship and experience of the applicant.

For postdoctoral awards, it may be more appropriate for other members of staff to be undertaking some of the day-to-day tasks. This also very much depends on the experience and expertise of the applicant and the applicant’s training needs and should be agreed with the CTU before submitting an application. These costs should all be agreed with the CTU and budgeted for. Staff costs should be detailed under the ‘other direct costs’ section. Staff costs should include basic salary and on-costs for each member of staff involved and it should be made clear within the justification section what role each member of staff has within the context of the personal award application and the time they will spend on the award.

Please note that because NIHR Fellowships and other research training awards are personal awards and not project or programme grants we can’t fund whole or significant portions of posts other than that of the applicant themselves and their support staff member (where applicable). We would not normally expect the time commitment of any individual costed into the application other than the applicant or member of support staff to exceed 0.3 WTE. In total we wouldn’t normally expect the total WTE of all staff costed into the application to support clinical trial activities to exceed 1 WTE (excluding the applicant and support staff member) for early postdoctoral level awards and more junior awards (doctoral and early post-doctoral level awards) and 2 WTEs for more senior awards (this includes any shared staff also costed into the application).

The level of additional staff input will obviously depend on the type and scope of the trial and the experience of the applicant. Full justification should be provided for all staff costs requested. Overheads (estates and indirect costs) can be included for CTU staff costed into the application. The justification section should split out the overheads from the salary costs and overheads shouldn’t exceed 40% of the total CTU staff cost.

Any costs must be realistic in order to deliver the trial but must also represent value for money. Applicants can also include non-staff costs for the CTU for example; randomisation service, and license fees for l data management software.

VIII) Training and Development

All costs in this section will be funded at up to 100% for HEI, NHS, social care and commercial/other partner organisations. Please itemise and describe fully the costs associated with training and development. Please provide estimates if exact costs are not available at the time of application. Any travel and subsistence associated with training and development including overseas research visits should not be included here and should be included in the travel section of the form.

  • Training programme, short courses and workshops
    These are costs relating to the applicant’s training and development programme.

  • Overseas Research Visits
    Please provide costs for any overseas research visits that the applicant wishes to undertake during the course of the award. The NIHR will consider overseas research visits on an individual basis and reserves the right to limit expenditure. Overseas visits (excluding conference attendance) are normally restricted to one visit per Fellowship and a maximum duration of 3 months.

  • Support Post - PhD fees
    NIHR will make an estimated maximum contribution of £4,596 per year for full-time fellowships, or otherwise £13,788 in total, based on the UKRI indicative fee level for 2022/23. If an applicant’s PhD costs exceed £4,596 (per year on a full time basis), it is expected that the applicant’s host institution will cover any excess costs associated with the PhD fees.

  • Support Post - Training and Development
    NIHR will make a maximum contribution of £3,000 (including any identified travel and subsistence) towards training and develop costs for the support post.


HEI Indirect Costs

Total HEI indirect costs must be fully justified. HEIs are permitted to claim estate and other indirect costs. These costs are calculated on the basis of TRAC methodology. Proposals from other types of institutions/organisations should leave this section blank.

HEI indirect costs are based on the number of full-time equivalent research staff working on the research and the indirect/estates charges set by an institution. Please note HEI indirect costs cannot be claimed on shared staff costs. Where staff from more than one HEI are working on the research there may be different indirect/estates charges for each one. Please list each institution on a separate line.

The applicant(s) should consult their HEI Finance Departments for the appropriate figures to include in the estate charges and other indirect cost sections.

Commercial/Other Partner Organisation

Commercial/Other Partner Organisations can claim indirect costs which are the costs of resources used by the research that are shared by other activities. Please seek advice from your finance department about the appropriate cost for this section.

Total Commercial/Other Partner Organisation indirect costs must be fully justified.

Indirect Costs

Indirect costs will be charged in proportion to the amount of research staff effort requested on the award. Commercial/Other Partner Organisations should calculate them, using their own cost rates.

They comprise:

  • General office and basic laboratory consumables
  • Premises costs
  • Library services/learning resources
  • Typing/secretarial
  • Finance, personnel, public relations and departmental services
  • Usage costs of major research facilities
  • Central and distributed computing
  • Charge out rates for shared equipment, and
  • Cost of capital employed.

NHS SUPPORT AND TREATMENT COSTS (incl. Excess Treatment Costs/Savings)

The finance section includes a section that asks researchers to provide an estimate of the patient care costs associated with the research (if applicable). An explanation of why these costs are being incurred and the basis on which the estimations have been made should be fully detailed under the relevant ‘Justification of Costs’ section.

The selection committee will take NHS Support and Treatment Costs into account when considering the value for money of the research. It is important that you consider these costs and discuss them with the NHS bodies or providers of NHS services involved in order to avoid any delay in commencing the research.

Please be aware that the research award does not include NHS Support and/or Treatment Costs. NHS Support Costs will be funded via the Clinical Research Networks. Social care research is also eligible for CRN support. NHS Treatment Costs, including any Excess Treatment Costs/Savings, will be met by the NHS through normal patient care commissioning arrangements.

Please note that as part of the work to address the issues surrounding the way in which Excess Treatment Costs are funded, new arrangements are now being implemented. 

To underpin the new arrangements, a cost attribution tool has been created by the Health Research Authority (HRA) in partnership with charity funders and research sponsors. This tool provides a standardised approach across England, ensuring that the attribution of study activities complies with the Department of Health and Social Care Guidance on Attributing the Costs of Health and Social Care Research and Development (AcoRD). As part of their funding applications, researchers are required to complete this tool, known as a Schedule of Events Cost Attribution Tool (SoECAT) for clinical research. This tool is designed to capture the different costs associated with clinical research and attribute them accordingly. The totals for excess treatment costs and NHS support costs calculated by using the SoECAT can be entered directly into the application form.

Researchers and/ or their study teams and Research Sponsor/ Lead NHS Provider (e.g., R&D office/ Clinical Trial Unit) are supported by AcoRD Specialists in the Local CRN to verify the accuracy of the SoECAT.

Under the new arrangements, sign off via the LCRN AcoRD Specialist is required to confirm the study attribution complies with the Department of Health and Social Care AcoRD guidance. This early attribution support will underpin the excess treatment cost management process by providing formal sign off, supporting the role of the research sponsor and lead R&D office or Clinical Trial Unit. Completion of the Schedule of Events Cost Attribution Tool will be required for studies eligible for the NIHR portfolio and the support this provides, which will include access to excess treatment cost payments under the new arrangements. This ETC value, alongside recruitment activity in the NIHR Central Portfolio Management System, will then be utilised to inform the payments to NHS providers.

Please be aware that if your planned project includes the recruitment of participants, your application should be accompanied with the Funder Export from the online SoECAT, obtainable via the NIHR Central Portfolio Management System (CPMS).

In order to create a SoECAT, you will need to create an account in CPMS. After creating the account, you will need to login to CPMS to activate this account. If any assistance is required in creating the account, please refer to the CPMS user guide. Once your account has been created and is active, you can proceed. Guidance for the completion of the SoECAT by the applicant is present in the online tool to assist at each page and stage of the application process and further details can be found on the Online SoECAT Guidance page.

There is also an Online SoECAT Guidance Module which includes video tutorials and linked resources (an NIHR Learn account is required to access and enrol onto the module) and a helpful Study Representative – Online SoECAT Top Tips infographic.

Please note that completion of the SoECAT may not be necessary when applying for funding to support: programmes with no specific research study protocol, infrastructure, where the grant is to be used for direct employment of a member of staff or purchase of an asset, and data or diagnostic reviews where recruitment data is not collected. Such applications should be submitted with supporting documentation to explain why a SoECAT was not submitted in this instance.

There is more information on the NIHR Excess Treatment Costs webpage.

NHS and Social Care Support Costs

These are the additional patient/service user/carer care costs associated with the research, which would end once the R&D activity in question has stopped, even if the service involved continues to be provided. These might cover items such as extra patient tests, extra in-patient days and extra nursing attention. Applicants should contact their local NHS R&D Department initially and, if they are unable to help directly or if there is no local NHS R&D Department, contact their Local Clinical Research Network (LCRN) for advice on NHS Support Costs. There are further details about the Local Clinical Research Network are available on the NIHR website.

NHS Treatment Costs

Please read the following guidance on the funding of excess treatment costs prior to completing your application.

These are the patient care costs that would continue to be incurred if the patient care service in question continued to be provided after the R&D activity has stopped. In determining NHS Treatment costs, you must assume that the patient care service being assessed will continue even though there may be no plans for it to do so. Where patient care is being provided which differs from the normal, standard, treatment for that condition (either an experimental treatment or a service in a different location from where it would normally be given), the difference between the total Treatment Costs and the costs of the “usual standard care” (if any) constitutes Excess Treatment Cost/Saving, but is nonetheless part of the Treatment Cost, not an NHS Support or Research Cost. These costs should be determined in conjunction with your NHS body or provider of NHS services and their commissioners.

Please note if the patient care intervention under investigation is in addition to usual care there is no need to complete the ‘Usual Treatment Costs’ section however this will need to be justified in the relevant ‘Justification of Costs’ section. If the patient care intervention under investigation either wholly or partially replaces usual care, the ‘Usual Treatment Costs’ section must be completed

Please note that social care studies are eligible for Clinical Research Network (CRN) support, it does not just apply to NHS-based research, and researchers should speak to the CRN and include support costs where relevant. For the purposes of social care studies ‘treatment costs’ should be interpreted as ‘intervention costs’ and should be included in the proposal when needed. Further information can be found on the NIHR website.

For further information, please read the government’s guidance on attributing the costs of health and social care research and development.


NIHR programmes currently fund HEIs at a maximum of 80% of full economic cost, NHS bodies, social care organisations and other providers of health and care services in England 100% and commercial/other partner organisations at 100%.

Please note that whilst these percentages will be used to calculate the maximum grant payable, the programme reserves the right to award a grant for less than this maximum where it is considered appropriate.


To support your research plan, you are able to upload the following documents in the ‘uploads’ section of the form:

  • references: 1 A4 page listing all references cited in the application

  • figures/table: 1 A4 page of figures/tables to supplement the research plan

  • research timetable: 1 A4 page detailing specific milestone and deliverables

  • CTU letter of support: Where you are working with a CTU please include a supporting letter.
  • SoECAT form: Applications including the recruitment of participants must upload a completed SoECAT form. The SoECAT form can be uploaded in CSV format. If a SoECAT is not required for your applications, please upload documentation explaining why a SoECAT was not submitted in this instance. There is further Guidance for the completion of the form in these Applicant Guidance Notes.The SoECAT form can be uploaded in Excel format.

Participants and Signatory

A number of participants and a signatory are required to be added to your application and, where applicable, to complete sections of it. Details of the required individuals are provided on the online application form along with details of how they should be added. The flow diagram in Annex C goes through the actions required of participants, signatory and the applicant.

Acknowledge, review and submit

Conflict checks - 300 word limit

Please declare any conflicts or potential conflicts of interest that you may have in undertaking this research, including any relevant, non-personal & commercial interest that could be perceived as a conflict of interest.

Agreement to terms and conditions

Please click the check box to confirm you agree to the Terms and Conditions of submission as detailed on the application form.

Checklist of information to include when submitting a NIHR research application

Applicants should use the list below to check that they have included the necessary information prior to submitting their application:

  • a good quality Plain English Summary

  • a clear explanation of the problem being addressed

  • a clear demonstration of the need for and importance of the research

  • a review of existing literature (primary research)

  • a clear research question / aim(s) and objectives

  • a clear project plan summarising the study design and methods

  • appropriate and relevant involvement of patients/service users, carers and the public

  • a clear, appropriate and relevant plan for dissemination, and
  • a single A4 page of references (document upload).

Additional Supporting Information

Plagiarism in NIHR funding applications

NIHR expects all content within applications for funding to be original material of the applicant's own work, with the exception of sections that other participants are required to complete. Whilst we anticipate and expect that applicants will get help and advice from various sources when putting together an application, including on occasion input from those previously awarded funding, care must be taken to ensure this does not lead to plagiarism of either published work or other previous applications. If an allegation of plagiarism is raised against an application this will be investigated in accordance with the NIHR’s policy on plagiarism, a copy of which is available on request from

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 grant. The data we collect here is collected in the public interest. Information provided here may be subject to Freedom of Information requests.

The .NIHR Academy Executive is part of the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC), National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR). The contracting agent for the NIHR Academy Executive is the Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust (LTHT). The DHSC is the Data Controller and LTHT is the Data Processor under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) EC 2016/679. DHSC NIHR respects the privacy of individuals who share their data and processes it in a manner that meets the requirements of GDPR. The DHSC Data Protection Officer can be contacted by email at

The NIHR privacy policy includes further information including ways we may use your data, our contact details and details on your individual rights regarding how your data is used. Your data may be shared across the NIHR, including with other coordinating centres, to allow the application to be managed and for statistical analysis, and with external grant reviewers as part of the process for managing the allocation of a grant. Information collected from you will not be shared outside the EEA without your consent.

This notice is under constant review and will be updated and/or revised based on that review as appropriate.

International Standard Registered Clinical/soCial sTudy Number (ISRCTN)

All primary research studies need to be assigned an ISRCTN. There is information on the ISRCTN website. Please note that the remit of this database has been widened to include all primary research projects, even those that are not randomised controlled trials. There is no registration fee for NIHR funded trials.

Requirements for systematic reviews to be registered with PROSPERO

Applicants undertaking systematic reviews should note the commitment of NIHR to publication in the database. PROSPERO was developed by the NIHR’s Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (CRD) and is the first online facility to register systematic reviews for research about health and social care from all around the world. Access is completely free and open to the public. PROSPERO registration is a condition of NIHR funding for eligible systematic reviews.

UK Biobank

UK Biobank is a major national health resource, and a registered charity in its own right, with the aim of improving the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of serious and life-threatening illnesses – including cancer, heart diseases, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, eye disorders, depression and forms of dementia. UK Biobank recruited 500,000 people aged between 40-69 years in 2006-2010 from across the country to take part in this project. They have undergone measures, provided blood, urine and saliva samples for future analysis as well as detailed information about themselves. The health of members of this large cohort will be followed over the coming years and the participants have consented to be approached about health research.

Applicants are encouraged to consider whether Biobank may be able to provide suitable data for their study. We do not want to discourage establishment of new collections of participants and their data where this is necessary to address the research questions under consideration, our aim is to avoid applications for funding to set up Biobank-like cohorts where the use of Biobank would prevent wasteful duplication of Biobank-like activities.

NIHR Carbon Reduction Guidelines

Researchers applying for NIHR funding are asked to consider the carbon footprint of their research and take steps to reduce carbon emissions where appropriate. Advice on how to do this can be obtained from the NIHR Carbon Reduction Guidelines.

Transparency Agenda

In line with the government’s transparency agenda, any contract resulting from this tender may be published in its entirety to the general public.

MRC/NIHR Complex Intervention Guidance

Where appropriate applicants are encouraged to read the MRC/NIHR complex interventions guidance available.

NIHR Research Design Service

The NIHR Research Design Service (RDS) supports prospective applicants to make high quality applications for research funding from the NIHR and from other national research funders. Assistance is primarily focused around refinement of research questions, research design and methodological support. Complementing the advice applicants receive from supervisors and/or mentors. The RDS also assists prospective applicants to understand the scope of the NIHR’s various funding streams and to develop patient and public involvement (PPI) strategies. This includes involvement of service users, carers and/or practitioners in social care. The RDS may be able to support applicants with small grants to work up PPI plans with, for example, patient/service user groups.

The RDS has regional offices and links with local networks. Further information regarding support that the RDS can provide and contact information for each regional office can be found on the NIHR website.


INVOLVE is funded by the NIHR, to support active public involvement in NHS, public health and social care research.

As a national advisory group, its role is to bring together expertise, insight and experience in the field of public involvement in research, with the aim of advancing it as an essential part of the process by which research is identified, prioritised, designed, conducted and disseminated.

INVOLVE can support prospective applicants and existing awardees to incorporate effective patient/service user/carer and public involvement into their work. Support includes; help with calculating appropriate costs for involving patients and the public, help with developing potential strategies for involvement, case studies of involvement activities including the impact they have had, and help with writing plain English summaries.

Full details of the support INVOLVE can provide and contact information is available via the INVOLVE website.

Involvement of service users, carers, the public and other key stakeholders in the development and conduct of the research. 

The NIHR expects appropriate and relevant involvement of service users, carers, the public and other key stakeholders in the development and conduct of the research it supports.

Information and resources to assist prospective applicants can be found on the NIHR website (including a detailed definition of public involvement in research, and briefing notes for researchers on how to involve the public).

In addition, the NIHR has contributed to a Toolkit for Increasing Participation of Black Asian & Minority Ethnic Groups in Health & Social Care Research, and has produced a further resource on Public Involvement in Social Care Research.

Although no longer updated, the INVOLVE website also serves as a repository of useful information and resources. INVOLVE was funded by the NIHR to support active public involvement and engagement in NHS, public health and social care research.

CRN support

The NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) supports researchers and the life sciences industry in planning, setting up and delivering high quality research to the agreed timelines and study recruitment target, for the benefit of the NHS and social care and patients/service users/carers in England.

In partnership with your local R&D office, we encourage you to involve your local CRN team in discussions as early as possible when planning your study to fully benefit from the support the NIHR CRN offers as outlined in their Study Support Service. There is additional support on the NIHR website to help deliver your study

Ethics/Regulatory Approvals

Guidance on the application process for ethical and other approvals can be found on the HRA website. Please note that if your study is led from England and involves the NHS in England you should apply for HRA approval. Social care research falls within the remit and terms of the HRA.

If you are using patient/service user/carer information from an existing database, you should check whether they have given their consent for their data to be included in that database for research purposes, or if not whether the database is exempt under Section 251 of the NHS Act 2006. Where exemptions are not already in place, approval to use confidential information without consent must be requested from the HRA which makes decisions with advice from the Confidentiality Advisory Group (CAG).

Please note that NIHR is interested in taking advantage of the growing utility of routine data (such as HES, GP records etc.), and would like investigators, where appropriate, to ask study participants to consent to long term follow up (for example, beyond the outcomes to be collected in the funded trial) using routinely collected data, and appropriate linkage to allow this data to be best used.

Contractual Arrangements

Financial support under an NIHR Fellowship is subject to a contract between the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and the host organisation.

Once funding for a Fellowship has been discussed and agreed, NIHR will confirm the financial arrangements with the host organisation. NIHR will provide the host organisation with a contract setting out the details of these arrangements.

The host organisation will be expected to issue the individual with an employment contract commensurate with their experience and seniority.

Government procurement transparency regulations require publication of details of all contracts made with the DHSC on their Website. Confidential information including research proposals (Plain English Summaries will be published), detailed finance information, bank details, and departmental staff names (other than the award holder’s name) will be removed from the published versions.

Freedom of Information Act

The NIHR manages the NIHR Fellowship Programme on behalf of the DHSC. As such the findings of researchers funded by the programme are incorporated into the Department of Health and Social Care Freedom of Information Publication Scheme

Equality and Diversity Monitoring Information

NIHR is committed to promoting equality, diversity and inclusion in research and asks applicants to provide Equality and Diversity Monitoring Information (age, sex, ethnicity and race, and disability). By answering these Equality and Diversity Monitoring Information questions, you will help us to better understand the different groups of people that we fund and their experiences of being funded – particularly the groups protected by UK equality legislation. Although it is mandatory to answer these questions, it is possible to select ‘prefer not to say’ as a response. However, the more information you provide, the more effective our monitoring will be. This information will not be used to make decisions about funding.

Global Talent visa

Advanced Fellowship award holders requiring a visa to work in the UK are eligible to apply for a Global Talent visa under the fast-track process of endorsement. Other visa categories are available.

The Global Talent visa is designed for people who are recognised as leaders and potential leaders in their field. People who are awarded an NIHR Advanced Fellowships meet the criteria for the ‘exceptional promise’ category for potential research leaders.

Should you wish to apply for this visa, you should select the ‘Fast Track consideration’ option on the Home Office endorsement application form and use your award letter as evidence of your Advanced Fellowship. It is recommended that you arrange your visa in plenty of time before the start date of your award.

Further details can be found at GOV.UK and The Royal Society.

Guidance and Advice

Please read these Guidance Notes carefully. If you require any further information, advice or guidance please contact the NIHR using:

Phone: 0113 532 8410

Annex A - NIHR Remit Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The following FAQs are designed to help applicants decide whether the research they are proposing as part of a Fellowship or other research training application falls within the remit of the NIHR.

Please bear in mind that in fellowship applications, the research project proposal does not stand alone, but is part of a package of elements expected to provide an
excellent training experience that will allow the successful applicant to take their skills and experiences to a still higher level. Therefore, along with the research proposal, NIHR selection committees will assess the abilities, academic trajectory, existing experience, commitment to a career in health or care research, ambition and aspirations of the applicant, the standards in the research training environment, and the plans for explicit training in research methods.

The research proposal provides a framework for research experience so has to be of high quality, but a good research proposal will not be supported if other elements are weak.

If you are proposing a programme of work as part of an application (particularly relevant for more senior awards) it maybe that certain elements of the programme would be outside the remit of NIHR if considered in isolation. If this is the case, it is important that you make clear in your application that the research overall fits within the remit of NIHR and also why any elements which could be considered out of remit are necessary to include. It is also important to note that any elements of the research which are considered out of remit will not be funded by NIHR should your application be successful. This includes any work involving animals or their tissue, which NIHR does not fund under any circumstances. Applications which include a programme of work where the majority of the work is out of remit, but with a
small study within NIHR remit added on, will not be considered.

If you have queries over whether the research you are proposing as part of a research training application falls within the NIHR remit you are strongly advised to speak to a Programme Manager for the award you are applying for before submitting an application.

Question: Do you fund the evaluation of education and/or training schemes?

Answer: Yes. Proposed studies should be within the remit of the NIHR, and the outcomes measured should be health/social care related, or there should be good evidence for a link between the outcome measured and a health/social care outcome.

Question: Do you fund the development and/or evaluation of decision aids for patients/service users or carers?

Answer: The development or updating of a decision aid will be considered as part of a larger project or programme.

Question: Do you fund the development of interventions, devices, technologies or services?

Answer: The development or adaptation of interventions can be considered as part of a larger project or programme of work.

Question: Do you fund the development and/or evaluation of outcome measures, questionnaires or surveys (e.g., Patient Reported Experience/Outcome Measures)?

Answer: The development, adaptation or updating of outcome measures questionnaires or surveys can be considered as part of a larger project or programme of work.

Question: Do you fund the development, evaluation and/or validation of models (e.g., risk factor models, health or social care economic models etc.)?

Answer: Yes. We will consider funding the development of models where there is a case for service need or patient/service user/carer/public benefit. There should also be an evaluation or validation aspect to the study.

Question: Do you fund research requiring observational/applied epidemiological methods?

Answer: We fund research according to the potential for patient/service user/carer/public benefit rather than according to specific methodologies. We therefore fund research using a wide range of study designs including observational and applied epidemiological methods. Any study that uses observational and applied epidemiological methods should be an evaluation of an intervention itself, or have a clear, credible and articulated trajectory to further research within NIHR programme remits. An applied epidemiological component can also be considered as part of a larger project or programme of work.

Question: Do you fund research into workforce?

Answer: Yes. Proposed studies should be within the remit of the NIHR and should concern the impact on health and well-being, whether of patients/service users, carers, the public, or of the workforce itself. 

Question: Do you fund research into patient/service user, carer and public involvement in research?

Answer: Yes. Proposed studies would need to demonstrate the potential for practical application and make clear the potential impact on patients/service users, carers and/or the public.

Question: How does NIHR define the early translational (experimental medicine) research that it is interested in funding?

Answer: NIHR is interested in funding translational research which involves investigation undertaken in humans which can show a trajectory to benefiting patients. Proposals must show a clear link to improving disease outcomes and/or improvements in health. This could include proof of concept studies in humans and Phase 1 clinical trials. Research which is aimed only at furthering understanding of the underlying biology and physiology of disease, including research into disease mechanisms is not within remit.

Please see the NIHR Remit for Personal Awards for how this applies to the fellowships offered within the NIHR Fellowship Programme.

Annex B - New Fellowships FAQ

Question: Can clinical/practice applicants include clinical/practice/ service and/or development as part of the activities covered by the Fellowship?

Answer: The Advanced Fellowship will include the option for clinical/practice applicants to include between up to 40% clinical/practice time that will be covered by the Fellowship. It will also be possible to undertake the Fellowship at less than 100% WTE which can accommodate clinical/practice work paid for from another source.

Question: When it states applicants can propose between 50% and 100% WTE for the time they will spend undertaking their fellowship, does this mean applicants can select any percentage option between 50 and 100% WTE?

Answer: Yes. Applicants will be able to state the WTE they would like to undertake the award at provided it is no less than 50% WTE. Award length will change, with the exception of the Development and Skills Enhancement Award which is for 1 year maximum, depending on the WTE proposed. For Advanced Fellowships, between 2 and 5 years WTE can be supported.

Question: The guidance for Advanced Fellowships states; ‘Individuals will be eligible to be awarded up to 2 Advanced Fellowships sequentially, not normally totalling more than 8 years WTE of funding.’ Does this mean I can potentially request more than 8 years’ worth of funding from 2 Advanced Fellowships?

Answer: In most cases applicants will not be able to request more than 8 years’ worth of funding across 2 Advanced Fellowships, however there may be certain exceptional circumstances where more than 8 years’ worth of funding is  appropriate. A strong case would need to be made for this as part of an application and anyone proposing doing so should contact NIHR in advance of submitting an application for advice.

Question: If I am already an NIHR Fellow at postdoctoral level (for example, a Clinician Scientist or Postdoctoral Fellow), will I still be able to access up to 8 years of funding from the Advanced Fellowship?

Answer: Yes, there won’t be a restriction on this Fellowship for people currently in receipt of or previous holders of NIHR Fellowships, and access to up to 8 years’ worth of support across 2 sequential Advanced Fellowships will still be available. However as with all applicants the justification for the support requested both in monetary terms and award length will be assessed as part of the review process.

Question: Will there be the option to request funding for a support post as part of the Advanced Fellowship and will this be restricted depending on the experience of the applicant, bearing in mind the current Postdoctoral Fellowship (PDF) doesn’t allow for a support post and the Career Development Fellowship (CDF) does?

Answer: Yes, there will be the option to request funding for a support post and no there won’t be a restriction on this depending on the postdoctoral experience of the applicant. As with all aspects of the application, the justification for the support requested will be assessed as part of the review process.

Question: With the move to 2 rounds a year for the Advanced Fellowships, are there any restrictions on how soon I can apply to the same Fellowship if I have been previously rejected? 

Answer: If you have applied for an Advanced Fellowship you won’t be able to apply again in the round that opens 6 months later and will need to wait until at least the round which opens 12 months after your first application. For example, if you applied to the round opening in April 2023 you will not be able to apply again until the April 2024 round. You won’t be able to apply to the October 2023 round.

Question: Will there be any restrictions on the number of times I can apply for a Fellowship?

Answer: It will normally only be possible to apply to the same Fellowship a maximum of two times. However, there will be the following exceptions:

  • Bearing in mind you are able to apply for a second Advanced Fellowship after being successful with the first, the ‘clock’ will be reset after you are successful. You will have 2 opportunities to apply for a 2nd Advanced Fellowship even if you weren’t successful the first time with your first Advanced Fellowship.
  • Normally after a period of 3 years has passed you will be able to apply again for the same Fellowship, if you have previously had 2 unsuccessful applications. This is to take account of the fact that both you, in terms of your CV and experience, and the proposed research will have hopefully developed significantly in this timeframe.
  • Applications deemed fundable but which fall below the funding cut off will not be counted towards the maximum of two application attempts.

Please not that this does not include applications to predecessors of the current programme (for example, Doctoral Research Fellowships (DRFs), Postdoctoral Fellowships (PDFs), Transitional Research Fellowships (TRFs), Career Development Fellowships (CDFs), Senior Research Fellowships (SRFs) or Clinician Scientist).

Question: When you say the majority of funding is ‘response mode’ what does this mean?

Answer: When we say response mode, we mean there won’t be any prioritisation for any one specific area of research over another. In response mode anyone who meets the eligibility criteria for a scheme is able to apply, and funding decisions are made based upon those deemed fundable by the selection committees and the ranking of fundable applications.

Question: Can I apply for 2 different levels of Fellowship at the same time? For example, Pre-doctoral and Doctoral Fellowships?

Answer: No, you will need to decide which fellowship you are going to apply to. If you would like to discuss this further in relation to your personal circumstances, please get in touch with the NIHR using the details provided above.

Annex C - Application Submission Process Flow Diagram

Application submission process flow diagram 

Annex D - Advanced Fellowship Duration Options

Below are the available durations available for NIHR Advanced Fellowships 

Full Time Equivalent in Years


Award Duration in months

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Full Time Equivalent in Years


Award Duration in months

Award Duration in Years

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Annex E - Additional Information for applicants applying for an Advanced Fellowship in Knowledge Mobilisation Research


The NIHR is looking for innovative and creative proposals that seek to increase the effectiveness of knowledge mobilisation within NHS settings (and other publicly funded organisations providing health or social care services, as described above), and increase our understanding of knowledge mobilisation and implementation processes. These proposals will include plans for undertaking innovative knowledge mobilisation (that is, to support the more effective use of research knowledge) whilst simultaneously researching implementation processes and impacts. This type of activity can also be referred to as implementation and implementation research.

Applicants are encouraged to draw on the latest thinking and theories that pertain to knowledge creation, dissemination and use. Through innovative practice and systematic study of that practice, Knowledge Mobilisation Fellows work to advance knowledge and understanding about research use, influence and impact. As such, this is unique in requiring awardees to both carry out knowledge mobilisation and to research the process, thereby contributing to practice and to research knowledge about implementation.

Applicants will be expected to demonstrate how they intend to draw on existing or emerging NIHR-funded research, as well as on the wider evidence base, in their knowledge mobilisation activities. Proposals will most likely involve close collaboration with NIHR-funded research team(s), either building on the work of a single project or linking a number of related projects to support knowledge mobilisation within a particular field. Proposals will also involve close collaborations with the users of the research within the health and social care setting.

Fellowships should be used to:develop and enhance understanding of knowledge mobilisation in health and social care;

  • develop new ways of enabling research knowledge to be used in practice and/or
  • enhance existing knowledge mobilisation mechanisms
  • develop new research knowledge of particular and timely relevance to the NHS and/or social care
  • develop new questions of relevance to implementation research and practice, and
  • enhance the capability of the Fellow to facilitate networking between researchers and potential research users, shaping these communities and building effective linkages between them.

It is important that applicants propose to make a significant contribution to the research literature on knowledge mobilisation as well as to the practice of knowledge mobilisation. In this way Fellows are expected to contribute to knowledge as well as practice. Contributions to research-based knowledge on knowledge mobilisation may be made directly through research and evaluation embedded in the Fellowship, as well as through careful collaboration with research partners over the lifetime of the project.

A list of relevant knowledge mobilisation and implementation literature is available on the NIHR website, although this is not exclusive and applicants may choose to use other related approaches.


Knowledge Mobilisation Advanced Fellowships have been designed with the specific intention of building capacity within the fields of mobilising knowledge, getting research evidence into practice, and knowledge mobilisation research. Previous experience in these fields means that that an individual may still be eligible to apply, but whatever their background, they must propose a new focus for their activities that will add substantial and demonstrable value.

  • NIHR Advanced Fellowships in Knowledge Mobilisation are open to individuals who have significant health/social care and/or academic experience and who can demonstrate that they (a) have the potential to mobilise research knowledge in health and social care settings and (b) can contribute to the research base underpinning knowledge mobilisation activities

  • In order to support partnership working between Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and publicly funded health or social care bodies, applications must be supported by organisations from both of these different sectors. Publicly funded health or social care bodies may be providers or commissioners of services. Because applications are welcomed from individuals currently working in either health or social care or academic organisations, the experience and competencies expected of the applicant are dependent on their background

  • It is important to note the Advanced Fellowship is a post-doctoral award so applicants must hold a PhD as detailed in the eligibility criteria for Advanced Fellowships overall. They will also need to demonstrate substantive links with relevant research expertise in their partner HEI, expertise that will underpin the research component of these awards. The NIHR Applied Research Collaborations may be able to provide support for developing such links (

  • Candidates from within HEIs will be expected to have significant experience of carrying out and communicating applied health/social care research, and of developing on-going as well as project-specific links with health and social care providers or commissioners

  • All candidates will need understanding of the research and theoretical underpinnings of knowledge mobilisation practices, and to be able to apply this to the development of a substantial research component in their project

  • Candidates should develop a training plan that builds on their experience to date and focuses on the areas where they can demonstrate a need for development.

Individuals previously granted an NIHR Knowledge Mobilisation Fellowship or an NIHR Knowledge Mobilisation Research Fellowship are ineligible for funding through this scheme.

Assessment Criteria

Applications for Advanced Fellowships in Knowledge Mobilisation will additionally be assessed across a further two aspects:
The suitability and potential of the applicant to champion knowledge mobilisation practice and to conduct research into knowledge mobilisation processes/impacts;
The potential of the proposed activities to: inform knowledge mobilisation within health and social care settings through new research into knowledge mobilisation; and engage with and influence local knowledge mobilisation activities;