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Case study: Robert Pierzycki: SPARC Round 4 Awardee

The NIHR Infrastructure SPARC (Short Placement Award for Research Collaboration) scheme was launched in 2014 and allows eligible researchers to spend time on a placement in other parts of the NIHR to network, train in a specific technique or collaborate with other researchers/specialists in their research area.

Find out more

What I did

Placement host: Manchester BRC

Placement title: “Advancing collaborations, methodological expertise and high-impact publication output towards establishing leadership in a personal research area.

  • Learned to program, process, visualise and analyse data in R statistical package. 
  • Learned methods for the analyses of epidemiological data.
  • Studied materials from the ‘Hearing Loss’ module at the University of Manchester, supported by course tutors. 
  • Observed the clinical management of patients and discussed their experiences of living with profound and unilateral hearing loss.
  • Identified research questions and developed analysis codes. 
  • Presented at a ManCad (Manchester Centre for Audiology and Deafness) research seminar.

Its impact

  • Developing new methodological skills which will be invaluable in future research projects.
  • Invited to a new collaboration between the Manchester Auditory Brainstem Implantation service and the Nottingham BRC.
  • Becoming a named collaborator on UK Biobank projects with the Manchester BRC.
  • Establishing myself as a lead researcher in the epidemiology of hearing loss at the Nottingham BRC.
  • Leading external collaborations for future projects, including predicting outcomes for cochlear implantation for tinnitus.
  • Moving towards becoming a more senior and independent researcher, leading to new grant applications and papers.


  • Completing papers on epidemiology and the impact of single-sided deafness and inter-aural asymmetry in hearing function for high-impact journals.