Becoming Research Active (Healthcare and Public Health)

  • 7 hours
  • 1 day
  • 26 June 2019


This is a one-day practical workshop to help NHS and local government staff engage in research activity.

It addresses the question: what does becoming 'research active' involve and where do I start?

Research activity can include:

  • developing your own small project
  • collaborating on research studies
  • assisting clients/patients to take part in research
  • being a (critical) research ‘consumer’
  • helping to shape research priorities, design and delivery

You'll learn about the whole research process - from identifying a research question to disseminating findings.

You'll produce an action plan for taking your research idea forward, with guidance and advice from experts in health research.

You'll have the opportunity to meet other professionals from similar work settings and share ideas, learning and experiences.

This course is organised by NIHR CLAHRC North Thames Academy with involvement of the Research Design Service (East London) and the NIHR Clinical Research Network North Thames. CLAHRCs are partnerships between universities, health and other organisations which have come together to conduct ground-breaking research that will have a direct impact on the health of patients and the public.

Course content and structure

The workshop will be held from 9am to 5pm. There'll be a mixture of lectures and small group exercises to make sure the course is as practical and relevant as possible. 

It'll cover the following topics:

  • Identifying and designing a research question 
  • Research planning
  • Research governance and ethics
  • Research dissemination

You'll develop an action plan for a research idea you want to develop.

You'll also learn about the wide range of support services and resources available which can help you further develop your research idea.

Who this course is for

The workshop is aimed at those who work in:

  • NHS trusts
  • clinical commissioning groups (CCGs)
  • local authorities

It's not aimed at academics or researchers.


You should have had some exposure to research, for example, you might have:

  • completed a Master's-level module in collecting and analysing data or critical appraisal of research
  • helped to support research in your organisation
  • attended another CLAHRC North Thames Academy course

You should have a research idea, innovation, or change that you would like to plan for, or collaborate with researchers on. 

Certificate of attendance

You'll receive a certificate of attendance on completing the course.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course you'll be able to:

  • understand the research process from start to finish, including the principles behind good research design and planning for dissemination and impact
  • understand the different roles within a research team and identify the points at which you can become involved
  • apply criteria to judge the potential value and feasibility of a research project idea
  • understand research governance and ethics requirements and where to find out more
  • plan how to involve patients and the public in every stage of research, in a way that benefits the research
  • identify and access relevant resources and help available across north Thames to design, plan and fund research

Cost and concessions

The fees are:

Benefits of this course

Being involved in research is a great way to address the questions that often arise in healthcare and public health. The NHS Constitution commits the health service to recognise and promote the value of research. Research can also play a vital role in producing new evidence and new knowledge for decision-making across public health.

Course organisers

This course is run by NIHR CLAHRC North Thames Academy with the Research Design Service (East London) and the NIHR Clinical Research Network North Thames.

The Research Design Service (East London) provides free design and methodological support to health researchers who are developing research funding applications. Find out more on the RDS London website.

The Clinical Research Network North Thames provides the infrastructure that allows high-quality clinical research to take place in the NHS. Find out more on the CRN North Thames website.

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Course team

Dr Victoria Newton

Victoria is the CLAHRC North Thames Academy Lecturer. She's an applied health researcher, with a special interest in qualitative methods. Her research area is sexual and reproductive health and her most recent project examined barriers to the uptake of intrauterine contraception in general practice.

Dr Jessica Sheringham

Jessica is a Senior Research Associate at UCL’s Department of Applied Health Research. Her research interests involve questions that have an impact on reducing inequalities in healthcare and access to appropriate healthcare. Her research spans respiratory disease, sexual health and cancer, using both qualitative and quantitative research methods. She's also an honorary consultant in public health at Barking & Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge CCGs.

Dr Ratna Sohanpal

Ratna is a postdoctoral researcher in health services research, Primary Care Senior Trial Manager, and a general advisor for the London-based Research Design Service. Her research interests include complex interventions, chronic disease management, and improving patient participation in research and evidence-based self-management support programmes. She's managing a NIHR-HTA funded multi-centre randomised controlled trial called TANDEM, which looks at whether a cognitive behavioural approach intervention linked with pulmonary rehabilitation improves anxiety and/or depression in patients with COPD.

Dr Sandra Jumbe

Sandra is a health psychologist with research interests in chronic disease management and smoking cessation. She's also been involved in consultancy work developing tailored stress management interventions within organisations and group settings. She's worked extensively in the NHS as a researcher, assistant psychologist and in research governance. She's also a general advisor for the London Research Design Service, supporting local health professionals and research teams develop their research ideas into full funding applications.

Steven Towndrow

Steven is a patient and public involvement specialist with extensive experience across the voluntary and health sectors. His career has focused on capturing and actioning the views of service users from across health and social care, and facilitating partnerships between the public and professionals. Since 2013 he's been patient and public involvement officer for NIHR CLAHRC North Thames, where he supports and facilitates lay involvement in the design, execution and communication of research.

Dr Rachel Muir

Rachel is a CLAHRC HEE NCEL post-doctoral fellow and the Senior Matron for the NIHR Clinical Research Facility at UCLH. Her clinical background is in critical care, accident and emergency and clinical research, and she has a PhD in Social Sciences. Rachel is interested in knowledge mobilisation, arts-based participatory methodologies, and patient experience in clinical trials – the focus of her CLAHRC HEE NCEL fellowship project. She's currently developing applications for post-doctoral funding.

Imogen Skene

Imogen is a CLAHRC pre-doctoral fellow and a senior clinical research nurse in emergency care. Her research interests are emergency care, consent and patient experiences.

Student review

"Very informative. Good flow to the presentations and structure of the day. Enjoyable group work tasks. Very professional. Good introduction to see which areas of research I would want to learn more about. Motivates me to want to be more research active."

"Very helpful, great to network and share experiences from other fields with a similar overview of research design/implementation."

Course information last modified: 20 Nov 2018, 11:55