A new fellowship programme aimed at boosting research capacity among healthcare scientists working in the National Health Service (NHS) will be launched this month by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) in collaboration with the Chief Scientist Office for England.

Research fellowships of up to two years’ duration and with a maximum £115 million in funding will be awarded to healthcare scientists working in the NHS who want to pursue “an area of independent research which will have direct patient benefit and will therefore underpin the research infrastructure of NHS organisations”, the NIHR said.

The fellowships offer a stepping stone for scientists who want to bridge clinical/service careers and research, it added. They will be able, for example, to take a Masters in Research, pursue post-doctoral work or undertake preliminary research development geared to a further grant or PhD fellowship application.

Applications will be invited from individuals working in England from one of the three main healthcare scientist disciplines: life sciences, physiological sciences and physical sciences/engineering. Applicants must have a minimum of three years’ health service experience and will already have undertaken some research activity.

The proposed research should optimise and support relationships and partnerships between the NHS and a university, the NIHR noted. It must also be of direct relevance to the NHS, with the potential to improve service or clinical outcomes.

Further information and application packs will be available this month on the website of the National Coordinating Centre for Research Capacity Development.