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NIHR Academy


The NIHR Academy is responsible for the development and coordination of NIHR academic training, career development and research capacity development.

The academy plays a pivotal role in attracting, training and supporting the best health and care researchers to tackle the complex challenges of the future. The training and career development awards provided complement the additional NIHR investment in world-class research facilities and a skilled research workforce.

How the NIHR Academy can help

The purpose of the NIHR Academy is to develop a highly-skilled academic research workforce capable of advancing the best research, which improves health and benefits society and the economy.

The NIHR Academy was established in October 2018 following a strategic review of training across the NIHR to review the past and look proactively at future training needs. It set out a vision underpinned by a series of recommendations, which led to the re-shaping of the training programmes offered. The Strategic Review of Training report provides the strategy for the NIHR Academy to fulfill its purpose.

The NIHR Academy recognises and rewards:

  • Collaborative, multi-professional approaches to research
  • The embracing of innovation and new opportunities and technologies
  • Active involvement and engagement of patients, carers and the public
  • Respect for the diversity of methodological and theoretical practices
  • Personal and professional development and the support of colleagues.

There is a wide range of training and career development support through our NIHR Academy awards available at different levels, and accessible by different professional backgrounds. These awards comprise both personal awards, which can be applied for directly, and institutional awards which should be applied for through the host institution.

Some of these awards can be used to establish new partnerships with the life sciences industry and charitable organisations. These partnerships aim to help deliver research outputs quickly and push the boundaries of health and care research. You can find out more about our industry collaboration opportunities.

To find out more about the individual awards and career development training opportunities available, please visit the following pages:

NIHR Awards

Career Development Training

Career Recognition Awards


Academy events

The NIHR Academy holds a variety of in-person and virtual events every year. The highlight event is the annual NIHR Academy Members’ Conference that provides NIHR Academy Members the opportunity to network, hear from a variety of inspirational speakers and develop their skills in a series of workshops.

With a different theme every year, these conferences provide a varied and insightful look at key topics that in previous years have included ‘Research for Everyone’ and ‘Entrepreneurship and Industry Collaboration’.

The conference in 2023 celebrated team science. You can access replays of the event on the conference website.

A variety of other events are also held throughout the year to provide support and development opportunities for NIHR Academy Members and prospective applicants to our awards. These include webinars, workshops and other meetings. For online events we may collect personal data for event management and evaluation purposes. Find out more in our NIHR Academy online events Privacy Notice.

Details of these events are shared with NIHR Academy Members and also listed on the events pages of the NIHR website when appropriate.

Academy membership

NIHR Academy Membership and benefits

The NIHR Academy comprises of members and associates. (Further information on people across NIHR who are members and associates can be found in Appendix 1) 

There are two categories of individuals belonging to the NIHR Academy:


Members include those on an NIHR academic path and those who play a recognised NIHR role supporting academic career development. They form a key part of the national health research system that is the NIHR.

NIHR Academy Members range from Masters Studentships through to Professorships and Senior Investigators. Membership includes individuals based in both domestic and global health research settings. Some also work closely with industry, developing a cadre of research leaders with combined academic, NHS and industry insight and experiences.

Members are able to access a portfolio of NIHR Academy development and support activities. They are able to access NIHR research training and career development programmes to help ensure that their research meets the current and future needs of patients and the public, as well as developing and sustaining training routes for research skills to support the development of future leaders across all professions and disciplines.

Members are invited to join peer group communities to help enhance the career development support to members and facilitate networking opportunities around our research capacity development activities. They also play a key role in the strategic direction and development of the NIHR Academy through representation on the NIHR Academy Forum and other advisory groups.

In addition to the awards themselves, the NIHR also provides a range of leadership and mentoring programmes to complement its training programmes, regular networking opportunities, bespoke workshops and events and personal advice and guidance on funding opportunities.

All NIHR Members must demonstrate that their research projects have clear potential for benefiting patients within five years of completion and the NIHR expects the active involvement of members of the public in the research that it funds.

Associate Members

Associate Members are those who are part of the NIHR research training ecosystem. They are either on a research career trajectory or play an NIHR role in supporting research training.

Associates will have access to NIHR Academy webinars and online resources. 

It is possible for individuals to move between the different categories and also move in and out of the NIHR Academy as part of career progression. NIHR will remain flexible and accommodate individual needs on a case by case basis.

Appendix 1: Eligibility for each membership category

Members: those on an NIHR academic path

  • Senior Investigators
  • NIHR Research Training Award Holders:
    • Research Professors
    • Fellowships
    • ACF and CLs (including NIHR badged locally funded)
    • ICA fellows and CLs/SCLs
    • NIHR Academy members based across NIHR Infrastructure, Schools and Global Health Research*
  • Research Professors - associated support posts
  • Advanced Fellowship holders - associated support posts

* An NIHR Academy member based within NIHR Infrastructure or Capacity Building Structures should satisfy all three of the bullets points below:

  • Be undertaking a formal training/career development award, which should meet all of the following criteria: be competitive, include a training plan and have a defined end point (such as an application for further funding).
  • Receive at least 25% funding from the NIHR** for salary/stipend over the lifetime of the individual’s award.
  • Be hosted in a setting with a remit for research capacity development***

** For ARCs, HPRUs and Global Health Research (GHR) Programmes funding can be from NIHR or from an official collaborating partner. For GHR Programmes, an official collaborating institution (‘Partner’ or ‘Collaborator’) is an organisation which holds a current collaboration agreement with the holder of the NIHR research contract to participate in global health research work, and which may or may not be in receipt of NIHR funds.

*** This includes: NIHR BRCs, PSTRCs, ARCs, HPRUs, SPCR, SPHR, SSCR and GHR Programmes.

Members: those playing an active/formal role supporting those on an academic path

  • NIHR Academy Dean and Associate Deans
  • NIHR Infrastructure and School Academic Career Development Leads (BRC, ARCs, PSTRCs, HPRUs, SPCR, SPHR, SSCR)
  • IAT Leads
  • Incubator Steering Group members
  • Global Health Research Training Leads across Global Health Research Programmes
  • NIHR Funding Selection Committee members
  • Mentors on NIHR mentorship schemes (includes SIs and RPs)
  • NIHR Senior Research Nurse and Midwife Research Leaders (70@70)

Associates on a research career path and at the interface with NIHR academic career path

  • ACFs and CLs - locally funded which are not NIHR badged
  • CRN Research Fellows
  • Individuals based in Infrastructure and Schools <25% funded.
  • Individuals based in ‘non-capacity building’ parts of Infrastructure (MICs, CRFs)
  • Research delivery staff (CRN and Infrastructure)
  • Medical/Dental Trainees undertaking NIHR-funded or supported research
  • PIs + Co-Investigators on any NIHR funded grant – supported posts doing PhDs
  • PIs + CIs NIHR portfolio studies

Associates: those playing an NIHR role in supporting research training and research capacity development

  • NIHR CRN Specialty Leads (National and Local)
  • CRN AHP Research Champions
  • Not a member but ‘involved’ e.g. supervisors of current NIHR Academy members
  • RDS Advisors


Engage with the Academy

NIHR Academy Members are encouraged to get involved in various NIHR activities. These include: 

  • membership of an NIHR selection committee
  • helping shape the strategic direction of the NIHR
  • providing input to key projects and initiatives across the NIHR.

Details of how to get involved are included in our monthly NIHR Academy Members’ newsletter, which also includes details of funding, career development and training and opportunities including events and webinars.

If you would like to receive the monthly NIHR Academy Member newsletter and other information outside the management of your award, please complete the NIHR Academy Consent to Contact Form.

The NIHR Academy Member Event Fund is for postdoctoral Academy Members who wish to hold an event that will promote the NIHR Academy programmes, support prospective applicants to the NIHR Academy programmes or benefit existing Academy Members. Learn more and apply to the NIHR Academy Member Event Fund.

The NIHR Academy Member slide deck details the career development opportunities funded by NIHR. This is a resource for award holders to use at events or workshops to help promote training and career development awards managed by NIHR.

The NIHR Reviewer Development Scheme is for early career researchers who are new to reviewing or want to develop their skills further and gain experience of peer review for NIHR funding programmes, and in turn influence research commissioning. Learn more about how to apply for the NIHR Reviewer Development Scheme.

If you would like to register your interest to be involved in NIHR selection committees, please complete this expression of interest form.

Email: Telephone: 0113 532 8444