Are you an adult social care professional looking to embark on a practice based academic career to make a difference to social care through undertaking high quality practice research? 


If so, this programme is for you. NHS R&D North West are pleased to announce that in May 2022, we will be delivering the first Practitioner Researcher Internship for adult social care across the North West region of England. These innovative and highly prestigious internships provide the first step onto a practitioner researcher career pathway.  

If you’re curious about the nature of research into practice or are already engaged in this in a limited way, then the Internship programme will be of interest. Read on!

How will an internship support my practitioner research development?

The internship provides a dedicated period for you to consider and contribute to research capacity and research capability building within social care services. It will: 

  • provide the opportunity for you to engage in and develop a network of practitioner academics to develop, evaluate and promote research into practice, learning and innovation locally, regionally and nationally,
  • support the development of both your practice and research skills,
  • enable you to explore research into areas prioritised within the Care Act of 2014 or of strategic importance to your employer or the education and training of the social care workforce more widely,
  • offer you the support of an academic mentor and 30 days protected time,
  • offer you an insight into the world of  practitioner research,
  • provide access to relevant learning resources; and
  •  provide you with significant developmental opportunities to enable you to begin to realise your research potential. 


The scheme is open to adult social care professionals who must:

  • Be employed by a local authority or commissioned by a local authority in the North West of England.
  • Be an adult social care professional registered with Social Work England or in thre case of occupational therapists with the Heath Care and Professions Council.
  • Have no prior formal research qualification such as a Masters degree by research, MPhil, PhD or professional doctorate.
  • Have clear potential for engaging in research that will be of benefit to service users and/or the public. This could include reviews of adult protection processes, the use of advocates, promoting equality and social justice in adult social care, the implementation of the Mental Capacity Act 2005, to name but a few examples. 

What is involved? 

The key components of the programme are:

  • 30 days of practitioner research experience supported by supervision from an experienced academic,
  • Participation in a 6-day residential educational programme to increase your knowledge and understanding of research and its place in the wider NHS and Social Care research community.  The 6 days are made up of 3 x 2 day residentials spread out over the duration of the 6 months; and
  • Exploration of your personal and career development goals.

Is funding available? 

A single payment of £7,000 will be offered to the intern’s employing organisation to facilitate release from their duties and cover travel and other reasonable expenses.

A fee of £1,000 will be paid to the organisation hosting the internship to cover the costs of supervision and mentorship.

What do I need to do?

An application form can be downloaded here along with the guidance notes. They require the input of your proposed supervisor, line manager and Principal Social Worker, so we advise you not to leave it until the last moment to download an application form.  Please note that if you do not have a supervisor, NHS R&D NW will help you to identify a suitably qualified person.

How do I find out more?

After having read the guidance notes, if you have further questions please contact Jo-Anne Simpson,

In addition, to inform potential applicants about the programme and the application process, we will be holding 2 online Q&A sessions open for anyone to join who wish to know more about the scheme and ask any questions.  These will be an hour in duration, 12pm – 1pm, and held on MS Teams, the dates of these sessions are;

2nd March 2022

23rd March 2022

Those wishing to join these online sessions can do so here.

What is the deadline?

Following the submission deadline, all applications will be checked for completeness and eligibility and eligible applications will be sent to the selection panel for consideration at the Funding Recommendation Meeting.

  • Deadline for applications Friday 1st April 2022
  • Interviews will be held on Tuesday 12th April 2022 (these will be face 2 face OR online)
  • Date of first 2-day residential 18th & 19th May 2022 at Lancaster House Hotel, Lancaster

Applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application via email.  It can take up to 10 working days for application outcomes to be issued.  Feedback can be made available to unsuccessful applicants on request.