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Senior Investigators

Our Senior Investigators are among the most prominent and prestigious researchers funded by the NIHR and the most outstanding leaders of patient and people-based research within the NIHR research community. 

Collectively, Senior Investigators constitute the NIHR College of Senior Investigators, and are members of the NIHR Academy. 

What do Senior Investigators do?

NIHR Senior Investigators:

  • Contribute significantly to NIHR as a senior leader
  • Lead in training and development of NIHR’s people
  • Act as an ambassador for the NIHR in the wider system
  • Demonstrate research excellence
  • Integrate patient and public involvement in research
  • Play a leading role in NIHR’s Contribution to Growth, for example through attracting, developing and retaining a highly skilled health research workforce, or by supporting collaborations and contract research with the life sciences industry.

Senior Investigators receive a discretionary award of £20k per year of appointment to fund activities that support their research. Funding will now be awarded for 4 year appointments on the recommendation of the Independent Selection Committee (starting 1 April 2020). There may be on occasion an exception to this, for example where a previous term of 3 or 5 years has been held.

New and returning Senior Investigators meet annually, to navigate and define their role, network with fellow Senior Investigators, and discuss topical issues with colleagues from the NIHR and the Department of Health and Social Care. 

As senior members of the NIHR Academy,  they help guide research capacity development and enhance the career paths of our researchers. 

This includes participating as mentors in the NIHR mentoring programme and supporting the NIHR Future-Focused Leadership Programme as guest faculty members.

Who are our Senior Investigators?

Our Senior Investigator Directory, updated each April, provides details of all researchers who hold current or emeritus Senior Investigator status.  Over 300 appointments have been made since 2008, with the number of active awards maintained at around 200.  

In March 2019, we announced the 46 researchers appointed in our 12th annual competition – 26 new appointees and 20 current or previous holders of the award. Eighteen new NIHR Emeritus Senior Investigators were created, giving a total of 145 Emeritus Senior Investigators.  See the full list of 2019 Senior Investigators.

How are Senior Investigators selected?

The NIHR holds an annual, open competition to fund Senior Investigators - with selection informed by the advice of an international panel of experts. 

2020 funding competition

The 2020 NIHR Senior Investigator competition, the 13th annual round of awards, is now open. The competition will close on 2 October 2019.

Leading researchers funded by the NIHR (and who are employed by a NHS Trust, university or charity based in England) are encouraged to apply. 

Guidance for applicants is available, with details on eligibility, selection criteria and how to complete the application form online.

Are you a Senior Investigator?

The Advisory Committee on Clinical Excellence Awards (ACCEA) advises health ministers on the presentation of clinical excellence awards to consultants working in the NHS. If you would like more information on being nominated by the NIHR via your status as an NIHR Senior Investigator, please contact


Telephone: 020 8843 8003

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