NIHR launch further rounds of the LAAF Programme and the LA SPARC scheme

Following the successful NIHR Local Authority Academic Fellowship Programme (LAAF) and associated short placement opportunities Pilot in 2021; NIHR have successfully received approval from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) for future rounds of the LAAF Programme and Local Authority SPARC (LA SPARC) scheme.

The NIHR are investing in these practitioner-academic career pathways, and career development opportunities, with the aim of enabling people to consider and develop careers combining academic research with practice from all professional backgrounds.

The Local Authority Short Placement Award for Research Collaboration (LA SPARC) offers awards of up to £15,000 per individual and provides opportunities for both individuals working in Local Authority settings, and NIHR Academy members (masters, PhD or post-doctoral researchers undertaking a career development in a part of the NIHR) to undertake placements and move between NIHR and LAs in either direction.

  • Short placement opportunities are available within the NIHR for individuals working in local authorities and local authority commissioned services in England who are interested and engaged in research and analysis, policy and evidence enhance their career.
    These short placements will provide opportunities for people to consider and develop careers combining academic research with practice, experience research from a different perspective, train in a specific skill or technique, as well as providing an opportunity to develop meaningful research collaborations, partnerships, and ideas for co-produced research.
  • Opportunities for local authorities to ‘host’ placements for NIHR Academy members (masters, PhD or post-doctoral researchers) based within NIHR Infrastructure and NIHR Schools in their local authority setting. These placements will provide opportunities for NIHR Academy members to gain first-hand experience of being actively embedded and connected within practice and policy, as well as an opportunity for the LA to discuss mutual areas of interest, what skills and expertise the LA setting and NIHR centre can collectively offer and start to develop potential research collaborations, networks, and ideas for co-produced research that is more meaningful and relevant, in order to better inform practice and policy.

A guide on placement areas within the NIHR has been developed for potential local authority applicants and is available here: NIHR SPARC – Where can I go?

Local Authority colleagues who are interested in hosting placements can express there interest here

NIHR are also currently seeking Expression of Interest (EOI) for Selection Committee members from Local Authorities and Local Authority Commissioned Services to join the NIHR SPARC Selection Committee to support with the assessment of LA SPARC applications.

For more information regarding the NIHR LAAF Programme and the LA SPARC scheme please contact Senior Programme Manager, Infrastructure & Capacity Building, NIHR Academy