This page includes information about funding opportunities available to Imperial College NIHR ACFs and NIHR CLs, and SFTs (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 College policies. It is important that you use your college email address to submit any claims. 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.ukPlease also note the following points before incurring any costs:

  • You must have access to your Imperial College email (e.g. firstname.surname@imperial.ac.uk) to submit a claim.
  • 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)

Accordion widget - CATO-managed funding

NIHR bursary for academic trainees (formerly known as NIHR TCC Bursary)

NIHR bursary for academic trainees (NIHR BAT) for supporting conference attendance and training. 
  • £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, catering or journal /publication 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 (research consumables only)

The NIHR Imperial BRC funding contributes towards costs of research consumables during academic training post (note this bursary doesn't operate on a reimbursement basis);
  • £1,000 for Academic Foundation Trainees /Specialised 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, conference, journal or publication 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.

Any AFT/SFT, ACF or CL receiving this bursary does so on condition that they make an appropriate acknowledgement of NIHR Imperial BRC infrastructure support for their research in relevant publications

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 (RTPA)

Funding is available to support the cost of attending Masters courses/modules. This fund can also be used to support other courses and workshops related to research training. Full details below.

  • For current IAT Imperial ACFs only.
  • From 1 August 2023 the upper limit, per ACF trainee, has been raised to a maximum £8,000 (funding sources breakdown £4,500 from NIHR and a limited top-up amount of £3,500 from CATO). The uplift from 6 May 2022 is a local Imperial College initiative for an initial pilot period of 3 years. Current ACFs may apply for bursary funding retrospectively, provided that a course cost/fee falls within the last 12 months only.
  • Applicants are strongly encouraged to plan ahead and apply asap to avoid disappointment since the CATO uplift top-up funding of £3,500 is limited and not guaranteed.
  • Courses must either be full MSc/Diploma or equivalent qualification or modules thereof relating to research training. PhD and MBA course fees are excluded from this bursary.
  • The award can cover costs of Imperial or non-Imperial MSc and modules up to £8,000 allocation. Funding can be used to cover the cost of UK travel /transport, accommodation, and course fees.
  • Masters/Masters level courses taken must be to develop research skills and not simply clinical training, relevant subjects would include:

    - 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

  • 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 are advised to contact CATO for a ‘decision in principle’ and obtain 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.
  • Trainees claiming through these bursary funds will be expected to provide proof of completion of the funded course(s). Those who fail to complete the funded course may be asked to return the bursary 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.

 Advice for applicants

  • Applicants are advised to plan ahead and apply early for the bursary to ensure maximum benefit from the funding.
  • You should submit all receipts that prove payment. When submitting an expense claim form, please send a scanned version of the completed form. Only high-quality photographs will be accepted.
  • The award cannot fund food or catering costs.
  • The award does not fund hotels 4* or above.
  • Applicants should operate within the Imperial College London policy for expenses.
  • Applicants should always choose the cheapest and most efficient way of reaching their destination.

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. If your RTPA application is approved we may verify at a later date that you undertook the stated programme/module funded via this bursary. If for some reason you do not attend the course there is an obligation on you to return the RTPA funding provided to you through this bursary.

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 ACFs.
  • 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 a limited time.


Details and Eligibility

This bursary is not open to:

  • NIHR and locally funded ACFs.
  • 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:

  • Imperial College Specialised/Academic Foundation Trainees in the North West London Foundation School (during the course of their 2 year AFT/SFT post).
  • NIHR/HEE funded Imperial Clinical Lecturers.
  • 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 will need to upload a completed Expenses Claim Form. A copy of the claim form can be accessed and downloaded within the bursary application form.
  • 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 directly from your research supervisor/mentor to the CATO teamcato@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. 

CATO Connect Grant

CATO Connect Grant

for AHSC clinical academic trainees/clinical researchers and Academic Training Leads/others supporting academic careers (Doctors and NMAHPPs)

About this bursary

We know that different groups (academic trainees, clinical researchers, clinical PhD students, programme leads etc) within the clinical academic/research community often have bright ideas about how we can do things better, or how to improve support for colleagues. The CATO Connect grant offers up to £1,000 to help implement new ideas which support clinical academic trainees, programmes, and research active healthcare professionals.  Connect grants are available to enhance academic training programmes and activities for trainees/researchers, support cohort building, promote engagement amongst potential clinical academics, and to support with wider recruitment activities into academic programmes and activities. Connect grants are also available to those with oversight for supporting and developing clinical academics within the Imperial College Academic Health Science Centre**, where no other funding is available.

What this fund could be used for:
Suggestions will be considered, providing the activity proposed positively supports the experience/career development for clinical academic trainees/researchers, or takes forward aims to enhance or develop clinical academic careers and programmes across the Imperial College AHSC. 

Through the Connect grant we are keen to enable the clinical academic research community to build an inclusive culture, enhance experiences, stimulate stronger connections, provide mutual support and boost clinical academic programmes across the AHSC.   Examples of Connect grant proposals might include:

  • Networking/connection events for specific groups, e.g. venue/catering costs for an event bringing together Black, Asian & ethnic minority *NMAHPP clinical researchers, or a series of meetings bringing together all female Clinical Lecturers as a support network.
  • Promotion events/activities to raise awareness of clinical academic opportunities at the Imperial College AHSC, e.g. publicity costs/venue charges for open day to showcase academic training and research opportunities in a clinical profession.
  • Welcome/induction/cohort activities, e.g. venue charges for bringing together all ACFs/CLs in a particular specialty eg, all General Practice academic trainees.
  • Development sessions/activities for a specific group or cohort, e.g. facilitation & venue charges for group networking sessions for Nurses or Occupational Therapists, or venue/catering charges for trainees in a clinical profession to do some peer group work around drafting fellowship applications.

 What this fund cannot be used for:

  • This fund is not for research costs (including equipment, infrastructure, estates) for a specific individual or research area – it is to support clinical academic trainees, clinical researchers and programmes more widely, across any clinical healthcare profession.
  • The funding is to support and benefit a group or cohort – not for lone individuals
  • This fund is not for the development of clinical skills/training.
  • This fund is also not for purely social activities – e.g; Christmas parties! Although cohort building and social activities can form part of the activity being supported.

This Connect grant scheme is available for a 2-year trial period in the first instance, from March 2023.  Funding 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 about the application process are provided below.

*NMAHPPs (Nurses, Midwives, Allied Health Professions, Healthcare Scientists, Pharmacy staff & Psychologists)

** Imperial College Academic Health Science Centre, AHSC:   Imperial College London, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, The Institute of Cancer Research, Chelsea & Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.


Details and Eligibility

Bursary Details

  • This one-off funding supports costs usually up to a maximum of £1000 per applicant/proposal/initiative during the trial period.
  • The funding is to support a group or cohort – not to support lone individuals.
  • Applicants, on behalf of their group, will propose the activity to be supported and organise activities themselves.
  • Where applicable applicants will be expected to open the proposed activity up as wide as possible across the Imperial College AHSC partner organisations. In some circumstances it may be possible to use Connect grant funding to support wider pan-London activities, in these instances applicants should email cato@imperial.ac.uk for a decision in principle before filling out the Connect application form.
  • The funding will usually operate through a recharge basis ie, once Connect funding has been approved applicants will be advised the Imperial College account code to charge the approved costs to. All charges/expenses will need to comply with Imperial College expenses policy and purchasing guidelines.  (Alternatives will be available for non-College based staff where it is not possible to use College finance processes.)
  • Successful applicants will need to retain records of activities delivered and funding used, and write a brief end of award report describing the aim and impact of the funding received.

Eligibility

Eligibility for the Connect grant is restricted to the Imperial College AHSC groups below, where no other funding is available:

  • Medical clinical academic trainees: SFT, ACF, CL
  • Clinicians in other research fellowships – e.g, pre-doc awards, post-doc awards, intermediate fellowships - Medical and NMAHPP
  • Established research active clinicians not in formal fellowships – Medical and NMAHPP
  • Clinical PhD fellows – Medical and NMAHPP

CATO reserves the right to refuse any applications deemed to be ineligible, unsuitable or to fall outside the scope and spirit of the Connect grant. Those with oversight for supporting and developing clinical academics/researchers: eg Academic Training/Research Leads

Before looking to apply to the Connect grant all applicants/groups should consider and fully explore alternative options and must confirm that all available avenues have been fully exhausted.


Application process

  • Applicants should complete an online bursary application form to apply for funding.
  • The submitted application will then be reviewed by the CATO Team.
  • If the CATO team approves the funding, details will then be shared with you about how to access the requested funds.
  • Please await confirmation of funding before committing to any spend.

If you have any questions please contact the CATO team: CATO@imperial.ac.uk or +44 (0)20 3313 7397.

Externally-managed funding opportunities

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HEE funding for a Master's in Genomic Medicine

Health Education England’s Genomics Education Programme (GEP) has opened funding applications for those wishing to further develop their knowledge of genomics through the popular Master’s in Genomic Medicine programme.

NHS professionals can apply for course funding. Funding is currently available for standalone CPPD modules up to March 2023. Please see the ‘Funding rules’ section of your chosen module(s) for information.

You can find out more about the scheme, and details on how to apply, on the HEE website.

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 £65,000, however, this cap has now being raised to a maximum of £85,000 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.

Imperial Health Charity / Imperial BRC - Top up funding for fellows

To support additional costs relating to research fellowships not explicitly covered by the charity/BRC grant, 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 NMAHPPs (Nurses, Midwives, Allied Health Professionals, Healthcare Scientists, Pharmacy Staff and Psychologists) 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 the award. The Imperial Health Charity will be managing the requests for this fund, please contact the Charity for further information and to discuss (grants@imperialcharity.org.uk).

 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 NMAHPPs (Nurses, Midwives, Allied Health Professionals, Healthcare Scientists, Pharmacy Staff and Psychologists) on Imperial Health Charity/NIHR Imperial BRC funded research fellowships. Available to Imperial College Healthcare Trust staff undertaking IHC/BRC funded research fellowships, this bursary can provide funding for the purchase of software programmes/licences required to undertake 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