Published: 17 February 2022
The NIHR Academy has today announced a series of changes to the Health Education England (HEE)/ NIHR Integrated Clinical and Practitioner Academic (ICA) Programme, with the aim of enhancing post-doctoral opportunities for health and social care professionals.
The ICA programme provides personal research training awards for those who wish to develop careers that combine research and research leadership with continued practice and professional development.
Extensive consultation with award holders and key stakeholders has highlighted how non-medical health and care professionals often struggle to maintain and develop research active careers post-PhD, and these changes represent a re-tailoring of the programme to address these issues.
The ICA Clinical Lectureship and Senior Clinical Lectureship schemes will be replaced by the HEE/NIHR Advanced Clinical and Practitioner Academic Fellowship (ACAF) Scheme, which will support all post-doctoral research career stages up to pre-Chair, including those wishing to re-establish their research career. Unlike the Lectureships it replaces, the ACAF includes salaried clinical service or practice time to help embed clinical/practitioner academic roles within organisations.
Professor Waljit Dhillo, Dean of the NIHR Academy, said: “The restructure of the ICA programme will provide the flexibility and support for post-doctoral researchers to establish their research careers within health and social care settings.
“Through speaking with our award holders, we know there often isn’t a clear path for non-medical professions to establish a clinical/practitioner academic career and by providing salary support, more will be able to develop their health or care careers whilst developing their research careers.”
Other significant changes to the programme are an increase to two calls per year for doctoral and post-doctoral fellowship applications, which will offer prospective applicants greater flexibility when planning and timing their applications.
The naming of the schemes within the ICA Programme are also being updated to reflect its support for those developing both health and care careers:
- HEE/NIHR Pre-doctoral Clinical Practitioner Academic Fellowship (PCAF)
- HEE/NIHR Doctoral Clinical and Practitioner Academic Fellowship (DCAF)
- HEE/NIHR Advanced Clinical and Practitioner Academic Fellowship (ACAF)
To find out more about the HEE/NIHR ICA Programme, visit the ICA Programme webpage.