Nurses who want to develop their research skills while maintaining clinical practice are being invited to apply for a new training scheme that is due to be launched next year.
The Pre-doctoral Clinical Academic Fellowship scheme is aimed at nurses and other non-medical professionals who want to lead research projects in the future.
“I feel certain that it will provide the pre-doctoral level support that clinicians need to develop into the clinical academic leader”
The two-year programme, which is being jointly run by Health Education England and the National Institute for Health Research, will see participants spend half of their time receiving clinical academic training and the other half continuing with their clinical post, which must be at a publicly-funded organisation.
Following completion of the fellowship, those who took part are expected to be able to apply for a PhD. The scheme will fund up to half of the clinician’s salary, as well as £5,000 towards master’s level training, £1,000 for mentorship costs and £1,000 towards other expenses.
It will replace the Integrated Clinical Academic Masters Studentship, formerly run by HEE and the NIHR, after a review revealed only a small proportion of participants had gone on to undertake a PhD.
Under the new fellowship, participants will develop research skills as well as being supported to make a doctoral-level application.
A total of 100 non-medical professionals at 10 universities were funded under the old scheme in the current year of the programme.
HEE said it could not confirm how many people would take part next year, as it depended on the salaries of those applying. It said there were not a specific number of places reserved for nurses but that it hoped to fund staff from a broad range of professional backgrounds.
The scheme is expected to open for applications from February until April 2018, with clinicians beginning training from September onwards.
Professor Nicki Latham, HEE’s executive director of performance and development, said: “I am really excited about the launch of this new scheme: I feel certain that it will provide the pre-doctoral level support that clinicians need to develop into the clinical academic leaders of the future, building on the excellent work of those involved in the earlier MRes scheme.”
Professor Dave Jones, dean for NIHR Trainees, added: “One of our successes at NIHR has been our ability to adapt and evolve our awards to meet the future needs of our trainees.
“The new PCAF scheme is a great example of this, providing non-medical clinical academics with the academic skills they need to progress their careers whilst also supporting them with a future PhD fellowship application,” he said. ”I look forward to its launch in the new year.”