Doctoral Research Fellowship 2021

The Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) is launching the next round of the RCEM PhD Fellowship Scheme. Applications are invited from trainees in Emergency Medicine (EM) from CT1 and above, who wish to develop academically. The scheme aims to support the development of research capacity to improve emergency health care. This scheme will fund Fellowships to undertake research involving patients, samples or data from patients, people who are not patients, populations, health technology assessment and health services research. The RCEM does not fund research work involving animals and/or animal tissue.

Potential applicants and their host organisations should note that the RCEM PhD Fellowship Scheme is a personal award designed to contribute to an individual’s salary costs (the remainder being provided by the applicant’s supporting consortia) on completion of the PhD research project.

The Doctoral Research Fellowship (RCEM-DRF-Policy) is aimed at individuals of outstanding potential, early in their research careers. It aims to fast-track them through a customised research training programme in an environment reflecting their individual talents and training needs. It is anticipated that successful applicants would become independent research leaders within 6 to 10 years of completing the RCEM-DRF award.

Following completion of a RCEM-DRF, the Fellows are expected to have successfully completed a robust research and training programme and be able to show evidence of:

  • Completion of the research proposed in the application
  • Award of a PhD
  • Completion of a substantial and wide-ranging training element
  • Increased research skills
  • Publications arising from the Fellowship
  • Involvement in collaborative relationships

Evidence of the above will be sought through interim and final report monitoring.

Research projects undertaken as part of a RCEM Fellowship will be included on the NIHR portfolio. Local Research Design Service (RDS) support should be available for all NIHR portfolio project research proposals.


  1. Applicants for a RCEM-DRF must be able to demonstrate that they have previous research experience. For example, a Masters qualification would be an indicator of such experience.
  2. Applicants must be medically qualified and a trainee in EM.
  3. The RCEM-DRFs are intended to fund individuals to undertake a PhD. Applicants who have already begun a programme of work to achieve a research doctorate are eligible to apply as long as, by the date that they intend to take up a DRF, they have not been registered for a PhD (or MPhil with transfer to PhD) for more than 12 months WTE.
  4. Only one application to the RCEM Fellowship Scheme is permitted in each round. Multiple applications will not be accepted.


  1. The Fellowships may be undertaken on a full-time or part-time basis. Full-time Fellowships are available to undertake research for 3 years at 100% WTE. In order to provide an opportunity for talented individuals who, for personal reasons, are unable to undertake full-time research, the Fellowship will be made available for 4 or 5 years part-time (i.e. 75% or 60% WTE). The RCEM is not able to fund awards of any other duration or profile.
  2. The RCEM award will contribute £25,000 per year (total £75,000 over 3 years) towards:

A. Directly Incurred Costs

  • The applicant’s salary including the employer's contribution to National Insurance and superannuation (proportion funded 100%).
  • A training & development programme appropriate for a Doctoral research fellowship (proportion funded 100%).

B. For NHS Organisations

RCEM awards will be eligible for inclusion on the NIHR portfolio and for CLRN funding. This training scheme is recognised by the NIHR Dean for Training.

The Fellowship does not include, or pay for, any activities other than the research and training proposed in a successful application.

The remaining costs of the PhD fellowship must be met by a consortia which can include Deaneries, Universities, NHS Trusts and Comprehensive Research Networks. See section 8.

Application Procedure

Fellowships will be awarded based on open competition. Applications must be received by Friday 22 January 2021; interviews will be held in late January / early February 2021.

All documents must be submitted in English.

Fellowships should begin between February and September 2021 and cannot normally be deferred.


30 November 2020 - Advert open
22 January 2021 - Closing date (17:00) for submissions
25 January 2021 (W/C) - Shortlisting by Panel
January/February 2021 - Interviews and decision to award (date TBC)
September 2021 - Latest date to begin award

Applicants are asked to keep the interview dates available to attend for interview in London.

Please send your application along with a copy of your CV to by 17:00 Friday 22 January 2021.