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Research training

If you want to pursue a career in research, you may need to obtain postgraduate qualifications in research.

If you want to integrate research into your clinical practice, courses, informal training and e-learning resources offer a useful introduction to research.

You will need to find suitable training opportunities, and possibly obtain funding to help you pursue your ambitions.

The CSP physiotherapy framework can help you explore the behaviours, knowledge and skills you have already developed and plan your research training.

Postgraduate research training and qualifications

Types of training

There are different types of postgraduate research training. These include Masters degrees, PhDs, postgraduate diplomas and certificates and professional qualifications.

You can find further information on different types of training on the Prospects website, and read the resources below to help find high-quality training:

Research training opportunities

You can see courses that have been endorsed by the CSP was well as courses on the Prospects and Target websites.

The Royal College of Nursing website lists Masters, PhD and Professional Doctorate training opportunities, Most are relevant for physiotherapists.

Government funded training opportunities: England

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Trainees Co-ordinating Centre (TCC) offers research training awards to all healthcare professionals interested in undertaking patient-focused applied health research. The research must be relevant to the NHS and the current and future needs of patients and the public, with an expected impact within five years of completion.

NIHRTCCNIHR Fellowships support outstanding individuals to become the health research leaders of the future by buying out their salary costs, meeting their training and development costs, and contributing to the research costs needed to complete an identified research project.

NIHR fellowships

NIHR and Health Education England (HEE) support the provision of an integrated clinical academic training programme for nurses, midwives and allied health professionals. For further information about clinical academic training programmes see the UK clinical research collaboration website.

NIHR-HEE clinical academic training programme

NIHR Research Professorships aims to fund leaders in the early part of their careers to lead research, to promote effective translation of research and strengthen research leadership at the highest academic levels. Professorships are open to all professions. They aim to facilitate strong research leadership at the highest academic level.

NIHRTCC research professorships

A chart of the NIHR training career pathways can be found on pages 18-19 of the NIHR publication Funding opportunities for research and for career development (2013).

Government-funded training opportunities: Northern Ireland

  • HSC Research and Development

Building research capacity is one of the five strategic goals of the HSC R&D strategy Research for Health and Wellbeing. See the HSC website and the following document on building research capacity.

  • HSC doctoral fellowships

The doctoral fellowship scheme is intended for individuals employed in or by Health & Social Care (HSC) or in voluntary/not-for-profit organisations in Northern Ireland involved in health or social care provision.

It enables individuals to undertake research training as a means of developing a research career in health and social care, and to follow a training programme leading to a PhD.

Government-funded training opportunities: Scotland

  • Doctoral and postdoctoral fellowships 

In Scotland the Chief Scientist Office offers doctoral and postdoctoral fellowships in health services and public health research to individuals who wish to pursue a career in research in a health care related field or who would like to build on their research skills.

For additional information about the fellowships see the CSO website.

  • Clinical research training for Scotland

This website is a resource for all health professionals interested in clinical research training opportunities across Scotland. Visit Clinical research training for Scotland.

Government-funded training opportunities: Wales

National Institute for Social Care and Health Research (NISCH) Clinical Research Centre (CRC)

NISCH CRC aims to increase research capacity and provide a high quality, Wales-wide training programme.

Researchers, health and social care professionals, research administrators, patients, carers and service users involved in the development and delivery of research studies in the NISCHR clinical research portfolio are eligible to access the training.

Research capacity building collaboration (RCBC) Wales

RCBC Wales was established in 2006 as a collaboration between six universities in Wales. The purpose of the collaboration is to increase research capacity in nursing, midwifery and the Allied Health Professions.  It offers five schemes:

  • PhD studentships
  • Post doctoral fellowships
  • Career scientist opportunities
  • Early career PhD studentships
  • First into research opportunities

UK Research Councils

The UK has seven research councils including a Medical Research Council (MRC), Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

Each year the research councils invest £3 billion in research. They also support the training and career development of researchers.

Research Council funding for postgraduate research training goes directly to research organisations. Prospective students seeking funding should contact the research organisation at which they wish to study.

Courses, informal training opportunities, and e-learning

Investigate local opportunities for research training: for example, find out if your employer offers training.

If you work for a small organisation or are self-employed, you may be able to access training at a local NHS organisation or university.

Contact your local hub of the Allied Health Professions Research Network for advice about local training opportunities.

Frontline magazine and interactive CSP promote opportunities for research training to CSP members. The CSP’s professional networks may provide opportunities for research training in your area of special interest.

E-learning/online learning resources

You will find many resources in the Doing Research section of this site, while the Royal College of Nursing website lists additional resources in science and health.

Funding for research training

The CSP Charitable Trust supports physiotherapy education and research. The academically accredited courses award accepts applications from qualified, student and associate CSP members undertaking academically accredited programmes of study.

The Physiotherapy Research Foundation (PRF) has an annual funding round. PRF does not support research that is part of a taught Masters or undergraduate course. Funding research costs at a doctoral level is considered, but not training fees.

The RDFunding database for health research funding can be searched for training and education opportunities. Search by

  • Grant type: fellowships, studentships and training bursaries
  • Keyword: fellowships
  • Special Editions: fellowships and studentships


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