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How to develop your career as a researcher

As part of the RCP research strategy, this online resource aims to provide support for you to develop your research skills. This section provides guidance on developing your research career, including setting up and leading research studies, and applying for funding. If you are getting involved in research for the first time you may find it helpful to view our research engagement starter kit.

To guide you with funding and grant applications, you may be interested in hearing from others about how they became a principal investigator. The Medical Research Council offers a New Investigator Research Grant (NIRG) and Vitae, an organisation for researchers, also offers guidance on grant schemes. Collaboration is key to research and there are various networks across the UK that can provide support for research collaborations. These include: 

Funding has been identified as major barrier to research in the RCP research survey. Some sources of funding are listed below: 

When looking to identify a research question or project, you may find it useful to visit the James Lind Alliance, a priority setting partnership with patients to establish a database of questions that patients would find beneficial to research. The Innovation Observatory also shares insights into the developments that may impact the future of healthcare. 

Tips for writing a funding application 

  • Allow yourself time 
  • Read the guidelines before you begin 
  • Keep it simple and focused 
  • Present a high-quality study design and evidence that you can deliver it.  
  • Tailor the application to the funding panel you are applying to 
  • Discuss your application with colleagues before submitting it 
  • Identify what regulatory approvals you need – you can get support from the HRA 
  • Provide and justify detailed costings – your R&D department can help with this 
  • Don’t be disheartened if you aren’t successful at first! 

Getting published

Further links