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Competition offers a win for clinical research

The RCP has welcomed a new initiative aimed at supporting more doctors and other healthcare professionals to get involved in clinical research.

Working in partnership, the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and Academy of Medical Royal Colleges  are inviting higher education institutions to apply for funding in the second round of a competition to develop new clinician researcher development programmes. This will form part of the new NIHR-AoMRC Clinician Researcher Credentials Framework, providing a range of practical, master’s level clinician researcher development programmes aimed at experienced clinicians who are new to research.

The RCP, as the lead member of the AoMRC for this programme, is managing this work jointly with the NIHR Clinical Research Network Coordinating Centre (CRNCC). 

Learners will have an opportunity for experiential learning, mentoring and sharing of local innovative best practice within the supportive environment of a clinical research network. The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), which has commissioned and funded the Framework, will provide bursary funding to support learner participation in programmes aligned with it.

Professor Ramesh Arasaradnam, RCP academic vice president, said, “The value of clinical research has been clearly demonstrated during the pandemic and more and more clinicians are keen to get involved, but many feel they lack the necessary skills.This qualification, and the wider researcher credentials framework, is key to bridging that gap. Ultimately this will mean more clinicians are able to contribute positively to research, which brings benefits to patients in ordinary as well as extraordinary times, through better services and outcomes.”

In the first round of the competition, it has just been announced that the University of Exeter and Newcastle University have been successful in their applications to secure funding from the DHSC to develop Postgraduate Certificates aligned with the Framework. The universities will also provide flexible access to high quality interactive online learning.

Professor Arasaradnam said, “The Postgraduate Certificates now being developed by these successful universities will break down barriers and encourage more participation in clinical research now and in the future.”

The RCP has provided a range of online resources to support clinicians looking to become more involved in research, as well as a strategy to develop, deliver and drive research in the NHS; seeking to address the barriers to equality of access.