We aim to lead the way in building capacity and capability in the nursing and midwifery workforce and build academic health careers that makes a difference to our patients

Creating academic careers for our nurses

As an Academic Health Science Centre (AHSC), we are committed to developing research and Innovation across all our professions to benefit patients.
We encourage our nurses and midwives to undertake their own research projects, and where possible, to complete Masters or PhDs. We work closely with CATO (the centre for academic training office) at Imperial College London to create opportunities for nurses, midwives and other healthcare professionals to undertake high quality research. We also support the development of academic careers for non -medial staff groups.

Staff who do not wish to pursue research careers but have an interest in research can develop their critical appraisal skills and literature searching skills with the help of our library service. Not everyone wants to be a researcher and we aim to support staff to develop their research skills as well as undertaking research so they can employ the best evidence to underpin their practice.

We are very proud to have supported a number of our staff to PhD level and beyond, some of whom have become experts in their field of practice.

Hear from our staff

Dr Matthew Grundy-Bowers, 43, consultant nurse (HIV/sexual health)

Matthew Grundy-Bowers

In 2005 I became a consultant nurse in HIV and sexual health at the Trust. This role is 50 percent clinical duties and 50 percent non clinical, including undertaking research.  I was struggling a little bit with the research element of my new job and had always planned to do a PHD. I knew the PhD would enable me to develop research skills through undertaking a research project, which I could apply to my role. So in 2008 I started my PHD in Public Health, which explored the topic of why gay men do not use condoms.

The Trust was so supportive and funded the first year of my PHD. In addition, my line manager and I also looked at my jobplan so I was able to condense my working hours into four days, leaving one working day for me to concentrate on my PHD.  The following years of my PHD were funded by the Trust charity, Imperial College Healthcare Charity and the National Institute for Health Research Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowship.

Since completing my PHD, which was published in Sexualities (2015), it has had a really positive impact on both my own work and role, and that of my team, many of whom are following my lead and are undertaking their own PHDs and masters in clinical research. Not only that, but the findings of the research I undertook for my PHD have been used to help support a bid to the Trust’s charity for funding to start up a new prevention programme for  patients engaging in  sexual risk taking.

There are lots of people undertaking research at the Trust which is great as there is always someone you can ask if you have any questions or need some advice. The Trust has so many opportunities for people who want to undertake research, so if you have the desire and dedication I would definitely encourage anyone to give it a go.  

Darzi fellowship

Nurses and midwives at the Trust can apply for a Darzi Fellowship in Clinical Leadership . This programme was set up by Professor the Lord Darzi to support the development of effective leadership, giving clinicians the skills to develop practice for patient benefit. We encourage nurses and midwives to apply for these programmes which allow dedicated time to work on developing and delivering a specific project or innovation to improve patient care. The programme helps develop leadership skills and fellowships are available at any point in a nurse of midwife’s career.

Hear from our staff

Rebecca Kenny, 29, quality improvement fellow

Rebecca Kenny

I had been working as a senior staff nurse in A&E when I felt ready to try a new challenge in my career and further my studies. I knew I wasn’t quite ready to commit to undertaking a PHD so when the Darzi Fellowship came up it seemed like an exciting opportunity to work on a clinically based project while building leadership and quality improvement skills. 

At the time there were very few nurses who had undertaken the Darzi Fellowship and I worried about making a successful application. However the A&E senior nursing team were very supportive of my application and seemed to completely understand my desire to do something new and challenging.

Completing the fellowship gave me a broader understanding of the wider healthcare system. It enabled me to use my skills gained working in a big acute Trust while developing my ability to manage change within a large complex organisation. As a direct result of the Fellowship I gained skills that enabled me to make a successful application to my current role as a quality improvement fellow at the Trust. 

I would say to anyone working at the Trust, but particularly nurses, that you should always aim to build close working relationships with your line manager, keeping conversations about career progression and opportunities open and honest. Having these types of relationships means that if you are interested in doing something which is beyond your current clinical role, you should be able to have valuable conversations about what you want from your career. You should never be afraid to ask about other opportunities – it’s important to recognise that there are often opportunities within the Trust that you can pursue – you just need to ask. 

Working at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust there are a huge number of opportunities available to all staff. These opportunities enable you to work with truly inspirational staff who are dedicated to safe, high quality care and are experts in their field. 


The Trust employs two professors of nursing, who support the development of research opportunities at the Trust. They assist staff in preparation for undertaking PhDs including providing information on grants and preparing a proposal. An annual conference for those wanting to get started in research is run in September each year. Regular research training events are also run throughout the year.