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NIHR Fellowship Programme

The NIHR Fellowship Programme support individuals on their trajectory to becoming future leaders in NIHR research.

Our four fellowships have been designed to support individuals at various points of their development in becoming leading researchers, from initial pre-doctoral training to senior post-doctoral research.

  • Pre-Doctoral Fellowship launch date: February annually
  • Development and Skills Enhancement Award launch dates: January, May, September annually
  • Doctoral Fellowship launch dates: April, October annually 
  • Advanced Fellowship launch dates: April, October annually 

We are also partnering with a number of charitable organisations to offer jointly-funded Partnership Fellowships at both Doctoral and Advanced levels. More details can be found in the summary and FAQ document.

Further Information

Call:  0113 532 8410

Email: Academy-awards@nihr.ac.uk, and detail which fellowship programme you are enquiring about in the subject area.

 Follow @NIHRcommunity

NIHR Pre-Doctoral Fellowships are designed to support people who are looking to start or advance a career in health 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 without a Masters degree should use the Fellowship to undertake a Masters degree in one of the areas listed. Those already holding a relevant masters degree (or currently completing one) should use the Fellowship to gain additional support and training to advance to the next level of their career. The Fellowship can be undertaken on a full-time or part-time basis.

Are you eligible?

To be eligible for a NIHR Pre-Doctoral Fellowship you must:

  • have completed a relevant first degree.
  • have a proposed host who is an HEI, NHS body, or other provider of health and/or care services
  • be proposing to develop a career as a methodologist in one of the areas listed above.

Applications open annually in January/February to start from September the same year to March the following year. Exact dates are available close to the time of opening.

Check funding opportunities for details of latest funding rounds.

Please note, this 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.

Useful resources for applicants

The NIHR Doctoral Fellowship is a three year full-time award that supports individuals to undertake a PhD in an area of NIHR research. This fellowship may also be taken up on a part-time basis of between 50% and 100% whole time equivalent (WTE).

Clinical applicants are able to include up to 20% clinical time as part of the fellowship, to ensure the maintenance of their clinical competence whilst undertaking the fellowship.

Are you eligible?

To be eligible for an NIHR Doctoral Fellowship you must:

  • Have completed any relevant pre-registration training (for clinical academic applicants)
  • Have completed a first degree (for non-clinical applicants)
  • Have a proposed host who is an HEI, NHS body, or other provider of health and/or care services.
  • Be intending to register for and complete a PhD
  • Where already registered for a PhD (or MPhil with transfer to PhD), you should not have been registered for more than 12 months at 100% WTE by the time the award starts.

Full details of the latest funding rounds are available in funding opportunities.

Doctoral Timetable

  April Launch October launch
Competition opens for applications for all Fellowships April  October 
Doctoral Stage 1 closing date for submission of online application August December 
Doctoral Stage 2 invitation September  N/A
Doctoral Stage 2 deadline October  N/A 
Interviews held in Leeds November  June 
Awards start on 1st of month 1 April to 1 September 1 October to 1 March 

Partnership Fellowships

The NIHR has partnered with a number of charitable organisations to offer jointly funded NIHR Charity Partnership Fellowships and with Pfizer to offer an NIHR Industry Partnership Fellowship. Details are available for the latest Fellowship Round in Funding Opportunities.

Jointly funded Partnership Fellowships enables researchers to:

  • Maintain and build a relationship with both the NIHR and a partner organisation
  • Engage with and receive valuable input from patient groups, making the most of the public and patient engagement/involvement opportunities available
  • Receive greater research exposure through a variety of media and communication channels.

Please refer to the Guidance Notes for  further details regarding the specific eligibility criteria for each partner (in addition to the standard eligibility criteria), the level of award available and the contact details for the relevant partner.

We encourage all applicants interested in applying for a jointly funded Partnership Fellowship to contact the relevant partner to discuss their research area of interest before they apply.

Please note, all other queries about the application process should be directed to the NIHR Academy.

Useful resources for applicants

Due to the current situation with COVID-19, interviews for round 3 of the Doctoral Fellowship competition calls will now be held virtually. Candidates will be informed of full details when invited to attend the interview.

The Advanced Fellowship is for those at a post-doctoral level and can be utilised at several specific points of a researcher’s career development.

The fellowship is between 2 and 5 years and can be completed on a full-time or part-time basis - between 50% and 100% whole time equivalent (WTE).

Advanced Fellowships will be available with a ‘clinical academic’ option, whereby clinical applicants will have the option to request up to 40% of their time be dedicated to clinical service/development which would be covered by the award.

When should you apply?

The NIHR Advanced Fellowship is aimed at individuals at various points of their career. You may have:  

  • Recently completed or be about to be awarded a PhD, but haven’t yet established yourself as an independent researcher
  • Established yourself as an independent researcher or you are in the process of doing so, but are not yet recognised as an international leader in your field
  • Transitioned into applied health research from a basic science background or re-established your research career following a significant career break.

In addition, you may use the Advanced Fellowship to undertake innovative knowledge mobilisation (to support the more effective use of research knowledge), whilst simultaneously researching implementation processes and impacts.

If you are unsure about your eligibility for the Advanced Fellowship, as related to your career stage, please contact the NIHR Academy office on 0113 532 8410 and a member of the team  will be happy to discuss your proposed application.

Are you eligible?

To be eligible for an NIHR Advanced Fellowship you must:

  • Have a proposed host who is an HEI, NHS body, or other provider of health and/or care services
  • Hold a relevant PhD or MD, or have submitted your thesis for examination at the time of application (you must have been awarded a PhD or MD by the time you attend the interview)
  • Not already hold a Chair at the point of application
  • Complete the relevant pre-registration training (for clinical academic applicants).

Full details of the latest funding rounds are available in funding opportunities.

Advanced Fellowship Timetable

  April launch October launch
Competition opens for applications for all Fellowships April  October 
Advanced Fellowship Stage 1 closing date for submission of online application July December
Stage 2 invitation November  N/A 
Stage 2 deadline  December  N/A
Interviews held in Leeds January  July 
Awards start on 1st of month 1 April to 1 September  1 October to 1 March 

Partnership Fellowships

The NIHR has partnered with a number of charitable organisations to offer jointly funded NIHR Charity Partnership Fellowships and with Pfizer to offer an NIHR Industry Partnership Fellowship. Details are available for the latest Fellowship Round in Funding Opportunities.

Jointly funded Partnership Fellowship enables researchers to:

  • Maintain and build a relationship with both the NIHR and a partner
  • Engage with and receive valuable input from patient groups, making the most of the public and patient engagement/involvement opportunities available
  • Receive greater research exposure through a variety of media and communication channels.

We encourage all applicants interested in applying for a jointly funded Partnership Fellowship to contact the relevant partner to discuss their research area of interest before they apply. Please note all other queries about the application process should be directed to the NIHR Academy.

Useful  resources for potential applicants

Due to the current situation with COVID-19, interviews for round 3 of the Advanced Fellowship competition calls will now be held virtually. Candidates will be informed of full details when invited to attend the interview.

The Development and Skills Enhancement Award (DSE) is a post-doctoral level award aimed at supporting NIHR Academy Members to gain specific skills and experience to underpin the next phase of their research career. Applicants need to demonstrate what new skills and experience they hope to gain through the award, and how it will benefit their future career in research.
 
The award runs three times a year opening in January, May and September and will support a mixture of researcher-led applications and applications from areas of strategic importance.
The current themes are:
 
  • health data science
  • clinical trials
  • entrepreneurship and working with industry
 
Eligibility criteria
 
All applicants must:
 
  • be a current member of the NIHR Academy here
  • have completed any relevant pre-registration training (clinical academic applications only)
  • have a proposed host who is an HEI, NHS body, or other provider of health and/or care services
  • 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 start
  • ensure that any previous NIHR awards undertaken finished no longer than 12 months ago – this does not include any time taken for statutory leave
  • have not submitted a DSE application in the previous round
 
Applicant Guidance Notes should be read before applying, which include more information regarding the eligibility criteria for the scheme. 

Check funding opportunities for details of latest funding rounds.

 
Key dates
 
Exact dates for will be available closer to the time of opening in funding opportunities.
 
Round opens Round closes Funding recommendation meeting Start date

January

March

May

August to November

May

 July

September

December to March

September

November

 January

April to July

Latest blogs about the Academy

Latest documents for Fellowships

NIHR Doctoral and Advanced Fellowships - Round 5 Guidance Notes October 2020

The Doctoral and Advanced Fellowships form part of the NIHR Fellowship Programme which supports individuals with the potential and on a trajectory to become future leaders in NIHR research.

Working with the Research Design Service

Details of what support the Research Design Service can offer.

Strengthening our commitment to equality, diversity, inclusion and patient and public involvement and engagement (PPIE)

Information for NIHR public contributors on new Standard Application Form (SAF) changes

NIHR Doctoral and Advanced Fellowships - Round 4 Guidance Notes April 2020

The Doctoral and Advanced Fellowships form part of the NIHR Fellowship Programme which supports individuals with the potential and on a trajectory to become future leaders in NIHR research.

Guidance Notes NIHR Fellowships, Doctoral and Advanced Round 3

Guidance Notes NIHR Fellowships, Doctoral and Advanced Round 3 October 2019

All Fellowship documents

Latest funding opportunities for Fellowships

Doctoral Fellowship Round 5

The NIHR Doctoral Fellowship funds individuals from a range of health and social care professions to undertake a PhD in an area of NIHR research.

Advanced Fellowship Round 5

The NIHR Advanced Fellowship funds post-doctoral individuals from a range of health and social care professions who haven’t yet been awarded a chair.

Development and Skills Enhancement Award

For post-doctoral NIHR Academy Members to gain skills and experience for the next phase of their research career.

All Fellowship funding opportunities

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