Become a professional committee member
NIHR committees recommend health and social care research projects to fund or prioritise.
Our committees help to ensure that research is high quality, robust and represents good value for money. They provide independent input, assessing research briefs and proposals.
We want our committees to have a broad range of perspectives, knowledge, skills and experience.
Why you should join an NIHR committee?
We are looking for academics, subject experts, clinical staff, service managers, health, social care and public health professionals to join our committees.
Being part of a committee can:
- aid your professional development
- offer an opportunity to explore different research topics
- allow you to share your expertise and influence decisions in vital research areas
- provide networking opportunities
Committee member responsibilities
Committee members read, critically assess and prioritise research proposals, topic documents and research briefs and contribute to the development of research questions.
The time commitment for being a committee member varies. There is often an amount of preparation involving reading papers and proposals.
In some programmes the role involves shaping the portfolio of funded awards by contributing to reviews of proposed changes to research plans and reports of key milestones.
Committees generally have 20 members including public members, subject matter experts and academics. All members have an equal footing.
Committees usually meet between two to four times a year. Read more about the responsibilities of being a research programme committee member.
How research programme committees work
What skills and abilities does a committee member need?
Committee members should have experience at a senior level within their area of expertise, management or clinical experience within the NHS, social care or public health.
For NIHR funding committees, members should also have a significant record of research and publication.
Read our guidance for committee applicants which expands on some of the skills you will need.
What do committees discuss?
Examples of some of the questions that committee members might address are:
- The clarity of the stated research objectives.
- Whether the proposed study design will achieve the stated objectives in an appropriate, feasible and ethical manner
- Whether the successful completion of the study would lead to a reduction in uncertainty in that area of health research
- Whether the proposed project would result in greater clarity of health-related outcomes which may affect patients, the public or systems, and/or other benefits for the wider NHS/ public health community
- Whether the proposed team is capable of undertaking the suggested research
How often do committees recruit?
We recruit committees throughout the year. To find out about the latest vacancies see our professional committee positions page.
For the NIHR Academy we have an open expression of interest form for these committees.
How will my application be assessed?
Applications to become a member will be considered for the best match between the skills and expertise the committee needs to recruit, and the knowledge and experience of applicants.
The assessment process for each position is described in the recruitment materials for the specific programme.
Are committee members paid?
Members (other than chairs) are not paid to undertake the role, however they can claim reasonable expenses associated with their committee work such as travel costs.
Further details about payment can be found on individual committee vacancy listings.
What training is available for committee members?
Full support is provided to anyone taking up a committee position.
Programme staff will work with new members to ensure an appropriate induction programme is in place.
Do committee members earn Continued Professional Development (CPD) points?
In discussion with the relevant professional body, members may be able to claim CPD points. Where appropriate, NIHR can provide written confirmation of a member’s contribution.