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

A new grant will support health professionals in Torbay and South Devon to make a difference to patient care through ongoing research.

Torbay Medical Research Fund has awarded £250,000 to the University of Plymouth South West Clinical School at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, which will support nurses, midwives, allied health professionals, social workers, clinical psychologists, and pharmacists to develop applied health research relating to their clinical service and key priority areas.

South West Clinical Schools is a collaboration between the University and the NHS to encourage nurses, midwives and other allied health professionals to look at their practice, challenge current thinking, try out new ideas and work out ways to measure what they are doing. Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust is one of five Trusts that hosts the initiative.

The funding will support doctoral fellows at the Trust, who will undertake a PhD while continuing in their clinical role, and pre-doctoral fellows, who will 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 critical mass of staff who can embed evidence-based change to enhance 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.

Professor of Dietetics Mary Hickson, Co-Director for the University of Plymouth Clinical School at the Trust, said: 

“The people in the roles working with patients every day are well placed to explore the research that will really make a difference.”

Dr Susie Pearce, Associate Professor of Clinical Nursing and 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, Chair of the Research Fund said: 

“All of us at the Fund are committed to supporting and developing innovative research approaches. As well as funding for traditional clinical research, we are delighted that alongside supporting the development of the innovative researcher in residence model, we are now able to support funding for doctoral and pre- doctoral awards to health and social care practitioners. This is a first within the South West.”

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.”

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South West Clinical Schools

The Clinical Schools are a collaboration between the University of Plymouth and NHS Trusts working with nurses, midwives, and allied health professionals at all stages of their clinical and academic development.

Our work with local health services has identified the urgent need to capture improvements in patient and family outcomes, as well as ensure that existing evidence is used to best effect and increase the amount of research led by non-medical health professionals.

To meet these needs, we have invested in Clinical Schools, which are professorial-led centres, in five of our local NHS Trusts.

Find out more about the South West Clinical Schools project