UCL Institute of Clinical Trials and Methodology


Nina Walters - Funding Your MSc Clinical Trials: Options for NHS Staff

Nina Walters


This post is from one of our current MSc Clinical Trials Students, Nina Walters. Nina is a Senior Clinical Research Nurse at Royal Free London NHS Foundation and is a NIHRCRN North Thames Palliative Care Research Champion.

If you are a member of NHS staff, there are options that may be available to you to help fund your studies. My advice would be to plan ahead.

Planning for Funding

Every January, NHS staff can engage in a "learning needs request" process, to obtain funding from two funding streams:

  • NIHR CRN Funding (up to 100%): This option is ideal if your salary is funded through CRN (Clinical Research Network) supported research.
  • NHS Trust Funding (up to 50%): The NHS Trust may contribute up to 50% of the cost of approved modules.

The number of modules funded depends on annual requests and budget availability.

You will learn the outcome of your application in May that year (this date may vary each year).

How to go about putting in your application

This is your chance to secure funding for your MSc studies. Here is how to approach it:

  • Talk to your  line manager first about your plans
  • Draft an Email: Address it to your line manager and include the Research & Development (R&D) lead in the copy.
  • In your email, express your interest in the MSc Clinical Trials program and explain why this would be good for your professional and career development. You also need to explain how on completion of MSc, how you can improve the service and/or patient outcomes'
  • After you send the email, remember to follow up.

Important Considerations

  • You can only apply for one funding stream per year.
  • Carefully review the application deadlines and selection criteria for each funding option. (Contact your R&D lead for details on these).