Research Design Service: East Midlands
National Institute for Health Research

Fellowship Programme

Aim: To support individuals with the potential and on a trajectory to become future leaders in NIHR research.

Funding: Four levels of NIHR Fellowship award are available:

  • Pre-Doctoral Fellowship
    • 1 year (between 50 and 100 WTE)
    • aimed at getting necessary skills and experience required to undertake a PhD
    • will only fund applications which address one of the named strategic themes in the call
    • applicants need to demonstrate commitment and potential to develop as a future leader in research relevant to NIHR
    • covers individual's salary, training and development costs up to £5,000 and mentorship costs up to £1,000
  • Doctoral Research Fellowship
    • 3 years (between 50 and 100 WTE) clinical applicants can include up to 20% clinical time as part of the fellowship
    • assessment looks for high quality research proposal, sound training and development programme along with commitment and support arrangements from supervisory team
    • covers full salary, full research, training and development costs
  • Advanced Fellowship
    • 2-5 years (between 50 and 100 WTE), clinical applicants can request 20-40% time dedicated to clinical service/development (cost will be covered by the fellowship)
    • assessment looks for high quality research proposal, strong and appropriate training and development plan, high level of support from host organisation and mentoring team.
    • individuals are eligible to be awarded up to 2 Advanced Fellowships sequentially
    • covers full salary, full research, training and development costs
  • Development and Skills Enhancement Award
    • 1 year (between 50 and 100 WTE but max duration is 1 year regardless of WTE)
    • assessment looks for clear articulated plan for how the award will support an application for future funding, list of skills and experience that will be gained with the award
    • researchers can receive several awards over the lifetime of career, but must be a member of the NIHR Academy to apply
    • host organisations will be expected to match the level of funding, award will cover the salary, training and development costs up to £5,000 and mentorship costs up to £1,000

At each level of fellowship there will be opportunities to apply for jointly funded fellowships with either a charity or industrial partner. Additional specific eligibility criteria will be available for co-funded fellowships.

Process: The majority of fellowships will be awarded in response mode but a strategic component will also be introduced. Strategic themes will form the areas that will be prioritised for any given round of funding (areas of high importance, specific research skills or methodologies, or professional groups).
Two-stage process. Short-listed applicants will be invited to an interview (interview tips). The process takes 5 months.

Key tips:

  • Application forms will use the current NIHR Standard Application Form
  • 2 rounds per year for Doctoral and Advanced Fellowships, reapplication only after 12 months
  • Candidates can apply a maximum of two times for the same fellowship (applications deemed fundable but below the funding cut off will not count towards the maximum of 2 application attempts)
  • Applicants can select any percentage option between 50 and 100% WTE
  • Post doctoral fellowships will be assessed depending on where you are in your career (different panels depending on state of post-doctoral career)
  • There is funding for a support post available as part of the Advanced Fellowship but the justification for the support will be assessed as part of the review process

Website: NIHR Fellowships

The Trainees Coordinating Centre (TCC) also has other awards available:

  • Knowledge Mobilisation Fellowships: KMF
  • Integrated Clinical Academic Programme: ICA
  • Research Professorships: Professorships
  • Integrated Academic Training Programme for Doctors and Dentists: IATPDD