Clinical Academic Research Partnerships

Are you a clinically qualified healthcare professional who would like to increase your research skills and experience?

Birmingham Health Partners in partnership with the Metchley Park Medical Society – is pleased to open a call for applications for its third annual round of Clinical Academic Research Partnerships (CARPS).  These post-doctoral fellowships are for clinically qualified staff who have completed training (medical consultants and non-medical staff with a PhD or MD) who currently do not have time allocated within their job plans for research. To date, we have appointed nine fellows to the scheme, supporting clinical research in areas including cellular therapy, paediatric congenital heart disease, and biomarker evaluation in bladder cancer.

BHP’s mission is to improve the health outcomes of individuals living in Birmingham and the wider West Midlands region.  This mission is achieved by integrating, promoting and developing local strengths in health services through research and innovation, based on the principle that research and innovation are core requirements for delivering excellence in patient care.

However, the integration of discovery research and innovation into clinical practice cannot occur without enthusiastic, educated clinicians and scientists working within a framework to enable research delivery.  The Royal College of Physicians, in its recent report ‘Research for all: Developing, delivering and driving better research’, set out a vision that every clinician is supported to become research active for the benefit of patients and the public, recommending that NHS Trusts should support high-quality research and explore ways to allow clinicians more time to participate in patient-facing research through job planning.

Since 2014, BHP has worked with charity partners to support early-career clinicians interested in translational research to take the first steps towards establishing their career in clinical academia.  The CARP scheme builds on this, seeking to address the challenge of increasing the number of Chief Investigators associated with BHP.  This post-doctoral fellowship programme is supported by the Metchley Park Medical Society (MPMS), Birmingham NIHR ICAT programme and BHP member organisations. MPMS’s objectives include the advancement of academic research amongst medical and senior paramedical staff and ensuring that NHS consultants make major contributions to clinical research. 

Applications are currently open for 2024 entry – deadline Thursday 30 November.

    • A new flexible route to re-engage and develop your research interests through collaborative high quality research partnerships with established leading biomedical and health researchers within BHP, facilitated by the University of Birmingham
    • Salary funding for two programmed activities (PAs) – or 8 hours per week – of research time in your current job for a two year period
    • Protected research time
    • Access to infrastructure and expertise associated with a range of prestigious awards, including the NIHR Clinical Research Facility
    • A bursary of up to £5k for consumables/additional training to undertake the project

This scheme provides a new flexible route for research-qualified healthcare professionals at consultant level (or equivalent) employed within the Birmingham Health Partners cluster, to re-engage and develop their research interests through collaborative high-quality research partnerships with BHP’s established leading biomedical and health researchers, facilitated by the University of Birmingham.

Fellows will benefit from infrastructure and expertise associated with a range of prestigious awards, including the CRUK Birmingham Centre, NIHR Clinical Research Facility and Midlands-Wales Advanced Therapy Treatment Centre, as well as the UK’s only Centre for Patient Reported Outcomes Research and only joint academic-NHS Centre for Regulatory Science and Innovation.  For individuals wishing to develop a clinical trial, they will be embedded within the Birmingham Clinical Trials Unit.

The fellowships provide protected research time and funding for healthcare professionals to increase their research skills and experience.

The scheme also enables the propagation of perspectives, ideas and connections needed to underpin future translational biomedical and health research.

Applications are welcomed from those who:

    • Are a member of NHS staff within the BHP NHS Trusts. This includes, but is not limited to:
        • Doctors
        • Dentists
        • Nurses
        • Midwives
        • Allied health professionals
        • Healthcare scientists
        • Pharmacists
        • Clinical psychologists
        • Registered public health practitioners
        • Others, in either primary care, secondary care, community care or public health.
  • Are working at consultant level if medical or at least Band 7 if non-medical – you should be working at a senior level with specialised knowledge and demonstrable capacity for professional independence and leadership
  • Hold a PhD or MD

We expect you will have less than one programmed activity (PA) of research time in your current job plan, or 0.5 days protected research time in your job description if non-medical. 

Your research partner must hold a contract of employment with the University of Birmingham for the duration of your award.

Your research partner must have a proven track record of securing peer-reviewed research programmes from funders such as UKRI, the National Institute for Health Research or significant third sector research funders for the duration of the planned partnership.

You must include a letter of support from the research partner as part of your application.

The NHS Trust that employs you must provide a commitment to:

      • Support protected research time
      • Ensure that you can re-enter a full-time clinical role without any loss of career progression or status at the end of the award, if you choose to do so

You must include a letter of support from your NHS Trust employer as part of the application which:

      • Confirms that you will be released for the proportion of time funded by the BHP Clinical Academic Research Partnership Scheme
      • Includes clear and feasible plans for your time to be backfilled, especially for applicants from niche specialties where this will present challenges
      • Guarantees that you can return to your previous full-time role at the end of the award

Awards will provide salary funding for two programmed activities (PAs) – or eight hours per week – of research time in your current job plan. 

Awards will be for a two year period. Each award will support 20% of the applicant’s basic salary to support two PAs (or 8 hours per week) of protected research time. 

In addition, a bursary of up to £5k will be available for consumables or additional training to undertake the project. No additional support for salaries or other costs may be requested.

All awards will be on the basis of a full economic costing which should accompany the application.

Applicants will need to complete the following steps:

      1. Complete the BHP CARP application form 2023-24 (click link to download). Word limits must be strictly observed – applications exceeding word limits will be rejected without being read. No appendices or supporting documents will be accepted
      2. Provide a two page CV using the BHP CARP CV template 2023-4 (click link to download).
      3. Provide a publications list for the Applicant and Research Partner (max one side of A4 per applicant)
      4. Provide a two page CV of the Research Partner
      5. Provide a letter of support from the Research Partner
      6. Provide a letter of support from your current employer
      7. Provide any additional letters of support for the application
      8. Submit all of the above to by Thursday 30 November 2023.

For further information not covered in the above, please email Professor Lorraine Harper at

Key dates:

      • Application deadline: Thursday 30 November 2023
      • Interviews: early February 2024