The NIHR Fellowship Programme supports individuals on their trajectory to becoming future leaders in health and social care NIHR research. These posts are funded by the MRC and NIHR as Clinician Scientist fellowships and by other bodies (such as the Wellcome Trust and British Heart Foundation). Regardless of the difference in terminology, these provide up to 5 years of salary support and research costs, and are aimed at individuals who are aiming to achieve CCT during the course of the grant (or with some schemes, have just achieved CCT).
Typically, these grants require that ≥50% of the individual’s time be spent in research activity. Some funding bodies also stipulate that of the 50% remaining time allocated to clinical commitment, at least half (i.e. 25% of the entire job plan) should be in an area that is directly related to the individual’s research interest.
Additionally, some of the schemes may require that one or more years of salary support are provided by the Deanery, and/or that the host organisation (University or Trust) makes a commitment to provide a tenured consultant-level position for the Fellow (as a University Lecturer or an NHS appointee with substantial research commitment) at the completion of the grant.
Classically, the aim has been to prepare these individuals to be strong candidates for consultant level Lecturer/Senior Lecturer posts (the terminology varies between universities). However, with the expansion of NIHR funding, several NHS posts with significant research commitment have been developed, and it would be appropriate to see this as an alternative goal for this stage of academic training.