Sixty-three more researchers have been named as Senior Investigators by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), the framework agency for research in England’s National Health Service.

The new appointments were announced by Professor Dame Sally Davies, the Department of Health’s director general of research and development, at the first NIHR health research conference in Nottingham last week.

They bring to 163 the total number of researchers selected as Senior Investigators for the NIHR Faculty in open competition since the scheme was launched in April 2008. Over the next two years, that number should further expand to more than 200.

Senior Investigators provide leadership and expert advice to the NIHR’s research faculty, while acting as ambassadors for the Institute by promoting clinical and applied people-focused research. The latest batch are leading researchers who “work on significant health challenges” such as cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, obesity, stroke and diabetes, the Department of Health noted.

Only NIHR Investigators and Honorary NIHR Investigators may apply for the position, which qualifies successful applicants as members of the NIHR College and brings them an award of £15,000 a year as a personal discretionary fund.

The NIHR Faculty consists of people who conduct or support heath research for the benefit of NHS patients and the wider public; work for a UK university or NHS organisation; and are supported in their work wholly or partly by NIHR or Department of Health Policy Research Programme funding.