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Associate Principal Investigator (PI) Scheme

Updated on: 29 Mar 2021   First published on 25 Feb 2021

The NIHR Associate Principal Investigator (PI) scheme aims to develop junior doctors, nurses, and allied health professionals to become the PIs of the future at the same time as helping to deliver studies to time and target.

Associate PI Scheme

Operated by NIHR and endorsed by the NIHR Clinical Research Network, the RCP and four other royal colleges, the Associate Principal Investigator (PI) Scheme aims to develop junior doctors, nurses, and allied health professionals to become the PIs of the future.

Through the conferment of Associate PI status, the scheme provides formal recognition of a trainee’s engagement in NIHR Portfolio research studies.

Who is the scheme open to?

Following a successful pilot in surgery, the scheme is open to trainees in gastroenterology, hepatology, cancer, trauma and emergency, anaesthesia, and Ear, Nose and Throat surgery-related studies. It is open to any junior doctor, nurse, or allied health professional willing to make a significant contribution to the conduct and delivery of a study at a local level over a period of at least six months.

What are the benefits?

Participation provides opportunities to engage in NIHR portfolio research, as well as help deliver NIHR portfolio studies to time and target. The scheme also increases opportunities for patients to be involved in high quality research to improve care.

On completion of the scheme, you will receive a certificate confirming your Associate PI status, be acknowledged in the primary publication(s) generated from the study, as well as gain the enhanced skills and understanding around the delivery of NIHR portfolio research.

How do I apply?

There are four steps to successfully applying to the Associate PI Scheme:

  1. Register a study – Check if the study you want to register for to be an Associate PI is on the list of registered studies. If not, then complete the Associate PI Scheme Study Registration Form.
  2. Register yourself – Once you have approval from the Site PI and CTU Study / Trial Manager, register for the scheme by completing the API Scheme Applicant Registration Form.
  3. Complete checklist – Once you are registered for the scheme, you will be sent a welcome email with a link to the Associate PI Scheme Checklist. You will need to complete this and get it signed off by your PI and the CTU Study / Trial Manager within six months of registering for the scheme.
  4. Receive certificate – After submitting your approved checklist, the NIHR Associate PI Scheme Team will issue you with a certificate. You are then free to register for another study at the same or another site.


Further details on the scheme are available via the NIHR Associate PI Scheme Website.

You can also send any questions you have to associatepischeme@nihr.ac.uk.

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