We are pleased to let you know that Round 7 of the NIHR Short Placement Award for Research Collaboration (NIHR SPARC) has launched!
The application period is Tuesday 6 October 2020 – Thursday 26 November 2020 at 1pm.
We would welcome applications for placements – please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to discuss a placement in SPHR.
What does the SPARC award include?
The NIHR SPARC offers awards of up to £5,000 per individual and allows NIHR Academy Members (PhD or early career post-doctoral researchers) supported by NIHR Infrastructure and NIHR Schools an opportunity to spend time in other parts of the NIHR; to network, train in a specific skill or collaborate with other researchers/specialists. The scheme is designed to optimise and enhance the individuals’ experience as well as their CVs and careers.
Applicants are encouraged to explore and maximise the wide range of facilities, expertise and opportunities available to them across the NIHR for their personal and professional development, and develop a placement that is bespoke to their individual training needs, background, skills/experiences, as well as their proposed career trajectory.
Further information on the NIHR SPARC scheme; including the guidance notes and application form can be found here. Please also see the NIHR SPARC: Where Can I Go? guide for details of some of the types of activities taking place within the NIHR, as well as SPARC advice from past awardees and SPARC Case Studies highlighting some of the types of placements previous award holders have undertaken and the impact the placement has had on their personal and professional development.
What’s new for Round 7?
NIHR are encouraging potential applicants to consider planning and undertaking placements in other parts of the NIHR that have developed partnerships and collaborations with industry partners. In embedding themselves within already established NIHR-Industry partnerships the aim would be to develop skills and gain experience of what is needed to have a successful working relationship with industry (including the life-sciences, med-tech, SMEs and food industry).
NIHR encourage potential SPARC applicants to contact the NIHR Office for Clinical Research Infrastructure (NOCRI). NOCRI provides a sign-posting service; helping researchers and industry identify and connect with the right experts; helping to build and strengthen partnerships with industry/commercial sectors; ensuring collaboration across the research ecosystem is maximised to the benefit of patients/service users, the public and the UK economy. Further details can be found in the NIHR SPARC Round 7 Guidance Notes.
NIHR have also engaged with parts of the wider NIHR; namely the NIHR Medtech and In-vitro Co-operatives (NIHR MICs) and Experimental Cancer Medicine Centres (ECMCs); who have established successful partnerships with Industry. Further details regarding those centres/sites potentially able to ‘host’ placements in the Round 7 SPARC competition can be found in the NIHR SPARC: Where Can I Go? Guide.
Possibility of undertaking virtual SPARC placements
In light of the current situation and travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, NIHR are encouraging prospective applicants to explore the possibility of undertaking some or all of their placement virtually, as well as the possibility of undertaking suitable available training online that meets the applicant’s individual training, personal and professional needs.
How do NIHR Academy members apply?
Potential applicants can access the application form and NIHR SPARC Round 7 Guidance Notes on the NIHR website.
Update – Local Authority Placements
As you may be aware, NIHR have been exploring the possibility of offering applicants the opportunity to plan and undertake placements in a Local Authority setting (and social care equivalent). However, due to the current pandemic NIHR have taken the decision not to take this forward for this current round. NIHR will continue to explore this further. If this is something that you have been considering NIHR would be interested to hear from you and would encourage you to contact them via email@example.com.