HEE/NIHR Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowship


Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowship Scheme 

Round 4 Stage 1 Competition has closed


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.


2 Stage Competition

The Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowship Scheme has, from this year, adopted a 2 stage assessment process and now uses an adapted version of the NIHR Standard Application Form.  

Round 4 (2018) applicants shortlisted for interview will be required to submit a stage 2 application form by 1pm on the 31st August.

Stage 2 application forms will only be made available to shortlisted applicants, and will contain the questions detailed in the applicant guidance notes.

Completed stage 2 application forms will require confirmations of involvement from various participants and signatories prior to 1pm on the 31st August. Please refer to the published applicant guidance notes for further information.

Useful Resource for Prospective 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

  • The Chairs Report is a review of the Round 3 CDRF, CL and SCL competitions produced by the Chairs of the ICA Programme personal award review panels. This report summarises common weaknesses 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.
  • 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 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. 


ICA CDRF Round 4 Competition - Key Dates:

Competition Stage Key Date
Competition Opens 1st March 2018
Competition Closes 27th April 2018
Shortlisting Meeting 12th July 2018
Interviews in Leeds 17th and 18th October 2018
Start dates of awards 1st April, 1st May or 1st June 2019








Contact Us

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

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 Personal Awards Team:

Tel:  0113 346 6268  Email: tccawards@nihr.ac.uk


Current and Previous Award Holders

Details of current and previous CDRF award holders are available through the NIHR website:Current and Previous award holders


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.