Building Health Research Capacity: The Impact of a UK Collaborative Programme

Khan, Koser, Porroche-Escudero, Ana, Georgiou, George orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-6314-7849 and Popay, Jennie (2021) Building Health Research Capacity: The Impact of a UK Collaborative Programme. Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice, 19 (4). ISSN 1540-580X

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Purpose: Strengthening research capacity (RC) amongst health professionals has both organisational and individual benefits. It can increase the quality of research and support the transfer of evidence into practice and policy. However
there is little evidence on what works to develop and strengthen RC. This paper contributes to the evidence base by
reporting findings from an evaluation of a programme that aimed to build capacity to use and do research amongst NHS
and local authority organisations and their staff in a large english research partnership organisation. Methods: The
evaluation used multiple qualitative methods including semi-structured interviews, focus groups and workshops (n=131
respondents including public advisers, university, NHS, and local government partners). Results: The RC building
programme provided a range of development opportunities for NHS and local authority staff resulting in increased
confidence and skills to undertake, participate in, and use research. Additionally, positive influences on organisational
practice and collaborative working were reported. Conversely, challenges to developing research capacity were also
identified as were the importance of resources, senior level buy-in, and the relevance of research topic to practice in
facilitating participation in the programme. Conclusion: Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and
Care North West Coast’s (CLAHRC-NWC) RC building programme differed from convential approaches giving less
emphasis to formal teaching and more to experiental learning and focusing on both individual capacities and supporting
organisations to integrate RC building into staff development programmes. The findings demonstrate that providing
opportunities for staff in NHS and local authority organisations to develop research knowledge and skills alongside an
infrastructure that supports and encourages their participation in research can have positive impacts on research capacity
and organisational research culture. The potential for generalising this approach to other organisational contexts is

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