HEE/NIHR Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowship


The Round 3 ICA CDRF Competition is now closed

The Round 4 ICA CDRF Competition is anticipated to launch in March 2018


The HEE/NIHR Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowship (CDRF) Scheme is aimed at registered non-medical healthcare professionals sited in England with at least 1 year's experience of clinical practice, sufficient research experience or training to prepare them to undertake a PhD, and who wish to obtain a PhD by research whilst continuing to develop their clinical skills.

The CDRF is an individual training award and offers funding to cover the salary costs of the award holder, their PhD tuition fees, and the costs of an appropriate research project and training and development programme. A CDRF award will require that the individual has a contract of employment with the Host Employer for the duration of the Fellowship.

All applicants must belong to one of the eligible professions and ensure that their proposed research project is compatible with the published NIHR remit and the HEE priorities.

Information for Round 3 Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowship Applicants

The ICA CDRF Applicant Guidance Notes, published to accompany this competition, should be read in full before starting an application. 

The application system can be accessed via https://tcci.nihr.ac.uk/Login.aspx

Further support is available from these webpages (please see Useful Resource for Prospective applicants below).  If, after consulting the applicant guidance notes, you have any queries pertaining to the HEE/NIHR Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowship Scheme please contact the NIHR TCC using the contact details below.

 Useful Resource for Propsective Applicants:

  • A Guide to the HEE/NIHR ICA Programme - comprehensive information regarding all elements of the ICA Programme, its management and additional resources available to support applicants
  • The Chairs Report is a review of the Round 2 CDRF, CL and SCL competitions produced by the Chairs of the ICA personal award competitions. This summarises common weaknesses in applications to the 2nd Round ICA competitions that were noted by the review panels and provides advice for prospective applicants.
  • The ICA Webinar presents the ICA Programme to prospective applicants and provides tips for those developing proposals.
  • The Employing Host Organisation of successful applicants will be required to agree to the standard NIHR Personal awards contract. A Sample contract can be viewed for information only.

 Applications to the Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowship scheme are reviewed by the HEE/NIHR ICA CDRF Review Panel. 

The timetable below details the key dates in the Round 3 CDRF selection process: 


Competition Stage Key Date
Competition Opens 2nd March 2017
Competition Closes 18th May 2017
Shortlisting Meeting 28th September 2017
Interviews in Leeds 29th and 30th November 2017
Start dates of awards 1st April, 1st May or 1st June 2018


HEE/NIHR ICA Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowship: Previous Rounds


Contact Us

The CDRF Scheme is managed by Dr Mal Palin of the NIHR TCC Personal Awards Team.

The Personal Awards Team can be contacted by telephone on 0113 346 6268 or by email at tccawards@nihr.ac.uk


Being a Clinical Doctoral Research Fellow

Consultant Midwife Yana Richens OBE is leading on a research project looking at why women are anxious and fearful of birth. She explains how the HEE/NIHR Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowship has allowed her to stay clinically active whilst having the opportunity to lead on research which could have a huge impact on pregnant women and their families.



Cathy Geeson talks about being a HEE/NIHR Clinical Doctoral Research Fellow at the 2015 Trainee Meeting.



Karen Heslop-Marshall talks about her HEE/NIHR Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowship and the benefits of being a Nurse and a Researcher.