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NIHR Pre-doctoral Fellowships Guidance Notes Round 2 January 2020




The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Academy is launching the 2nd round of Pre-doctoral Fellowships as part of the newly restructured NIHR Fellowship Programme, funded by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).

Pre-doctoral Fellowships are designed to support people who are looking to start or advance a career in health and social care research methodology, specifically in one of the following areas:

  • Medical statistics
  • Health economics
  • Clinical trial design
  • Operational research
  • Modelling
  • Bioinformatics
  • Qualitative research
  • Mixed methods
  • Epidemiology

Applicants should either have completed or are about to complete their undergraduate degree in a relevant subject or already hold a master's degree (or currently undertaking one) relevant to one of the areas above. Applicants without a master's degree should use the Fellowship to undertake a master's degree in one of the areas listed. Those already holding a relevant master's degree (or currently completing one) should use the Fellowship to gain additional support and training to advance to the next level of their career, for example, training in a specific methodology or pilot work to inform a higher fellowship application.

Following the completion of a Pre-doctoral Fellowship, successful applicants should look to have achieved one of the following, depending on their level of experience when applying;

  • Completion of a broad master's level (or full master's degree) training programme relevant to one or more of the areas listed above, which would allow them to be in a strong position to go into a range of further health and social care research related roles, e.g. applied statistician in a Clinical Trials Unit, health economist supporting other research teams.
  • Completion of a training programme specifically designed to support the applicant to undertake a future PhD

Whilst the use of the Fellowship to help prepare for a future PhD is within the remit of the Fellowship, it isn’t an expectation that all applicants will utilise it for this purpose. Applicants who have just completed or are about to complete their undergraduate degree are more likely to want to utilise the fellowship to gain a master's qualification in addition to some hands on training and development in a relevant setting, which will provide applicants with a solid grounding to go on to develop a career in various roles relevant to health and social care research.

Applicants can also look to use these Fellowships as a way of facilitating a career change into research methodology through the undertaking of appropriate master's level training. Whilst these Fellowships are personal applications i.e. the applicant completes and submits the form to NIHR themselves - it is expected that the applicant will have significant support and input from two or more supervisors at the time of applying and throughout the Fellowship. Applicants are strongly advised to read the guidance notes and application form in conjunction with their proposed supervisors before starting an application. Further information on identifying and contacting potential supervisors is provided later in the  'Identification of Potential Supervisors' section which you can access from the right hand menu. 

NIHR Remit

Whilst these fellowships are not designed to fund large scale research projects it is still important to be aware of the remit of NIHR in terms of the type of research it will fund and tailor the training programme accordingly.

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, including social care research.
  2. For personal pre-doctoral and doctoral-level awards the proposal:

a) Must be for clinical and applied health research, including social care research

b) Must have clear potential for directly benefiting patients and the public (but recognising the training element of the research)

c) Can involve: patients; samples or data from patients; people who are not patients; populations; health technology assessment; or health services research

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

4. If the work involves biomarkers:

a) 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

b) 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 research into 'medical education' (defined broadly as education for healthcare providers) and methodological research. It is expected that the research will have the potential to have practical application and the potential impact on patients and the public must be made clear.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Completion of a relevant first degree, at the time of starting the award
  • Proposed host must be an English HEI, NHS body or other provider of health and/or care services
  • Proposing to develop a career as a methodologist in one of the areas listed in the introduction
  • The Fellowship is not open to clinical applicants looking to undertake training in research methods. Clinical applicants looking to develop a career as a clinical academic should consider schemes from the relevant clinical academic programmes provided by NIHR:

Assessment Criteria

Applications for Pre-doctoral Fellowships are assessed on the following criteria:

Applicants without a master's degree

  • Interest of applicant in developing a future career in health and social care research methodology
  • Experience and skills (at undergraduate level) relevant to a career in health and social care research methodology and the training programme being propose,d including a second class degree or above BSc in a relevant subject area
  • High quality training programme including opportunity to complete a relevant master's degree which will support a number of potential future roles in research methodology
  • Experience of supervisory team, relevant to the training programme being proposed
  • Demonstrable track record of host organisation and supervisory team of supporting aspiring methodologists

Applicants with a master's degree

  • Completion of relevant master's degree of relevance to training programme being proposed
  • Interest of applicant in undertaking a future PhD in health and social care research methodology
  • High quality training programme to support applicant in making a PhD application in a relevant area of research methodology
  • Experience of supervisory team, relevant to the training programme being proposed
  • Demonstrable track record of host organisation and supervisory team of supporting aspiring methodologists

Start Dates

Fellowships must start on the first of the month and for this round, Fellowships will be available to start between 1st September 2020 and 1st March 2021.

Award Length and Part-time Options

Applicants are able to select the Whole Time Equivalent (WTE) they wish to hold the Fellowship at, between 50% and 100%. You will need to select the number of WTE months from either 12, 18 or 24 and % WTE you are looking to undertake the award at. The total duration of the award will then be automatically calculated. For example if you select an 18 month duration and then select 50% WTE, the end date will be 36 months from the selected start date.

When considering the length of the Fellowship please consider the training needed to get to the next stage in your career. It is expected that applicants without a master's degree will usually make use of the full 24 months to allow completion of a master's degree followed by additional training in relevant areas. Whereas those already holding a relevant master's may only need an additional 12 months support to help prepare for a future PhD programme. However the Fellowship is being utilised, any of the options can be used provided this is justified and fits with the expected outcomes from the award.

Identification of Potential Supervisors

Whilst the NIHR Pre-doctoral Fellowship is a personal fellowship, i.e. the applicant themselves makes the application direct to NIHR, for this level of fellowship it is expected that applicants will have help and support from two or more supervisors in putting together the application, in particular details of the training and development programme. The supervisors will also play an active role in supporting the applicant throughout the duration of the Fellowship itself.

To help applicants who may not yet have identified a supervisor the following are individuals / organisations who would be willing to provide support in both putting together an application and with undertaking the fellowship. Supervisors do not necessarily need to be associated with the organisations listed below. This list serves as a guide where you may find supervisors whom are familiar with NIHR Fellowships and/or have areas of expertise in methodological studies. If your primary supervisor does not have an area of expertise in methodological studies it is recommended that your secondary supervisor does have this expertise.

Contact details are provided below and applicants are advised to make contact with those whom you may have an interest in working with at the earliest opportunity and no later than 20 February 2020. Where supervisors have had interest from more than one applicant there may be a pre-selection process undertaken to determine which applicant they are going to support. This may take the form of an interview.

A list of potential supervisors can be found by clicking here

The list details:

  • NIHR Senior Fellowship award holders
  • UKCRC Registered Clinical Trials Units
  • NIHR Senior Investigators (where the Senior Investigator is themselves not a methodologist a relevant methodologist should also be included as a supervisor)
  • A list of departments in receipt of NIHR funding for medical statistics and health economics master’s courses can be found here
  • A list of NIHR Infrastructure Training Leads can be found here

These people may not necessarily act as supervisors but will be able to help identify potential people in their locality, or co-supervise with a relevant methodologist if they are not a methodologist themselves.

If you are struggling to identify a suitable supervisor in your area of interest then please contact the NIHR Academy using the details listed at the end of this guidance.

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 Higher Education Institute (HEI) or any other organisation which provides health or social care services and is based in England and in receipt of public funding (for example, social enterprises or local authorities).
  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, 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 to cover the salary costs of the individual, and training and development programme.
  4. All Fellowships will be funded at 100% and Full Economic Costs will not be covered.

Application Procedure and Selection Process

  • The NIHR Academy uses an adapted version of the NIHR Standard Application Form (SAF), which for this Fellowship is a 1 stage process.
  • The NIHR Academy can advise on eligibility and remit enquiries, and answer queries you or your supervisor may have when completing the application form.
  • All applications will undergo an initial screen for eligibility. Following this, applications are reviewed by the Selection Committee in advance of a Selection Committee meeting where decisions on which applications to recommend for funding are made.
  • Details of Selection Committee membership can be found on our website.
  • The Selection Committee will make recommendations for funding that will be considered by the Chief Scientific Adviser and the Director for the Department of Health and Social Care (DHCS) 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 Academy.
  • All documents must be submitted in English.
  • Fellowships cannot be deferred, without the consent of the NIHR.
  • If applicants are successful in being awarded a 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.

Application Deadlines and Timetable

Your application must have been submitted by the deadline and any signatories 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 must be submitted by the deadline. No additional supporting documents will be accepted after the deadline.

Please give yourself sufficient time to obtain your signatory’s approval before the deadline. No exceptions will be made.

See the below timetable for dates of the selection process.


Competition opens for applications for Pre-doctoral Fellowships

30 January 2020

Closing date for submission of online application

26 March 2020 by 1pm

Selection Committee Recommendation Meeting

2 June 2020

Awards start

1 September 2020 to 1 March 2021

Registering, Completing and Submitting the Application


All Fellowship applications must be completed and submitted via the online application system. This can be accessed here.

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’). Please note that when adding a Degree or Qualification to your CV at the ‘class’ section please enter the classification of the degree/qualification and not the year your class graduated. For example first-class honours (1st).

When registered on the system you can 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 Pre-doctoral Fellowship from the list provided.

Please note – there are three Pre-doctoral Fellowship competitions open concurrently (the In-Practice Fellowship, the NIHR Pre-doctoral Fellowship and this HEE/NIHR Pre-doctoral Clinical Academic Fellowship). Please ensure that you are applying for the correct scheme.

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. You can at any stage download a PDF version of the application which can be useful for sharing applications with others.

Completing and submitting the form

Please see Annex B for flow diagrams of the application submission process.

Participants and Signatories


You will need to complete all of the mandatory sections of the form and enter under the ‘Participants and Signatories’ section the names and contact details of participants and signatories (see below). Once all other parties have made their contribution, you will be required to ‘Submit’ the application to the signatories 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 signatories 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 signatories 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; 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.

Participants (see below):

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 individuals who will be required to approve your application after submission (signatories) should be entered in the ‘Participants and Signatories' section. Please note it is often the case that one or more of the participants named in this section are also named in the "Participants and Signatories" section of the form.

Required Participants (if applicable):

It is mandatory to include a primary and secondary supervisor in your application. All supervisors named in the application should state the number of students (MSc and PhD) they are supervising and the number students they have supervised through to completion. 


  • Primary Supervisor: The individual named as your primary supervisor must agree to participate in the application and confirm they will act as your Primary Academic Supervisor, support your career development and abide by the conditions under which an award may be granted. The Primary Supervisor will be able to access the full application form and is expected to play an active role putting together the details of the training and development programme that you will undertake. The Primary Supervisor must also confirm that the information provided by you describes the status of your current studies and also confirm that any proposed part-time study arrangements have been agreed and meet University regulations.
  • Secondary Supervisor: The individual named as your Secondary Supervisor must agree to participate in the application and confirm they will act as your Secondary Academic Supervisor, support your career development and abide by the conditions under which an award may be granted. The Secondary Supervisor will be able to access the full application form and is expected to play an active role putting together the details of the training and development programme that you will undertake.
  • Research Supervisor: All supervisors detailed in the ‘Research Supervision’ section must agree to participate in the application and confirm they will act as your supervisor for research and career development and agree to abide by the conditions under which an award may be granted. All additional supervisors will be able to access the full application form and are expected to play an active role putting together the details of training and development programme that you will undertake.
  • Research Contract Officer: A Research Contract Officer at the host organisation must confirm that they have read the guidance notes for the relevant NIHR programme and the standard NIHR contract, and confirm that the host organisation would be willing to accept an award according to the published terms and conditions of the NIHR standard contract. Your supervisor will be able to advise who this should be.

Participants must confirm their participation on your application before you will be able to press the submit button. They will have no further action to take in the submission process once you have submitted.


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 ‘signing off’ your application. Once their contact details have been entered, the signatories will be invited to log into the system and confirm their participation. Details of what is required and expected of each of the roles can be found below.

Signatories 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. all signatories 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 approvals. Signatories 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’ (Annex B) for further information. 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.

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

Required Signatories:

  • Head of Department or Senior Manager: You will be required to include the Head of Department or Senior Manager 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 Form.
  • 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 host and administer the award, at the stated costs, if made.

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 signatories. At this point, the signatories 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 signatories have approved the final version. When the last 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 26 March 2020, no exceptions will be made.

Should you require assistance in completing the online form, please contact the NIHR Academy 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 fellowship 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.
If the name of your host organisation does not appear in the pre-populated list please email
Proposed Start Date
Note this should be from 1st of the month regardless of whether this is a working day or not.
Whole Time Equivalent (WTE) of Award
You will need to select the number of WTE months from either 12, 18 or 24 and % WTE you are looking to undertake the award at. The total duration of the award will then be automatically calculated. For example if you select an 18 month duration and then select 50% WTE, the end date will be 36 months from the selected start date.

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’ page.
Degrees and Professional Qualifications
Please give the full details of any completed 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 undertook research for 2.5 days a week and teaching 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.
Applicants who have just completed or are completing their undergraduate degree shouldn’t necessarily need to complete any details here, although details of any placements undertaken during your undergraduate degree can be included.
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 note it is not necessarily expected that applicants for this fellowship will have been involved in grants at this stage in their career, especially those applying straight from their undergraduate degree.
Please note that your research grant record must be completed within the application form and not via the CV section on ARAMIS.
Publication Record
Details of articles which are in press and have been accepted as final by the publisher may be included. You are not necessarily expected to have an extensive list of publications for this Fellowship, especially if applying straight from your undergraduate degree.
Only publications relevant to your application should be included.
Do not include abstracts, conference proceedings or articles in preparation. If relevant, details of these may be included in the ‘Applicant Research Background’ section.
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. For example, travel bursaries for a conference, presentation prizes etc
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. For more information and to register please visit
This question is included with the application form (in addition to being asked as part of equal opportunities monitoring) to ensure we are meeting NIHR’s commitment to gender equality in relation to academic career progression. The response to this question will not be displayed to the review panel.

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
Please use this question to describe your interest in a career in research methodology and the relevant skills and experience you have gained to date, including those gained at undergraduate level.
Impact of Fellowship
Please describe the impact this Fellowship will have on your future career, including details of why you are looking to undertake this fellowship and where you see your career going as a result of doing so. If you are using this Fellowship to help prepare for a future PhD application, please describe your thinking around topics areas and methodologies that it would be in.
Has this Application been Previously Submitted to this or any other Funding Body?
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 training programme 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.
Current and Previous NIHR awards
In order to help track the progression of NIHR award holders please indicate whether you have previously held or currently hold another NIHR research training award.
Employment Breaks
Please use this question to detail any employment breaks you wish to make the review Panel aware of, for example maternity/paternity/adoption/sickness leave.

4. Training and Development and Research Support

Proposed Training and Development Programme
You should complete this section in collaboration with your supervisors.  Please detail the training and development programme you will undertake as part of the fellowship.  Where this involves the completion of a master’s or other formal training please detail the list of topics that the course(s) will cover. 
You should detail the range of methods that the training programme will provide training and experience in, and how this will complement the research interests and experience of your supervisors.
Research Support / Supervisor
The individuals you list here are required to complete the ‘Participants and Signatories’ section of the application form. Up to 4 supervisors may be named here.
Details should be provided of the experience each supervisor will bring and the support they will provide. This should include details of the numbers of master’s level students currently supervised and the number of students supervised to completion previously.
This section should be used to provide details of any additional individuals or organisations that will feed into the fellowship in terms of providing support for the training and development programme. For example if the fellowship will involve a placement at a different centre or research group details should be provided here, including the benefit it will add to the fellowship.
Host Organisation Support Statement
The statement is completed by the Head of Department and should detail how the host organisation is going to support the applicant to successfully complete their training and development programme as detailed in this application. This statement should be tailored specifically to the applicant, their training needs, and include how the organisation intends to support the applicant to develop their research career in the long-term.
NIHR see 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.

6. Participants and Signatories

A number of participants and signatories 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 added. The flow diagram in Annex B goes through the actions required of participants, signatories and the applicant.

7. Acknowledge, review and submit

Conflict Checks
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. Please check with your supervisor if unsure.
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.


Finance Guidance (section 5)

This section should be completed in conjunction with your host organisation’s finance office.

Detailed Budget

Justification of Costs
  • Please provide a breakdown of costs associated with undertaking the fellowship and provide justification for the resources requested. This Fellowship provides:
1. Salary for the applicant for up to two years.
2. Up to £5,000 towards training.
3. Where relevant, course fees for a master's degree.
4. Up to £1,000 towards conference/meeting related travel expenses.
5. Up to £1,000 towards the costs of supervision.
  • 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 Fellowship 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.
  • 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 Fellowship. For example, if your Fellowship is expected to start on 01 June 2020 then its second year starts 01 June 2021.
  • 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.
  • All applications are expected to have appropriate NHS, HEI, commercial and other partner organisation input into the finance section of the application form.
  • There is no need to individually itemise costs where the total is below £1,000.
  • This Fellowship doesn’t cover Full Economics Costs. All prices should be entered at, and will be paid at, 100% regardless of the type of organisation (NHS, HEI or Other).
If the Employing host organisation is a Higher Education Institution, please select the “other” option when entering the “Type of Cost” to prevent costs being submitted at 80%.
These are costs that are specific to the Fellowship, 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, 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.
The Apprenticeship Levy can be included in the salary costs from 1st April 2017 where relevant.
II) Salary costs. This section specifies the annual costs of the applicant. You should now allocate the individual staff member costs to each year of the Fellowship, allowing for increments. Use current rates of pay, and build in any known annual increments (again at current rates). You will not be able to claim for pay awards retrospectively, once your Fellowship is underway.
Please note the salary figures need to be calculated using the current annual costs, % WTE and number of months.
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.).
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 relating to meetings with supervisors.
If a cost relates to travel, subsistence or fees for a conference please select ‘conference’. 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 covers accommodation (if necessary) and meals associated with the travel, excluding any alcoholic beverages.
Conference Fees
There is a £1,000 limit on the amount that can be spent on conference related costs (including all related travel and subsistence as well as conference fees).
IV) Training and Development. 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 should not be included here and should be included in the travel section of the form.
Details of supervision costs (up to £1,000) should be included here under ‘other’. Any master's course fees should also be included here.


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 Academy’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 fellowship. 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 is part of the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC), National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The contracting agent for the NIHR Academy 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.  

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. Link to PROSPERO website:

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. Further information on the transparency agenda please click here.


INVOLVE is funded by the National Institute for Health Research, 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 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:

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.

If you are using patient information from an existing database, you should check whether the patients 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 patient information without consent must be requested from the HRA who make decisions with advice from the Confidentiality Advisory Group (CAG).

NOTE: 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 (e.g. 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 Academy manages the NIHR Fellowship Programme on behalf of the DHSC. As such the findings of researchers funded by the programme are incorporated in to the Department of Health and Social Care Freedom of Information Publication Scheme.

Equal Opportunities and Diversity

NIHR and DHSC have a duty as a public body to promote equality of opportunity. All applicants will be contacted shortly after the closure date by NIHR Equality Monitoring.

Monitoring ensures that all applications to NIHR Programmes are treated equally in terms of gender, ethnicity and/or disability.

The information you share with the monitoring system:

  • will be stored separately from your application
  • only be used for the purpose of monitoring equal opportunities
  • be kept securely and in confidence

Guidance and Advice

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

NIHR Academy

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 these 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 his/her skills and experiences to a still higher level. Therefore, along with the research proposal, NIHR panels will assess the abilities, academic trajectory, existing experience, commitment to a career in health and social 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 Senior Programme Manager for the award you applying for before submitting an application.

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

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

Do you fund the development and/or evaluation of decision aids for patients?

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

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

The development or adaptation of interventions can be considered as part of a larger project or programme of work. We will not fund standalone developmental studies.

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

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

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

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

Do you fund research requiring observational/applied epidemiological methods?

We fund research according to the potential for patient/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 remits. An applied epidemiological component can also be considered as part of a larger project or programme of work.

Do you fund research into workforce?

Yes. Proposed studies should be within the overall remit of the NIHR and should concern the impact on health and well-being, whether of patients, the public, or of the workforce itself.

Do you fund research into patient and public involvement in research?

Yes. Proposed studies would need to demonstrate the potential for practical application and make clear the potential impact on patients and/or the public.

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

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.

Annex B: Submission Flow Diagram

This flow diagram shows the steps for submitting an application. The applicant starts the application and adds the participant and signatory details. The participants and signatories can then login and confirm their participation and signatories can complete the relevant sections of the form. The applicant can continue entering data and completes all relevant sections of the form (step 3). The applicant then ‘Validates’ and presses the ‘Submit’ button. Once the applicant submits, signatories will receive automated emails to approve the application. Signatories must log in and approve the application - rejection of the application by any individual at this stage will return the application to step 3. Once approved the application is then fully submitted to NIHR for consideration.