Support for nurse, AHP & pharmacy researchers

Professor Susanne Cruickshank is the Strategic Lead for Applied Health Research at The Royal Marsden. She is an experienced cancer nurse, researcher and educator. Her role is varied; she leads on applied health research, supports nurses and Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) at various stages of their clinical academic research careers and works closely with the BRC themes.

In building capacity and capability among nurses and AHPs across the Trust, Prof Cruickshank wants to see an inclusive research environment. In practice, this means anyone, irrespective of research experience and/or level of practice can become research active.

There are opportunities for nurses and AHPs to get involved in research so please get in touch with Susanne at [email protected] if you want to explore further.

Professor Susanne Cruikshank is the Strategic Lead for Applied Health Research at the Royal Marsden
Pictured: Susanne Cruickshank, Strategic Lead for Applied Health Research at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust

Training and development opportunities

NIHR Senior Research Leader Programme for nurses and midwives

The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) is calling on senior nurses and midwives across England to sign up to its new Senior Research Leader programme. 

Find out more about the programme on the NIHR website

The NIHR Nursing and Midwifery Incubator

The Nursing and Midwifery Incubator aims to accelerate and support the development of nurses and midwives looking to develop a career leading research.

The Incubator will provide a collaborative, supportive and high-profile structure for nurse and midwife-led research within the NIHR and beyond.

Find out more about the Incubator and register on the NIHR website

HEE/NIHR Integrated Clinical Academic Programme (ICA)  

The Health Education England (HEE) and NIHR Integrated Clinical Academic (ICA) Programme provides personal research training awards for healthcare professionals (excluding doctors and dentists) who wish to develop careers that combine clinical research and research leadership with continued clinical practice and clinical development.

Applicants must fulfil the eligibility criteria

The ICA Programme comprises eh following schemes that support individuals at different stages of their research career:

All awards require the support of an English health or social care provider and a university, which form a partnership to further the career aspirations of the awardee.

Applicants to the HEE/NIHR ICA Programme schemes must hold registration with one of the ICA approved regulatory bodies or have plans in place to hold the required registration by the proposed award start date.

For further information call: 0113 532 8401 or email [email protected] and please detail which scheme you are enquiring about in the subject area.

Imperial College Academic Health Science Centre (AHSC) Clinical Research Training Framework

The Imperial AHSC has developed the Clinical Research Training Framework to define and develop the skills that an academic clinician of any professional background requires in order to support clinical research.

The Framework supports clinical staff in the AHSC organisations to develop a detailed understanding of research, and research skills, to allow them to become more directly involved in the mission of the AHSC: to accelerate the translation of research discoveries into improvements in human health. 

Find out more about the Framework. 

Pan-London SACT Passport for Pharmacy

The RM Partners Medicines Optimisation Group, working with pharmacy colleagues from the North Central and East London Cancer Alliance and the South East London Cancer Alliance, has produced a new electronic Pan London SACT passport for pharmacy. This resource aims to standardise verification of SACT training and accreditation for pharmacy staff across London, by providing a competency and assessment framework system across London. This should enable staff to move seamlessly between organisations without the need for reaccreditation or training.

The passport can be used by all pharmacy staff (pharmacists and technicians) working in oncology and haematology, who are required to undertake SACT accreditation.

Find out more about the Pan-London SATC Passport for Pharmacy

New Council of AHP Research (CAHPR resource) - Research Practitioner Competency Framework. 

CAHPR has published a framework of research practitioner competencies to support practitioners, managers, educators and leaders to review and plan practitioner roles, activity and support systems within a range of practice settings.The framework describes the knowledge and skills required of AHPs working in research from basic competency to advanced and research leadership levels.

Find out more about the CAHPR Research Practitioner Competancy Framework

Funding opportunities

Nursing research grants

The NIHR and several charitable organisations offer opportunities to apply for funding to support nursing research. Some health organisations/NHS Trusts and local charities might also have smaller amounts of charitable funding available to support nurse research and development. Below are some useful links. This is not an exhaustive list, but indicates some funding available for nursing research projects.

Bone Cancer Research Trust  

Breast Cancer Now  

Laura Crane Trust

Myeloma UK Health Services Research Programme

NIHR current funding opportunities (these can be filtered to show those related to cancer)

Pancreatic Cancer UK   

Prostate Cancer UK

Roy Castle Lung Foundation

Wellcome Trust Research Awards for Health Professionals

Nursing Scholarships 

Health Education England and the NIHR have an Integrated Clinical Academic Programme that provides personal research training awards for non-medical health care professionals in England and Wales who wish to combine clinical research with clinical practice and practice development. 

Nurses who wish to develop careers that combine clinical research and research leadership are eligible to apply for Pre-Doctoral Clinical Academic Fellowships (PCAF). 

Cancer Research UK have a Pre-doctoral Research Bursary. The Research Bursary provides short-term funding to allow clinicians and other health professionals to get involved in research projects early in their career.

The Royal College of Nursing Research Institute also occasionally advertise Nursing Scholarships, for example the Barbers’ Company Clinical Nursing Scholarship.

Travel bursaries

The Patricia McGregor Travel Fellowships Fund, set up in memory of Patricia McGregor, provides travel and attendance costs for staff from The Royal Marsden to attend and present their research at national and international oncology-related medical conferences.

Applications are only open to The Royal Marsden employees and are specifically for junior researchers including junior medical staff (below consultant level), nursing staff and allied health professionals.

Download the Travel Fellowship application form (Word Document) and application guidance notes (PDF)

Completed applications should be submitted to [email protected] at least 30 days before the conference start date.

Other resources

NIHR clinical research nurses and AHP Research Champions

Clinical research nurses and midwives and allied health professionals play an important role in the delivery of high quality research care. The NIHR supports their development and raises awareness of their roles through a number of campaigns and initiatives in addition to offering career support and advice.

Find out more about the support available through the NIHR

HEE Clinical Academic Careers Framework

A framework for optimising clinical academic careers across healthcare professions (Feb 2018).

Download the HEE Clinical Academic Careers framework (PDF)

Imperial College AHSC - resources & mentoring opportunities

The Imperial College Academic Heath Science Centre (AHSC) is a partnership between Imperial College London (ICL), Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust (ICHT), Chelsea and Westminster Foundation NHS Trust and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust. It aims to utilise excellence in research and education to transform health outcomes. To see resources and events for clinical researchers visit the Imperial CATO website.

An interactive chart (PDF) on the CATO website summarises the support and activities available across the AHSC partners.

The Imperial AHSC also provides an academic research mentoring programme for Nurses, Midwives, AHPs, Clinical Scientists and Pharmacists.

Find out more abut the Imperial College mentoring programme

Pharmacy Research UK

Pharmacy Research UK is an NIHR non-commercial partner which provides additional benefits to research projects.

Applicants who require further help and support in completing the research application also benefit from the NIHR Research Design Service (RDS)The RDS provide design and methodological support to health and social care researchers across England and are a useful resource in developing a robust application for research funding.

The Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry Annual Report into Clinical trials

The report ‘Clinical trials: How the UK is researching medicines of the future’ aims to provide a definitive view of the UK’s domestic research environment and how it compares internationally. 

NHS R&D Development Forum Resource Exchange

Find out more about the latest additions to the NHS Resource Exchange 


Register for e-mail news alerts from the NIHR to receive regular updates about NIHR research funding and support, and news about NIHR research and training.

EONS Newsletter

The European Oncology Nursing Society (EONS) run masterclasses and training workshops to support cancer nurses undertaking research. EONS sometimes also advertise awards and grants to support the development of cancer nurses across Europe, for example funding travel to and from conferences. EONS opportunities are advertised in UKONS Breaking News, and the EONS newsletter (which is e-mailed to EONS members). 


CHAIN is an online mutual support network of people working in health and social care. The Network originated 19 years ago in the NHS Research & Development programme in England. It is multi-professional and cross organisational, and is designed to connect like-minded health and social care practitioners, educators, researchers and managers.

CHAIN is open to anyone working in health and social care.  Joining CHAIN is simple and members receive information about resources, activities and opportunities relevant to one's interest.  Members can post questions or seek advice online and there is a searchable directory of members and their interests. 

RCN Bulletin

If you are you a member of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), you can register to receive the RCN Research and Innovation Bulletin. The RCN Research and Innovation Bulletin contains links to information about research education and training opportunities, as well as links to nurse research training and project funding.