Public health research is entering a phase of transformation following the publication of the Academy of Medical Sciences report ‘Health of the Public 2040’. There is a drive to build on existing strengths to make the UK the world leader in public health prevention research, and to meet the substantial public health challenges we face. We want to see more research that is useful, timely and accessible to those responsible for delivering policies and services that ultimately protect and improve the health of the population. We need research that helps answer the most important questions facing policy makers, Local Authorities and service providers. To do this we need to inspire the next generation of academics into public health research with the option to combine academic research with practice as a career pathway. The School for Public Health Research is committed to building research capacity in public health.
Professor Rona Campbell, Deputy Director for NIHR SPHR is the Training Lead for the School. Rona works with Andeep Sull, the Training Manager, to lead on the strategy for public health research capacity development in the School. The research capacity development work to date, and future plans have recently been formalised in the SPHR Capacity building training and development plan for 2019-22.
We now have a cohort of 31 PhD students in the School (3-5 per member). The majority are aligned with our research programmes and themes. Each student benefits from cross-member and practice involvement in their supervision and opportunities for short, practice-based placements. Find out more about our students here.
We have a cohort of seven pre-doctoral fellows in the School. The ‘NIHR School for Public Health Research pre-doctoral Fellowships in Public Health Research’ offer those appointed the opportunity to consolidate and build their CV and to prepare an application to undertake a PhD in public health. These fellowship awards are not based around a specified single project but involve attachment to a research group involved in a programme of research. More on the rationale behind the NIHR SPHR Fellowships and our expectations can be found here.
Post-doctoral Launching Fellowships
We have a cohort of ten post-doctoral launching fellows in the School. The ‘NIHR School for Public Health Research Launching Fellowships in Public Health Research’ offer those appointed the opportunity to consolidate and build their CV and to prepare funding applications to secure future funding (e.g. an NIHR fellowship). These fellowships will enable our fellows to undertake research that is closely connected to practice, with the opportunity to undertake a practice-based placement and acquire skills. More on the rationale behind the NIHR SPHR Fellowships and our expectations can be found here.
Development and support opportunities
In addition to development activities and training opportunities within NIHR SPHR and the member host institutions, students and trainees also have access to development and support opportunities provided by the NIHR Academy. The NIHR SPHR Capacity building, training and development plan can be found here.
The SPHR Researchers’ Network (ResNet) links researchers working on SPHR projects across the eight members of the School. It is a forum for communication, peer support and networking to aid the professional development of researchers of any level, through virtual meetings and bulletins, researcher events and networking at the SPHR Annual Scientific Meeting.
ResNet has an online presence in the NIHR Hub, and is open for any SPHR researchers to access. The Committee for the SPHR Researchers’ Network was founded in 2014, and comprises representatives nominated from each academic centre of SPHR. The position of Chair rotates round the School members. Currently, the position is held by Dr David Troy at the University of Bristol. The committee meets at least once every two months to review network activity.
NIHR SPHR set aside a development fund for early career researchers within the School for pump priming of ECR-led collaborative research, as part of the Researchers Network (ResNet). The purpose of this funding is to give ECRs in SPHR an opportunity to gain experience in developing and leading their own research project and to build their networks in ResNet and across SPHR. In the first round, three projects were funded – details can be found here.
Current and future personal award opportunities at the NIHR Academy
The NIHR Academy provides a diverse range of award opportunities for research and career development focussed on improving the health and wealth of the nation. This includes funding for research studies, academic training, career development and research capability development.
NIHR Development and Skills Enhancement Award (DSE)
The Development and Skills Enhancement award is a post-doctoral level award which was launched this year by NIHR. It is aimed at supporting NIHR Academy Members to gain specific skills and experience to support the next phase of their research career and to make them more competitive in the next funding application. The NIHR is particularly keen to see applications from people wishing to develop skills and experience in the following three areas: Entrepreneurship and working with industry, Health Data Science and Clinical Trials. Awards will cover the salary of the applicant for the duration of the award, in addition to training and development costs up to £5,000, conference costs up to £1,000 and mentorship costs up to £1,000. FEC will not be covered for this level of award. There is a webinar for more information.
To be eligible you must:
• Be a current member of the NIHR Academy who has not submitted a DSE application in the previous round
• Apply within 12 months of your previous NIHR award finishing. This does not include any time taken off for statutory leave.
• For clinical academic applications: Have completed relevant pre-registration training
• Have a proposed host who is an English HEI, NHS body or other provider of health and/or care services
• Hold a relevant PhD or MD, or have submitted your thesis for examination at the time of application. You must have been awarded the PhD or MD by the time you start.
NIHR Short Placement Awards for Research Collaboration (SPARC) – call opening soon
The NIHR Infrastructure Short Placement Award for Research Collaboration (SPARC) allows early stage researchers supported by an NIHR Infrastructure Award (see eligibility via link) to spend time in other parts of the NIHR. The scheme is specifically designed to foster collaboration and enhance the researcher’s early career, as well as their CV.
Infrastructure Visiting Speaker Award (IVSA) – call opening soon
This award is specifically designed to encourage networking and to enhance the trainees’ experience through presenting their research. NIHR Academy Members based in the NIHR Infrastructure or NIHR Schools who are fully or partly funded can apply for the NIHR VSA for up to £300 to support the costs of presenting their work in another NIHR Infrastructure centre or NIHR School. Please let us know by emailing email@example.com if you are intending to apply. Call opens: 04 February 2020 – closes: 13:00 on 29 January 2021
The Advanced Fellowship is for those at a post-doctoral level and can be utilised at various points of a researcher’s career development. They are also available with a ‘clinical academic’ option.
NIHR Pre-doctoral Fellowships are designed to support people who are looking to start or advance a career in health and social care research methodology, specifically in one of the following areas: medical statistics, health economics, clinical trial design, operational research, modelling, bioinformatics, qualitative research,mixed methods or epidemiology. Current call closes: 13:00 on 26 March 2020.
A Doctoral Fellowship is a three year full-time award that supports individuals to undertake a PhD in an area of NIHR research.
Academic Clinical Fellowship (ACF)
NIHR ACFs support medical and dental trainees at the early stages of specialty training who wish to develop an academic career alongside their clinical training.
Global Health Research Professorships Award
This award funds research leaders of the future to promote the effective translation of research for the primary and direct benefit of people in low and middle-income countries eligible for Official Development Assistance funding
Research Professorships Award
The Research Professorship Award funds leaders in the early part of their careers to lead research for a fixed five year period, promote effective translation of research, and to strengthen research leadership at the highest academic levels.
Find out more
Further award opportunities can be found on the NIHR website, or you can sign-up to the NIHR Academy newsletter here Funding and Support newsletter.
If you have any questions regarding any NIHR awards, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Links and resources
• NIHR Academy
• NIHR Academy Training and Development Webinar Channel
• The ‘Funding View’ – Interactive map of funding schemes
• INVOLVE – supports active public involvement in NHS, public health and social care research
• Vitae – realising the potential of researchers
• The Health Foundation – a toolkit for researchers to help increase influence and impact
The call for applications for pre- and post-doctoral fellowships in public health research has now closed. More information and a link to the application packs here.
Public health research is entering a phase of transformation following the publication of the Academy of Medical Sciences report ‘Health of the Public 2040’. There is a drive to build on existing strengths to make the UK the world leader in public health prevention research, and to meet the substantial public health challenges we face. We want to see more research that is useful, timely and accessible to those responsible for delivering policies and services that ultimately protect and improve the health of the population. We need research that helps answer the most important questions facing policy makers, Local Authorities and service providers. To do this we need to inspire the next generation of academics into public health research with the option to combine academic research with practice as a career pathway.
NIHR SPHR PhD studentships – main funding call now closed
The NIHR School for Public Health Research (NIHR SPHR) is funding up to 25 PhD Studentships as part of an initiative to build capacity in public health research. The studentships will begin in October 2018 and will be distributed across the School’s eight academic centres. Studentships will be aligned to the School’s research programmes and themes. Applications are welcome from individuals with a strong academic record who wish to wish to develop a career in public health research. Successful applicants will be expected to complete a PhD during the award period. Studentship awards include tuition fees, an annual tax-free stipend of £14,777 and a contribution towards research and training costs.
NIHR Infrastructure Training Camp – annually in July
The NIHR Infrastructure Training Camp is a three-day intense annual training event for NIHR Trainees from the Biomedical Research Centres (BRCs), Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRCs), Patient Safety Translational Research Centres (PSTRCs) and the NIHR Schools. It is a unique opportunity for trainees from across the Infrastructure to come together and exchange ideas and experiences. It takes the form of a three day residential training camp with a focus on networking, mentoring and interdisciplinary working. You can read a blog written by Vicky Carlisle (2nd year SPHR PhD student) about her experience of attending the training camp here.