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New Consultant Scheme

Are you a recently-appointed consultant who would like to increase your research skills and experience?

Birmingham Health Partners is pleased to launch a new scheme: the BHP New Consultant Fellowship. These post-doctoral fellowships are for clinically qualified medical staff who have taken up their first consultant position in the past 18 months and who currently do not have time allocated within their job plans for research.

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. We are proud to support our NHS partner Trusts to support this vision through generous funding from the University of Birmingham. Funding will be available on a competitive basis to allow 20% of time within a job plan for research activities.

Since 2014, BHP has worked with charity partners including the Metchley Park Medical Society to support early-career clinicians interested in translational research to take their first steps in a career in clinical academia.  The BHP New Consultant Fellowships (NCF) complement the BHP Clinical Academic Research Partnership Scheme (CARP), both seeking to address the challenge of increasing the number of Chief Investigators associated with BHP. The NCF is a post-doctoral fellowship programme, supported by the University of Birmingham and Birmingham’s NIHR Integrated Clinical Academic Training programme.

The CARP Scheme is open to all clinically-qualified medical consultants and non-medical staff, whereas the NCF supports recently-appointed consultants.  Both schemes fund two programmed activities (PAs) – or 8 hours per week – of research time, with the CARP award running for two years and the NCF for three.

What does the New Consultant Fellowship offer?
  • A new flexible route to maintain 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 three year period
  • Protected research time
  • Access to infrastructure and expertise associated with a range of prestigious awards, including the NIHR Clinical Research Facility, NIHR Biomedical Research Centre and other excellent research collaboratives
  • A bursary of up to £5k for consumables/additional training to undertake the project

This scheme provides a new flexible route for consultants appointed in the past 18 months, and working within the Birmingham Health Partners cluster, to maintain their research interests. They will develop 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 NIHR Birmingham Biomedical Research Centre, NIHR Clinical Research Facility and NIHR Global Health Research Unit on Global Surgery, as well as the UK’s only Centre for Patient Reported Outcomes Research and only joint academic-NHS BHP Centre for Regulatory Science and Innovation.  For individuals wishing to develop a clinical trial, they will be embedded within the Birmingham Clinical Trials Unit or Birmingham Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Unit.

The fellowships provide protected research time and funding for new consultants 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.

Who can apply?

Applications are welcomed from those who:

  • Are an NHS consultant employed by a BHP member NHS Trust.
  • Have been at consultant level for no more than 18 months on 30 November 2023.
  • Hold a PhD or MD

We expect you will have less than one programmed activity (PA) of research time in your current job plan.

What type of research partner is needed?

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.

What employer support is needed?

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 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 NCF 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

What funding is available?

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 three 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.

How to apply

Applicants will need to complete the following steps:

  1. Complete the BHP NCF Scheme Application Form 2023 (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 NCF Scheme CV Template 2023 (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