Research Funding and Training Opportunities
This is a repository of research funding opportunities and training schemes run by organisations that are open to community nurses. This is not definitive list and some of the schemes pause or change periodically. Please let us know of other recurrent funding opportunities you come across by contacting Ben Bowers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Research funding resources repository (UK-wide)
The Royal College of Nursing keeps a very useful list of opportunities from UK Government funding agencies and charities that are open to nurses and midwives. These are listed by the month that awards close, and include funding for research projects, attending conferences, studentships and fellowships. Well worth checking periodically.
National Institute for Health and Care Research
The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) are major funders of applied healthcare research in England. These include fellowships and sizable research grants. Some funding calls are open to healthcare professionals in the devolved nations: please check the relevant call’s eligibility criteria carefully.
NIHR applications generally require considerable preparation time and refinement, so it is worth planning for relevant calls at least six months ahead. These are competitive, high-profile national awards.
NIHR personal award holders become a member of the NIHR Academy for the duration of the award. There are considerable further development and funding opportunities that can be accessed by current and recent members of the Academy; the NIHR Academy is a highly supportive, inclusive community.
The Abbeyfield Research Foundation (UK-wide)
Funders of research for older people. The Abbeyfield Research Foundation have an annual research grant programme which funds PhD studentships, small project grants and pump-priming grants. Their most recent funding call was 2020, but it’s worth keeping an eye out for future calls.
The Royal Society of Edinburgh (Scotland only)
Royal Society of Edinburgh have a number of research grants and fellowships. These are designed to support leading research that benefits Scotland’s cultural, economic and social wellbeing.
NHS Research Scotland Research Schemes
The Chief Scientist Office in NHS Scotland have a number of funding schemes to support research capacity building and stimulate the development of high-quality research. These periodic calls include Response Mode Funding Schemes and smaller Catalytic Research Grant Schemes. Open to nurses working in Scotland.
NHS Research Scotland Fellowships
The Chief Scientist Office in NHS Scotland run three Fellowship schemes to support NHS-funded clinical staff in developing their research and clinical academic careers. Open to nurses working in Scotland.
Sigma supports nurses’ efforts to improve the health of the world’s people. Members of Sigma Chapters in the UK can access mentors and apply for small research grants (regular funding calls). It is well worth considering applying for membership.
The Health Foundation (UK-wide)
The Health Foundation is a UK-wide organisation promoting a healthier population and improving health and healthcare. The Foundation runs a number of targeted research funding programmes and PhD and Post-doctoral Fellowship opportunities.
The Queen’s Nursing Institute Education Grants
Registered nurses working in the community and primary care settings can apply for the Queen’s Nursing Institute Education Grants. These are grants of up to £1000 each to cover course fees and books for nurses undertaking accredited courses and modules in community nursing. Grants have one closing date each year.
Open to nurses based England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Channel Islands.
The Queen’s Nursing Institute Dyslexia Assessment Grant
For nurses undertaking Specialist Practice Qualification or Specialist Community Public Health Nursing courses where a need has been identified by the university for a dyslexia assessment. Open to nurses based England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Channel Islands. Applications are accepted throughout the year.
Note: a formal dyslexia assessment can be invaluable in accessing suitable support and equipment funded by employers or the government via a Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA). Find out more.
The Nurses Memorial to King Edward VII in Scotland
Nurses and midwifes in Scotland can apply for educational and training bursaries.
The Churchill Fellowship (UK-wide)
The Churchill Fellowship support British citizens, resident in the UK, with funds to travel overseas to study areas of topical and personal interest, to gain knowledge and bring back best practice for the benefit of others, their profession and community.
RCN Foundation (UK-wide)
The RCN Foundation are a very useful source of small education and personal development grants. Membership of the Royal College of Nursing is not usually a requirement; however, each grant has quite specific eligibility requirements. A relatively short and easy application process. Having a peer review your drafted application text is helpful. Well worth considering if you need support with funding an education course or PhD fieldwork.
The Wellcome Trust (UK-wide)
The Wellcome Trust has a number of funding streams that UK-based community nurses can apply to. These include PhD Fellowships for Healthcare Professionals through partnership organisations and Post-Doctorate Early-Career Awards. The focus of these highly-prestigious awards includes advancing understanding in your field, interdisciplinary research, developing methods and techniques that could benefit health-related research. These are very competitive international awards.
Applications require considerable preparation time and refinement, including liaison with research and finance teams, so it is worth planning for relevant calls at least six months ahead. Do get in touch with Wellcome to discuss the eligibility of your proposed project for the funding call.
Medical Research Council (UK-wide)
The Medical Research Council (MRC) are part of the UK Research Innovation. The MRC focus on supporting and advancing medical research. There are various rolling calls including research grants, programme grants and new Investigator research grants. It is worth attending further information webinars and getting in touch with the MRC to discuss eligibility. Applications require considerable preparation time and refinement and it is worth planning in at least 6 months to develop an idea. These are highly competitive, prestigious national awards.
School for Primary Care Research PhD and Post-Doctoral Awards (England only)
The NIHR School for Primary Care Research (SPCR) has several funding opportunities for English-based community nurses to start or continue their career in primary care research. Currently the School holds annual competitions for PhD Studentships and post-doctoral Fellowships. Positions can be based at any of the nine School members: Bristol, Exeter, Keele, Manchester, Nottingham, Oxford, Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), Southampton and University College London (UCL).
The SPCR is an incredibly welcoming and supportive community of interdisciplinary researchers and is actively seeking to increase the number of community nurse researcher. Do get in touch with the SPCR with any queries about funding opportunities. It is important to make connections with the suitable research team within the School and plan your application with prospective supervisors well ahead of the closing date.
PhD Programme for Healthcare Professionals (UK-wide)
The Universities of Cambridge and East Anglia together with the Wellcome Sanger Institute offer up to seven fellowships in the annual PhD Programme for Health Professionals. The fellowships provide funding for: clinical salary, University and College fees and research consumables for three years. Prior to commencement, the Programme can provide up to three months of additional salary support, enabling successful applicants to undertake predoctoral research placements in different research groups, before choosing their project and PhD supervisors.
This an awesome fully-funded Fellowship opportunity and one to consider. The application forms are relatively concise and are not too time consuming. However, it is important to make connections and plan your application with prospective supervisors as soon as possible.
NIHR Applied Research Collaborations Fellowship Programmes (England only)
NIHR Applied Research Collaborations (ARCs) support applied health and care research that responds to, and meets, the needs of local populations and local health and care systems. There are 15 local partnerships across England between NHS providers, universities, charities, local authorities and other organisations. Many of these offer Fellowship schemes, including funded time and tailored research training to complete your own research or implementation project alongside working clinically.
Very useful seed funding to get clinical research experience and build collaborations and future research plans. It is helpful to make connections and plan your application with prospective supervisors well ahead of the closing date.
Integrated clinical academic (ICA) programme (England only)
The Integrated clinical academic (ICA) programme in England, funded by Health Education England (HEE) and run by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) provides a range of opportunities to undertake fully-funded clinical research, research training and development, while maintaining clinical practice and salary. The programme aims to develop the clinical academic research leaders of the future. Schemes include Internships, Pre-Doctoral Clinical Academic Fellowships, Clinical Doctorial Fellowships, Clinical and Senior Clinical Lectureships.
These are well worth looking into if you are interested in conducting your own research while retaining a good amount of clinical contact. Applications require considerable preparation time and refinement, including liaison with research and finance teams, so it is worth planning for relevant calls at least six months ahead. These are competitive awards – with a good success rate of applications to awards.