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Career development

The NIHR attracts, develops and retains the best health and social care professionals to lead and support the delivery of important research.

We support the delivery of high quality research care

A skilled research delivery workforce is crucial to making research happen in the NHS and other health and social care settings. There are currently over 10,000 front-line research delivery staff working throughout the NHS who are funded or part-funded by the NIHR.

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, including opportunities for health and care professionals looking to take their first step in research delivery.

Use our tool to explore your career options

Do you want to find out how you could add research to your career, but unsure of where to start? Play the Your Path in Research game to see how adding research to your career can help you gain new skills and qualifications.

Your path in research game transcript

We develop a highly-skilled academic research workforce

The NIHR Academy supports the development of a skilled academic research workforce. We provide career support and training, access to leadership development opportunities, networking events, mentoring and guidance on research funding. Fellowships and career development awards are available from pre-doctoral to professorial level, to  support the future leaders in NIHR research. 

Find out more about career development support and training for researchers and those looking to become researchers

Research can benefit your career

A research career can:

  • give you an opportunity for further learning in your health or social care specialism to benefit your patients
  • enable you to build a career around areas you are passionate about and explore new areas of interest to you
  • provide you with extra skills and qualifications which can benefit your future career prospects
  • add variety in your career to boost job satisfaction

Find out what career opportunities are available for your profession.

AHPs and other healthcare professionals

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.

Clinical Research Practitioners

Clinical Research Practitioners (CRPs) are crucial to delivering clinical research that is transforming treatment in the NHS and the care we receive. CRPs work in research delivery roles that involve direct contact with patients or other study participants. CRPs are now identified as an occupational group in health and care in the UK by the UK Professional Standards Authority (PSA).

We support CRPs through the CRP Directory, an initiative developed in partnership with the Academy for Healthcare Science, that aims to promote a strong professional identity for CRPs. The Directory is a space for CRPs to be consulted and to contribute to an application seeking accredited registration.

The CRP Accredited Register opened in April 2021 for experienced practitioners who have developed their skills and knowledge within an agreed Scope of Practice and can demonstrate that their individual practice meets the Standards of Proficiency for Clinical Research Practitioners.

Doctors and Dentists

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

Nurses and midwives are by far the largest group of health care professionals and have an unparalleled contribution to clinical research and making a real difference to patients’ lives. The NIHR Nursing and Midwifery vision is to inspire nurses and midwives to improve health outcomes through research.

Find out more about how the NIHR support nurses and midwifes on the Nurses and Midwives page.

Social Care Professionals

There are different opportunities across the NIHR for social care professionals to develop a career in research:

View more on our social care practitioners page.

Integrated Workforce Framework

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.