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National Institute for Health Research’s Faculty and Senior Investigators

Researchers funded under the Health Innovation Challenge Fund (HICF) are members of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Faculty.

NIHR Senior Investigators are fundamental to the NIHR Faculty and include some of the country’s foremost researchers, making the most outstanding contribution to clinical and applied health and social care research.

The college of NIHR Senior Investigators is drawn from the most pre-eminent NIHR-funded researchers selected through annual competitions. HICF funded researchers are also eligible to apply (if employed by an NHS Trust, university or charity based in England).The 8th Annual Round of the NIHR Senior Investigators Competition has now closed but keep an eye on the NIHR website for more information on future competitions.

How NIHR Faculty members are funded

NIHR Faculty members' salary costs related to research are funded as follows:

  • NIHR Investigators and Senior Investigators are funded by the NIHR, Department of Health and Wellcome Trust’s Health Innovation Challenge Fund (HICF )and Department of Health’s Policy Research Programme (DH PRP).
  • NIHR Associates are mainly funded by NIHR Research Networks.
  • NIHR Investigators, Senior Investigators and Associates can also be supported by NIHR Research Capability Funding (formerly Flexibility and Sustainability Funding) though this funding does not alone confer NIHR Investigator status.
  • NIHR Senior Investigators have a small discretionary fund, which can be spent, according to the Senior Investigator's employer's governance arrangements, at the Senior Investigator's discretion in support of people and patient-based research.

This mechanism ensures that Faculty members are funded on the basis of the scientific quality of their research and its relevance to NIHR concerns. Faculty members are supported through competitively-obtained NIHR research funding or training funding; or by NIHR infrastructure funding which supports NIHR research or research which has satisfied the competitive quality assurance processes of our partner research funders.

The NIHR contribution will more often than not make up only part of an NIHR member's salary with the remainder supported by other research, patient care or education funding.

Faculty members' salaries may be supported by HICF directly, or by funding transfer from an NHS organisation. The HICF funds must support some of the research and related activities that the researcher carries out in the course of his or her job.

HICF funding and Faculty membership do not imply an employment or quasi-employment relationship between a researcher and the NIHR.

How to join the NIHR Faculty by obtaining HICF funding

Membership of NIHR Faculty is automatic for anyone whose salary is supported by HICF funding, and who is employed by an NHS organisation, an English university or charity.