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Become a professional committee member

If you would like to join a committee from your work-related perspective, you can apply to 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.

Search professional committee positions

If you are interested in joining a committee from a patient or public perspective, find out more on our public committee member page.

Why 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

Professional committee member responsibilities

Committee members read, critically assess and prioritise research proposals, topic documents and research briefs. They also contribute to the development of research questions.

The time commitment for being a committee member varies. There is often an amount of preparation before each meeting, involving reading papers and proposals.

For some committees, the role involves shaping the portfolio of funded awards by helping to review changes to research plans and milestone reports.

Committees generally have around 20 members, although the number can vary. They include public members, professionals and academics, and each member inputs into decisions on an equal footing. Sometimes committees need additional subject experts to bring specialist knowledge in a specific research area or methodology.

As part of the role you will need to contribute to discussions and be an active committee member.

In line with our Conflicts of Interest policy, you will be asked to declare if anything might conflict with your professional committee member role. For example, if you are connected to the applicant or co-applicant of an application.


Committees usually meet between 2 to 4 times a year and meetings are either in person or online. There may be some additional meetings. The time commitment varies, but is around 6 to 12 days per year. Please check individual adverts for details on time commitments.

For committees to run smoothly and make robust decisions, we follow strict quoracy rules and ask our members to commit to regular attendance. We appreciate that unexpected events come up and some absence may be necessary, but you must be prepared to prioritise committee meetings - both online and in person - over foreseeable diary clashes. Please think carefully about this commitment before applying. Failure to attend may result in you losing your place early. For our one-year development roles, you will need to provide a letter from your supervisor to support your attendance.

If you are unable to attend a meeting, you may still be asked to assess your allocated committee topics, research briefs or applications. This is to ensure your views are represented at the meeting. 

What skills and experience does a committee member need?

Professional members of our prioritisation and funding committees should have experience at a senior level within their area of expertise, management or clinical experience within the NHS, social care or public health.

All development committee roles are aimed at developing researchers and professionals who are at mid-career level, rather than those at a senior level.

See individual adverts for details on who we are looking for.

What do committees discuss?

Examples of some of the questions that committee members might address are:

  • the clarity of the stated research objectives, or relevance to a given research specification
  • 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 will result in outcomes which make an impact
  • whether the proposed team is capable of undertaking the suggested research
  • whether the proposed study represents value for money

How often do committees recruit?

We recruit committee members at different times throughout the year. Some programmes recruit on an ad-hoc basis as needed.


Details about terms of office are usually included in each advert. In most cases you are likely to be in post for 3 years; though in some cases there may be an option to extend for a further 2 years. Some development roles may be for 1 year.

You should only be a standing committee member for 1 NIHR Committee at a time. The only exception to this is when no other person is available to cover the role. However, if you are involved in awarding NIHR Research Training and Leadership Programme funding (our Academy Programmes), you can also be a member of a Research Programme Funding Committee. This is so that you have insight into the research pathway.

You are only allowed to overlap a prioritisation or funding committee by a maximum of 1 meeting.

How will my application be assessed?

We will consider applications where your knowledge and experience best match the skills and expertise we are looking for.

We recognise that CVs are an important tool in understanding a person’s knowledge, skills and experience, and conventional formats can be limiting. To address this, we are using narrative CVs in some recruitment applications. Based on the Royal Society’s Résumé for Researchers, the narrative format will allow applicants to demonstrate a broader range of activities and contributions. This will help ensure we’re drawing on a variety of backgrounds, perspectives and experiences in our decision making and research.

See individual adverts for details on the knowledge and skills needed.

Are committee members paid?

Committee members (apart from Chairs/Co-Chairs) are not paid. You can, however, claim reasonable expenses associated with your committee work, such as travel costs.

We will reimburse locum costs where these are incurred for committee attendance, and if you have an invoice/receipt.

What training is available for committee members?

Programme staff will work with new members to ensure an appropriate induction programme is in place. This might involve you attending your first committee meeting as an observer. Or for some roles, this may include setting up new members with an experienced buddy.

For committee member development roles, you will have a mentor to support you along the way.

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, we can provide written confirmation of a member’s contribution.

How to apply

If you would like to become a professional committee member, see our committee adverts for details about a role and who we are looking for. Once you have found a role, you can apply online.

Search professional committee positions

Complete our expression of interest form to join a career development award funding committee through our Academy.