Skip to main content

Internship Programme

Applications are currently closed.

The internship provides individuals with an introduction to research, enabling them to explore their own area of interest. It will prepare individuals to apply for the Pre-Doctoral Clinical Academic Fellowship, a Masters in Research, or help them to identify the next step in their career development.

It is a 48 day programme that takes place over 12 months, funded by Health Education England working in the West Midlands (HEE-WM), and is designed to act as a first step onto the HEE/National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Integrated Clinical Academic (ICA) Programme for non-medical healthcare professions.

The internship offers:

  • A structured taught programme enabling interns to develop skills in the design and delivery of clinical research – aligned with University of Birmingham Masters in Research
  • Access to observational and practical placements to provide an insight into a real world research or academic environment
  • One-to-one supervision from a clinical academic supervisor throughout the programme
  • Development of a clinical academic portfolio to support and evidence learning during and following the programme
  • Access to the UoB education facilities
  • Independent study time to complete programme work
  • There are no programme fees and we provide a single payment grant to your employer to cover your time on the programme.

The internship links to the Health Education England (HEE) Research and Innovation Strategy and Clinical Academic Careers Framework. The framework aims to provide a clear pathway from the start of clinicians’ careers with internships, through to those wishing to undertake senior clinical lectureships.


To apply for the Internship, applicants must hold a degree or postgraduate diploma level qualification and be working in the West Midlands region. 

A full list of eligible professions can be found on the NIHR website. These align to the eligible professionals for the HEE/NIHR Integrated Clinical Academic (ICA) Programme for Non-medical Healthcare Professions.



The programme consists of 48 days study time over a twelve month period, commencing in September/October each year.  A minimum of 10 programme days will be fixed dates which cannot be changed. The remaining study days can be flexible and negotiated with your academic supervisor and employer.

Participants will attend interactive workshops on:

    • Developing a research question
    • Introduction to research methods (qualitative and quantitative)
    • Critical appraisal and literature review
    • Applying research methodology to a health care setting
    • Patient and public involvement and engagement in research
    • Ethics and research governance
    • Research funding and finance

Alongside these workshops, the structured taught programme covers:

    • An introduction to the clinical academic careers pathway and application for a Pre-doctoral Clinical Academic Fellowship (funded by HEE/NIHR), a Masters in Research, or help individuals to identify the next step in their career development
    • A placement in a research setting which could include the unique clinical research infrastructure developed by Birmingham Health Partners
    • Independent study time to complete programme work with the support of a supervisor

Expected programme outcomes are as follows:

    • A refined and feasible research question as part of a preliminary research proposal in which potential methods are considered
    • Literature review formatted for submission to a nominated academic journal supporting a research question or area (this is a summative assessment for attainment of 20 Masters level module credits)
    • Portfolio containing evidence of reflection, learning and experiences of the novice researcher while on the programme to include self-assessment of ongoing learning needs and future plans
    • Presentation of proposed research to an audience of peers, supervisors and managers

The programme also provides eligibility for the Pre-doctoral Clinical Academic Fellowship (or equivalent).


“I have a much greater understanding of how research skills can support my clinical work. I am able to write case studies and project proposals with a solid foundation in ethical practice”

– Jed Jerwood, Art Psychotherapist

“This award has also given me the confidence to share my experiences at a symposium at the Royal College of Nursing International Nursing research conference this year”

– Alison Lewis, Public Health Nurse

“Following the completion of the internship programme I was successful in gaining a place on a full time HEE/NIHR MRes programme at Coventry University. The MRes programme has further built upon the learning and knowledge I gained through the internship.”

– Neil Smith, Senior Physiotherapist / ESP in MSK Physiotherapy Service

The Internship Programme and Pre-Doctoral Bridging Programme evaluation report can be found below:

West Mids Clinical Academic Careers Programmes Evaluation Report Oct 2018

Do I need my manager’s support?

Applications will only be accepted with a written and signed statement of support from your line manager, included as part of the application form. Before you start the programme we will also provide you with a partnership agreement, which will be signed by yourself, your line manager, your supervisor and the Clinical Academic Programme Team. This agreement outlines the minimum expected of the intern, their line manager, the intern’s supervisor, and the programme team.

What are the benefits for my employer?

The programme supports the national agenda to increase the capability of non-medical clinicians to contribute to the improvement of patient outcomes and innovations in healthcare. Individuals undertaking the programme will start to develop the skills and knowledge required to undertake their own clinical research and progress along the clinical academic career pathway.

How does the funding for my course costs and single payment grant work?

There are no fees payable by participants. When you commence your programme, we will provide your employing organisation with the single payment grant of £7,500.

What can I expect from my supervisor?

Each intern will be allocated a named academic supervisor for the duration of the programme. Experienced supervisors will be sought from across both the regional universities and trusts and if required outside of region.

A matching scheme approach will be taken to ensure each intern is matched with the optimal supervisor and will take account of both areas of interest as well as practical considerations.

Supervisors will join the programme for both the induction period and final presentation day with a minimum time commitment agreed during the programme.

Is the programme assessed?

The literature review is the summative assessment for attainment of 20 Masters level module credits.

The programme is not formally assessed but you will be provided with feedback from your supervisor(s) and Clinical Academic Programme Team throughout and at the summative presentation at the end of the programme.

What happens after the programme?

The programme will give you the skills and knowledge required to apply successfully for the next stage of the clinical academic pathway (e.g. Pre-doctoral Clinical Academic Fellowship, Masters in Research or equivalent). Support and guidance on options for further academic study or clinical academic careers will be provided.

After completing the programme, you will also become a member of our clinical academic programme alumni, providing you with further opportunities and support.

How to apply

Applications are currently closed and are expected to reopen for the 2024-25 cohort early in 2024. The West Midlands Internship 2023-24 Application Form (click to download and save) is included here for reference only. 

Read more about the HEE/NIHR training pathway

For further information about the internship programme, please contact the BHP clinical academic programmes team:

Tel: 0121 371 8162