HEE/NIHR Pre-doctoral Clinical Academic Fellowships

The HEE/NIHR ICA Pre-doctoral Clinical Academic Fellowship (PCAF) funds personalised programmes of academic training that will equip awardees with the skills and experience to access doctoral level funding and dedicated time to prepare an application for a competitive, peer-reviewed doctoral level research training fellowship.

Applicants must belong to one of the ICA eligible professions and be employed by a provider of health and/or care services that is providing at least 50% of its services free at the point of delivery.

The full eligibility criteria for the scheme are listed in the Applicant Guidance Notes, which are published to accompany each competition.

Round 3 PCAF call for applications:  anticipated February 2020

The PCAF Round 2 (2019) Applicant Guidance Notes provide full details of the PCAF scheme.

Applications to the PCAF scheme must be submitted via our Award Management System, Aramis.

Before you apply for a Pre-Doctoral Clinical Academic Fellowship

The PCAF is a two year award (or can be taken up part-time over 30 or 40 months) during which Fellows split their time equally between their clinical position and the academic training funded through the award.

Alternatively applicants can undertake academic training on a full-time basis and complete the award in 12 months.

Applicants can request up to 20% clinical development time paid for through the award (this would constitute part of the academic training time).

Useful Resources for Prospective Applicants

  • Applications to the PCAF scheme must be submitted via our Award Management System, Aramis. Please note: The PCAF application form is only available during the application window. Registration on the system, however, can be completed at any time.

  • The Employing Host Organisation of successful applicants will be required to agree to the standard NIHR Personal awards contract. A Sample contract can be viewed for information only.

  • Applications to the Pre-doctoral Clinical Academic Fellowship scheme are reviewed by the HEE/NIHR ICA PCAF Selection Committee.
  • The NIHR Training Advocates are ambassadors for non-medical clinical academic careers. The Advocates can provide advice to aspiring or early career clinical academics.

  • Information on the research projects and researchers that are associated with personal awards managed by NIHR Academy are available via excel spreadsheets that can be filtered by e.g. Host Organisation, profession and research area. 

  • Rules on Re-applications: From the second (Round 2) PCAF competition onwards, unsuccessful applicants will only be able apply to the PCAF on one further occasion.  This does not include applications made before 2019.  Applications deemed fundable but which fall below the funding cut off will not be counted towards the maximum of 2 application attempts.


 Partnership Fellowships 

The NIHR Academy/HEE is partnering with two of the UK's leading medical charities for the first time, to offer jointly funded Partnership Fellowships, at the Pre-doctoral Clinical Academic level.

Jointly funded Partnership Fellowships:

  • allow award holders the opportunity to maintain and build a relationship with both the NIHR and Charity Partner.
  • allow award holders to engage with and receive valuable input from patient groups, and make the most of the public and patient engagement/involvement opportunities available.
  • provide increased exposure of research outcomes and outputs through a variety of media and communication channels.

The Guidance Notes contain further details regarding the specific eligibility criteria for each charity partner (in addition to the standard eligibility criteria) and the contact details for the relevant charity.

We encourage all applicants interested in applying for a jointly funded Partnership Fellowship to contact the relevant charity partner to discuss their application. Please note; all other queries about the application process should be directed to the NIHR Academy.


For Further Information

Call: 0113 532 8401

Email: Academy-awards@nihr.ac.uk, With the subject ICA PCAF