National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) and the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AoMRC) Clinician Researcher Credentials Framework

Are you a healthcare professional looking to develop your research delivery skillset?

Are you an employer looking for new ways to develop the next generation of Research Delivery Leads?

Could you help to mentor colleagues to develop the research delivery leaders of the future?

If so, please read on.

Framework Overview

The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) and the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AoMRC), led by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) are working with Higher Education Institutions to develop a national framework of Master’s level qualifications, which provide the necessary networks, skills and confidence needed to lead and support clinical research delivery. 

The  Framework focuses on the practical elements of clinical research, and is aimed at experienced healthcare practitioners from all professional backgrounds who aspire to take on  leadership roles in clinical research delivery, such as Co-Investigator or Principal Investigator (PI). This includes those who have no or limited research experience and those currently working in research delivery. 

The courses are designed for learners with busy work schedules who will be studying part time. They consist of two key elements:

Framework qualifications can be taken in stages to develop the learner’s chosen career path.

Each stage of the Framework consists of 60 credits, which equates to approximately 600 learning hours.  At Postgraduate Certificate and Postgraduate Diploma level, the learner activities comprise directed online learning, supervision time, self-directed study and preparation and completion of assignments. Learners will also spend approximately 50-100 hours in the Postgraduate Certificate and 70-150 hours in the Postgraduate Diploma undertaking the workplace-based tasks in the RPE module.  At Master’s level learners will complete a dissertation based on a research project. 

For learners completing the qualifications on a part-time basis, each qualification will usually be completed over a period of 10 months, taking 3 years to obtain the full Master’s qualification. Roughly 10-15 hours of study are required each week, however there will be some peaks and troughs in the levels of work required.

The diagram below provides a simplified overview of the Framework.

Diagram of the Framework

The Postgraduate Certificate level consists of 1 RPE module and, depending on the institution delivering the course, 2 or 3 online modules. It provides core learning modules to quickly bring learners to the level of Local Co-Investigators on a variety of studies. Learners may be able to act as Local Principal Investigators on less complex research studies as their expertise deepens. 

Learners who have achieved the Postgraduate Certificate or have equivalent qualifications can progress to the Postgraduate Diploma level. This consists of 1 RPE module and 2 online modules. The Postgraduate Diploma extends learners’ expertise and offers different opportunities for methodological specialisation at each higher education institution offering the qualification. Learners may be able to act as Local Principal Investigators on a variety of research studies according to their level of expertise. 

Learners who have achieved the Postgraduate Diploma can progress to the Master’s level, which consists of a dissertation based on a research project. Typically Master's alumni will be able to act as Local Principal Investigators on most studies.

Quotes From Learners and Supervisors

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Javi Magan Ventura  [Learner]- “The possibility of having [the course] online brings a lot of flexibility. It allows you not only to attend lectures from wherever you are, but also to go back on them so you can really dig deep into the content. So that has been really positive.” 

Trish Tsuro [Learner]- “In terms of practicality having that [Research Practice Experience module] supervisor who takes an active part in your research activities on a weekly, daily or monthly basis is very important and balances out [the online nature of the theoretical modules].”

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Debbie Dellafera [Research Practice Experience Module Supervisor] “It’s great to see [the learners] go off and explore different opportunities and broaden their experience in different areas, which they might not have had taken the time out of work to do otherwise and that can give back to the organisations.”

Promotional Poster

If you would like to promote the NIHR-AoMRC Clinician Researcher Credentials Framework within your organisation, please print off and display this PDF poster

Image showing different types of clinicians