NIHR Sheffield BRC Academic Career Development Strategy 

Sheffield BRC partners have established a strong track-record of investing in research capacity development. Our values, culture and actions create a working environment that will enable everyone to develop to their full potential in a supportive, inclusive, dynamic and responsive centre.

The ACD Lead will be supported by the BRC Training Coordinator and Training Representatives (a named individual within each theme) to provide inclusive opportunities for our trainees and wider BRC members.  


The principles that underpin our strategy are:


Our strategy is to provide a platform for knowledge exchange, networking opportunities and shared resources combined with individual mentoring and personalised training plans. We recognise that strong support and flexibility are crucial in the career progression of clinical and non-clinical academics. For each trainee, an individually agreed programme of formal training will be developed, designed to support personal development in addition to essential research and leadership skills.

We will utilise the outstanding training framework within The University of Sheffield (UoS, e.g. the doctoral training programme and local IATP) alongside regional opportunities (e.g. Wellcome Trust 4ward North programme and MRC Discovery Medicine North partnership) to further develop our BRC Training Academy (BTA). Our BTA will provide BRC-specific training programmes and opportunities, including dedicated PPIE sessions, to PhD students, clinical fellows, and early-career postdoctoral researchers. The annual BTA presentation day, attended by a panel of highly experienced appraisers, monitors project progress and provides constructive feedback regarding alignment with the BRC objectives, future plans and support with external fellowship applications. All trainees have the opportunity for annual and ad-hoc meetings with the BTA Advisory Committee to obtain further individualised support.

We will continue to expand our NMAHP Research Internship scheme in collaboration with NIHR Sheffield CRF, UoS and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals (STH), as well as set up new research placement schemes for non-medical engineers, physicists, and radiographers. We will also establish a Technical Training Academy to further develop the next generation of imagers, medical engineers, and data-computing scientists.


1) Further Develop the Interdisciplinary BRC Training Academy

We will establish a larger faculty with critical mass, closely linking to other NIHR infrastructures. We will recruit PhD students and postdoctoral researchers within year 1 of the award and support 1-year pump-priming opportunities for clinical fellows on an annual basis. To maximise the number of trainees we support, we will seek matched funding from external sources, including industry, wherever possible.


2) Increase NIHR Research Capacity (training tomorrow’s research leaders)

We will continue to attract high-quality candidates through offering inclusive, high-quality training with integral mentorship. We will develop the scale and effectiveness of translational research in South Yorkshire, prioritising leadership and interdisciplinarity, and develop matched-funded faculty positions.


3) Training Capacity Development of Non-Medical Staff

We will build capacity across workforce-boundaries to support our world-class research via:

a. Expansion of the Sheffield NMAHP Research Internship Programme

This programme supports NMAHP’s clinical academic career pathway via direct experience of clinical research, tailored training modules, personalised mentorship opportunities and support applying for pre-doctoral NIHR clinical academic fellowships, BRC Fellowships or School of Health and Related Research Clinical Research Academy Fellowships. Interns will be supported to develop fellowship applications by the ACD Lead, Training Coordinator and members of the BRC Core team with expertise in this area.

b. Development of the Technical Training Academy

Through our Imaging and Engineering Academy, the Clinician Scientist training scheme for medical physicists and engineers, the Institute of Physicists and Engineers in Medicine, D4D Innovation Fellowships and the Insigneo Institute, we will train and develop the next generation of imagers, medical engineers and data-computing scientists.

c. Delivery of an Informatics Training Programme

We will continue to support the NIHR Academy in delivering fundamental biomedical data science training and SPARC placements to researchers across BRCs. We will share teaching materials and best practices with Elixir-Europe and HDRUK's networks.

d. Support for Postdoctoral Staff

Using the UoS Think Ahead Programme, we will provide a comprehensive blend of training workshops, career mentoring and carefully selected work-based opportunities.

e. Development of the Northern BRC Operations Network

We will build capacity and capabilities for non-clinical administrative research operational staff through a partnership between the Northern BRCs.


4) Delivery of PPIE training to all BTA Members

We will continue to deliver PPIE training to BTA members, reviewing involvement and engagement activities undertaken and develop individual action plans to ensure high-quality PPIE across projects. Sessions will involve patient contributors from our established PPIE panels.

Areas of NIHR strategic need

To build on learnings from COVID-19 and support recovery of heath and social care, we will:

-       integrate research into healthcare services via the NMAHP Internship Scheme and clinical fellowships to enable those delivering care on the frontline to be directly involved in research.


To build capacity/capability in public health and social care research, we will:

-       encourage BTA members to undertake LA-SPARC placements for multi-disciplinary career development.

-       remain committed to progressing dementia research, as a key subtheme within our BRC.


To improve the lives of people with MLTCs, we will:

-       encourage researchers to collaborate across disciplines and disease areas by funding and supporting postdoctoral researchers to work across themes/subthemes.

-       encourage multi-disciplinary supervisory teams for PhD students.


To bring research to under-served communities, we will:

-       continue to grow relationships with established community partners.

-       develop new collaborations by sharing best practice between BRC researchers.

-       deliver PPIE training to BTA members, including information on engaging under-served communities, to maximise involvement, participation and engagement by populations which experience the poorest health outcomes and that can potentially benefit most from BRC research.


To embed EDI across NIHR’s research, systems and culture, we will:

-       systematically track and report on protected characteristics of BTA members.

-       encourage participation in the reverse mentoring scheme.

-       fund and support a 4-year PhD studentship within our EDI theme.

-       deliver inclusive and interdisciplinary training in translational EM.

-       further develop EDI principles across the BTA in collaboration with our EDI co-leads.

-       integrate the EDI strategies of STH and UoS to actively attract, engage and develop talented individuals from diverse backgrounds.

-       employ transparent application and review processes in partnership with UoS postgraduate team and EDI Directors to ensure training opportunities are inclusive.


To strengthen research careers under-represented disciplines, we will:

-       further develop a local NMAHP Internship Scheme and provide funding for interns to participate.

-       encourage participation in the Associate PI Scheme to recognise engaged researchers.

-       support postdoctoral researchers to work on data science projects that span multiple BRC themes.

-       provide personalised career advancement advice for a breadth of roles across multiple disciplines, including fellowship/grant application support and senior mentorship for BTA members.

-       fund research placements for non-medical engineers, physicists and radiographers within our Imaging & Engineering theme.


To expand our work with the life sciences industry, we will:

-       encourage matched funding opportunities for early-career researchers with local and national industries.

Academic career development budget: 

Figures above are given in WTEs and represent the total number of active individuals (nb. This may not be the case for matched funding and so this outlines the minimum number expected). PhD students receive their full course fees and stipend at UKRI rates. Clinical fellows are funded for 12 months. BRC members and BRC Training Academy members can also apply for funding to support academic career development activities, such as conference attendance, which will be reviewed and allocated at regular intervals throughout the award via the non-pay budget. PhD students within the Infection and Immunity theme have also been allocated a £5,000 consumables budget.  


Sheffield BRC also has a ringfenced training budget which can be accessed to set up events, workshops and training days. We will also take advantage of the university-provided training which our trainees are eligible for at no cost, such as informatics workshops. 

Measurement of Impact

-       Publications in high-impact journals

-       Presentations and prizes at leading external conferences

-       Successful funding applications and career progression of BTA members

-       Increased diversity / breadth of involvement in research (e.g. via the NMAHP Internship Scheme and subsequent attainment of funding)


-       Our BTA mirrors the principles of the NIHR Academy and integrates many of its collaborative initiatives (e.g. NIHR Doctoral Training Camp, NIHR SPARC Placements).

-       We will collaborate with the Northern BRCs to maximise training opportunities and further the goal of developing integrated training across NIHR Infrastructures.

-       We will encourage uptake of external mentorship programmes (e.g. Academy of Medical Sciences scheme for clinical lecturers, NIHR/Health Education England programme for NMAHPs).

-       We will further develop the Sheffield NMAHP scheme in close collaboration with other regional programmes (e.g. NMAHP programme in Leeds, led by Prof Anne-Maree Keenan).

Equality Diversity and Inclusion 

We will deliver inclusive, innovative and interdisciplinary training in translational EM. In collaboration with our EDI co-leads we will further develop EDI principles across the BTA and within our Themes. The EDI strategies of STH ( and UoS, a Stonewall Top 100 employer, ( reflect the communities served and share the vision to actively attract, engage and develop talented individuals from diverse backgrounds. We have established clear and transparent application and review processes in partnership with UoS postgraduate team and its departmental EDI Directors to ensure that training opportunities are inclusive for clinical, technical and non-clinical personnel.

Sheffield BRC > Training > Training Strategy