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ICA Internships Information for Applicants

ICA Internships Information for Applicants

This scheme is open to non-medical clinical staff employed by a NHS organisation in the North East, North West or Yorkshire & The Humber regions of Health Education England

What does being an intern involve?

You will need to dedicate a total of 38 days across the internship period to undertake a research experience project and the parallel education programme. How and when the days are completed should be negotiated with your employer and supervising mentor to enable the needs of you as the intern, your employer, and the project programme of work to be met. For example, these days may be the equivalent of 1 day per week or in blocks of days. Your employer will receive funding to cover salary backfill and expenses totalling £7,500.

Finding a mentor and identifying a research project

During the internship you will complete a research project (or component of). The project should have the potential to deliver improvements in patient care and to develop your research skills. It is recognised that the timeframe of the internship will influence the scale and shape of the project that you undertake. You may be able to work on aspects of a study for an existing project that your mentor is engaged with, or you may undertake a service evaluation or engage with an existing project within your own organisation. 

Throughout the internship you will receive support from your mentor who will supervise your project.  Their organisation will receive £1,000 to cover the cost of their time.

You are encouraged to identify your own mentor who you are comfortable working with. Sheffield Hallam University can assist you to identify a research mentor if required - we will suggest several mentors to you who you might contact as a part of the application process. It is important that your mentor is accessible and is convenient for you to contact; their expertise and interests should loosely align with yours. It is up to you to contact the suggested mentors and to identify the best mentor for you as a part of the final application.

Resources available to you on the internship programme

The structured Educational Learning package is designed to enhance your experiential research project learning, the educational programme team at Sheffield Hallam University will guide you through the face to face and online elements of this package.

You will be enrolled as a student at Sheffield Hallam University for the duration of the internship and will be provided with access to the library resources and student support services. There will be an introduction to these services, including database searching, accessing journal articles, electronic books, accessing the Library's Distance Learner Support Service etc. during the initial 2 day residential programme. The Blackboard online distance learning platform will be used to provide learning opportunities on the distance learning educational programme.

Guidance will be provided on how to access and use these systems, and support is available via online guidance, telephone, email, or in person. You may use these resources to support the activity that you undertake as a part of the clinical academic research experience.

What will I be required to produce at the end of the internship?

  • At the end of the internship you will write aacademic report of no more than 3000 words based upon the project that you have been engaged with. Your mentor will provide feedback on this academic report.
  • An action plan of no more than 500 words outlining your future development needs, and based on a reflective portfolio you will complete during the Internship.
  • Produce a poster on your research project to be presented to an invited audience on the final day of the internship programme.  To view some of the posters produced by the 2017 cohort of Interns please click here (PDF, 12.4MB) (PDF file, 12.3mb)
  • Provide an evaluation/progress report at HEE’s request to contract monitor the provision.

Career Development and Planning

As a part of the programme you will undertake a structured self-assessment of your skills to engage in research and evaluation activity, and to engage in boundary spanning activities which are a key element of successful research activity. This self-assessment will form a baseline for identifying their personal development needs and identifying how they can address those needs through the internship programme opportunities.  On the final day of the programme you will consider the next steps in your research careers and how you may work towards achieving the objectives.

Can I gain masters level 7 credit for my learning on the internship programme?

You may gain credit for your learning on the Internship programme by submitting the portfolio and academic report that you develop during the programme as recognition of prior learning. Depending upon the content and quality of your portfolio, associated project work and academic report this would equate to 15 or 30 credits at level 7 which can be imported into a health related Masters programme at Sheffield Hallam University for a small fee ( the cost of which is not included as a part of the HEE / NIHR internship funding). Full guidance will be provided on this process during the internship.  Other universities may allow the credit to be imported as a part of their masters programmes or may have a similar mechanism for you to import your learning into their masters courses.

I already have a Masters level qualification - can I still apply?

If your Master's qualification is a pre-registration health & social care Masters qualification then yes, you are eligible to apply.

If your Master's qualification is not a pre-registration Master's qualification then unfortunately you are not eligible to apply for the Internship programme.  However, there are other programmes in the NIHR/HEE ICA Pathway which you are eligible to apply for, including the Pre-Doctoral Clinical Academic Fellowship scheme and the ICA Bridging Schemes.

If you're unsure whether your existing qualifications would make you eligible or ineligible for the ICA Internship Programme please contact us for an informal discussion.

Applications Process

Applications for the January 2022 cohort are now open. Please complete this application form (DOCX, 162.3KB) and send to

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