Associate Principal Investigator (PI) Scheme

The Associate Principal Investigator Scheme aims to develop doctors, nurses and other health professionals to become the Principal Investigators (PIs) of the future.

What is a Principal Investigator (PI)?

A Principal Investigator is a person responsible for the conduct of a research study at a site.

What is the Associate Principal Investigator Scheme?

The Associate PI Scheme is a six month in-work training opportunity, providing practical experience for healthcare professionals starting their research career.

People who would not normally have the opportunity to take part in clinical research in their day to day role have the chance to experience what it means to work on and deliver a NIHR portfolio trial under the mentorship of an enthusiastic Local PI.

Participating healthcare professionals receive formal recognition of engagement in NIHR Portfolio research studies through the certification of Associate PI status, endorsed by the NIHR and Royal Colleges.


How the Associate PI Scheme works

The scheme is open to any healthcare professional willing to make a significant contribution to the conduct and delivery of a study at a local level over a period of at least six months:

  • The healthcare professional works alongside the Local PI for six months on the study at the same site as the Associate PI.
  • The Local PI acts as a mentor to the Associate PI, helping them to understand what it means to be a Local PI on an NIHR portfolio study.
  • During their time on the Associate PI Scheme, the Associate PI must complete a checklist of study activities and a learning pathway on NIHR Learn. This checklist needs to be signed off by the Local PI and the National Study Coordinator at the end of an Associate PI's time on the scheme.
  • The NIHR Associate PI Scheme team will then issue a certificate confirming Associate PI Status which can be added to their training portfolio.

How to get Involved

"A fantastic opportunity to take part in research, and gain a detailed experience and learning about what conducting a clinical trial truly entails."
An Associate PI on the RECOVERY study

Further information

If you have any questions about the scheme, including the eligibility of an applicant or a study to join, please contact the Associate PI Scheme central team at

You may find the answers to some of your questions in our Associate PI Scheme FAQs.

Related pages


External links