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Senior Research Leader Programme for nurses and midwives

The NIHR’s Senior Research Leader Programme helps nurses and midwives develop their research leadership skills to improve research in their organisations and beyond.


Who's it for?

Nurses and Midwives in England who have experience leading research


3 years

How does it work?

We pay your employer to second you to the programme for 2 days a week

Key dates

2024 cohort

  • start of programme - 1 April 2024
  • successful applicants for the 2024 cohort

2025 cohort

  • applications open - end August 2024
  • applications close - end October 2024


The Senior Research Leader (SRL) Programme offers nurses and midwives the opportunity to shape and embed a research culture within their organisation and beyond. You will use your knowledge and personal experiences to motivate and enable others to get involved in research projects that help improve patient care.

We are looking for people from various health and social care backgrounds who are good at leading research, connecting with others, and who bring fresh ideas.

What do senior research leaders do?

As a senior research leader, you will:

  • make a significant contribution to health or care services
  • join a community of SRLs and network with colleagues across England
  • lead the development of research capacity and capability in nursing and midwifery in your organisation
  • bring together research activities across your organisation to influence your Senior Management Team
  • act as an ambassador for the NIHR SRL Programme and the wider NIHR
  • use links with local universities to optimise the integration of clinical research into nursing and midwifery programmes
  • work with senior research leaders and NIHR nursing and midwifery colleagues to develop and pilot initiatives related to national research goals and priorities
  • have a strong commitment and drive to promote equitable and inclusive practices

We will support you as you lead research initiatives. Together, we will foster a diverse pipeline of research leaders who can represent and advocate for nurses and midwives from all backgrounds.


To be eligible for the SRL programme, you need to be:

  • a nurse or midwife registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council
  • employed by an institution funded by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) in England, these include NHS Trusts and recognised universities
  • working at an Agenda for Change band 8b (entry), or equivalent level, in a health or social care setting

You will also need to ensure your employer will support you to be on the programme for 2 days (0.4 WTE) a week over 3 years.  

If you applied for the Senior Research Leader Programme before and did not get a place, you are welcome to apply again, as long as you meet the eligibility criteria.

Employment criteria

You must have an employment contract with an eligible organisation throughout the programme. These include:

  • NHS trusts
  • recognised universities
  • any other organisation in England funded by the DHSC

If you have a substantive contract with a university, you must also have an honorary contract with an organisation funded by the DHSC. This role should have a specified clinical or leadership remit for at least 0.4 WTE.

What if I move to a new job?

If you move jobs, you can continue on the programme, as long as your new employer meets the eligibility criteria.

If you have any questions about eligibility, please email 

2024 Cohort

East Midlands

  • Dr Takawira Marufu, Clinical- Academic Nursing Research Lead at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust

East of England

  • Alexandra Malyon, Lead for Nursing Midwifery and Allied Professional Research at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Kent, Surrey and Sussex

  • Kate Stringer,  Consultant Midwife at Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust 

North Thames

  • Harry de Jesus, Research Delivery Support Manager at Barts Health NHS Trust
  • Lorraine Hodsdon, Head of Nursing & Patient Experience Research & Innovation, and Co- Director NIHR GOSH CRF at Great Ormond Street Hospital For Children NHS Foundation Trust

North West Coast

  • Laura Rad,  Head of Nursing for Research at Alder Hey Children's NHS Foundation Trust 
  • Dr Oladayo Bifarin,  Research & Effectiveness Lead at Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust 
  • Dr Philippa Olive,  Senior Research Fellow, School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Central Lancashire, and Clinical Academic Faculty Lead, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

South London

  • Dr Sarah Combes,  Senior Research Leader & Research Fellowcare at St Christopher's Hospice &  University of Surrey

South West Peninsula

  • Catherine Pitman, Lead Research Nurse at University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust
  • Professor Helen Quinn, Research and Development Director at Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Trust and Clinical Director at NIHRPRC
  • Dr Lisa Burrows, Clinical Academic at Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust 

Thames Valley and South Midlands

  • Dr Clair Merriman, Reader and Divisional Research Lead for NMAHPPS at Oxford University Hospital Foundation Trust and Oxford Brookes University
  • Dr Louise Strickland,  Deputy Director Nursing and Midwifery Research and Innovation at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust 


  • Andrea Mostyn-Jones, Trust Lead Research Nurse  at Somerset NHS Foundation Trust
  • Anna Badley, Strategic Lead of Research and Evaluation at Solent NHS Trust 

West Midlands

  • Dr Andrew Finney, Programme Lead for Clinical Academic Nursing Career Development (Primary and Community Care settings) at Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
  • Dr Angela Hancock, Consultant Midwife at University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust
  • Chloe O'Hara, Lead Research Midwife at Birmingham Women's and Children's NHS Foundation Trust 
  • Dr Nicola Anderson, Lead nurse RD & I Research Education at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust 
  • Professor Sarah Ryan, Professor rheumatology nursing and nurse consultant rheumatology at Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust 

West of England

  • Constance Shiridzinomwa, Senior project manager at University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust 

Yorkshire and Humber 

  • Jennifer Syson, Research Matron/Senior Research Midwife at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • Johanna White, Co-Lead of the Sheffield Deep End Research Cluster at Primary Care Doncaster Ltd 
  • Nicola Lancaster, Research Matron at Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust 


We will fund the secondment of each senior research leader onto the programme at an Agenda for Change Band 8b (entry level) or the equivalent. We will pay this regardless of your current band. The funding will last for 3 years at 0.4 WTE.

You can also claim up to £1,000 per year in travel and subsistence for programme related activities.

Your employer will pay you at 0.4 WTE band 8b (entry).

Funds are paid directly to your employer.

Application process

How to apply

Applications for the 2025 cohort will open in August 2024.

Assessment criteria 

We will assess applications against the following criteria:

  • quality and relevance of answers in your application
  • evidence of relevant senior research leadership
  • ability to demonstrate impact of previous research projects and initiatives
  • suitability and commitment to work strategically to promote change and better research culture in your organisation
  • ability to plan and articulate clear research priorities and link them to relevant wider organisational and national priorities
  • your potential to influence organisational change
  • demonstrated ability to build and maintain strategic links and networks internally and externally
  • track record of supporting nursing and midwifery research and committing to creating and maintaining an inclusive and supportive research culture

Make sure you include these in your application.


We screen all applications to ensure they meet the eligibility and assessment criteria.  

A selection committee will review eligible applications and will select the successful applicants.

In the 2023 cohort, there were 25 places on the programme.

We will announce successful applicants to the 2024 cohort in Spring 2024.

More information

Please email