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Academic Career Development in NIHR Infrastructure and NIHR Schools

The NIHR Infrastructure and NIHR Schools include centres with a remit to grow future research capacity, which are:

  • Applied Research Collaborations (ARCs)
  • Biomedical Research Centres (BRCs)
  • Health Protection Research Units (HPRUs)
  • Patient Safety Translational Research Centres (PSTRCs)
  • School for Primary Care Research (SPCR)
  • School for Public Health Research (SPHR)
  • School for Social Care Research (SSCR) 

More than 1000 individuals are training as health and care researchers in the NIHR Infrastructure and NIHR Schools.  These individuals include those enrolled in Masters, Doctoral and other formal training/career development awards.

Please note the term ‘training’ has been replaced with the term ‘Academic Career Development’ to help clarify the focus of the support being provided by the NIHR Academy and through the local leads at each centre/unit/school.

For information on how to find your local Academic Career Development Lead, please view our Academic Career Development Lead document.

Further Information

Email: icbs@nihr.ac.uk, and detail which Infrastructure and Capacity Building Structures programme you are enquiring about in the subject area.

Short Placement Award for Research Collaboration (SPARC)

The SPARC scheme offers NIHR Academy members (from pre-doctoral to early career post-doctoral researchers) supported by NIHR Infrastructure (ARC, BRC, PSTRC), a Health Protection Research Unit (HPRU) or an NIHR School, an opportunity to spend time in other parts of the NIHR; to network, train in a specific skill or collaborate with other researchers/specialists. The scheme is designed to optimise and enhance the individuals’ research training as well as their CV and academic career.

Individuals can apply to the SPARC scheme for up to £5,000 to undertake a bespoke short placement. The SPARC competition opens annually in September/October. Exact dates are available closer to the time of the competition scheme launch.

Applicants are encouraged to explore the wide range of facilities, expertise and opportunities available to them across the NIHR for their personal and professional development, and develop a placement that is bespoke to their individual training needs, background, skills/experiences, as well as their proposed career trajectory.

Check funding opportunities for details of the latest funding rounds.

NIHR Local Authority Short Placement Award for Research Collaboration (LA SPARC) Pilot Scheme

It is crucial to develop the next generation of researchers to address the 21st century public health and social care challenges. Therefore, the LA SPARC pilot scheme will support individuals working in local authority settings and NIHR Academy members to design and apply for funds to undertake short placements, allowing them to move between NIHR and local authority settings in either direction.

The main aim of the award is to allow individuals to develop skills and capabilities to co-create research that is more meaningful and better connected with practice; with the intention that this will lead to enhanced partnerships and collaborations between the NIHR and local authority settings.

The scheme supports:

  • NIHR Academy members (pre-doctoral/masters students, PhD or early career post-doctoral researchers) funded in a part of NIHR Infrastructure, HPRU or an NIHR School who would like to undertake a short placement in a local authority setting. This may appeal to individuals who want to work alongside service commissioners and providers to hear the issues and challenges being faced at the local level, to share knowledge and experience to shape their future research or to develop possible collaborations and joint ways of working.
  • Individuals based in a local authority setting who would like to undertake a short placement in a part of the NIHR.

Individuals can apply to the LA SPARC scheme for up to £15,000 to undertake a bespoke short placement. Applications are short/light-touch and will be assessed in open competition. 

The LA SPARC pilot competition will launch in September 2021. Exact dates are available closer to the time of the competition scheme launch.

Check funding opportunities for details of the latest funding rounds.

Visiting Speaker Award (VSA)

The VSA offers NIHR Academy Members based in a part of the NIHR Infrastructure (ARC, BRC, PSTRC), HPRU or NIHR School the opportunity to present their research in another part of the NIHR. The award provides early career researchers with the opportunity to gain valuable skills and experience in presenting and debating their research findings, and encourages networking and collaboration within the NIHR.

We are inviting NIHR Academy Members based in a part of the NIHR Infrastructure, HPRU or NIHR School (who meet the eligibility criteria) to apply for up to £300 to support the costs of presenting their work within another part of the NIHR.

Check funding opportunities for details of the latest funding rounds.

Am I eligible?

To be eligible to apply for these training awards individuals must:

  • meet the be NIHR Academy members’ criteria for individuals based and funded within NIHR Infrastructure, a NIHR HPRU or an NIHR School
  • be pre-doctoral training award holders/Masters students, PhD or early career post-doctoral researchers
  • not already hold an NIHR Academy Fellowship or NIHR Clinical Lectureship

The placement must be focused around early translational (experimental medicine), clinical and applied research that pertains to health, public health and/or social care, and meet the NIHR remit for personal awards.

At pre-doctoral level, the SPARC selection committees will be looking to ensure the proposal adds to the individuals current Masters and future career prospects, and that this doesn’t detract from current studies.

Useful documents for prospective applicants

Latest case studies from the Academy

Latest documents for Infrastructure and Schools

NIHR Local Authority Short Placement Award for Research Collaboration Applicant Guidance Notes Round 1 (Pilot)

Guidance notes for the first round of the NIHR Local Authority Short Placement Award for Research Collaboration (LA SPARC) Scheme

NIHR Short Placement Award for Research Collaboration (SPARC) - Round 8 Guidance Notes September 2021

The NIHR SPARC scheme offers NIHR Academy members the opportunity to spend time in other parts of the NIHR; to network, train in a specific skill or collaborate with other researchers/specialists.

Short Placement Award for Research Collaboration (SPARC) Selection Committee

Members of the Short Placement Award for Research Collaboration (SPARC) Selection Committee

VSA case studies

Information about Round 1 VSA case studies

Find your Academic Career Development Lead

Find your Academic Career Development Lead

All Infrastructure and Schools documents

Latest funding opportunities for Infrastructure and Schools

NIHR Short Placement Award for Research Collaboration Round 8

The NIHR SPARC scheme supports NIHR Academy Members working in a part of NIHR Infrastructure or NIHR Schools to enhance their research training experience, and network and collaborate in another part of the NIHR.

NIHR Local Authority Short Placement Award for Research Collaboration Round 1 (Pilot)

This scheme supports short placements in the NIHR or a local authority setting.

All Infrastructure and Schools funding opportunities

 

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