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Career development

A skilled clinical research delivery workforce is crucial to making research happen in the NHS and other health and social care settings.

The NIHR wants to attract, develop and retain the best health and social care professionals to lead and support the delivery of important research. There are currently over 10,000 front-line research delivery staff working throughout the NHS who are funded or part-funded by the NIHR.

Delivering high quality clinical research care

Clinical research nurses and midwives, allied health professionals, social care professionals, doctors, dentists and clinical research practitioners play an important role in the delivery of high quality research care. We support their development and raise awareness of their roles through a number of campaigns and initiatives.

We also support the development of a skilled academic research workforce by providing career support and advice, access to leadership development opportunities, networking events, mentoring and guidance on research funding.

Enhance your professional development by reviewing

Keep up with the latest developments in health and social care research, and play a vital role in maintaining and improving the quality of NIHR research. External peer reviewers help us at every stage of the research process, prioritising research topics, ensuring we fund the best applications, and helping to shape the open access reports published by the NIHR Journals Library.

Reviewing research briefs, proposals and research outputs can also be used as evidence of continuing professional development (CPD), and for consultant grade medical reviewers, there is the additional attraction that peer review for NIHR is recognised in Clinical Excellence Award submissions. Find out more about becoming a peer reviewer.


We want allied health professionals (AHPs) to blaze a trail in research. Our AHP Research Champions are part of an ever expanding community of role models and research activists who are promoting the work of AHPs in research and encouraging AHPs to get involved. Our AHP strategy sets out our vision.

The Directory for Clinical Research Practitioners (CRPs) is an exciting new initiative, with the Academy for Healthcare Science, that aims to promote a strong professional identity for CRPs and establish a registered profession for this group of research delivery professionals. The Directory is a space for CRPs to be consulted and to contribute to an application seeking accredited registration.

We support the training of doctors and dentists in England to enable them to develop their clinical academic careers. This is delivered through a number of schemes that rely on close partnership between the NIHR, Health Education England (HEE), medical schools and NHS organisations.

Nurses and midwives are by far the largest group of health care professionals and have an unparalleled contribution to make to clinical research. Our nursing and midwife strategy sets of our vision for achieving this.

Our current 70@70 Research Leader programme is aimed at senior nurses and midwives and promotes the importance of a vibrant integrated research culture in health and care to improve quality of patient care and health outcomes. Our 70 leaders are championing research, driving innovation and informing research priorities in their organisations. They are actively involved in advising and influencing policy makers in the NHS and NIHR and ensuring key findings and evidence are accelerated into practice.

Our 2018 investment into the NIHR School for Social Care Research (SSCR) includes £1.8 million for training social care researchers.

The SSCR delivers this training in partnership with the NIHR Academy Incubators. NIHR Incubators support the development of research capacity in strategically important areas and creates a community in social care research.

In addition, SSCR has recently announced its first ever round of social care PhDs.

To support the development of the workforce our Integrated Workforce Framework (IWF) offers a common language to describe roles and responsibilities, and an easy method to identify learning and development needs.

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