Fellowship FAQs
Frequently asked questions and useful tips for potential applicants of Healthcare Professionals Clinical Research Training Fellowship Scheme.
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Is a fellow or a supervisor with an honorary contract at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) or City University, London (City) eligible to apply?

An honorary contract is not sufficient for the primary supervisor. The primary supervisor must be employed by QMUL or City. This is to ensure that the fellow gets appropriate academic support. Prospective supervisors need to meet the organisation’s requirements to supervise PhD students.

The fellow can apply independently of current employment status, as long as a contract of employment with Barts Health NHS Trust, QMUL or City is agreed and in place at the start of the fellowship.

Does the fellow need to be employed by Barts Health NHS Trust when applying?

No, however a contract of employment with Barts Health NHS Trust (or QMUL or City) needs to be in place by the time the proposed fellowship starts. See also answer to question 1 with regards to the fellow. 

Is it possible to apply for an MRes 

No, this scheme is not suitable for an MRes, it covers a 3-year full time (or flexible) clinical PhD.  

Are recipients of an NIHR Academic Clinical Fellowship eligible to apply?


Is there a specific number of years of clinical experience expected? 

We do not specify a number of years or level of clinical experience required but recommend that the fellow should have a good level of clinical experience to be able to demonstrate an understanding of the clinical need in the proposed area of research 

Can the applicant register for PhD during the application process? 

No, fellows already registered for a PhD or MPhil are not eligible. We do not recommend early registration because a successful funding decision is not guaranteed and because it limits the possibility of incorporating feedback from the funding process. 

Can the Charity put me in contact with a potential supervisor, or help me to find a suitable project? 

All potential applicants must find a project and a supervisor before applying to the Charity. We are unable to provide support or advice on identifying a project or supervisor. 

Does the potential fellow need to already have published work before applying? 

The fellow needs to be able to demonstrate previous research experience (which could include an MRes, MSc or equivalent experience). We would expect some outputs from previous experience, for example: 

  • Abstracts, posters, or oral presentations at conferences 
  • Publications and preprints 
  • Datasets, software, research tools, and methods  

Application development

Is there a pre-doctoral funding scheme to help prepare the application? 

We recognise it takes time to prepare a good fellowship application. We are supporting pre-doctoral fellowships through the HARP PhD Programme. 

Is funding for Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement (PPIE) available to develop the proposal? 

We recommend contacting the Research Design Service, funded by the National Institute of Health and Care Research: Funding for PPIE activities during the fellowship can be requested. You can contact the Queen Mary arm of RDS London for particular advice.

The team would be happy to support anyone applying to these fellowships and advise on how to apply for some initial funds for PPIE as well as support writing lay summaries and materials 

Barts Charity fellowship schemes

Can the project be developed and performed in an NHS Trust other than Barts Health? 

Please see the above questions on eligibility of the fellows and supervisors. Initially we expect the focus of the research proposal and research funding to be in East London via QMUL, Barts Health NHS Trust or City but are happy to consider requests for funding to include additional research or recruitment sites if relevant for the proposed area of research or population. 

When judging the research experience of the applicant do you take into account the professional background?  

Yes, each application will be reviewed in relation to the candidate’s professional background and research experience.  

If a candidate is successful, when can the PhD project start?  

We can be flexible but would expect the fellowship to start within the following academic year to ensure the research and project plans proposed remain feasible and relevant. 

Is it possible to pause the fellowship and resume it?  

Yes, we are able to pause the award when justified. This could be, for example for parental leave or long-term sick leave.  

Can a fellow spend a proportion of their time on clinical activities? 

Full time Fellows may request to spend 20% of their time undertaking clinical duties to maintain their clinical competence. We accept applications for part-time fellowships – with a minimum of 0.5 FTE. In this case, the time funded by the fellowship should not include any clinical activity. 

Is there any other funding for those already registered for a PhD for components of the research? 

No, we are not able to consider partial funding for research projects as part of a PhD.  

Useful tips for preparing a fellowship application  

  • Timing – Starting and completing a Clinical PhD program requires a high level of commitment. It is important to consider if this is the right time for you to do a PhD as well if you have the right professional and personal network to provide support during the stressful times.  
  • Supervisory team – The relationship developed with the supervisory team as well as with collaborators plays an important part in the success of your PhD and career. This will be a close and long-term relationship; it is therefore important to carefully consider the team, their expertise, and their ability to support you and the research area.  
  • Involvement – Take time to consider this aspect well and think about both, clinical stakeholders and how you will get their buy-in for any change in clinical practice as well as how you will involve patients, as well as families, carers, communities. Try to make this as inclusive as possible. 
  • Project planning – It can be difficult to find a balance between the research and academic needs.  Take time to consider, with your supervisory team, every aspect of your proposal to ensure the scientific aims are achievable and you are able to complete the PhD in the proposed timeframe. 
  • Language – Write your application clearly so that all reviewers can easily understand it. 
  • Implementation plans – Consider what you will do with your findings or how they could be implemented into clinical practice.  
  • Methodology and feasibility – Make sure to explain the reasoning behind all your chosen methods and ensure they are described in sufficient detail and include statistical considerations when applicable. If you are planning to use mixed methodology, think about if you have the experience to do both, what training you might need and how the various data will be integrated.  
If you have any other questions about this fellowship, or would like to discuss your application before you submit, please get in touch.

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