UCL School of Life and Medical Sciences


Clinical Research Training Fellow

Female Scientist working at lab bench

What is a Clinical Research Training Fellowship?

A Clinical Research Training Fellowship (CRTF) is a type of grant held by a clinician typically for the purpose of undertaking Out Of Programme Research experience (OOPR) leading to award of a PhD. UCL has over a hundred CRTFs at any one time who come from a wide variety of backgrounds including nurses, speech and language therapists and allied health professionals as well as doctors. 

A CRTF registered for a PhD is undertaking an advanced research degree awarded on the basis of a thesis and oral examination. To be awarded a PhD the candidate's thesis must represent a significant and substantial scholarly contribution and they must be able to convey their work in a lucid and scholarly manner. A clinician doing a CRTF will have the opportunity to continue to develop their clinical skills by participating in clinics, on-call rotas and clinical meetings as appropriate to their clinical specialty. 

The biggest providers of funds for CRTFs in the UK are the Medical Research Council, and the Wellcome Trust, but several research charities also offer funding for doctors at different stages of their training. These vary in the length and degree of support and are generally intended for doctors training in the medical specialty relevant to that particular charity.

When to apply for a CRTF?

A CRTF could follow on after the Academic Foundation Programme (AFP) or an Academic Clinical Fellowship (ACF), which will maximise the opportunities for the trainees to compete successfully for funding for a three year CRTF. The ACF scheme has protected research time in order to allow the preparation of a proposal to an external funding body for a CRTF fellowship leading to a PhD. However, a CRTF can be applied for at any time, if an individual has sufficient research experience, has identified a suitable supervisor at UCL and written a comprehensive research proposal to apply for funding.

Where to apply for a CRTF?

UCL trainees have been successful at gaining Fellowship funding from a very large variety of charities and research councils; both the larger funders such as the Medical Research Council and the Wellcome Trust, but also smaller charities that are often linked to particular diseases or clinical specialities. 

The list of funders below includes links to their websites where you can check eligibility and deadlines for application.  Please see below for a list of external funders and programmes available at UCL:

Please Note:

After an application is submitted it often takes 4-6 months for a funder to reach a decision on whether to short-list and interview you, so leave enough time before you would like your project to start.

CRTF Funders
Action Medical Research

Action Medical Research aim is to prevent and treat disease and disability by funding vital medical research in hospitals or research institutions across the UK. The remit focuses on child health to include problems affecting pregnancy, childbirth, babies, children and young people. 

Alzheimer's Society

Clinician and healthcare professionals Training Fellowship are offered for practicing professionals working in dementia health and care services to undertake study towards a higher research degree (usually a PhD) and who wish to develop a dual career that combines research and practice.  

Versus arthritis

Clinical Research Fellowships awarded to encourage Clinicians in an Academic Research Career in Rheumatology or any related field concerned with the treatment of musculoskeletal conditions (including surgery and general practice). They aim to provide training in clinical and/or laboratory research techniques leading to a higher degree (usually a PhD).

Association of Clinical Neurologists (ABN)

The Association of Clinical Neurologists has assisted charities since 2009 in organising Clinical Research Training Fellowships, awarded to trainees who want to study an aspect of Clinical Neuroscience in depth for three or four years to obtain an MD or PhD degree.

Bloodwise (formerly Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research)

Clinical Research Training Fellowships for Haematologists-in-training for the award of a PhD. Applications are considered by external peer review and short listed candidates will be interviewed by the Training and Development sub-Committee.

British Heart Foundation

The British Heart Foundation provides a foundation in research training for medically qualified graduates at an established Research Institution in the UK providing training in research after Foundation Year two and before Consultant status.

Cancer Research UK

Cancer Research UK offers a number of funding opportunities at different levels and covers a wide range of activities, from basic research to late phase clinical trials including drug discovery, basic cell biology, clinical trials, public health, biomarker research and much more.

Chief Scientist Office (CSO)

This scheme has been developed to help address longstanding concerns surrounding Clinical Academic Careers. The scheme has a competitive entry and nurtures a cadre of Research-led Clinical Academics capable of leading development in their discipline by providing the opportunity to undertake a PhD.

Diabetes UK

Sir George Alberti Research Training Fellowships enable graduate healthcare professionals to work towards a PhD or MD in Diabetes Research and develop a career in research.

Dunhill Medical Trust

Dunhill Medical Trust Research Training Fellowships are personal training fellowships for talented Clinicians and Health or Social Care Professionals who would like a future career in research aimed at improving care for older people. The fellowships are flexible and may be undertaken on either a full-time (three year) or part-time (up to 4 year) basis.

Fight for Sight

Fight for Sight encourages new and highly motivated graduates to take up and pursue a career in ophthalmic and vision research. A Fight for Sight Studentship provides training for three years leading to a PhD.

Heart Research UK 

Heart Research UK awards grants for research in the prevention, treatment and cure of heart disease. The Research Training Fellowship scheme reflects HRUK's commitment to ensuring that first-class research into heart disease and related conditions continues in the future.

Institute of Cancer Research

The Institute of Cancer Research offers PhD programmes to applicants eligible for full registration or who hold limited registration with the General Medical Council. These three-year Fellowships are intended to develop the applicant's potential to pursue a career as an Academic Clinician.

The Kay Kendall Leukaemia Fund

The objective of the Kay Kendall Leukaemia Fund Junior Research Fellowship programme is to support outstanding individuals wishing to pursue research into haematological malignancies. The fellowships are undertaken on a full-time basis at a recognised university, hospital, or other equivalent institution.

Medical Research Council

The Medical Research Council Clinical Research Training Fellowship provides up to three years of support for clinically qualified, active professionals to undertake specialised or further research training in the Bio-Medical Sciences within the UK.

Motor Neurone Disease Association

The Medical Research Council and Motor Neurone Disease Association Lady Edith Wolfson Fellowship aims to support clinicians wishing to pursue research into the pathogenesis and treatment of motor neurone disease. 

Royal College of Physicians

Research Fellowships offered by the Royal College of Physician are in alingment with their commitment to improving clinical standards and supporting clinicians in their research in a variety of speciality areas.


Sparks funds medical research related to the prenatal, perinatal and early childhood years. Sparks is keen to encourage research applications which provide a training opportunity for individuals who wish to develop a long-term career in academic medicine.

Stroke Association

Clinical Research Fellowships awarded jointly by the Stroke Association and Medical Research Council are intended to provide an opportunity for clinically trained individuals to undertake training in stroke research.

Wellbeing of Women 

Research Training Fellowships to encourage medical graduates to pursue a career in academic medicine. Research can be in basic science, clinical or translational research in the following areas: Gynaecological cancers, Pregnancy and birth, and General Wellbeing Issues

Wellcome Trust

The Research Clinical Training Fellowship scheme is designed for medical, dental, veterinary or clinical psychology graduates who have little or no research training, but who wish to develop a long-term career in academic medicine. Applications are encouraged from individuals who wish to undertake substantial training through high-quality research in an appropriate unit or clinical research facility towards a PhD or MD qualification.

UCL CRTF Programmes
Wellcome Trust PhD Programme for Clinicians

UCL hosts a Wellcome Trust funded PhD programme for Clinicians. The programme provides a fully-funded Research Studentship and enables UCL to support the most promising medically qualified Clinicians who wish to start a PhD. 

NIHR BRCs / Francis Crick Institute Clinical Training Fellowships Scheme

The Francis Crick and NIHR BRC one year Clinical Training Fellowship.The emphasis of this fellowship is on developing and fostering a collaborative supervisory team that provides a research area/project for Fellows to work on, supported across the NIHR Biomedical Research Centres and the Francis Crick Institute.

Crick Cancer Clinical Research Fellowships

The Crick Cancer Clinical Research Fellowships programme is funded as part of a 5-year Cancer Research UK award led by the Francis Crick Institute. The Fellowships offer Clinical Trainees the opportunity to study for a PhD jointly supervised by a Francis Crick Institute supervisor and a supervisor from a Cancer Centre in London. 

Other Fellowships and Grants
Academy of Medical Sciences/Wellcome Trust Starter Grants for Clinical Lecturers

The Academy is working in collaboration with the Wellcome Trust to deliver this four year grants programme for research active Clinical Lecturers. It is a £5 million grant scheme which aims to provide modest 'starter' funds to enable research active Clinical Lecturers to pursue research work, including gather preliminary data and so further strengthen their applications for longer-term Fellowships and funding in the future. The scheme will fund research of only the very highest quality and where it clearly demonstrated that the findings will inform the applicant's future career aspirations and bids for larger scale fellowships.

Alzheimer's Research Trust

The Preparatory Clinical Research Fellowship provides funds for salary for one year and a contribution toward research and travel costs (up to £10,000). Clinical Research Fellowships provide salary (SpR, registrar level, or on equivalent university scales), up to three years, and research and travel costs (up to £10,000 per annum). For more information and to apply please visit http://a-r.org.uk/.

Association of Clinical Pathologists (ACP)

The Association of Clinical Pathologists has a number of financial assistance schemes that can be applied for each year.

British Pharmacological Society Vacation Studentships

The BPS is offering a number of study awards to encourage students to take up pharmacology.

British Skin Foundation Fellowship

The British Skin Foundation Fellowship offers research awards, fellowships and studentships.

British Society for Clinical Neurophysiology

The BSCN Council has agreed to implement a bursary programme for the intercalated degree year, with the principal aims of supporting young people in neuroscience research, and to raise awareness of the speciality of Clinical Neurophysiology at a formative stage in medical student careers and academic opportunities in the field.

Carnegie Trust Undergraduate Vacation Scholarships

Undergraduates attending a Scottish University, who were born in Scotland or who have a parent born in Scotland or who have at least two years of secondary education in Scotland, may be considered for the award of a Vacation Scholarship for the pursuit of a full-time research project, usually in the vacation between their second and third year.

European Society for Hypertension

Applications are invited for a two year Research Fellowship for research and training in hypertension related fields. The Fellow appointed will hold a medical degree or higher degree in science and have research aptitude or clinical experience in hypertension. The award can be used to support a two year period of research at an institute, university or academic centre in Europe

European Society of Cardiology

Research Fellowships. The goals of the scheme are to provide early career clinicians with high quality research experience that will enhance their future career as well as provide clear added value to their home institution or country upon their return. Research Fellowships may be held for a period of two years

European Society for Medical Oncology

The Clinical Research Fellowships are designed to provide training in clinical research at renowned European cancer centres, support efforts to expand professional networks through collaboration with other Institutions of excellence and provide the necessary support to develop clinical oncology research projects

Guarantors of Brain

Neurology Entry and Exit Scholarships. This scholarship provides bridging salary support for up to one year to Early Career Clinicians based in the United Kingdom. The scheme is intended to provide transitional funding at entry from the early ST grades, prior to obtaining a Research Fellowship, or on completion of research whilst waiting for an StR post. In exceptional circumstances, they will appoint a candidate at the end of their neurology training who wishes to undertake a further period of research. Also offered is salary support for Trainee Neurologists in Basic Neuroscience to support talented, young clinicians intending to pursue a career in Neurology who wish to combine Clinical Training with Research.

Ipsen Fund

Supporting Neurological and Endocrine based clinical advances with Clinical Research Fellowships and training awards.

Kidney Research UK

Clinical Training Fellowships supporting medical graduates specialising in renal field thereby expanding the levels of expertise in kidney research and treatment.

Leverhulme Trust

The Leverhulme Trust, established at the wish of William Hesketh Lever, provides awards for the support of research and education. The Trust emphasises individuals and encompasses all subject areas.

Nuffield Foundation Undergraduate Research Bursaries

For science undergraduates considering a career in research to take part in a defined research project for six to eight weeks during their summer vacation.

Pathological Society

The Society offers a generous range of grants to support high quality research in pathology. These range from supporting PhD students and Clinical Fellowships to the funding of smaller projects.

Physiological Society

Undergraduate Vacation Studentships offer undergraduate students who have completed at least two years of full-time study, in a higher education institute or equivalent, the opportunity to undertake physiological research projects.