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NIHR announces Senior Investigators for 2021

Published: 03 March 2021

The NIHR has announced the appointment of 46 NIHR Senior Investigators in the 2021 round of awards.

NIHR Senior Investigators are among the most prominent and prestigious researchers funded by the NIHR and the most outstanding leaders of patient and people-based research within the NIHR research community. 

Following open competition, 31  researchers have been newly appointed as NIHR Senior Investigators this year, in the 14th annual round of appointments. They are joined by 15 current or previous holders of the award who have been reappointed as Senior Investigators for a second term, bringing the total number of appointments for 2021 to 46.

Emeritus Senior Investigator status has been newly awarded to 21 researchers, giving a total of 188 Emeritus Senior Investigators.   

NIHR Senior Investigators are critical to augmenting the ongoing success of NIHR, and developing the health research capability fit for the challenges we must meet.

Collectively, Senior Investigators constitute the NIHR College of Senior Investigators, and are members of the NIHR Academy.

NIHR Senior Investigators are able to occupy their positions for no more than two terms, in order to ensure turnover. This creates opportunities for new researchers to participate in NIHR at this level, incentivising the research community, while maintaining the college of Senior Investigators at a manageable size.  

Emeritus status applies while the holders remain in substantive employment in England. It is a considerable achievement to attain Emeritus status, holders having succeeded twice in open competition and completed two terms as a Senior Investigator.

An independent expert committee chaired by Professor Marion Walker advised on the 2021 appointments. 

NIHR Senior Investigator status is awarded according to: 

  • criteria of contribution to NIHR
  • quality and volume of internationally excellent research 
  • its relevance to patients and the public
  • impact on improvements in healthcare and public health
  • research leadership
  • engagement of patients and the public
  • engagement of healthcare policy makers and planners with their research

Full details of the 2021 NIHR Senior Investigator and Senior Investigator Emeritus appointments are available on the NIHR website. If you would like to find out about the Senior Investigators in your area of interest, please email for more details.

The 15th annual round of the NIHR Senior Investigators Competition will be announced in summer 2021. Leading researchers funded by the NIHR (and who are employed by an NHS Trust, university or charity based in England) are encouraged to apply. Further details about the competition will be made available on the NIHR website.

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