The HPRU in Respiratory Infections is a thriving, diverse community of multi-disciplinary scientists. All researchers are exposed to areas outside their own specialisms through our HPRU Quarterly and Annual Symposia. Prof Ajit Lalvani (HPRU Director) and Prof Maria Zambon (UKHSA lead/HPRU Co-Director) work together to oversee our training activities. We collaborate with the NIHR Academy and other HPRU training leads to open our training events to the HPRU community, this ensures that staff avail of relevant NIHR academy training opportunities.

Our Academic Career Development strategy fosters the development of future public health leaders who can enable translation of advances in health protection research into benefits for patients and the public.

This strategy leverages the expertise that exists at Imperial College London, UKHSA, the National Heart and Lung Institute, NIHR Infrastructure and within our four research themes and external strategic partners.

The strategy and training journey is defined by four principles: 

  1. Personalised training plan and mentorship: our trainees have an initial meeting with the ACD lead to revise their short, medium and long-term career goals and to assess how they fit within our overall strategy, and research and training portfolio. This allows us to identify specific training gaps and to set-up a bespoke training plan and objectives.
  2. Senior oversight and co-ownership between trainees and their mentors: the training plan is discussed with the primary supervisor, HPRU director, UKHSA lead and theme leads who form a career development advisory committee. Upon their approval, a final schedule of activities is drafted. It is flexible and is revised according to changing public health priorities and trainees’ circumstances and scientific interest.
  3. Multidisciplinary focus on translation and knowledge mobilization: the training encompasses four strategic areas of knowledge and skills which reflect our HPRU’s quest for research-informed solutions to major public health problems. With this framework, the trainees become knowledgeable of the upstream and downstream factors that influence translation of innovations and public health decision-making and policy.
  4. Engagement with underprivileged, underserved communities: Our trainees have exposure to, and participation in, best-in-class ‘patient and public involvement and engagement’ through our broad range of deep-rooted activities with Bromley by Bow Centre and Doctors of the World UK. This allows them to understand and take action to surmount the barriers that hamper the delivery of healthcare innovations to vulnerable communities.

To achieve our objectives, we follow a problem-based learning approach providing as much hands-on practice as possible. Our trainees are based at both UKHSA and IC thus benefitting from the complementary research perspectives of each institution and observing how their own research evidence impacts policy development.

We follow a 60:20:20 training framework, by which 60 percent of training is attained with the assigned project, 20 percent through interaction and collaboration, and 20 percent through formal training courses and other learning activities.

The HPRU is also a proud member of the CPD Certification Service which helps to support individuals in prioritising their professional development. 

For more information about Academic Career Development at the HPRU in Respiratory Infections please contact Dr Joe Fenn –