Clinical academic and research careers

Find out why a clinical academic or clinical research career might suit you and the types of clinical research programmes available.

Clinical research provides evidence to inform clinical decisions, which is vital for ensuring the best possible care for patients.

Why should I consider a clinical academic career?

  • funded training to gain recognised qualifications, such as a Master's degree or a PhD, is available from NHS, charitable and private organisations
  • it can be an academically stimulating career choice, including the opportunity to present at conferences and write articles for academic journals
  • you can make a real difference to patient care
  • there are opportunities in a variety of roles including nursing and in different settings, including clinical positions with patients, as well as working in a research laboratory

Types of clinical research programmes

  • internships
  • Master's in clinical research
  • clinical doctoral research fellowships
  • clinical lectureships
  • senior clinical lectureships

See the NHS England's Workforce, Training and Education website for information about its work on clinical academic careers and resources to support you on your journey.

When can I start?

This is usually an option for those with some clinical experience. However, in some cases it is possible to start an academic research career directly after registration. A first step could be an internship, designed to help you prepare for working in a research environment, or a Master's degree.

Find out more about clinical academic careers across all healthcare professions on the Clinical Academic Training and Careers Hub (CATCH) website and see our information below about the HEE/NIHR Integrated Clinical Academic (ICA) Programme.

You can find out more about research generally on the National Institute for Health and Care Research website.

  • The Clinical Academic Training and Careers Hub (CATCH) has a website which showcases and promotes options, as well providing practical advice on starting a career in clinical academia.

    The Integrated Clinical Academic (ICA) programme is funded by HEE and managed by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR). It provides a range of opportunities to undertake fully-funded clinical research, research training and professional development whilst maintaining clinical practice and salary.

    It is formed of five elements, plus a mentorship scheme:

    • internships
    • Master's studentships in clinical research
    • clinical doctoral research fellowships
    • clinical lectureships
    • senior clinical lectureships.

    For more information on the awards and resources to support you as a clinical academic, please see the NIHR website.

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