Workforce Development

3 circles in a triangle with lines connecting the left to the bottom and the right to the bottom.

Our Workforce Development Team

Our Workforce Development Team provides research and clinical skills training, and professional and leadership development opportunities to ensure our team is able to deliver and lead complex experimental medicine now and in the future. This includes comprehensive induction for new staff, study-specific training, emergency simulation training for early phase trial delivery, mentorship, extended professional development and leadership development. New staff are mentored by an experienced healthcare professional or administrator, and a generic induction program is tailored to individual staff needs. Local and national training resources provide a flexible approach to learning.

We work in collaboration with our partners, including Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, other NIHR infrastructure on campus, and local and regional Higher Education Institutes to develop and deliver valuable research education.

Our training and development team are active members of the UKCRF Network Workforce Development Group 

Email the team:  

a pile of small wooden blocks with the tops ones spelling out learn
Two people shaking hands overlaid with eight words: learning, knowledge, experience, competence, skills, ability, training and growth

Research Skills for Clinicians Course

This two-day course covers:

  • Introduction to principles and processes of clinical research
  • Formulating research questions and study design
  • Introduction to understanding statistical considerations in clinical research
  • Understanding and applying the key concepts relevant to research ethics
  • Writing and presenting a scientific paper or poster
  • Integrating clinical research into a clinical career and how to get started
  • Opportunities to talk to high-calibre research clinicians

The course is designed for medical trainees, nurses, midwives and allied health professionals who are not yet research active but are interested in research skills and knowledge. The course comprises a carefully planned programme of talks, practical exercises and worked examples. The course has been commissioned by, and is subsidised by the NHS Health Education East of England and NIHR Cambridge CRF. The programme is designed to provide clinicians and aspiring researchers, including nurses and AHPs, with an introduction to clinical research.

Email:  for more details.

Emergency Simulation Training

In addition to annual mandatory life support training, we provide Emergency Simulation Training (EST) for our ward-based teams. Using a whole team approach, ensures that:

  • We enhance our research participants’ safety
  • We expose our staff to clinical emergency situations relevant to their role
  • Teams gain and maintain confidence in dealing with an emergency in a safe and supportive training environment
  • Our teams are competent in recognising deterioration in a participant’s condition and initiate appropriate and timely action

The scenarios are tailored specifically to the live studies facilitated on the NIHR Cambridge CRF.  We work closely with the Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s Resuscitation Team and Rapid Response Team, drawing on their invaluable expertise. We utilise advanced simulation mannequins to ensure the experience is as realistic as possible.

Person sitting at desk with pen and paper taking notes

Free NIHR Online Courses

NIHR Learn is an online learning management system, offering a range of courses to develop your knowledge of clinical research and support you to do what you do best. Once registered to NIHR Learn, you will have access to Good Clinical Practice (GCP) training and other courses

Good Clinical Practice

Good Clinical Practice (GCP) is the international ethical, scientific and practical standard to which all clinical research is conducted. Compliance with GCP assures patients and the public that the rights, safety and wellbeing of people taking part in studies are protected and that research data is reliable.

The NIHR offers a range of Good Clinical Practice (GCP) courses and training aids for the clinical research delivery workforce.  NIHR GCP courses are designed for individuals involved in the delivery of studies at research sites.

INCLUDE Training course

INCLUDE training is free and is for anyone who has an interest in health research, inclusivity and the research lifecycle. The course is designed to help those who may be involved in the design and delivery of research. It can be applied across the whole of the research lifecycle from prioritising research questions through to dissemination of the results. It aims to get research teams, assessors, funders and reviewers thinking about ways of making health research more inclusive and to ensure under-served groups are more fairly represented in health research.

Supporting our Future Workforce – CRF Placements for Undergraduate Nurses

We warmly welcome student nurses to our CRF. There are many unique learning opportunities to be experienced, with our highly skilled and knowledgeable team of nurses being able to provide teaching and supervision during your time with us.  

You will learn the key aspects of working as a nurse in health research, gaining insight and understanding into how we work as part of a wider team, for example working with our researchers, research nurses, clinical trial pharmacies and specialist areas of research including endoscopy and metabolic research. 

If you have a placement with us, please email 

We look forward to meeting you. 

Our Workforce Development Strategy

Workforce Development to Build Capacity and Expertise Within the NIHR Cambridge CRF

Informed by our staff survey, we will focus on three domains for workforce development: skills and expertise; academic and research competency; leadership and career progression.

Workforce Skills and Expertise

A range of topics are available to staff including: generic training; research governance; study approval processes; study management; EDI; PPIE; participant recruitment; poster and presentation skills; management and leadership training.

A modular course on research governance, provided by Royal Papworth Hospital, will be available to all NIHR Cambridge CRF staff. It includes: research governance; study approval processes; how to cost studies; introduction to pharmacy and CTIMPs and data management.

A modular research skills course, developed by the Royal Papworth Hospital Clinical Trials Unit, will be available to all NIHR Cambridge CRF staff. It provides an introduction to trial design with modules on literature searching and critical appraisal, protocol development, grant writing, statistics and trial management.

The Research Skills for Clinicians Course, provided by NIHR Cambridge CRF, is designed to provide clinicians and aspiring researchers, including nurses and Allied Health Professionals, with an introduction to clinical research. This course will be open to NIHR Cambridge CRF staff.

Leadership Development

Bespoke leadership development will be available to all NIHR Cambridge CRF staff in leadership roles, either locally or via a UK Clinical Research Facility Network leadership development program for Bands 6 to 8 delivery staff.

Academic and Research Competence Training

A structured training programme in experimental medicine and trials will focus on the five highest-activity areas in the NIHR Cambridge CRF: Oncology; Metabolism; Neuroscience; Immunology and Vaccines; Maternal and Child Health. It will be delivered in partnership with research teams.

Advanced training in emerging areas will include: basic trial design; research governance and ethics; data management; PPIE.

Aspiring Health Professional Investigators

We aim to develop a cadre of Health Professional Investigators by providing opportunities for dieticians, nurses, physiotherapists and others interested in developing research careers. The NIHR Cambridge CRF will work in partnership with Professor Christi Deaton (Chair of Clinical Nursing Research, University of Cambridge) and Professor Christina Jerosch-Herold (Occupational Therapist researcher at the University of East Anglia, an NIHR Training Advocate who leads the Clinical Academic Careers East Hub (CLACEast) delivering regional internship and bridging schemes for nurses, midwifes and allied health professions.

Early Career Opportunities to Conduct Experimental Medicine and Clinical Trials in the NIHR Cambridge CRF

There are opportunities for early career Associate Investigators to be connected with researchers conducting studies in clinical areas of interest. The PhD programme for Health Professionals at the University of Cambridge and University of East Anglia (2022-27), recently funded by The Wellcome Trust, will provide opportunities for outstanding health professionals to undertake research training. While the training pathway for medical graduates of this programme is well established, we will seek to develop opportunities for non-medical health professionals graduating from this programme, and others, to develop independent research supported by the NIHR Cambridge CRF.

Non-medical Mentorship: Two non-medical NIHR Cambridge CRF staff who lead clinical research autonomously, Dr Alison Sleigh (Research Scientist) and Dr Laura Watson (Research Physiologist) will be available to provide informal support for those taking this pathway.