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Capacity Building

NIHR CLAHRC West Midlands is developing capacity for service delivery research in academia, the health service and among public and patients, and to enhance the capacity of these sectors to interact with the other through a variety of ways:

  • An applied fellowship programme supported by matched funds from the service
  • PhD studentships and research funding
  • An MSc in Health Research Methods
  • Programme for engagement with applied health research
  • Gaining external funding
  • Developing international collaborations

Applied Fellowship Programme: The Concept of Leadership and Diffusion Fellows

We have appointed clinicians and service managers as part-time Diffusion and Leadership Fellows to work at the interface between services and academia to develop and evaluate innovations in delivery of care. The Fellows are encouraged to take part in further accredited educational/developmental activities, such as the recent opportunity to carry-out a part-time taught master's programme at University of Birmingham alongside clinical/managerial duties. This aims to build the adsorptive capacity of partner organisations to apply knowledge in their day-to-day practices.

  • Induction Event for Leadership and Diffusion Fellows: 17 September 2014
  • Qualitative Methods for Applied Health Research: 6 October 2015
  • Health Informatics: 10 March 2016

Leadership and Diffusion Fellows “absolutely key” says Director

NIHR CLAHRC WM has welcomed its Leadership and Diffusion Fellows, representing health and social care partners from across the West Midlands. Greeting the group at their first workshop, the CLAHRC WM Director described the Fellows as “absolutely key to ensuring CLAHRC research leaves an indelible mark”.

The Fellows, a mix of clinicians and health service managers from partner organisations, will work together with researchers to inform studies, and be champions within their own organisation, supported by a programme of dedicated CLAHRC WM workshops. Both Leadership and Diffusion Fellows will carry out broadly similar functions, but Leadership Fellows have been chosen because of their strategic role, whilst Diffusion Fellows tend to be embedded within services.

Speaking at the event, Deputy Director Graeme Currie said “In conceptual terms Diffusion Fellows are ‘knowledge brokers’ – getting the right knowledge to the right people at the right time. It will vary with the individual organisation and research theme but we envisage they will work into the research, helping co-produce the research plan and discuss analysis, and out of CLAHRC to engage stakeholders and build communities of interest”.

The induction event also featured a talk from Chris Parker, Chief Executive of West Midlands Academic Health Science Network.

NIHR Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care West Midlands (or CLAHRC WM for short) began a five year programme in 2014. The project is funded by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR); this £10million investment is complemented by £20.6million in matched funding from local health and social care organisations to continue evaluating and developing healthcare.

NIHR CLAHRC WM is hosted by University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust with academic partners at the Universities of Birmingham, Warwick and Keele.

PhD studentships

In the CLAHRC pilot, we were commended by the NIHR for the quality and support provided to our PhD students. We are building on the successes of the PhD programme and in, addition to ensuring access to NIHR training opportunities, we will continue to develop the capacity of our doctoral students to act as knowledge brokers through tutorials, a peer support group, PPI internships and an exchange programme. If you are interested in undertaking a CLAHRC PhD then click here for our current vacancies.

Programme for engagement with applied health research

One of our aims is to go beyond discussing simply the ‘findings’ from applied science, to enhancing understanding of underpinning principles, so that our partners can make informed judgements about the validity of research results and the meaning of quality metrics.

Since clinicians, managers and researchers have been shown to have incomplete understanding of the principles of research and probability, public engagement activities are not confined to service users and the public but embrace other producers and users of knowledge.

With popular television programmes on physics by Prof Brian Cox and human evolution by Prof Alice Roberts, public engagement with science in general has undergone something of a renaissance in Britain. Popular books have recently been published on probability, epidemiology and behavioural economics. We shall build on this momentum to instil a deeper appreciation of scientific principles in management and quality assurance of services.