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RCP leads new initiative to give clinicians research skills

The Royal College of Physicians will lead a new initiative to give clinicians research skills, on behalf of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AoMRC) and in partnership with the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). 

Commissioned and funded by the Department of Health and Social Care, the new Postgraduate Certificate will focus on the practical elements of clinical research and is aimed at experienced clinicians who are new to research.

From today, higher education institutions (HEIs) are invited to compete for funding to develop the Certificate – the two successful HEIs will each receive an award of up to £100,000 to help fund the development of the course and assessment materials.

One of the biggest barriers to clinicians becoming involved in research is a perceived lack of skills, according to a member survey the RCP conducted in 2020. The qualification will form part of the new NIHR-AoMRC Clinician Researcher Credentials Framework, which provides a range of practical Master’s level clinician researcher development programmes.

It will provide clinicians with the necessary knowledge, skills and confidence to begin to contribute to, and develop towards leading, clinical research locally in their clinical setting.

The RCP will keep its members informed about opportunities to become involved as these programmes develop. Further information on the competition for higher education institutes is available.

Commenting on the launch, RCP academic vice president Professor Cheng-Hock Toh said:

‘Clinicians have a huge appetite to become more involved in clinical research, but many feel they lack the necessary skills. This qualification, and the wider researcher credentials framework, will play a significant role in bridging that gap. The past 12 months of the pandemic have shown more than at any other time the huge impact of research in the frontline care setting - ultimately this will mean more clinicians able to contribute positively to research, meaning better services and outcomes for patients.

‘I’m delighted that the RCP has been chosen to deliver this work on behalf of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, which will help meet the research needs of our members as outlined in our research policy commitments.’