Red campion flower
A champion is a person who enthusiastically supports, defends, or fights for a person, belief, right, or principle.
This page highlights the role of research champions and showcases the work of specific people across the region who are supporting either their profession, organisation, service, or team.  
Some well-known barriers to engaging in research-related activity in health and social care organisations are:
  • feeling isolated
  • not knowing what support is available in an organisation
  • feeling like you have to do everything yourself.
Research champions are people who act as a point of contact; they can signpost to more information, advice, or help; and some can help strengthen one's resolve, motivation and self-belief that research-related activity is something we can all be doing. 
The DRSW aims to establish a cohort of people across the South West who fulfil such roles. 
If you are interested in being a research champion, or think you already are, then please get in touch at

Role purpose

Research champions work across their network acting as role models and activists to champion the active involvement of the workforce in research-related activities. 

Job role

Optimally situated in health or social care services, the role is to reinforce the value and benefit of research to commissioners and providers. In particular:
  • To be a connector, connecting locally and nationally to link existing and new communities of practice
  • To support the local workforce to understand the alignment of national research and innovation strategies with regional and more local opportunities 
  • To promote research activity and research careers by sharing information through their networks 
  • To assist in identifying enablers to NHS and social care research capacity and capability

Skills and attributes of research champions

  • Able to network across the professions and levels of seniority
  • To act as a role model, mentoring and leading by example
  • Inspiring and encouraging of others
  • Reflective, with a desire to support the career development of others
  • To be able to develop good working relationships and communicate well virtually as well as in person
  • Understands the value of all types of research activity and its impact on healthcare outcomes and patient experiences, as well as benefits to healthcare staff and organisations 
  • Understand the wider national research landscape

Likely benefit of being a research champion

  • To be part of a regional initiative to raise the profile of aspiring individuals and support their development and visibility
  • To be part of a research network of research champions
  • Opportunities to work in partnership with other organisations and understand the bigger picture
  • Improved insight into the research skills required to shape NIHR-funded or NIHR-supported research
  • Enhance the post holders' personal network in support of their research career ambition
  • Support evidence-based practice
  • Priority spaces on CAHPR/NIHR run research courses, workshops and conferences
  • To obtain useful skills that can be applied to future career opportunities, role development of research funding application
  • Provide increased visibility and reputation for the champions' employer (supporting service/organisation)