Supporting our partners in Becoming Research Active

Local research bodies join forces with patient partners to deliver an introduction to research

We ran our Becoming Research Active course on November 14th offering our partners in front-line care a primer in research and the research process.

CLAHRC North Thames Academy collaborated with other NIHR funded research organisations in the region – the Clinical Research Network and Research Design Service – to deliver the training, with vital contributions from patients and members of the public.

The day-long course is structured to reflect the research cycle – from defining a problem, through securing funding to dissemination and evaluation. Attendees, who came from across the NHS and local authorities were encouraged to bring a research idea they could develop over the course of the day.

“The course has provided me with lots of resources and a clearer sense of direction, which is what I hoped for.”

We joined forces with NIHR infrastructure across the North Thames region – the Research Design Service which provides support to those preparing research proposals for submission to peer-reviewed funding competitions for applied health or social care research; and the local Clinical Research Network which makes it possible for patients and health professionals across England to participate in clinical research studies.

The training aimed to highlight the processes involved in planning and carrying out successful research, in partnership with patients and the public, and signpost attendees to the support available to them.

We were also very fortunate to have some patients and members of the public bringing their unique lived experience – of working with researchers, leading research and being a clinical trial participant respectively to offer tips to attendees.

CLAHRC Research Advisory Panel member Ayath Ullah (below left) joined the CLAHRC’s involvement officer Steven Towndrow to offer a lay perspective on how researchers can make patient/public advisers welcome and valued.

One of the CRN’s Patient Research Ambassadors (PRAs) Phillip Wingfield spoke about his experience of taking part in two clinical trials, offering a perspective from a participants point of view. 

We were also joined by community researchers Sultana and Farzana from the NEON project, where they have led research into improving nutrition practices among the Bangladeshi community in East London.

“Useful to have a range of speakers with varied experience. Great place to come prior to starting research.”

Researchers, staff and health professionals delivered a range of presentations with small group work and regular exercises to reinforce learning, and were on hand to facilitate each part of the day.

Feedback from attendees was overwhelmingly positive;

“Very useful and informative.”

“Lots of information to move forward my idea. Thank you very much.”

“A good overview of processes. Helpful to know all the help/support available.”

“Very well designed and delivered. It kept my attention throughout. The content/sessions were well balanced and provided me with the basis to build on”

We are offering follow up sessions with attendees to support the development of research ideas into action, and we plan to run the course again in summer 2019. Get in touch to join our mailing list to find out when courses are planned – clahrc.academy@ucl.ac.uk.