Bursaries and funding

This page includes information about funding opportunities available to Imperial College NIHR ACFs and NIHR CLs, and AFTs (medical)


Before submitting an application we strongly advise that you read and understand the eligibility criteria, under the menu headings below, for the bursary funding you are claiming. All bursaries administered by CATO are processed through Imperial College London and as such are bound by ICL policies. Once you have read the guidance notes please familiarise yourself with Imperial’s current Expense policy. If you have any questions you can email the CATO team: cato@imperial.ac.uk. Please also note the following points before incurring any costs:

  • Bursary and funding applications can only be processed if forms are completed correctly and all necessary documentation is supplied. If receipts are required please ensure you attach receipts or bank statements for each cost claimed
  • Please do not claim funds for any person other than yourself. Where relevant, divide any costs incurred by another individual.
  • The cost of a hotel (room only) in the UK should not exceed £150 including VAT when staying in London/Edinburgh or £105 including VAT when outside of London. When staying in a hotel overseas please refer to the Civil Service/HM Revenue quoted rates for guidance as the rates will differ to the UK
  • Where possible please book a 3-star hotel or equivalent
  • You should wherever possible book your air travel in advance and in the majority of case tickets should be economy class.  The College prefers employees to reserve airfares well in advance and to book lower fares, based on non-flexible flight arrival and departure times which cannot be changed.  Further information is available online from the College’s preferred travel provider, Egencia.
  • If you are using a car, motorcycle or bicycle on a business trip you can claim a mileage allowance - that is, a sum of money for every business mile you travel. Please see the Expense policy for the current standard rates.  Mileage allowances will be reimbursed after the fact when claimants are able to confirm that they have completed the journey, incurred the petrol costs and can state the exact mileage being claimed for, although an approval in principle to cover the mileage costs can be requested in advance through the bursary application.

CATO-managed funding opportunities

Applications managed through the CATO office can take up to four weeks to be processed. 

Please address any urgent queries in the meantime to the CATO Team (cato@imperial.ac.uk)

 CORONA VIRUS

Due to the ongoing situation regarding Covid-19, all members of the CATO Team are currently away from the Office, working remotely – as are the majority of our colleagues at Imperial College London.  We will do our best to process bursary applications as soon as possible, but it may not be possible to turn applications and reimbursements around as quickly as usual.  Thank you in advance for your understanding.

Accordion widget - CATO-managed funding

NIHR bursary for academic trainees

Due to the ongoing situation regarding Covid-19, the NIHR bursary for academic trainees (normally to be used for supporting conference attendance and training) has been extended to support other research costs as well . The total value remains unchanged at a maximum of £1,000 per year, for ACFs and CLs. Please note, these interim guidelines will be subject to review in Autumn 2021.  Please apply in the normal fashion and justify your use of the funds properly.

  • £1,000 is available per person, per financial year for NIHR ACFs and CLs.
  • ACFs can apply for a maximum of £3,000 over the duration of their post.
  • CLs can apply for a maximum of £4,000 over the duration of their post.
  • This fund supports the costs of attending conferences and training relevant to research. It can be used to cover the cost of transport, accommodation and conference attendance fees.
  • This bursary is operated on a reimbursement basis and is paid directly into the trainee's bank account via the Imperial College expense department through the submission of receipts.

Advice for applicants

  • This fund does not cover food or catering costs.
  • This fund does not cover hotels 4* or above.
  • Applicants should always choose the cheapest and most efficient way of reaching their destination.
  • Applicants should operate within the Imperial College London policy for expenses.
  • Please, where possible, divide any costs incurred with another individual.
  • You must submit all receipts that prove payment.  If you are an ACF submitting an expense claim form, ideally please send a scanned version of the completed form and not a photograph. If submitting a photograph, please ensure it is of high quality.
  • Applicants are advised to plan ahead and apply early for the bursary to ensure maximum benefit from the funding. This funding is not available to trainees/researchers beyond the end of their post/fellowship and CATO reserves the right to refuse bursary applications made 3 months or less prior to the end of the post, as there is little chance of fully spending or utilising the funds in a meaningful way.

For NIHR ACFs


Please apply by completing this form.

*NIHR ACFs must also complete an Expense claim form (Excel)‌ for this bursary. Ideally, forms should be scanned. Only high-quality photographs are able to be accepted.


For NIHR CLs


Please apply 
by completing this form.

*NIHR CLs do not need an Imperial College expense claim form for this bursary. They are requested to use MyExpenses once their application has been approved by CATO.


Please note
You cannot claim for food using the NIHR bursary. Claiming the bursary is different from an Imperial College expense application. The expense form is a mechanism to have your application processed. Therefore, not all declarations or sections on the Expense claim form are applicable.

All bursary and funding forms that are not completed correctly will be subject to delays. Applications can take approximately four weeks to process. During busier times of the year processing times can vary.

NIHR Imperial BRC funding

The NIHR Imperial BRC Bursary is a ‘one-off’ amount with a total maximum payment as follows:

  • £1,000 for Academic Foundation Trainees.
  • £2,000 for Academic Clinical Fellows.
  • £4,000 for Clinical Lecturers in NIHR funded CL posts in the Integrated Academic Training Pathway.
  • Funding is available for the cost of research project consumables.
  • Funding is awarded prospectively, i.e. applications should be made BEFORE any expenses have been incurred. Retrospective applications for funds will not be approved.
  • Funding is transferred into an 'N account' (research account) organised by the Faculty of Medicine finance team. Trainees may then purchase consumables via Imperial College purchase ordering system, using the N account details provided upon application approval 

Advice for applicants

  • Applicants are advised to apply early in the financial year to avoid disappointment since funds are limited.
  • The funding does not cover animal experiments or costs.
  • The funding does not cover course or conference fees.
  • Please outline the cost for each consumable on your application form. Those doing research using large data sets e.g Public Health should take advice from CATO about what can be considered as 'consumables' by emailing cato@imperial.ac.uk.
  • CLs are urged to apply for a Starter Grant from the Academy of Medical Sciences (AOMS).  This grant offers up to £30,000 over 1-2 years for research consumables. CL’s applying for a CATO managed BRC research consumables bursary will be asked if they have applied for an AOMS grant as part of the BRC bursary application process.
  • Applicants are advised to plan ahead and apply early for the bursary to ensure maximum benefit from the funding. This funding is not available to trainees/researchers beyond the end of their post/fellowship and CATO reserves the right to refuse bursary applications made 3 months or less prior to the end of the post, as there is little chance of fully spending or utilising the funds in a meaningful way.

To apply for BRC funding, please complete this form.


Please note

This fund cannot be used in the support of animal experiments or animal research consumables, nor to fund the purchase of personal computers or laptops.

All bursary and funding forms that are not completed correctly will be subject to delays. Applications can take approximately four weeks to process. During busier times of the year processing times can vary.

NIHR Research Training Programme Award

  • For ACFs only.
  • A maximum of £4,500 is available as a ‘one-off’ amount.
  • Funding is available to support the cost of attending Masters courses and modules.
  • This fund can also be used to fund other courses and workshops related to research training in the following areas:
    - Statistics, bioinformatics and clinical trial design
    - Epidemiology
    - Ethical aspects of clinical research
    - Project design, planning, costing and management
    - Research governance and the regulatory framework for research
    - Good clinical practice
    - Patient and public involvement in research
    - Refereeing of papers and grant applications
    - Diversity and equal opportunities in research, cultural competence
    - Time management and personal effectiveness
    - Leadership: Practitioner, Partner and Leader roles

  • It can be used to cover the cost of transport, accommodation, and course fees.
  • The award can cover costs of Imperial MSc and modules up to £4.5k allocation.
  • This funding is operated on a reimbursement basis, trainees should pay the course fee upfront, the approved bursary is then paid directly into the trainee's bank account via the Imperial College expense department through the submission of receipts.
  • Before booking and paying for a place on a course, applicants have the option to ask for a ‘decision in principle’ if they prefer to have confirmation of support before incurring any expenses. To obtain a decision in principle the applicant should email the CATO team with the details of what bursary they are applying for, what the course they want to attend is, how it will help them to develop and how much the course costs.

Advice for applicants

  • The award cannot fund food or catering costs.
  • The award does not fund hotels 4* or above.
  • Applicants should always choose the cheapest and most efficient way of reaching their destination.
  • You should submit all receipts that prove payment. When submitting an expense claim form, ideally please send a scanned version of the completed form. Only high-quality photographs will be accepted.
  • Applicants are advised to plan ahead and apply early for the bursary to ensure maximum benefit from the funding. This funding is not available to trainees/researchers beyond the end of their post/fellowship and CATO reserves the right to refuse bursary applications made 3 months or less prior to the end of the post, as there is little chance of fully spending or utilising the funds in a meaningful way.

For NIHR ACFs applying for the Research Training Programme Award, please apply by completing this form

NIHR ACFs must complete an Expense claim form (Excel) for this bursary. Please note that forms should be scanned. Only high-quality photographs will be accepted.


Please note

You cannot claim for food using the NIHR bursary. Claiming the bursary is different from an Imperial College expense application. The expense form is a mechanism to have your application processed. Therefore, not all declarations or sections on the Expense claim form (Excel)‌‌ are applicable.

All bursary and funding forms that are not completed correctly will be subject to delays. Applications can take approximately four weeks to process. During busier times of the year processing times can vary.

Research Skills Short Courses Bursary

About this bursary

This new bursary is open to Imperial College AHSC* clinical staff of all professions who are looking to develop research skills and careers. This scheme has been designed to support clinical staff to develop a specific academic/ personal skill which will help them to develop in their clinical academic career.

This bursary is not open to:

  • NIHR and locally funded ACF and CLs.
  • Clinical academics employed by or undertaking a PhD at an Imperial College AHSC organisation.
  • Clinical Consultants employed by Imperial College AHSC organisations.
  • Clinical Research Practitioners.

Examples of types of research training this bursary will cover include:

  • Methodological frameworks inc systematic reviews, questionnaires, online surveys
  • Robust research methods
  • Health economic evaluation
  • Statistics
  • Machine learning
  • Bioinformatics
  • Qualitative analysis
  • Data analytics
  • Ethics
  • Public Involvement & Engagement / Patient Experience (but first see available training in the Imperial PERC)
  • Core aspects of management and leadership relevant to research career

Other areas will also be considered - providing they fit with the aims of the bursary.

Applicants can claim up to £500 towards course fee costs. Bursaries are available on a first-come-first-served basis and applicants are advised to apply early to avoid disappointment.

Before starting your application, we strongly advise that you read and understand the eligibility criteria listed below, to ensure you are eligible for the bursary.

Please note this is a pilot bursary and only available for 2 years in the first instance (June 2021 -  June 2023).


Details and Eligibility

This bursary is not open to:

  • NIHR and locally funded ACF and CLs.
  • Clinical academics employed by or undertaking a PhD at an Imperial College AHSC organisation.
  • Clinical Consultants employed by Imperial College AHSC organisations.
  • Clinical Research Practitioners.

Eligibility for the bursary is limited to:

  • HEE funded Academic Foundation Trainees in the North West London Foundation School (during the course of their 2 year AFT post).
  • Doctors in Training at ICHT, RMH and C&W linked Trusts.
  • NMAHPPs (Nurses, Midwives, Allied Health Professions, Healthcare Scientists, Pharmacy staff & Psychologists) in ICHT, RMH and C&W linked Trusts at all levels below Consultant looking to develop research skills and careers.
  • Clinical academics/researchers of all clinical professions below Consultant level undertaking research Fellowships across the AHSC if funding for such training is not available from their research funder.

Pre- and Post-Doctoral awardees who are in receipt of IHC/BRC Research Fellowships should use the top-up funding bursary as their first port of call. Only in very exceptional cases would they be eligible to apply for this bursary in addition. Any applicants who fall into this category (i.e. anyone who has used all of their £3000 top-up and requires extra funding for a course) should contact cato@imperial.ac.uk before applying.

Bursary Details:

  • The bursary provides funding towards the cost of course fees which help to develop specific academic/personal skills required for clinical academic careers. This bursary is not for the development of clinical skills/training.
  • The bursary operates on a reimbursement basis. Applicants book and purchase the course place themselves ‘up front’ and then once approved applicants are reimbursed directly into their bank account via the Imperial College expense department. This method is different to usual Trust purchasing mechanisms.
  • The bursary will support course fee costs up to a maximum of £500 per applicant. If the course costs more than £500, the applicant is required to fund any remaining costs themselves.

Decision in Principle:

  • Before booking and paying for a place on a course, applicants have the option to ask for a ‘decision in principle’ if they prefer to have confirmation of support before incurring any expenses.
  • To obtain a decision in principle the applicant should email the CATO team with the details of what bursary they are applying for, what the course they want to attend is, how it will help them to develop a specific academic/personal skill needed to develop their clinical academic career path and how much the course costs.

Application process

Once you are comfortable that you and the course you plan to attend meet the eligibility criteria you are able to apply for the bursary.

  • Applicants should complete an online bursary application form and upload scans of receipts showing proof that they have purchased a place on the course. Those not on the Imperial College London Payroll should also upload a completed Expenses Claim Form (Excel).
  • The submitted application will then be reviewed, along with your letter of support (details below) by the CATO Team. Your application will not be considered without a letter of support.
  • Within the application form, you will be asked to state which of the Imperial College AHSC Clinical Research Training Framework competencies you will fulfill by attending this course. We therefore recommend downloading and reading this in advance of applying.

In addition to your application, you will need to provide a letter of support from a recognised clinical academic supervisor/mentor. All supporting letters should be emailed to the CATO team - cato@imperial.ac.uk:

  • If you are an applicant who is not currently undertaking a research fellowship, you will need to submit a letter of support written by a recognised clinical academic supervisor/mentor, evidencing your research commitment and outlining why these skills are needed. 
  • If you are an applicant who is currently undertaking a research fellowship, you will need to submit a letter of support written by a recognised clinical academic supervisor/mentor, outlining the need for this training and that funding for this course is not available via the research funder. 

Externally-managed funding opportunities

Accordion widget - Externally managed funding opportunities

NIHR funding for trainee workshops

  •  Funding to support trainees organise their own workshops.

Trainees who would like to hold a workshop for the benefit of themselves and other NIHR trainees can apply for funding support on the NIHR trainee workshops webpage.

The Academy of Medical Sciences - Starter grants for ACLs

  • ‘Starter grants’ for ACLs. 

Grants extend up to £30,000 to cover the cost of research consumables. The grants allow research-active Clinical Lecturers to gather data to strengthen their bids for longer-term fellowships and funding. Further details can be found on the Academy of Medical Sciences starter grants for Clinical Lecturers webpage.

Imperial Health Charity / Imperial BRC Funding

Pre-doctoral Charity Research Fellowship

Charity Research Fellowships for Doctors and Healthcare Professionals:

The Imperial Health Charity and Imperial BRC Research Fellowship Programme provides ‘first-step funding’ for Doctors and Healthcare Professionals looking to begin their academic career. The key aim of the programme is to allow Health Professionals to undertake 12 months of research to develop their research skills and identify an important research question that will make an impact on patient care within the Trust, surrounding communities and the wider NHS. This will then allow successful candidates to springboard onto successful funding bids for further study.

The Pre-doctoral scheme is open to all Health Professionals (Doctors and Healthcare professionals e.g. Nurse, Midwife, AHP, Pharmacist, Clinical Psychologist). The Post-doctoral scheme is open to Non-Medical Healthcare Professionals only.

For the avoidance of doubt Non-Medical candidates include Nurses, Midwives, Allied Health Professionals, Pharmacists, Research Practitioners, Psychologists, and Healthcare Scientists. If you have queries regarding your eligibility please do not hesitate to enquire.

The Fellowship provides funding for an individual’s salary for 12 months and related research expenses. Funding has historically been capped at a maximum award of £50,000, however, this cap has now being raised to a maximum of £65,000 where necessary upon prior discussion with the Charity. Please note back-fill for your role or out of programme requests need to be arranged in order for you to undertake the fellowship.

The application process runs annually, opening in early October and closing in mid January.  Further information and the application dates for this year can be found on the Imperial charity website.

Top up funding for awardees

To support additional costs relating to research fellowships not explicitly covered by the charity/BRC award, a new top up fund has been made available for fellows who receive their award in 2020 and 2021 (not available to previous awardees). Funding is available for both Pre- and Post-Doctoral awardees, Doctors and Healthcare Professionals in receipt of IHC/BRC Research Fellowships only.

Applicants must demonstrate that they have fully utilised/exhausted options with their Charity/BRC award before looking to apply for funds through the Top Up fund. The bursary is available for up to £3,000 per person, for the duration of their award. The Imperial Health Charity wil be managing the requests for this fund, please contact the Charity for further information and to discuss.

 Potential research-related expenses covered by the bursary include:

  • Research consumables
  • Research Training costs
  • Open access publication costs
  • Publication costs, journals etc..
  • Library Fees

Software bursaries for fellows

This Bursary scheme is for ICHT Doctors and Healthcare Professionals* on Imperial Health Charity/NIHR Imperial BRC funded research fellowships. Bursaries are available to Imperial College Healthcare Trust staff undertaking IHC/BRC funded research fellowship to provide funding for the purchase of software programmes/licences required to undertake their research projects (i.e, SPSS, NVIVO and EndNote). 

This bursary scheme is administered by the CATO Team. Bursaries will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Applicants are advised to apply early to avoid disappointment since funds are limited.

Further details please visit the bursary and funding page for further information. For queries please contact CATO@imperial.ac.uk or 020 331 31373.

*Healthcare Professions: Nurses, Allied Health Professions, Midwives, Pharmacists and Healthcare Scientists.