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CRN WE Research Scholars’ Programme 2022-2024


The CRN West of England Research Scholars' Programme is now open for applications to join our inaugural cohort in 2022-2024.

The scheme offers financial and learning and development support for health and care staff looking to become research leaders of the future, supporting the development of research capacity here in the West of England.

Interested candidates should submit their applications by Tuesday 1 February 2022. 

What is the Research Scholars’ Programme?

The programme is an initiative to develop early career health and care researchers, equipping tomorrow's clinical research leaders with the skills, knowledge and experience needed to become Principal and Chief Investigators of the future.

The programme includes two core components:

  • A development pathway towards becoming a Principal and Chief investigator, including: a personalised learning plan, quarterly learning days with your cohort; mentoring; peer learning; and support with self-directed learning.
  • Protected and funded time to engage in your learning, and to enable you to apply this learning through supporting and delivering NIHR-funded research within your service. The scheme provides funding for one day per week, or equivalent, for a two year period, subject to an annual review.

As a fellow, we expect that you may:

  • be supported in the generation of research outputs, including trial delivery and the development of research collaborations, grant submissions, or doctoral and/or fellowship applications
  • establish yourself as a Principal Investigator and/or future Chief Investigator
  • enable recruitment into NIHR Portfolio studies
  • support and engage colleagues in developing into well-rounded clinicians who recruit their patients into clinical studies for patients’ benefit

Who is eligible to apply?

The scheme is open to early career health and care research professionals looking to become research leaders. This includes:

  • Specialty and general practice trainees (including those out-of-programme)
  • New consultants within 5 years of taking up their post
  • Nurses, midwives and Allied Health Professionals (usually Band 7 or above)
  • Health and care professionals at a similar stage of their career (including research practitioners, clinical psychologists, pharmacists, public health and social care practitioners, healthcare scientists, dental practitioners)

The programme is targeted at those working in the West of England, which covers Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset (BaNES), Swindon, Gloucestershire, North Somerset and North Wiltshire.

What development support will I receive?

As part of the programme, you will be supported in the development of a personalised learning plan, with advice from the CRN’s Clinical Director and Senior Leadership Team, Workforce Development Team, the Clinical Divisional or Speciality Lead and (Assistant) Research Delivery Manager appropriate to your medical speciality, and your sponsor.

Your personalised learning plan will be designed to help you build your competency in key areas of healthcare research leadership. This includes a range of topics across: general research methodology; clinical and healthcare research; study and site management; and personal effectiveness and leadership.

Your personalised learning plan will include:

  • Quarterly learning days with other Research Scholars, incorporating facilitated peer learning and learning on core topics
  • Guidance in self-directed learning and support in accessing the breadth of the NIHR’s learning and training opportunities
  • Ongoing peer learning through action learning sets and group projects
  • On-the-job experiences through involvement in NIHR Portfolio studies
  • Being matched with a mentor who is an experienced Principal or Chief Investigator
  • The potential for coaching and the use of psychometrics for personal reflection and development

How do I apply?

You will need to complete a short application form and provide a copy of your current CV. You will also require supporting information from a sponsor and the support of your employer.

Please email your completed application form and CV to by Tuesday 1 February 2022.

As part of your application, you will need to identify a sponsor. They will be important in supporting you within your employing organisation and facilitating access to NIHR Portfolio studies. They will also play a role in identifying your learning and development needs in collaboration with the CRN. A sponsor should be somebody who:

  • Has a substantive or honorary contract with your employing organisation
  • Is an existing PI or CI on an NIHR portfolio study
  • Has sufficient time and resources to support you

Should you require assistance in finding a sponsor, you may wish to speak with your employer’s Research and Development department and the CRN’s Research Delivery Manager for your clinical specialty.

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to a short interview, with interviews currently scheduled for Thursday 17th February or Thursday 24th February. During both the application and interview stages, we will be assessing applicants’ suitability and readiness for the programme, as well as the potential impact on both the applicants’ personal career progression and in supporting the CRN’s strategic aims. We anticipate that the scholars’ programme will begin in April 2022.

Should you have questions about the scheme, please email the West of England Learning and Development Team.