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NIHR Global Research Professorships Round 7 2023


Published: 15 September 2023

Version: September 2023

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Section 1: Introduction

The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) is funded by the UK’s Department of Health and Social Care. Its work in low and middle income countries is principally funded through UK Aid from the UK government.
The NIHR Global Health Research Portfolio uses UK Aid to fund high quality applied health research and training to meet the needs of the people in low and middle income countries (LMICs). This research aims to:

  1. Address the shifting global burden of disease
  2. Develop health systems to identify and respond to population needs,
  3. Build resilience to tackle future global health threats, and
  4. Strengthen research capacity in LMICs through equitable partnerships between LMIC and UK researchers.

Further information on the NIHR Global Health Research portfolio is available on the NIHR website. View the application form guidance.

Section 2: About the Global Research Professorships

Up to five NIHR Global Research Professorships will be available in this seventh round.

The Global Research Professorships scheme will support any field of applied global health and care research for the direct and primary benefit of people living in one or more ODA-eligible country/ies. This call is open to applicants from both LMICs and the UK.

Each award will consist of a package to support the Professorship. The award will cover support post appointments, research running costs, a travel fund, a leadership and development programme, including access to the NIHR Leadership Programme, the opportunity to request a sabbatical and the basic salary costs of the individual.

By the end of the award, NIHR Global Research Professors will be expected to:

  • Have demonstrated research leadership at a national and/or international level.
  • Have been developed and protected by their institutions, including being relieved of administrative tasks.
  • Enhance existing and establish new research collaborations in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Have supported training and capacity strengthening/mentorship within LMIC and UK (if applicable) institutions that enhances research capacity for future global health and care research.

2.1 NIHR Academy Remit for personal awards

All research funded by the NIHR as part of a training award managed by the NIHR Academy 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.
  2. NIHR does not support basic research or work involving animals or their tissue.
  3. Iftheworkinvolvesbiomarkers:
    • 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.

Section 3: Eligibility

3.1 ODA eligibility criteria

The NIHR Global Research Professorship is funded by Official Development Assistance. Applications and nominations must directly and primarily benefit patients and the public in countries on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Development Assistance Committee List of ODA Recipients.

To meet ODA eligibility criteria, applications must demonstrate:

  • Which country or countries on the OECD DAC list of ODA eligible countries will directly benefit
  • How the application is directly and primarily relevant to the development challenges of those countries and
  • How the outcomes will promote the health and welfare of a country or countries on the OECD DAC list.
  • Where researchers wish to work with middle-income countries on the OECD DAC list the application should demonstrate how the research will benefit the health and welfare of the poorest and/or most vulnerable groups of people in those countries and how their findings could have wider applicability to other low-income countries.

Where researchers wish to work with middle-income countries on the OECD DAC list the application should demonstrate how the research will benefit the health and welfare of the poorest and/or most vulnerable groups of people in those countries and how their findings could have wider applicability to other low-income countries.

Further information can be found in NIHR ODA Guidance for Researchers and in Global Health Research Programmes - Core Guidance for applicants and resources.

3.2 Who can apply 

To apply for a Global Health Research Professorship you must be:

  • An individual with an outstanding record of public health, health or care research including clinical and non-clinical researchers.
  • On track to become a future global health research leader
  • Working at the level of:
    • Professor
    • Reader/Associate professor
    • Senior Lecturer/Fellow/Assistant Professor
    • Clinician Scientist
    • Group Leader
    • Or an equivalent position
  • Based in the UK or in a Low and Middle Income Country (LMIC)
  • Nominated by your host institution.

The scheme is open to all health, public health and social care research and methodology professions.

UK-based researchers

If you are hosted by a Higher Education Institution (HEI) in the UK (England and the Devolved Administrations):

  • You must have partner organisation/s in LMICs.
  • The research outputs must be of direct and primary relevance to the health and care challenges of LMICs.
  • Undertaking research in a LMIC will be a large component of the proposal.

LMIC-based researchers

If you are based at a HEI or research institute in a LMIC, your host organisation must have been or currently be involved in a NIHR Global Health Research programme award, including:

  • NIHR Global Health Research Units
  • NIHR Global Health Research Groups
  • NIHR Global Health Policy and Systems Research (GHPSR) programme
  • NIHR Research and Innovation for Global Health Transformation (RIGHT) programme
  • NIHR Global Health Research Centres
  • Previous or existing NIHR Global Research Professorships
  • View the full list of eligible LMIC organisations

3.3 Career background

You must have had an upward career path over the last 5-10 years and be on course to becoming an outstanding research leader after the period of the award; you should not already be an established leader in your field. You should be close to professorial level or have recently been appointed as a full Professor. We expect that you would not have been employed at the Professor level for more than five years.

Applicants can be at the following career levels: Professor, Reader, Associate/Assistant Professor, Senior Lecturer/Fellow, Clinician Scientist, Group Leader or similar.

We recognise that career pathways and structures may vary in different countries. Please contact the NIHR if you have any queries surrounding your circumstances on

NIHR Senior Investigators are not eligible to apply.

Applications are welcomed from a broad range of clinical and non-clinical professional backgrounds including public health, social care and methodologists.

For those not directly involved in delivering clinical, public health or care services, you will need to demonstrate how you will link with clinical, public health and care practice and policy colleagues in order to deliver your research for the benefit of patients, public health or social care users.

Previous applicants have worked in the following fields:

  • Health economists
  • Nurses
  • Midwives
  • Allied health professionals
  • Dentists
  • Healthcare scientists
  • Social workers
  • Social care staff
  • Public health staff
  • Clinical psychologists

3.4 Host nomination

In order to apply for the award you must be nominated by your institutions.

The nominating (lead) organisation must be on the list of eligible LMIC HEIs or Research Institutes or a UK HEI.

A maximum of two nominations will be permitted per HEI or Research Institute for each round of the NIHR Global Research Professorships. The following conditions apply:

  • If two nominees are nominated, at least one of these must be female.
  • If one nominee is nominated, they can be male or female.
  • The proposed work plans must meet Official Development Assistance (ODA) eligibility criteria and their research must focus on improving the health and welfare of people in LMICs.

The Nominating HEI or Research Institute should carry out an internal selection process to decide which researchers to nominate. If more than two applications are submitted, the host institution will be asked to prioritise two and the others will be removed from the process.

Nominees who were unsuccessful in previous rounds of the NIHR Research Professorships or NIHR Global Research Professorships schemes can be re-nominated by their HEI or Research Institute.

3.5 Field of research

Funding is available for any field of applied global health, public health and care research that meets the NIHR remit and ODA eligibility criteria.

However, we particularly encourage interdisciplinary applications addressing under-funded/under-researched areas which could have a significant impact on mortality/morbidity in LMICs.

3.6 Location of research

Research can be conducted in the UK or LMICs. However, the research outputs must be of direct and primary relevance to the health and care challenges of LMICs. Undertaking research in a LMIC will therefore need to be a large component of the proposal. For UK-based Global Research Professorships, funds for research activity taking place in LMICs will need to be routed through the UK HEI or Research Institute.

You should either be based at or have strong existing links with collaborators or partners in institutions in countries on the OECD DAC list in which you plan to conduct research. Your award should strengthen links between all organisations involved in your research and where relevant support training and capacity development/mentorship in these institutions.

Section 4: Budget and length of funding

Scheme specific finance guidance can be found in the application form guidance. Our key principles for research supported by NIHR Global Health Research funding can be found in our GHR Finance Guidance

4.1 Scope of funding

The award consists of a package to support a Professorship. This includes:

  • Academic support posts
  • Research running costs
  • A travel fund
  • Funding to support a sabbatical
  • Basic salary costs (plus indirect costs, for the host organisation, if applicable).

The full cost of a clinical trial will not be met by this award. You must seek grant funding from elsewhere to cover these costs.

4.2 Funding timeline

The award is a personal award and is not a project or programme grant. Therefore extensions to the duration of the award to allow for completion of research and/or leadership and development are not permitted.

The start of NIHR Global Research Professorships cannot be deferred.

NIHR Research Professorships are 5 year appointments.

From Round 7 onwards you may undertake the award on a part-time basis between 80% whole time equivalent (WTE) and 100% WTE; this would need to be due to personal circumstances and must be discussed with the NIHR before submission of the application. Part time working to enable further clinical sessions will not be considered.

In addition to covering the salary costs for maternity cover posts, NIHR will cover reasonable costs of enhanced maternity pay (costs over and above what can be reclaimed for statutory maternity pay) and shared parental pay (where working parents share leave usually during the first year after their child is born or placed with their family) for any posts directly funded through NIHR awards and where these costs are not already covered elsewhere. Costs will be provided in line with the relevant UK/ partner organisation’s maternity pay policy. Policies must be made available on request. Part-time costs will be paid pro-rata. NIHR will usually only cover costs incurred during the period of the contract.

Extensions will be considered where they enable completion of formal NIHR-funded training posts following a period of statutory leave. The length of any extension request should be reasonable and in line with local policies.

4.3 Applicant

If you are in a clinical or service delivery role, the majority of the duration of the award will be spent on research. However you should continue with service delivery to ensure research ideas are pulled into clinical, public health or social care practice.

You will be funded to continue to spend the equivalent of up to one day per week delivering service directly.

If you are not in a clinical or service delivery role, an equivalent time collaborating with others to facilitate service delivery directly in the relevant LMIC or have relevant collaborations can be supported.
This award will cover no less than 80% of a Professorship’s FTE.

You must have an employment contract that is maintained and managed through the host HEI or Research Institute, however you do not have to be based at the host HEI or Research Institute.

4.4 Support posts 

Typically, three academic support posts are available to accompany the Professorships. However, this can vary depending on the type or research being proposed. View the application form guidance for more information.

These posts can be a mix of of post doctoral, doctoral and pre-doctoral posts. Where multiple support posts are requested, it is expected at least one will be an LMIC national.

The award does not cover individuals providing research support, administrative or secretarial support, technical or research support staff whose costs are funded through institutional indirect costs (HEIs only).

Support posts’ contracts

All of the above posts, including any associated funding, will terminate with the end of the Professorship. Early recruitment is recommended. Should any of the appointments extend beyond the term of the Professorship, including for statutory reasons (maternity/paternity, adoption or sick leave), NIHR will cover reasonable costs and extensions will be considered to enable the completion of formal training awards.

Staff normally employed in a partner organisation to the nominating HEI or Research Institute would require a sub-contract or collaboration agreement between the host and partner organisations.

Where support staff will be based remotely from the NIHR Global Research Professor for significant periods of time, whether in a UK or an LMIC HEI or Research Institute, appropriate provision must be set out to ensure sufficient support and supervision.

4.5 Community Engagement and Involvement

Our vision for Community Engagement and Involvement (CEI) is that all global health research is undertaken in collaboration with the communities affected by the research outcomes. Marginalised groups must have a meaningful voice both in the research funding process, design, delivery and dissemination.

You must set out how you will involve the community you seek to serve in your budget. This could include, but is not limited to, establishment of community groups, meetings with community leaders, dissemination materials, and community media activities.

4.6 Travel

You can travel overseas for field work, collaboration and to ensure support and supervision. Support staff may also travel overseas where there is a clear rationale and research need for them to do so.

All such options or proposals must be justified in the application from a scientific, career development and finance perspective.

Value for money and environmental impact should also be considered including whether a trip is necessary and whether alternative cheaper options (e.g. tele-conferencing or video conferencing) offer a viable alternative.

4.7 Development and support

Part of the proposed leadership and development will include mentorship. Senior academic mentoring is vital to your development as a research leader. Your mentor should support you throughout the Professorship. They should be able to guide you through your research endeavours and your overall career development. You will be required to name a minimum of one and maximum of four mentors.

The award may also be used in part to meet the costs associated with continuing national and international research leadership and collaboration. Other opportunities for international collaboration, such as sabbaticals, may be considered as part of this award.

4.8 Research Costs

We support early translational, clinical and applied health research, public health and care research with clear potential for benefiting patients, public health and care users and carers in LMICs. The research can involve: patients, the public, care users and/or carers; and/or their samples or data; populations; health technology assessment; or health services research.

Section 5: Selection criteria

All applications are assessed on the following criteria:

  • The likelihood that you will make a long-term contribution to applied health research, capacity building and research leadership in your chosen field in the OECD DAC list country or countries in which you will be working.
  • The outputs from and impact of the research you have undertaken to date.
  • Your success in securing funds for your research to date.

  • The ODA eligibility criteria must be fulfilled.
  • Demonstration of an upward career path over the last 5-10 years.

  • The projected impact of the NIHR Global Research Professorship on your future career path.

  • The quality of the proposed research programme and the likelihood of it securing future external funding.

  • The suitability of the proposed partnership/s for your development.

  • The commitment of the proposed host institution to support you in the short, medium and long term.

  • The commitment of the host and partner institutions to empowering research uptake.

  • The strategic significance and value of you and your research to the host and partner institution.

  • The appropriateness of resources claimed and whether the total funding requested represents good value for the use of public/NIHR funds.

  • Demonstration as to how and why a specific issue or discipline has been identified for research as an LMIC priority area and unmet need (which may include engagement with relevant stakeholders e.g. policy makers, practitioners, patients, service users, carers), and how the research programme and partnerships will address this.

  • Demonstration that your CEI approach is appropriate and effective in the local context and for your study design.

  • A strong track record in global health, public health or social care, and evidence of relevant and substantive LMIC collaborations and partnerships to support the application. Evidence of input by collaborators to the content and design of the proposed research programme, and an outline of how they will be equitably engaged throughout implementation, analysis, reporting and dissemination.

  • 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.

Section 6: Application Procedure

Eligible applications will be considered by a Selection Committee. Applications will then be reviewed by external peers. Finally, shortlisted applicants will be invited to interview.

We will inform you as soon as possible after a final decision has been taken on your application following eligibility checks and shortlisting.

If you are selected for interview you will usually be notified of the decision as soon as possible after funding arrangements have been confirmed.

The Selection Committee’s recommendations will be considered by the UK Department of Health and Social Care.

6.1 Application Timetable

  • Applications open: 20 September 2023
  • Webinar on award: 3 October 2023
  • Closing date for applications: 6 December 2023
  • Assessment of eligible applications by Selection Committee: December 2023 - March 2024
  • Shortlisting for external peer review: March 2024
  • External peer review: March - June 2024
  • Interviews: June 2024 – Online

6.2 Start Dates

Successful nominees will be expected to start their award on one of the following dates only:

  • 1st October 2024
  • 1st November 2024
  • 1st December 2024

Section 7: Completing an online application

Applications must be submitted to the NIHR Academy using the online application system, ARAMIS, by 6 December 2023 at 1.00pm (GMT).

The application for the Global Research Professorship is a collaborative process and will require participants and signatories to sign into ARAMIS.

7.1 Applicant

You will only be able to press the ‘Submit’ button when:

  • All mandatory sections of the application form are complete
  • All participants have agreed to be part of your application
  • The signatories have agreed to their role
  • The nominating HEI or Research Institute and partner organisations have completed the Support Statement sections

Clicking ‘Submit’ will send the application for final sign off by the signatories.

You are advised to validate their application as they work through the application form.

Once all other parties have made their contribution, you must ‘Submit’ the application to the signatories for final sign off before the closing date.

7.2 Participants

You are required to supply the names and email addresses of the individuals who will be undertaking ‘participant’ roles as part of your application.

Participants must agree to be part of the application. Participants are required to review the declaration for the role before confirming participation as part of the one-click ‘confirm’ process.

Required Participants

  • 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 must confirm that the host organisation is prepared to carry out this research at the stated costs and to administer the award if made.

7.3 Signatories:

You are required to supply the names and email addresses of the individuals who will be undertaking ‘Signatories’ roles as part of your application. Once their contact details have been entered, the signatories will be invited to log into the system and confirm their participation. Signatories will be required to:

  • Agree to the role being asked of them in the application before the application is submitted by the applicant .
  • Agree to participate and complete their sections. You will not be able to submit the application if this has not been completed.
  • Approve the final version of the application after it has been submitted via the online system.
  • Signatories must approve the application after you have selected the ‘submit’ option but before the application submission deadline.
  • The final signatory approval will result in the application being fully submitted to the NIHR. All parties (applicant, participants and signatories) will be notified of this via an automated system generated email.

7.4 Required Signatories

Lead Signatory of HEI/Research Institute:

  • You will be required to include the Lead Signatory from your employing host organisation.
  • The Lead Signatory must confirm that they support this application. They must confirm:
    • The research and training will be supported and administered at the host organisation.
    • The applicant will undertake this work.
  • The Lead Signatory will need to complete questions in the ‘Leadership & Development and Research Support’ section of the application.

Senior representative of main partner organisation:

  • You will be required to include a representative from your main partner organisation.
  • The senior representative must confirm they support this application.
  • They will be required to complete the section in the ‘Leadership & Development and Research Support’ section of the application.

Image description: Application submission Process Flow Diagram Step 1: Application created, Step 2: Applicant adds participant and signatory details, Signatories and Participants log in and confirm their participation, Signatories and Participants complete sections of the form where applicable, Step 3 Applicant continues entering data completing all the relevant sections of the form, Step 4: applicant presses the submit button, Step 5: Automated emails sent to notify signatories, Step 6 Once all signatories have approved the application it is automatically submitted to the NIHR for consideration (rejection of the application by any individual at step 6 will return the application to Step 3).

Section 8: General advice

  • All submissions via the online application system must be in English.

  • Applications will not be accepted if submitted after the exact closing date and time. The system will automatically prevent this from happening.

  • It is your responsibility to allow sufficient time to submit an application and signatory sign off.

  • You must contact the NIHR Global Health team by emailing or call 0113 532 8444 (Option 4) immediately if you think there is a system problem, whilst attempting to continue with your submission.

  • Please see guidance on completing your application form, which also contains guidance on how to write the budget.

  • This document should be read with the Global Health Research Programmes - Core Guidance for Applicants for further guidance and the application form guidance.