Joint Research Office


Research Investigators

Research studies are led by Investigators. A Chief Investigator (CI) is “the overall lead researcher for a research project” and “has responsibility for its overall conduct”. A Principal Investigator (PI) is the “lead researcher for a research project at a particular site”. (UK Policy Framework for Health and Social Care 2017).

CIs and PIs can be NHS staff, academics, or a clinical academics. A clinical academic is qualified and trained in both medicine and science.

Although typically doctors and dentists, many registered professionals such as nurses, midwives and Allied Health Professionals may also take on clinical academic positions. Clinical and non-clinical staff can act as a Chief or Principal Investigator. To act as a CI or PI, an individual requires the right training and experience to undertake the role for the study. Outside of Clinical Academic routes, registered professionals can gain relevant experience and training through academic fellowships, clinical training fellowships and in-practice fellowships.

Read about the work and career journey of UCLH CI’s and PIs through the blogs below:
Bryan Williams

Bryan Williams

Biomedical Research Centre Director

Research areas include:

  • Hypertension and cardiovascular diseases
  • Cardiovascular physiology
  • Haemodynamics
  • Experimental medicine


Rakesh Popat

Consultant Haematologist UCLH and Honorary Associate Professor UCL

Research areas include:

  • Experimental treatments for cancer, with a particular interest in immunotherapy and multiple myeloma
  • CAR-T cell therapy and new antibody approaches

Dr Umasuthan Srirangalingam

Consultant in Endocrinology & Diabetes, UCLH

Research areas include:

  • Male infertility
  • Congenital adrenal hyperplasia
  • Klinefelter syndrome
  • Familial endocrine cancer syndromes
  • Diabetes

Yogini Jani

Director, Centre for Medicines Optimisation Research & Education (CMORE)

Research areas include:

  • Epidemiology
  • Patient safety
  • Digital health

Rachel Taylor

Director of the Centre for Nurse, Midwife and Allied Health Profession-led Research (CNMAR) UCLH, Honorary Associate Professor, Department of Targeted Interventions, UCL

Research areas include:

  • Adolescent and young adult cancer care
  • Patient-reported outcome measurement
  • Psychosocial outcomes in patients with sarcoma
Florence Cook

Head and Neck Oncology Dietitian and Chief Nurse Research Fellow UCLH

Research areas include:

  • Optimised nutrition for post-operative care

Danielle Fairweather

Margaret Spittle Research Fellow

Research areas include:

  • Patient-generated Patient Reported Outcome Measure (PROM)

Carolyn Spring

Research Educator, Centre for Nurse, Midwife and Allied Professional Research (CNMAR)


UCL and UCLH staff interested in pursing an academic pathway into research may find the following UCL training provisions helpful:

  • Academic Careers Office (ACO) - The ACO offer multiple training programmes for current and aspiring clinical academics including integrated training pathways and coaching and mentoring support. The ACO provides academic clinical fellowship, clinical lectureships and clinical scientist fellowships.
  • Centre for Nurse and Midwife and AHP-led research (CNMAR) - The CNMR aims to establish formal clinical academic pathways for nurse, midwives and AHPs. The CNMR supports fellowships and provides direct support to UCL and UCLH staff.
  • Institute of Clinical Trials and Methodology (ICTM) - The Institutes offers postgraduate training in clinical trials, statistics for trials and clinical trials and methodology PhD/MPhil. The ICTM also offer short courses in statistics, data management and methodology.
  • Centre for Medicines Optimisation Research and Education (CMORE) - The Centre is committed to improving use of medicines by enabling inquiry-based practice, research and shared learning across the patient’s health journey. The Centre hosts research fellowships, clinical placements opportunities, and opportunities for undergraduate and postgraduate research and quality improvement projects.

The NIHR also offer several programmes and schemes aimed at supporting the careers of academics and aspiring PI’s.

The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) provides support and training to NHS staff looking to advance a career within academic research. This includes training, leadership development, networking, mentoring, fellowships and developmental awards and research funding. A list of some of these NIHR schemes are below. Full details of all NIHR schemes and support can be found on the NIHR website.

The NIHR Associate PI scheme is a six month in-work training opportunity, providing practical experience for healthcare professionals starting their research career. The scheme is open to any registered health and care professional. The scheme enables professionals to work alongside a local PI for six months as an ‘Associate PI trainee’. Find out more.

The NIHR Principal Investigator Pipeline Programme (PIPP) develops the skills, knowledge and experience required by research nurses and midwives to undertake a Principal Investigator (PI) role. This scheme aims to address some of the current gaps in career opportunities for research delivery nurses and midwives by supporting them to become Principal Investigators (PIs) to deliver NIHR portfolio studies.

Find out about other NIHR schemes specifically for nurses and midwives including the NIHR Senior Research Leader (Nursing and Midwifery) Programme, and the NIHR Nursing and Midwifery Incubator.

NIHR Integrated Academic Training Programme supports doctors and dentists to gain research experience as part of their clinical training. Funding is provided for academic clinical fellows, clinical lectureships and in-practice fellowships (masters level).

HEE/NIHR Integrated Clinical Academic Programme (ICA) supports health and care professionals (excluding doctors and dentists) to develop careers that combine research with continued practice and professional development. ICA supports includes internships and pre-doctoral, doctoral and advanced practitioner fellowships This scheme supports nurses, midwives or allied health professionals.  

NIHR-AoMRC Clinician Researcher Credentials Framework – Master’s level qualifications in clinical research delivery leadership

Postgraduate Certificates, Postgraduate Diplomas and full master’s degrees are available, which provide the necessary networks, skills and confidence to become involved in the delivery of clinical research. The courses are aimed at experienced healthcare practitioners from all professional backgrounds, including those who have no or limited research experience and those currently working in research delivery. For more information visit the Clinical Researcher Credentials website.

NIHR Shape the Future Campaign, 6-30 November

Join the Shape the Future campaign this November to find out how the NIHR can help start or develop careers in research.

The campaign, running 6-30 November, will offer Link and Learn, a time-limited mentoring scheme, which will give NHS healthcare professionals the chance to ask questions and get career guidance from more experienced researchers. A wide variety of internships, work placements, academic and research delivery schemes will be revealed in early November.

To find out more about the campaign and how the NIHR can support NHS employees in adding research to their careers please visit the NIHR website.