HEE/NIHR Fellowship awards for Imperial midwives


Imperial midwives secured HEE/NIHR pre-doctoral clinical academic fellowships in the 2018 cohort.

The HEE/NIHR Pre-doctoral Clinical Academic Fellowship scheme is a two-year award aiming to equip clinical professionals with the skills and expertise required for their follow-on doctoral application, whilst remaining active in the clinic. Following a rigorous selection process assessing candidates’ suitability, commitment and academic potential, two midwifes from Imperial College and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust were awarded these prestigious Fellowships. We asked them about their motivation for applying for the scheme and future plans.

Juliet Albert, Specialist Midwife for female genital mutilation (FGM) at ICHT

This award will allow me the time to prepare to undertake research into the work that we are doing in the FGM clinic. I hope to carry out a longitudinal study to try to evaluate whether the holistic model of care that we provide in our clinic can actually influence long term behaviour change and thus contribute to the  prevention of FGM being carried out in the future. I hope to eventually do a PhD whilst simultaneously working clinically as I am determined to continue my face to face clinical work with clients as this is the aspect of my job that I love most.

Alison Perry, Research Midwife in the Women’s Health Research Centre, Imperial College London

I became a midwife to contribute to the improvement of women’s health. The big-picture ways in which we individually and collectively make contributions to improving women’s health while working clinically are not always clear.  Working for several years in clinical research in the Women’s Health Research Centre, however, has connected me with the pathways and opportunities to now lead in my own research. I can think of nothing better. For several years I have been aware of the NIHR Doctorate Fellowship for Allied Health Professionals, but the application itself presented a logistically challenging leap, so when the first round of new Pre-Doctoral Fellowships was announced early this year I jumped at the opportunity.

This brand-new award will allow me to undertake a bespoke training package including the development of my research interest around women’s health and well-being, undertake key coursework and attend conferences, develop academic collaborations and prepare a competitive PhD application.  I am lucky to have found two brilliant advisors, Professor Helen Ward here at Imperial College (Public Health and Patient Experience) and Professor Elsa Montgomery (Midwifery) at King’s College.

My particular area of interest is the transition that women make to motherhood and the way in which we guide and support them as healthcare providers and as a society.  I am interested in collaborating with women themselves through the Patient Experience Research Centre to develop my PhD project methodology which will seek to improve the wellbeing of women around childbearing.  I can’t wait to get started!

Professor Mary Wells, ICHT’s Lead Nurse for Research, said: I am really delighted that two of our Imperial midwives have been awarded Pre-doctoral Clinical Academic Fellowships.  This is a new NIHR scheme, which is highly competitive. It provides nurses, midwives and AHPs with funding for 50% of their time, so that they can develop their research ideas and plans for a PhD alongside their clinical roles.  We hope to build on this success next year and encourage anyone who is interested in a clinical academic career to come to our CATO workshop to find out more about opportunities and support available.

NIHR Imperial BRC is committed to supporting non-medical healthcare professionals in developing academic careers, and the upcoming CATO workshop will include an overview of the main pre-doctoral opportunities and explain the key differences between them, talks from colleagues already on a pre-doctoral scheme and discussions around what funders are looking for and how to prepare the best possible application. Further details and registration form can be found here.

  • Professor Helen Ward
    Professor Helen Ward
    Theme Lead, SGE, Professor of Public Health and Director, PERC
  • Prof Mary Wells
    Prof Mary Wells
    Professor and Lead for Nursing and Midwifery - Theme Committee Member