Joint Research Office


Rachel Taylor

Blog written by Rachel Taylor, Director of the Centre for Nurse, Midwife and Allied Health Profession-led Research (CNMAR) UCLH, Honorary Associate Professor, Department of Targeted Interventions, UCL

Some moons ago when Marcel Levi, our former CEO launched UCLH as a research hospital, I needed to Google what this was. I came across the quote above from Health Care Canada. When I reflected on my own experience of working in a research role in the NHS for the last 30 years, unknowingly, my career has been embedded within this ethos from the beginning: 

  • tripartite mandate of care, training and research – I work clinically (okay, more managerially now!), undertaking research but also supervising, mentoring and nurturing talent to similarly work in a clinically research active way. 
  • provide care for the most rare and complex conditions – I began my research life in children’s intensive care, progressed to children’s liver disease and transplantation and now lead a portfolio of research in teenage and young adult cancer: all rare and complex conditions. 
  • move research results into practice – I’m proud that my work has never been just a publication, that evidence has informed practice, from informing the way nutrition is delivered to critically ill children to the way we deliver services to young people with cancer. 
  • significant impact on health – I would like to think I have impacted on health: patient benefit is at the forefront of my thinking whenever I start a new project. 

Further reflection makes me realise I have only had the ability to grow as researcher in the NHS because I’ve always worked in a ‘research hospital’. I started in a Trust ranked 27th as a research hospital in the UK (according to Scimago Institution Rankings) to one that is ranked 12th.   

Our website states: “What will make us a research hospital rather than a hospital that does lots of research?” The dropdown boxes that are in response to this question highlight much of what is great at UCLH but doesn’t capture our most valuable asset… our workforce!  

I’ve been able to develop and grow as a research leader because of the opportunities that I’ve been able to access. This month we are celebrating research careers and the Joint Research Office (JRO) are highlighting the various routes that nurses, midwives, allied health professionals, pharmacy staff and health care scientists (NMAHP-P-HCS) can follow in pursuit of a research career – this might be (1) embracing the research pillar of practice in an advanced role, (2) working within the research delivery workforce, or (3) developing a clinical academic role to become a research leader. Having a key role in increasing research capability and capacity at UCLH, I’ve been asked to showcase what clinical academic careers look like for NMAHP-P-HCSs. I want you all to have access to the types of opportunities that I have experienced. 

Over the next four weeks, you are going to read blogs and see presentations from people who are at various stages of the clinical academic pathway and hear about the opportunities now in place to help you achieve this goal.  As a research hospital we are more than a hospital that delivers clinical trials, we are an organisation committed to achieving the target of 1% of the NMAHP workforce being in a clinical academic role. This objective is embedded within our strategy - you can read more on the UCLH website. I’m proud to be director of the CNMAR, the department that exists to support and guide you in all aspects of research. You will be able to hear more about the CNMAR and what we do in a presentation later in the month, but you can read more about our successes in our biennial report: The CNMAR Biennial Report 2021-2023 - myUCLH