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Researcher Initiation and Researcher Enhancement Awards for Health and Care 2021

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Introduction

In 2021 NIHR ARC Wessex is partnering with Health Education England (HEE) South East to invest in the next generation of researchers, providing an exciting opportunity for nurses, midwives, pharmacists, allied health professionals, social care professionals and applied health researchers, as well as those in clinical/medical roles.

These awards are in addition to the ARC Wessex internship awards. The HEE South East - ARC Wessex awards are specifically aimed at supporting individuals who are either at the early stage of their research career and considering a pathway that involves research OR alternatively just completing or recently completed their PhD and looking to further develop their research skills and progress an applied health research career.

The NIHR Applied Research Collaborations (ARC) Wessex strategy focuses on developing the research skills and talents of the ARC Wessex community and making a substantial contribution to fostering a world class research workforce in applied health and care research. Consequently, we have established an ARC Wessex Academy that aims to:

  • Foster growth in applied health and care research capacity and capability across the ARC Wessex region.
  • Be inclusive of different professions and disciplines providing career support activities promoting equity of access to, and relevance of, training at different phases of an academic career.
  • Attract the best investigators from the health and care professions and academic disciplines to produce the next generation of applied health and care researchers.

Award details

There are two types of award, the HEE South East-ARC Wessex researcher initiation and researcher enhancement awards. These awards offer the unique opportunity to undertake an individualised, structured, three to six months’ development plan. With their host ARC Wessex/HEE South East partner, successful individuals will have the opportunity to codevelop a bespoke programme tailored to suit their career development needs and aspirations for getting research done and into practice. 

These awards can be undertaken by individuals employed on either a full or part-time basis, but all costs must remain within the maximum funding envelope.

The researcher initiation (RI) awards are intended to introduce individuals working within health or care organisations to research with the aim of helping them to explore what an academic career involves and begin to develop knowledge and skills in research. The RI awards offer an introduction to aspects of applied health research through gaining research experience by observing/visiting/working in a research environment and undertaking study in research in preparation for applying for a Pre-doctoral Fellowship or a Doctoral Research Fellowship. This award may fund up to a maximum of £20,000 to support individuals who:

  • Can demonstrate enthusiasm for a career that involves research and possess an understanding of the role of research in informing and improving clinical practice.
  • Are looking for an opportunity to get involved in the research process as part of an established team of leading health researchers.
  • Want the opportunity to run a small self-contained project/literature review/analysis etc., that links with their area of practice/research, contributes to one of the ARC Wessex four research themes (Ageing & Dementia, Healthy Communities, Long-term Conditions and Workforce & Health Systems), and will help generate ideas for future research projects.
  • Want to work with ARC Wessex to help us understand the priorities for research and improvement in their area and build up networks for ongoing collaboration.
  • The researcher enhancement (RE) awards are intended to support individuals working within health or care organisations with the aim of helping them make the step change from doctoral research towards becoming independent early career academics by supporting them to apply for an NIHR Clinical Lecturer fellowship or the NIHR Advanced fellowship (dependent on experience to date) or equivalent career development awards.

This RE award may fund up to a maximum of £20,000 to support individuals who:

  • Have recently completed (usually within 24 months), or soon to be awarded a PhD, but haven’t yet established themselves as an independent researcher. Applicants must have been awarded their PhD by the time they start their RE award.
  • Have experience in applied health/social care or clinical research and aim to become a future health/social care research leader.
  • Are able to demonstrate high quality outputs from previous research experience and training relative to career stage and background.
  • Are on a trajectory to become an independent health/social care researcher.
  • Can demonstrate they have, or already posses potential to lead a research programme likely to impact on patients/service users, carers, the public and health and/or care services.

For further detail related to ARC Wessex, theme research programmes and HEE South East aims see the following websites:

https://www.arc-wx.nihr.ac.uk

https://wessex.hee.nhs.uk/about/

Award Length

Awards will be 6 months maximum (in terms of ARC Wessex support) and may be taken up on a part time basis of between 50% and 100% WTE; however, the maximum ARC Wessex support will still be 6 months regardless of WTE.

Eligibility

The Health Education England (HEE) South East - Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) Wessex awards are open to those working in the health and care sector in the Wessex or South East region, including nurses, midwives, pharmacists, allied health professionals, social care professionals and applied health researchers, as well those in medical or clinical roles.

The researcher initiation award

To be eligible for one of these RI awards applicants will need to provide evidence that they:

  1. Have a bachelor degree in health-related subject with classification 2:2 or above.
  2. Hold a substantive full or part time contract with a health or social care organisation or HEI in Wessex or South East region.
  3. Have the support of their line manager to undertake the internship.
  4. A keen interest and clear suitability for a future research focused academic career.
  5. Have a named research supervisor (identified by the applicant). If you are unsure how to approach this please contact us via arcwessex@soton.ac.uk for further advice.
  6. Have had a discussion with an academic willing to act as a research supervisor who is aligned with one of the four ARC Wessex themes. If you are unsure how to approach this please contact us via arcwessex@soton.ac.uk for further advice.
  7. Have the ability to start the programme by May 2021.

Please note: Individuals already in receipt of a research grant/fellowship from elsewhere are not eligible for this award.

Researcher enhancement award

To be eligible for one of these RE awards applicants will need to provide evidence that they:

  • Have usually recently completed (usually within 24 months), or soon to be awarded a PhD (as evidenced by Supervisor).
  • Have experience in applied health/social care or clinical research.
  • Are able to demonstrate a track record of publications and training relative to career stage and background.
  • Are on a trajectory to become an independent applied health researcher.
  • Hold a substantive full or part time contract with a health or social care organisation or HEI located in Wessex or South East region.
  • Have support from their line manager to undertake the award.
  • Have identified named research mentor(s) (identified by the applicant).
  • Have the ability to start the programme in May 2021.

Please note: Individuals already in receipt of a research grant/fellowship from elsewhere are not eligible for this award.

How can the funding be used?

A detailed spending plan associated with undertaking the award and justification of the resources is requested. The spending plan should include all partner organisation co-funding

support. A Gantt chart for the plan must be provided with the application. Suggestions on appropriate costs are presented below:

  • Salary backfill - it is recognised that this may form the main budget expenditure. Funds are available to cover salary backfill arrangements for one day a week over six months, however other models can be applied, for example 2 days a week over three months or other equivalent time periods. All salary backfill arrangements should be negotiated and 5 agreed by the applicant with their team/line manager. The line manager should include this agreement in their letter of support.

  • Training – When considering the training needed to get to the next stage in your career please consider the length of the award (6 months). It is essential to have supervision and mentorship throughout the award. Ideally the primary supervisor (research support in the case of those post doctoral) should be from a partner organisation of ARC Wessex. Information on what the supervisor(s)/mentor(s) has committed in terms of time to provide to the applicant during the award should be included and their time costed appropriately as well as any additional Partner Organisation co-funding support and provisions such as access to library, software, laptops etc. In addition to supervision, it may also be appropriate to access other aspects of research training such as short courses, workshops and networking opportunities. Applicants should provide an explanation of how the proposed training will benefit their current and future career. We recommend that training costs do not exceed 20% of the overall spending plan.

  • Dissemination costs – an element of the award could be used to disseminate research findings through publications and/or conference presentations. You can include the cost of a maximum one access fee for a journal article and/or attendance to present at one conference.

NB: Please get your spending plan checked by your host organisation finance team prior to submission and ensure there is agreement that the funding can be managed by your employer across the financial year end if required.

Evaluation

A report will be required at the completion of the award period (template will be provided) .

Application process

Please submit a completed checklist and all corresponding documentation to: arcwessex@soton.ac.uk by 31 March 2021, 11pm.

  1. Download Research Initiation Award Checklist
  2. Download Research Enhancement Award Checklist

Key dates:

Closing date for applications: 31 March 2021

Notification of outcome: 30 April 2021

Award period: 6 months

For further information about the ARC Wessex training programmes, contact Professor Cathy Bowen: cjb5@soton.ac.uk or Dr Kinda Ibrahim: K.Ibrahim@soton.ac.uk