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Vacancy details

Closing date: 03 January 2022

Other vacancies

Transitional Supportive and Palliative Care Lead


The NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) provides the infrastructure for high-quality research across the NHS and wider social care environment in England. We help researchers and funders to deliver studies in the NHS and support the research community to maximise the value of leading-edge approaches and techniques, so patients can benefit from new and better treatments.

The CRN is a managed network supported by a national CRN Coordinating Centre and funded by the Department of Health and Social Care up to 31 March 2024. It is an Alliance including Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, five Russell Group Universities, and PA Consulting. National academic and clinical leadership for 31 CRN research specialties is provided through ‘Clusters’ hosted by the Alliance university partners.

Specialty and subspecialty areas are led by high-calibre clinical and social care leaders who provide expert advice to the CRN and work with the clinical and non-clinical community, and national and international health and life-sciences industry (non-commercial, pharma, medtech, diagnostics and biotech) to make the NHS a benchmark of excellence for the research community.

This post

This Transitional Supportive and Palliative Care position is placed within Cluster F, which includes the Cancer, Surgery and Oral and Dental Health specialties. However, the cross-cutting nature of Supportive and Palliative Care requires that the postholder will interact with all specialties and Clusters. The postholder will have the specific role of supporting research in supportive, palliative, end-of-life and bereavement care in the hospice and community setting. This includes studies involving cancer patients together with a new focus on delivery of research for patients with non-cancer but life-limiting conditions, among under-served populations and in under-researched settings (including home, care homes, prisons and other environments). The postholder will work closely with the Supportive Care and Community Based Research Subspecialty Leads appointed in the Local Clinical Research Networks (LCRNs), whilst also working to create a new funding model to support the development of local research leadership.

The post-holder will work with a variety of specialties across the CRN Coordinating Centre, including primary care, public health and social care as well as disease-specific specialties such as respiratory.

Over their 18 month tenure the postholder will work with a wide variety of stakeholders to develop a sustainable model for support of research into supportive and palliative care across all disease areas, and involving medical, nursing, allied health professional and social care disciplines. We anticipate cross-fertilisation of learning between supportive and palliative care research in cancer and non-cancer patients.

A specific aspect of this post is to chair and coordinate the NIHR and Charities Consortium for Hospice and Community Research. This consortium includes charities supporting the delivery of supportive and palliative care and is active in encouraging and supporting increased research activity to improve the standards of care. The work of the Consortium includes webinars, an annual conference and a national award scheme.


To apply, please send a CV and a statement (one page maximum) setting out your vision and suitability for the role to Clare Shaw ( An indication from your employer that they are willing to put in place arrangements to allow you to take on this role would also be useful at this stage. The deadline for applications is 3 January 2022.

We welcome applications from all sections of the community. Information can be made available in alternative formats. Informal enquiries are encouraged, and should be made to Ed Park ( and Clare Shaw (

Cluster structure

A: Host HEI Imperial College London
Specialties: Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes, Metabolic and Endocrine Disorders, Kidney Disorders, Stroke

B: Host HEI Imperial College London
Specialties: Ear, Nose and Throat, Gastroenterology, Infection, Liver, Respiratory Disorders
NIHR innovation areas: Advanced therapy medicinal products, Community-based research

C: Host HEI King’s College London
Specialties: Anaesthesia, Perioperative Medicine and Pain Management, Critical Care, Dermatology, Health Services Research, Mental Health, Primary Care, Public Health and Prevention, Social Care, Trauma and Emergency Care
NIHR innovation areas: Experimental medicine in critical care, Genomics in primary care, Imaging

D: Host HEI University of Liverpool
Specialties: Children and Young People, Haematology, Musculoskeletal Disorders, Ophthalmology, Reproductive Health
NIHR innovation areas: Life course – early years

E: Host HEI Newcastle University
Specialties: Ageing, Dementias and Neurodegeneration, Genomics and Rare Diseases, Neurological Disorders
NIHR innovation areas: Life course – ageing well, Innovations in clinical trial design and delivery for the under-served (INCLUDE)

F: Host HEI University of Leeds
Specialties: Cancer, Oral and Dental Health, Surgery
NIHR innovation areas: Thanking, acknowledging, and informing trial/study participants

Job summary

The Transitional Supportive and Palliative Care Lead (in conjunction with the Medical Director, Cluster Leads, and LCRN Clinical Directors) will be a key ambassador for the NIHR CRN. With Cluster Leads and the Business Development and Marketing Directorate, they will proactively develop effective relationships with decision-makers in the public sector, charity and life science funding organisations (non-commercial, pharma, medtech, diagnostics and biotech) and other companies relevant to palliative care provision to further the aims of the NIHR CRN. With knowledge and experience of the full scope of the NIHR, they will collectively ensure that the NHS is seen as an organisation that excels in the consistent delivery of high-quality research. The post-holder will operate across both commercial and non-commercial research settings to communicate about the CRN and promote it on the basis of its performance and delivery.

Providing leadership of the specialty at a national level, the Transitional Supportive and Palliative Care Lead will promote engagement, placement and subsequent delivery of studies with the NIHR CRN. In a synergistic partnership with the research delivery team (led by the NIHR CRNCC Research Delivery Director and the Head of Divisional Research Delivery), the post-holder will advise and troubleshoot areas of poor delivery within their specialty. Working with the local research delivery team and in particular the local specialty lead, they will maintain national oversight of the specialty’s portfolio, promoting continued improvements in performance in the delivery of studies through the Clinical Research Specialty Leads, the Divisional Clinical Leads and the Research Delivery Managers based in the 15 LCRNs. Working with patients, service users, carers, health and social care professionals and academics, the post-holder will ensure a focus on the continuing improvement of research experience in the health and social care services.

Role outline

Reports to: NIHR CRN Specialty Cluster F Lead
Employed by: Current employing organisation
PA allocation: Reimbursement of 1 PA to employing organisation, enabled through the relevant LCRN
Tenure: For 18 months, from date of appointment
Location: Current place of employment. Post holder will be expected to travel nationally and, on occasion, internationally (pandemic allowing)

Key duties and responsibilities


  • Provide and coordinate clinical leadership and advice for specialty activities at a national level to maximise research activity, delivery and access to NIHR CRN Portfolio studies in the specialty, for example input into study wide feasibility requests
  • Act as the key clinical contact for the specialty, advising and representing the NIHR CRN and proactively promoting clinical engagement and awareness of research within the specialty at a national level
  • Promote the aims, objectives and successes of the NIHR CRN and of the specialty at national and international levels
  • Contribute to national NIHR CRN initiatives, in particular developing and sharing best practice to reduce and prevent silo working
  • Champion a culture of innovation and continuous improvement across the specialty and the NIHR CRN as a whole, leading projects and initiatives as appropriate
  • Support the Medical Director and senior management team of the NIHR CRN to ensure best value for money and appropriate use of resources to deliver optimal specialty performance in light of current national priorities, challenges and opportunities

Clinical research leadership

  • Lead and support the Clinical Research Specialty Leads, establishing and maintaining a coherent and effective national network for the specialty
  • Chair national meetings of Clinical Research Specialty Leads and contribute to other national clinical leadership groups and events as appropriate
  • Provide visible, dynamic and effective senior clinical research leadership, direction and oversight for the specialty, both within the CRN and externally
  • Champion the importance of delivery for the life sciences industry, promoting the important contribution commercial clinical research makes to the health and wealth of the nation
  • Ensure the effective continued development and functioning of the specialty, supporting Clinical Research Specialty Leads in their role, promoting clinical engagement and specialty succession planning
  • Work with colleagues to direct initiatives to identify and meet the personal development, training and/or induction needs of the Clinical Research Specialty Leads
  • Oversee the development of relevant procedures, guidelines and protocols as appropriate, ensuring the NIHR CRN service complies with relevant research and clinical quality standards

Supporting research delivery

  • Monitor, report on and seek to influence the volume and balance of studies on the specialty’s research portfolio, providing expert intelligence and advice to research delivery teams and other NIHR CRN staff where appropriate
  • Identify the strengths, capacity and capability of the specialty to ensure the portfolio maximises the ability to offer research participation opportunities to patients, carers and service users
  • Maintain oversight of the national portfolio for the specialty, working nationally to support the timely and effective delivery of the specialty’s research portfolio, liaising with Clinical Research Specialty Leads and Chief Investigators (CIs) of studies as and when necessary
  • Support the CRNCC (Performance and Research Delivery functions) in the performance management of the CRN, including the setting and oversight of the national objectives and targets for the specialty and the assessment of LCRN performance over the annual planning cycle
  • Provide input into national specialty-specific business processes, including national feasibility assessments for commercial studies (and, in the future, non-commercial studies), identifying potential sites/investigators that could conduct the study and the assessment of the risks of successful study delivery
  • Work proactively with life sciences industry companies in a coordinated manner (both nationally and internationally) to promote engagement with the NIHR CRN and increase the number of commercial studies successfully placed with and delivered through the network
  • Take a strategic overview of the national infrastructure required to support the specialty, with an emphasis on identifying and addressing nationwide blocks to successful delivery, sharing examples of good practice across the LCRNs and ensuring that LCRNs make full use of the opportunities to contribute to studies, emerging needs and under-represented patient populations
  • Advise the CRNCC Research Delivery Director and Cluster Lead/Medical Director on national issues related to portfolio delivery (e.g. clinical pathways and needs), national infrastructure requirements, and national challenges/opportunities for research in the specialty. Take responsibility where appropriate and agreed for the resolution of issues relevant to the specialty or across the wider NIHR CRN
  • Promote and lead initiatives that encourage incorporation of the voice and experience of patients, service users and carers into the NIHR CRN’s approaches to delivery and access to high quality research

Stakeholder engagement

In conjunction with the Cluster offices:

  • Develop and maintain effective working relationships with Royal Colleges and other professional associations/bodies relevant to the specialty
  • Work with external stakeholders (e.g. Royal Colleges and research funders) to develop the national research infrastructure for the specialty and link with portfolio development groups to promote continuity between study development, support and delivery
  • Work with other elements of the NIHR’s scientific and academic leadership, and other funders (both within and outwith the UK), to increase the flow of high-quality research studies onto the NIHR CRN Portfolio
  • Develop a close relationship with the senior clinical leaders of NHS England as appropriate to the specialty and national representation
  • Promote the involvement and engagement of patients, carers and the public in the specialty’s research portfolio
  • Engage with NIHR Faculty, including CIs and Senior Investigators

Undertake any other duties commensurate with the role of a senior member of the NIHR CRN.

Personal specification: essential attributes

Qualifications and education

  • Registered on the General Medical Council Specialist Register or hold equivalent clinical professional status
  • Higher specialist training in a medical discipline or equivalent professional training

Knowledge and experience

  • Experience as a clinical investigator
  • Nationally respected opinion leader within their specialty with a breadth of clinical knowledge
  • Evidence of managing effective collaborations and partnerships
  • Experience of working across complex organisational structures and effective matrix management
  • Sound knowledge of how the NHS works
  • Knowledge of national systems, structures and processes for supporting clinical research (industry and academic sponsored) in the NHS
  • Experience of managing clinical teams through a performance management framework in a clinical setting
  • Experience of committee work, including as Chair

Skills and abilities

  • Evidence of leadership skills that engage motivate and develop a wide range of both clinicians and managers
  • Effective facilitator who is able to bring colleagues together to work in a collegiate way for the overall benefit of the national community in which they work
  • Well-rounded interpersonal skills, including the ability to influence and achieve results through other people
  • Ability to work with stakeholders at all levels across a range of organisations
  • Ability to develop strong and productive working relationships with senior stakeholders
  • Ability to demonstrate influence on others and achieve impact in research leadership, delivery and management
  • Ability to prepare and deliver presentations and reports to a high standard
  • Ability to analyse and interpret highly complex information and to make judgements regarding a range of complex issues
  • Commitment to supporting the development of staff and understanding of workforce planning
  • Strong problem-solving skills
  • Ability to support and champion new models of working


  • Flexible approach to working
  • Highly motivated, with ability to influence and inspire others
  • Outcomes focussed
  • Demonstrates passion for bringing benefits to patients through the integration of research within excellent clinical care within the NHS
  • Ability to act as a champion for patients and their interests, ensuring the patients’ voice is at the heart of LCRN activities

Personal specification: desirable attributes

Knowledge and experience

  • Experience and evidence of international collaborations
  • Experience as an academic investigator
  • Executive level experience
  • Understanding of the importance of the application of robust business planning and financial management techniques at scale
  • Experience as a CI of at least one substantial nationwide or international research project