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UHS Research Leaders Programme (RLP) Awards

The cohort 3 competition is now open for applications

SoAR, on behalf of the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust (UHS) R&D department, are looking for enthusiastic healthcare professionals employed by UHS who aspire to take the next step in their research career.

Supporting our researchers

The RLP was established in 2021 following significant investment from UHS Trust Board. It aims to identify staff of all clinical disciplines with research leadership potential, and provide them with time, training and personal development to enable them to progress towards their agreed research career pathway.

It supports UHS healthcare professionals to build a portfolio of research activity that will attract or generate funding, and facilitate research to become a significant and sustainable component of the award holder’s job plan within three years.

The RLP programme is open to all healthcare professionals employed (who hold a substantive as opposed to honorary employment contract) by University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, including nurses, midwives, pharmacists, allied health professionals, clinical scientists and doctors.

Protected time for your research

The award enables you to pursue your passion for improving patient care through clinical research. It covers salary costs for at least one day a week (20% whole time equivalent) for up to three years, providing the time you need to take your research to the next level.

You will be facilitated by the RLP team to develop a portfolio of clinical research studies, where possible in as a Principal Investigator (PI) or Chief Investigator (CI), and to develop your own clinical research by applying for a research grant or external research fellowship.

The awards are offered competitively. Please contact us  for information on when the next round will open for applications.

Types of award

The RLP has two award types, with an option for these to be combined if explicitly agreed:

1. Research Delivery Focused/ Growing PIs: Support to establish/significantly expand a portfolio of externally funded research studies, commercial and non-commercial. Intended to build capacity to enable delivery of clinical research by providing protected time to undertake PI related activities on externally funded NIHR CRN portfolio research studies, supported by a research team funded by external study income.

2. Clinical Academic Focused/ Growing CIs: Support to secure external funding and lead a programme of externally funded research, in the context of a clinical academic position. Intended to support healthcare professionals with significant potential to become independent researchers and fulfil the role of CI by generating income through personal fellowships and/or leadership of grant applications.

Application process

Applications will be reviewed by a panel. Review criteria will primarily focus on the proposed area of focus for the fellowship, and likelihood participation in the RLP will facilitate the individual to generate research income to support their research time beyond the end of the award.

The panel will focus on the suitability of the person, their surrounding research environment (both local and institutional) and their proposed RLP area of focus.

Individuals must have the explicit support of their Research Advisor, Manager and Divisional Clinical Director for their application, who will agree to ensure arrangements are in place for backfill of RLP funded time. Potential applicants are therefore advised to speak to their manager early to ensure this assurance can be provided in the application process.

You can find useful documents here:

Please contact the SoAR team at for more information and how to apply.

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