Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowship

The Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowship (CDRF) scheme enables registered healthcare professionals to obtain a PhD by research whilst developing their clinical skills at the same time.

Are you eligible?

The HEE/NIHR Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowship Scheme is aimed at registered non-medical healthcare professionals based in England who:

  • Have at least one year's experience of clinical practice.
  • Have sufficient research experience or training to prepare them to undertake a PhD.
  • Wish to obtain a PhD by research whilst continuing to develop their clinical skills.
  • Belong to an eligible profession.
  • Propose research that is compatible with the NIHR Remit as published within the current Applicant Guidance Notes.

The CDRF is an individual training award and offers funding to cover the salary costs of the award holder, their PhD tuition fees, and the costs of an appropriate research project and training and development programme. A CDRF award will require that the individual has a contract of employment with the Host Organisation for the duration of the Fellowship.

Round 6 CDRF call for applications:  anticipated March 2020

Partnership Fellowships

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

Moorfields Eye Charity

Muscular Dystrophy UK

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.


Useful Resources for Prospective Applicants:

  • Applications to must be submitted via our Award Management System, Aramis.
  • The Chairs Report is a review of the Round 4 CDRF, CL and SCL competitions produced by the Chairs of the ICA Programme personal award Selection Committees. This report summarises common weaknesses that were noted by the Selection Committees, and provides advice for prospective applicants.
  • 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 via the "Information for Prospective Applicants" webpage.


For Further Information

Call: 0113 532 8401

Email:, With the subject ICA.


Being a Clinical Doctoral Research Fellow

Consultant Midwife Yana Richens OBE is leading on a research project looking at why women are anxious and fearful of birth. She explains how the HEE/NIHR Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowship has allowed her to stay clinically active whilst having the opportunity to lead on research which could have a huge impact on pregnant women and their families.



Cathy Geeson talks about being a HEE/NIHR Clinical Doctoral Research Fellow at the 2015 Member Meeting.



Karen Heslop-Marshall talks about her HEE/NIHR Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowship and the benefits of being a Nurse and a Researcher.