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NIHR Associate Principal Investigator Scheme: Opportunity for pharmacists to be engaged with research

13 May 2022
Primary Care

As National Pharmacy Champion for the NIHR Associate PI Scheme, your support is greatly appreciated in promoting the scheme nationally to our pharmacist colleagues. 


The Associate Principal Investigator Scheme is a six-month in-work training opportunity, providing practical experience for pharmacists starting their research careers.

People who would not normally have the opportunity to take part in clinical research in their day-to-day roles have the chance to experience what it means to work on and deliver an NIHR portfolio trial under the mentorship of an enthusiastic Local PI.

Participating health and care professionals receive formal recognition of engagement in NIHR Portfolio research studies through the certification of Associate PI status, endorsed by the NIHR and Royal Colleges.

The scheme is open to any healthcare 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:

  • The healthcare professional works alongside the Local PI for six months on the study at the same site as the Associate PI.
  • The Local PI acts as a mentor to the Associate PI, helping them to understand what it means to be a Local PI on an NIHR portfolio study.
  • During their time on the Associate PI Scheme, the Associate PI must complete a checklist of study activities and a learning pathway on NIHR Learn. This checklist needs to be signed off by the Local PI and the National Study Coordinator at the end of an Associate PI's time on the scheme.
  • The NIHR Associate PI Scheme team will then issue a certificate confirming Associate PI Status which can be added to their training portfolio. The scheme has proved popular with both Associate PIs and study teams, with 98% of alumni saying they have stayed/are planning to stay engaged with delivering research since completing the Associate PI Scheme.

Research is only possible thanks to the efforts of dedicated health and care professionals, and the NIHR Associate Principal Scheme provides an opportunity for pharmacists to take their first step in research. To find out more about the Associate PI scheme, the benefits, and how to apply, visit the Associate PI Scheme webpage. For further information please contact the Associate PI Scheme Central Team at

Professor Mahendra Patel, Pharmacy, and Inclusion and Diversity Lead PRINCIPLE and PANORAMIC trials - University of Oxford


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