Second series of Doctoral Training Fellowships announced for frontline health professionals to undertake ageing-related research

24 November 2021

The British Geriatrics Society (BGS) and the Dunhill Medical Trust (DMT) are pleased to announce a second series of Doctoral Training Fellowships. The joint scheme provides funding for doctoral research that will ultimately benefit healthcare for older people.

The British Geriatrics Society and Dunhill Medical Trust are today announcing a second series of three Doctoral Training Fellowships for research into age-related diseases and frailty. Eligible candidates for the clinical research fellowship include doctors, nurses and allied health professionals working with older people. One award will be made each year from 2022, with the award covering the costs of the Fellowship on a part-time or full-time basis. The Fellowships are for research projects that have the potential to prevent, delay or reduce future health and social care requirements and to improve older people’s functional ability.
Three Fellowships were awarded under the first series of the scheme, which was launched in spring 2019. The first Fellow, Adeela Usman, is undertaking research based at Nottingham University. Working with care home residents and their families, she is developing a tool to measure quality of life which can be used routinely in care homes. The second Fellow, Sarah Hopkins, will begin her research in January 2022, which will look at using experience-based co-design to improve the impact of advance care planning on the quality of life and care of older people living with frailty. The third Fellow has been selected by the interview panel and will be announced at the BGS Spring Meeting in April 2022.
New research that enables high-quality, person-centred care for older people is vitally important. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a hugely damaging effect on older people’s health and quality of life, even as the NHS seeks to address the significant backlog of patients whose treatment has been delayed. The impact of the pandemic and the demographic reality of an ageing population create an urgent need for reform of the health and social care system to ensure all older people can access high-quality care in their later years. Research into aspects of clinical care for older people and its application in diverse settings therefore remains essential in this volatile context. The BGS/DMT Fellowship scheme provides a key opportunity for early career researchers to combine their research with clinical work, and to contribute to collective knowledge that improves older people’s care at this critical time.
Applications for the first round of the new scheme will open in late January 2022. The deadline for applications will be 8 April 2022 and shortlisted candidates will be interviewed in the autumn. Applicants must be a member of the British Geriatrics Society for the lifetime of the grant and meet the requirements for a programme of PhD study at a UK-based University. The grants will cover salary and tuition fees, as well as appropriate running expenses and travel costs.

Dr Jennifer Burns, President of the British Geriatrics Society, commented:

The BGS is delighted to be partnering with the Dunhill Medical Trust to extend our joint Fellowship scheme for a further set of three awards. Robust research is fundamental to improving the understanding of age-related conditions and care for those living with frailty and complex health problems. This Fellowship provides a prestigious opportunity for three Fellows to build their research skills and contribute to improving quality of life and care for older people."

Susan Kay, Chief Executive of the Dunhill Medical Trust, commented:

Developing and sustaining research capacity in the health and social care workforce is one of the key principles underpinning our strategic vision. And it’s all the more important in these complex and uncertain times that we provide continuity of investment in those who do such a great job delivering excellent healthcare for older people. We’re therefore thrilled to be able to renew our commitment to the joint Fellowship scheme with the BGS."

For further information about the Joint BGS/DMT Doctoral Training Fellowships, visit Full call guidelines and a template application form will be published in January 2022.