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How will you shape ‘Your Path in Research’?

research staff talking

The NIHR’s annual Your Path in Research campaign launches across the UK today, aiming to inspire healthcare professionals to get involved in research, or take the next step in their research career.

In a survey carried out by the Royal College of Physicians, 80% of physicians said they participated in research because it improves patient care, with 75% agreeing working within research allows them to develop a wider set of skills.

The value that research staff bring to a participant's experience and the trust they build  is something which inspires many to develop their research skills. For example, 94% of respondents from the Participant in Research Experience Survey 2020/21 said they would consider taking part in research again. This highlights the professionalism, knowledge and friendliness of the research teams across the UK that are contributing to participants’ positive experiences of being involved in research.

Over the four week campaign - which begins on the birthday of James Lind, who conducted the first ever clinical trial in 1747 to find a cure for scurvy - a series of inspiring case studies, social media posts and video content will highlight the exciting journeys of healthcare professionals, as well as share easy ways to find out about the research happening near you.

Find out how you can start or develop your career in research, by visiting the Your Path in Research campaign page today.

Professor Waljit Dhillo, Dean of the NIHR Academy said:

"COVID-19 has changed the research landscape and placed clinical trials at the front of everyone’s minds. The NIHR’s response to the pandemic brought clinical and research professionals together like never before with more people experiencing the difference health research can make.

"We want to build on that and support people to make research part of their careers, and lives."

Although it has been a core part of the NHS constitution for several decades, the collaborations and discoveries within research over the past 18 months have placed it high on the agenda. It is known that patients admitted to more research‐active hospitals have more confidence in staff and are better informed about their condition and medication. Evidence has shown hospitals that are more research active have lower mortality rates and produce overall better patient outcomes.

Dr Janice Paterson, Workforce Strategy Lead, NIHR Clinical Research Network, explains:

The 12,000 strong workforce funded by the NIHR Clinical Research Network is diverse and highly distributed across a number of different roles, all working together to provide coordinated approaches to deliver on national research priorities.

“During the pandemic, the ambition and adaptability of research staff and clinical team colleagues has been demonstrated in the delivery of urgent public health studies. The Your Path in Research campaign looks to harness and build on this momentum and highlight career pathways. Well supported training and development, for those both new to and experienced in research, is essential to successful delivery of clinical research by multi-skilled, multi-professional teams.”

You don’t need to be employed as a researcher to get involved in research. Research is for all healthcare professionals across all hospital and community settings.

Case study:

Lindsey Allan, an Oncology Dietitian who received funding through the NIHR Clinical Research Network Kent, Surrey and Sussex’s Greenshoots project, explains why she got involved in research:

"My patients inspired me to become a researcher. They cope with so much pain, discomfort and stress. We should always strive to make their situation better and research is the best way to do this.

“Get help and put the time in [to research] because it is so worth it when you get there! If you have a question that could improve patient care, and it hasn’t been asked before, then that question needs answering.”

You can find out more about Lindsey’s research career and experience of being a principal investigator on a study in this campaign case study.

Find out more:

The NIHR will be sharing a range of case studies, resources and information across our national Twitter (@NIHRresearch and @NIHRcommunity), LinkedIn and Facebook channels - in addition to specific regional content from our local organisations. Simply search #YourPathInResearch to join in the conversation.