Funding for research

Interested in research?

Through our Research Fellowships programme, we provide the funding for you to move forward in your academic research career. The programme enables you to develop your research skills and undertake your own research project.

Applications for our 2022/23 round of fellowships are now closed. The 2023/24 round will open for applications in July 2022.

What is a fellowship?

A fellowship means you can take time out of your substantive job role or training programme to complete a research project and develop your research skills.

Our fellowships are for you to collect sufficient pilot data to make you a strong PhD candidate, or for you to undertake further research and develop a proposal for an NIHR-supported clinical lecturer/senior lecturer post or similar award.

Our fellowships provide the funding for your salary and related research expenses. Your substantive position will need to be back-filled, or if you’re a doctor, you’ll need to arrange to be out-of-programme.

Who can apply?

We offer two types of fellowship:

  • Pre-Doctoral Research Fellowships

    These fellowships are for people who haven’t completed a PhD. You can apply if you’re a medic or healthcare professional outside of medicine (for example, a nurse, midwife, allied health professional, pharmacist, research practitioner, psychologist or health scientist).
  • Post-Doctoral Research Fellowships

    These fellowships are for people who have completed a PhD in the past five years. You can apply if you’re a healthcare professional outside of medicine only.

For both fellowships, you need to be a UK resident and have the legal right to work in the UK. You also need an employment contract with Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. You must be in position at the point of applying, and still be employed by the Trust when your fellowship ends.

There’s more information in our detailed Guidance Notes below.

We know that working arrangements can be complicated, so we can assess eligibility on a case-by-case basis. If you have any queries, please contact us so we can provide you with tailored advice.


How much can I apply for?

You can apply for up to £85,000 to cover your salary and relevant research expenses.

Our Guidance Notes provide further detail about costs that you can/cannot include. In your application you’ll need to give us a breakdown of all your costs, and include quotations for any items over £250 that aren't your salary. Make sure you understand and comply with Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust's procurement strategy, or Imperial College London's purchasing requirements when considering any purchases. You can find out more on the relevant intranet.

If your current salary exceeds the maximum threshold, please contact us for further support.

How long is a fellowship?

You can carry out your fellowship either full-time over one year, or part-time (at least 0.5 WTE) over up to two years.

What are you looking for?

We’re committed to supporting pioneering research and the training and development of NHS staff at our hospitals. For your fellowship, you’ll be asked to identify an important research question that will have an impact on patient care at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, its surrounding communities and the wider NHS.

Our research fellowships create a strong foundation from which to build an academic research career. We’re looking for applicants who want, and will be able, to utilise the skills developed and data produced in their research project to springboard into further study.

You can read our Guidance Notes below for more details about our assessment criteria.

What have you funded previously?

To find out more about the fellows and projects we have previously supported, click here.

What support do I need?

Your application needs the support of a supervisor(s) with relevant academic research and professional background, as well as your line manager and your Divisional Research Manager. This ensures that you have the support to make your proposal competitive, and to ensure your current role is back-filled (or if you're a medic, that your out-of-programme request can be arranged).

How do I apply?

Complete the application form on our online application system Flexigrant.

Register for a Flexigrant account if you don’t have one already. Then, when you log in, you can submit a new application under the ‘My applications’ tab on the left-hand side.

When can I apply?

Applications open once a year. The next grant round will be for fellowships starting in the 2022/23 financial year.

  • Applications will open on Monday 4 October 2021
  • Applications will close on Friday 21 January 2022, at 12noon
  • We will let applicants know the outcome in April 2022.

This means fellowships usually start in the autumn.

Are resources available to help me with my application?

We've created lots of resources to help you with your application. 

  • Click here to see the detailed Pre-Doc Fellowship Guidance Notes
  • Click here to see the Pre-Doc Fellowship Sample Application Form
  • Click here to see the detailed Post-Doc Fellowship Guidance Notes
  • Click here to see the Post-Doc Fellowship Sample Application Form​​​​​

For further support, we recommend you reach out to the following key contacts:

  • If you work in Nursing and Midwifery: Professor Mary Wells, Lead Nurse for Research
  • If you're a medic: Professor Jeremy Levy,  Director of Clinical Academic Training 
  • If you’re an allied health professional: Dr Caroline Alexander, Lead Clinical Academic for Therapies

You must discuss your application with your relevant Divisional Research Managers who are here to help:

The Clinical Academic Training Office (CATO) runs an annual series of events to support applicants for research funding, including ‘Preparing for a pre-doctoral application’ and ‘Academic opportunities for doctors’. Find out more here.

How does the funding work?

If you’re successful, you can start your fellowship once you have all the approvals you need, and your back-fill (or out-of-programme request, if you're a doctor) is arranged. You need to complete a Grant Start Certificate to activate your grant, and let us know your Grant Start Date (which should be within six months of your award) and Grant End Date.

You can start spending your grant after you submit your Grant Start Certificate, until the Grant End Date. Please be aware we can’t pay for spending incurred outside of this period.

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust or Imperial College London will pay your salary - and any other approved costs - upfront. They will then invoice us quarterly and we will repay them. For more details, see our FAQs.

After your fellowship is complete, you’ll have six months to submit an End of Grant Report to us, and to make sure we’ve been invoiced for all of your spending. We may also require you to submit a Progress Report, and an annual Post-Fellowship Report for at least three years after your grant has ended.

We’ve created this handy workflow to show how these grants work from application to completion. For more in-depth detail, please read our standard Terms and Conditions.

You can find out more about how some of our previous research fellows benefited from the programme by clicking on the links below.

Quick links

Use these links to download our sample application forms and complete guidance notes:

Pre-Doc Guidance Notes

Pre-Doc Sample Application

Post-Doc Guidance Notes

Post-Doc Sample Application

Signatures of Approval Form

Online Grants Session

We hold regular 20-minute drop-in sessions for you to tell us what you'd like to know about our Research Fellowships programme.

If you have any funding queries or would like help with an application, please book onto one of the slots when they open in July.

Top tip

Your application needs to be signed by your line manager and your Divisional Research Manager. You also need a letter of support from your supervisor(s). It can take time to secure these - make sure you factor this in when you’re planning your application so you’re not caught out.

Quick link

Click here to access the online application form

Top tip

Click here to see our workflow showing how these grants work, from application to completion

Still have questions?

Check our Research Fellowships FAQs