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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 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. 


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
  • Contribute to growth
  • Integrate patient, care users, carers and public involvement and engagement 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 £20,000 per year of appointment to fund activities that support their research. Funding is awarded for 4 year appointments on the recommendation of an independent Selection Committee. There may be on occasion an exception to this approach; for example, where a previous term of 3 or 5 years has been held.

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 Academy mentoring programme and supporting the NIHR Future-Focused Leadership Programme as guest faculty members.


The NIHR holds an annual, open competition to fund Senior Investigators, with selection informed by the advice of a Selection Committee

Members of NIHR Committees are required to declare any interests which conflict, or may be considered to conflict, with NIHR business, or may be perceived as influencing decisions made in the course of their work within NIHR programmes. All members are asked to complete the Register of Interest form (annually), which is intended to capture long term predictable interests that could be perceived to lead to conflicts of interest. These and other interests are judged on a case by case basis at individual meetings.

NIHR registry of interests

The selection criteria for Senior Investigators are:

  • NIHR and applied research focus
  • Training and leadership
  • Individual research excellence and impact

Senior Investigators receive a 4 year award on the recommendation of the Selection Committee. Senior Investigators can reapply for a second award on completion of the first award, with a maximum of two awards permitted totalling no more than 8 years.

After two awards, Senior Investigators will be awarded the Emeritus Senior Investigator status.

The guidance for applicants provides critical information and sets out the process for an open competition for NIHR Investigators to apply for an NIHR Senior Investigator award.

Current college

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 2023, we announced the appointment of 56 NIHR Senior Investigators in the 16th annual round of appointments - 27 new Senior Investigators and 29 reappointments of current or previous holders of the award. Nine new NIHR Emeritus Senior Investigators were created  See the full list of 2023 Senior Investigators.

Clinical Impact Awards

National Clinical Impact Awards, as administered by the Advisory Committee on Clinical Impact Awards (ACCIA), recognise and reward NHS consultants and academic General Practitioners who have delivered national impact above the expectations of their job role or other paid work. Applicants need to demonstrate commitments to and nationally relevant impact on improving the NHS through delivering and developing a high-quality service; leadership; education, training and people development; and innovation and research.  


Contact us

If you'd like be notified when the next Senior Investigator competition dates are announced, please register your details.

You can contact the team that manages Senior Investigator awards via the following methods:

Telephone: 0113 532 8410
Our operating hours are 09:00 to 17:00

NIHR announces Senior Investigators for 2023

The NIHR has announced the appointment of 56 NIHR Senior Investigators in the 16th round of awards. 

Find out about the 2023 awardees