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NIHR Leaders Support and Development Programme

The NIHR Leaders Support and Development Programme seeks to maintain and improve the quality of leadership in health and social care research. We aim to do this by meeting the development needs of current leaders and early to mid-career researchers within the NIHR, whose focus is aligned with the strategic priorities of the NIHR.

Our programme embodies in its design, structure, and approach the NIHR’s commitment to equality, diversity, and inclusion.  We are continually developing our provision to meet the evolving needs of our leadership communities. Provision currently includes:

  • The NIHR Academy Mentoring Programme. This new programme offers postdoctoral NIHR Academy Members the opportunity to seek support for their academic and career development from a mentor drawn from our wide NIHR leadership community.
  • Future-focused Leaders Programme. Our flagship leadership programme for NIHR Leaders and NIHR Emerging Research Leaders. Places on our current programmes have been allocated. Future programmes will be announced.
  • Coming soon: Modular Resources for Leaders. Available from spring 2021, we will be launching a suite of flexible, online modular resources to support your leadership and management development.
  • Coming soon: Engagement activities for NIHR’s leadership community.

The NIHR Academy provides postdoctoral members with career development support through its mentoring programme.

The refreshed NIHR Academy programme supports postdoctoral Academy Members from a broad range of professional and disciplinary contexts across our diverse health and social care communities to mentor others and to seek a mentor. It builds on the NIHR Academy mentoring programme that was previously delivered with the Academy of Medical Sciences.

The new programme will not impact on the programme delivered by our partnership with Health Education England, supporting researchers who are in receipt of an Integrated Clinical Academic award. 

The programme has been developed and guided by a Steering Group whose membership is representative of Academy Members.

The programme aims to support the academic and career development of our postdoctoral communities by:

  • extending the NIHR Academy mentoring offering to postdoctoral award holders from disciplines and professional backgrounds which may not have a strong mentoring tradition, or may not have had access to programmes such as this in the past
  • promoting interdisciplinarity; mentees will be able to seek a mentor from a cognate or complementary discipline or professional background, where appropriate
  • supporting mentoring relationships between individuals from different organisations and institutions
  • promoting equality, inclusion and diversity through engagement with, and learning from, under-represented groups

Mentors and mentees will be supported throughout their participation in the programme through regular professional development events and resources. They will also have access to a mentoring platform to support and guide their mentoring relationships.

How to participate in the NIHR Academy Mentoring Programme

Potential mentors and mentees will be able to express their interest in joining the programme at any time, however matching of mentors and mentees will take place three times during 2021.

To join the programme as a mentee, you should be an NIHR Academy Member and hold an NIHR award at postdoctoral level and/or hold a postdoctoral position and be based in NIHR Infrastructure (e.g. BRC) or in an NIHR School.

To join the programme as a mentor, you will need to be an NIHR research leader. You may be an NIHR research professor or senior investigator, or an NIHR-based postdoctoral researcher with significant postdoctoral experience (typically, at least 5 years). Alternatively, you may be an NIHR Academy Member or Associate Member, contributing to NIHR's work at a senior leadership level as, for example, an awarding panel member, or a senior leader in NIHR including its Centres, Infrastructure and Schools.

Once enrolled in the mentoring programme, mentees will then be able to select their mentor from the NIHR mentor pool.

Express an interest in joining the programme

I am interested in becoming a mentor: complete this form to express your interest to join our mentor community

I am interested in seeking a mentor: complete this form to express your interest to join our mentee community

Mentoring Cohort Dates

2021 CohortsCohort applications closeOrientation eventMentoring begins
Cohort 1 12 April 2021 End April May
Cohort 2 28 May 2021 Mid June July
Cohort 3 16 July 2021 Mid September October

Mentoring Resources 

If you are considering whether mentoring could be of value to you, or you are looking for additional support with your current mentoring relationships you can read the following articles:

For further information about the NIHR Mentoring Programme, please contact the NIHR Development and Support team  


The new Future-Focused Leadership Programme enables you to develop your capabilities and effectiveness as a leader by identifying and reflecting on your strengths and areas for development.

The programme is arranged into two streams, targeting distinct groups of Leaders:

  1. The Emerging Research Leaders stream is for early to mid-career researchers on an academic track, who are taking up their first significant leadership and management roles. This programme will enable you to collaboratively explore management and leadership in health research and what it means at an individual, team, institution and system level in order to improve your leadership and management capability.
  2. The Leaders stream is for current leaders based within NIHR or delivering a national role for NIHR. You will be developing into or taking up leadership roles at a senior level, facing significant leadership challenges, where support will be most needed and impactful. This programme will enhance your skills in leading across organisational boundaries, leading strategy and change and influencing others to achieve the strategic aims of NIHR.

The Success Framework

The Future-Focused Leadership programme has been developed specifically for the NIHR following an in-depth analysis to understand what makes a successful leader and offers you the opportunity to explore new thinking on how to lead in the 21st century. The programme has been created with reference to years of research in the fields of occupational psychology and applied positive psychology.

The programme is designed around exploring Leading Yourself, Leading Others and Leading Beyond Authority.

Programme Format

The Future-Focused Leadership Programme extends over a period of twelve months and consists of three residential workshops, webinars and online modules. You will be able to apply the insights you uncover and the new skills you learn to your current role throughout the year and will be encouraged to network and share your experience and learning with fellow delegates.

Places on our current programmes have been allocated. Future programme dates will be announced on this page. 


Latest news from the Academy

Latest resources for Leaders Development and Support

Mentoring Programme - FAQ

FAQs for the Academy Mentoring Programme

Exploring the differences between coaching and mentoring

An article exploring the differences between coaching and mentoring

What makes an effective mentee?

Exploring the characteristics and key competencies of an effective mentee

What to consider when choosing a mentor or mentee

Exploring what should be taken into consideration when choosing a mentor or mentee

An introduction to mentoring

An introduction to mentoring, exploring what mentoring is and how it can aid career and professional development

All Leaders Development and Support resources