NIHR BRC Catalyst Fellowships for clinical and non-clinical trainees

OPEN: BRC Catalyst Fellowships are an exciting initiative supported by GOSH Biomedical Research Centre and GOSH Research and Innovation aiming to support trainees to take the next step in their research career and retain talented researchers in child health research. Both non-clinical researchers and clinical trainees are eligible for this fellowship.

Internal GOSH and ICH applicants only.

UPDATE: The Catalyst Fellowship call was paused during the initial COVID-19 lockdown. Timelines for the call have been revised and the new deadline for applications is Wednesday 10th June 2020. In light of the current COVID-19 situation, in addition to inviting new applications for Catalyst Fellowships, we are offering existing Catalyst Fellows the opportunity to apply for extensions to their Fellowship where they can demonstrate that their work has been impacted by COVID-19 and an extension would offer them a significantly greater chance of securing their proposed external fellowship.  

Application forms now include an additional question asking applicants to demonstrate how they have future proofed their project for a scenario where lockdown continues for a long period of time or is closed then reinstated. We actively encourage the use of innovative ways of working in the current situation and will give higher weighting during the selection process for each of the calls to projects that can continue to be delivered with significantly reduced contact. We also recommend applicants consider separating their work into distinct work packages, indicating clearly where discrete blocks of experiments/activities could be undertaken in short periods of time in the lab/hospital without needing a long lead in, e.g. not needing 1-2 months to develop new cell lines before starting experiments. Timelines for each of our calls are subject to change due to COVID-19 and we will review them regularly and update the website/applicants with any changes. Furthermore, whilst we wish to fund projects as normal through the BRC Catalyst Fellowship, we have some COVID-19 research proposals coming through that may take priority given the severity of the situation.

Summary: BRC Catalyst Fellowships are designed to support trainees to take the next step in their research career and retain talented researchers in child health research. Both non-clinical researchers and clinical trainees are eligible for this fellowship. Fellowships include salary costs for up to 12 months. Proposed research projects need to be registered with R&D and appropriately costed. The BRC Catalyst Fellowship only provides funding for salaries: funds to support additional project costs will need to be available or obtained from other sources. Please note that the maximum salary scale for non-clinical fellowships is grade 8 and for clinical fellowships basic salary as per grade. Funding for this round of the Catalyst Fellowship is supported by the GOSH BRC and GOSH Research and Innovation.

Who can apply?

You do not need to have had any prior links with the BRC to be eligible to apply; applications are welcome from individuals who are new to the BRC.

You must either be a member of GOSH or ICH staff who has completed a PhD (or equivalent), or an ICH student who has submitted their thesis and has a viva examination planned within 4 weeks of the Catalyst Fellowship application deadline. There is no restriction on time post completion of PhD i.e. post docs applying for a fellowship or those who are completing a fellowship and are now going to apply for the next funding opportunity are both eligible.

The proposed project should be aligned with one of the NIHR GOSH BRC Research Themes and hosted by a laboratory in UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health or Great Ormond Street Hospital. If it is not obvious which theme your proposed research best aligns with please contact us to discuss this at brc@gosh.nhs.uk. All applicants should obtain a letter of sponsorship from their group leader or line manager in ICH/GOSH confirming that they are willing to host the candidate for the duration of the fellowship and beyond.

For clinical trainees: “Clinical” includes clinicians, nurses, AHPs, pharmacists, healthcare scientists and any other appropriate clinical professional within GOSH/ICH. Catalyst Fellowships are aimed at providing post-doctoral protected research time during clinical training to allow for the preparation of a competitive fellowship application. If you wish to continue routine clinical activities within GOSH you are welcome to apply for a part time fellowship (80% FTE), leaving 20% for clinical activity, but the catalyst fund cannot be used to support your clinical, non-research activity. 

Selection criteria for new applicants:

  • Likelihood the proposed Catalyst Fellowship will result in the applicant making the next step in his/her research career and secure further external fellowship funding

  • Innovative aspects of the proposed project

  • Demonstrated support of appropriate supervisory team

  • Track record of the applicant (including publications, presentations, grant funding, leadership) as appropriate for career level of applicant

  • Outline of vision by the applicant of research direction and career path. For clinical trainees this includes planned strategy to combine academic and clinical training

  • Likelihood that the project can continue to be delivered with significantly reduced contact/closure of ICH.

Selection criteria for applicants applying for an extension:

  • Progress against original project plan during the Catalyst Fellowship to date

  • Likelihood an external will result in the applicant making the next step in his/her research career and secure further external fellowship funding

  • Demonstrated support of appropriate supervisory team

  • Outputs/impact of the research during the Fellowship to date

  • Likelihood that the project can continue to be delivered with significantly reduced contact/closure of ICH.

Application process:

  • Completed application forms (with e-signatures) as well as an up to date CV need to be submitted by e-mail to BRC@gosh.nhs.uk.

Following submission, there will be a shortlisting process, with shortlisted applicants invited for interview. Interviews dates are being finalised, but they are likely to take place at the end of June/beginning of July. Awardees will be notified within 1 week of the interview date. We anticipate supporting up to two Catalyst Fellowships in this round, with at least one supporting a clinical trainee, but this is subject to change.