Personal Chairs

We award professorships to individuals with outstanding cardiovascular research achievements and leadership qualities. Applications, which require an initial outline proposal, should be made by the Head of the School or Faculty where the professor will take up the appointment.

About BHF professors

Our professors are appointed in partnership with universities that can demonstrate a strong commitment to cardiovascular research.

The professors are expected to bring research leadership at an internationally competitive level and a commitment to training future cardiovascular scientists.

Additional important considerations for making the award are how the candidate supports and enhances the overall cardiovascular research strategy of the university and the added value the chair brings to the BHF.

Universities may choose whether to request the professor’s salary from the BHF or to pay it from HEFC or other institutional resources.  If, by taking over payment of the professor’s salary, the BHF is releasing a salary previously paid by the university, the BHF will require a defined commitment from the university to use the money directly for the support of the professor. In either instance, we expect that all BHF professors will devote the majority of their time to the direction of research, with circumscribed administrative, clinical or teaching duties.

If the award includes the professor’s salary, this will be provided for a maximum of 10 years. 

Key requirements

  • Senior investigator in clinical or basic cardiovascular science with an established reputation as an international leader in the pertinent research field.
  • Substantial output of high impact research papers on a sustained trajectory.
  • Long-term track record of attracting significant peer-reviewed research grant income as principal investigator, including current programme-level support from the BHF and/or other funder(s). The application will be judged on the quality of the applicant and their proposed research activity over the next 5 years, in the context of existing grant support and anticipated renewals during that tenure.

Award duration

  • Awards are for 10 years in the first instance.  Renewal for the second 5 year period is subject to review of past achievements and of detailed future research plans, with a site visit. 
  • At renewal, the level of support will be assessed and may be increased or decreased. 
  • Renewal of BHF Chairs after 10 years: process
    • Chairs who wish to apply for renewal beyond 10 years will be asked, approximately 18 months before the renewal date, to submit a short structured synopsis of the progress of the full duration of their Chair. This will be reviewed by the Chairs and Programme Grants Committee, and if a renewal is deemed potentially appropriate the Committee will invite the Chair to submit a full application for renewal and the standard site visit assessment will follow.
    • If renewal is not recommended the BHF will enter dialogue with the university to ensure an acceptable grant closure process is in place.
    • This process will be followed for each 5 year renewal thereafter.
    • Note – this process will also be adopted for BHF Chairs appointed by the previous scheme (renewable until age 65), with the synopsis covering the last 10 years of progress.
  • Renewal of BHF Chairs after 10 years: support package
    • Award renewal beyond 10 years (or age 65 if awarded under previous scheme) requires an undertaking that the university will continue to pay the professor’s salary. It is not the intention that the funds previously used for the professor’s salary are repurposed for other posts or expenditure, but rather that the overall award budget is reduced accordingly.
    • The Chair’s discretionary fund is set at £20,000 per year for years 1-5 and may be increased to a maximum of £40,000 per year following the first site visit. The level will be assessed de novo at each subsequent site visit.

Level of support

  • The award will pay the professor’s salary, if requested (see above). For non-clinicians, we will pay up to the standard maximum level on the non-clinical professorial scale; for clinicians, we will normally pay for ten PAs on the consultant scale. The university may supplement the professor’s salary at its own expense.
  • Additional support for salaries can be requested, if fully justified, for core research support or research administration posts that directly assist the professor’s research activity.
  • The professor will receive a discretionary fund of £20,000 a year towards expenses in pursuit of their research objectives.
  • After award, the professor will be entitled to request additional support (under a dedicated Scholarship Scheme) for up to 15 months’ salary to secure recruitment of a talented individual, with the expectation that their future funding will be acquired by a separate grant application.  Only one of these can be in post at one time.
  • For newly established professors, or professors moving to a new institution, start-up funds for major items of equipment up to a maximum of £250,000 can be awarded if justified.
  • In exceptional cases, we may be prepared to consider an additional Infrastructure Grant to facilitate establishment of the chair.
  • Residency requirements do not apply for BHF Personal Chairs and international applicants are eligible to apply for accelerated UK Tier 1 Visas. Visit here for more information.

How to apply and what to submit

Preliminary queries should be addressed to the BHF Medical Director, by email to [email protected] Subsequently, a formal outline case should be submitted by the Head of School/Faculty, also to the BHF Medical Director. The formal outline case should be submitted as a single collated file that includes:

  1. The university’s strategy for cardiovascular research, and how this appointment will strengthen the strategy.
  2. The full CV of the proposed professor, including details of current funding and previous funding from the past 10 years.
  3. A budgetary breakdown of the salaries to be funded by the Personal Chair award for the first 5 years, including any core support posts.
  4. Description and justification of any core support posts.
  5. A summary of current and anticipated research activity that will be undertaken during the first 5 years and how the Personal Chair award will extract added value.   

The university will be informed if our Chairs and Programme Grants Committee recommends a full application. We will provide the guidelines and forms needed.

Decision process

There are no closing dates.

For a decision, please allow:

  • Up to 6 months from submission of an outline application.
  • Up to 12 months from submission of a full application.

The full application will be assessed by international peer review, and the award will normally require an interview.