RCP policy: research and innovation

Research is crucially important for the future health of our population and the delivery of excellent healthcare. The RCP is encouraging all physicians to get more involved in research and working for research and medical academia to become an integral part of the NHS.

What we are doing

In November 2019, RCP published Benefiting from the ‘research effect’: The case for trusts supporting clinicians to become more research active and innovative, endorsed by 21 other organisations. The document sets out the numerous benefits that trusts and health boards can take advantage of if they support clinicians to become more research active.

In 2019 we brought together a wide range of stakeholders to examine how to embed research in NHS trusts to improve patient care. Presentations from the day, and summaries of the workshop discussions which considered protected time, clinician credibility and NHS trust culture are available here.

This followed on from our earlier publication - Delivering research for all. This statement, endorsed by 16 other organisations, set out our view that high-quality research in the NHS is everyone’s responsibility and a core part of clinical care.

We are working closely with clinicians, academic health science networks and representatives of NHS organisations to highlight practical examples of how research activity can be increased.  

RCP is also developing a clinician researcher credential with the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR), Medical Research Council and other medical royal colleges. This will particularly help clinicians who have not followed a traditional academic path to become involved in research.

Key to our work is also enabling more time for clinicians to do research. We are working with the BMA to develop viable models to protect clinicians time for patient-facing research.

Championing research culture

Those already involved in research have an equal role to play in providing support to colleagues who want to be more involved. The RCP has published a series of blogs by academics, doctors, patients and NHS trust leaders about the value of research activities.

What we have produced

Benefiting from the ‘research effect’ sets out how NHS trusts can better support clinicians to become research active, and the huge benefits this will deliver for patients, trusts and staff themselves.

Delivering research for all is a new project supported by the RCP that is calling for every clinician working in the NHS to become research active.

The Research engagement toolkit, produced by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) with support from the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR), has been created to provide the information to physicians that will help you get engaged in research in lots of different ways.

Research is a team endeavour and is best cultivated through the strong relationships and positive culture.
The Research for all report draws on the findings of a 2015 UK survey exploring the current barriers to doctors’ engagement in medical research.
Simon Denegri, NIHR national director for patients and the public and chair for INVOLVE, calls for all research opportunities to be open and visible in the NHS.
The RCP wants to see the UK's access to EU funding for medical research continue after Brexit along with access to a fast and robust system for patients to access new treatments.
The RCP welcomes the opportunity to submit written evidence to this inquiry by the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee.
The NHS must ensure that patient care remains at the heart of the Brexit negotiations to ensure that UK patients can continue to access the latest treatments.