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£250,000 research grant for health and social care practitioners in Torbay

Published: 9 April 2019

Patients will benefit from improved care with the award of a new £250,000 grant aimed at supporting research by health professionals in Torbay and South Devon.

The fund will support the first project of its kind in the South West – supporting staff working day-to-day directly with patients, allowing them to undertake research that will make a real difference.

Torbay Medical Research Fund has given the grant to the University of Plymouth South West Clinical School at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, enabling staff to pursue a combined academic and clinical role.

Funding will support nurses, midwives, allied health professionals, social workers, clinical psychologists, and pharmacists to develop applied health research relating to their clinical service and priority areas.

South West Clinical Schools is a collaboration between the university and the NHS to encourage nurses, midwives and other health professionals to look critically at their practice.

Undertaking research can challenge current thinking, encourage staff to try out new ideas and work out ways to measure their work. Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust is one of five Trusts in the region hosting a Clinical School.

The funding will support Trust staff to undertake a PhD while continuing their clinical role. The pre-doctoral award will support staff to spend the equivalent of one day a week over one year preparing for a PhD. Applications are now open.

The ultimate aim of the funding is to develop a significant number of staff whose research can lead to evidence-based change, enhancing services; improving cost effectiveness and quality, while recruiting, retaining and developing the best staff in health and care.

There is increasing evidence that research active health care organisations achieve better patient outcomes – and Professor Mary Hickson, Co-Director for the University of Plymouth Clinical School at the Trust said: “Staff working with patients every day are well placed to explore the research that will really make a difference.’’

Doctor Susie Pearce, Clinical Schools Co-Director added: “Whether it’s work to improve outcomes for a particular population group, or investigating whether a certain treatment or process could be streamlined, we are proud to help health and social care practitioners research into the issues that matter. This funding from the Torbay Medical Research Fund is very gratefully received and we’re looking forward to receiving the applications for the posts.”

Torbay Medical Research Fund is an independent charitable fund that provides funding for research that benefits the people of Torbay and South Devon.

Peter Cliff, Fund Chairperson, said: “We are delighted now to be able to support funding for doctoral and pre-doctoral awards to health and social care practitioners. This is a first within the South West. All of us at the fund are committed to supporting and developing innovative research approaches. This works alongside our funding for traditional clinical research, that of the innovative researcher-in-residence model.’’

Jane Viner, Chief Nurse from the Trust added: “It’s great to be working in partnership with the University of Plymouth, and we’re so grateful to Torbay Medical Research Fund for their support. We are very lucky to have a local research charity which can have such an impact.

“As well as ensuring that patients ultimately benefit from research-led care, this funding provides a powerful message to staff that research and education is valued and supported; and provides a sustainable method to support staff to pursue both clinical and academic career pathways.”