Getting into research

In this episode of The PJ Pod, we speak to pharmacy professionals who have developed research careers to find out the practical steps pharmacists can take to thrive as researchers.

As a science-based profession, pharmacy practice relies on knowledge underpinned by high-quality research that continuously grows and enhances the evidence base. In their everyday roles, pharmacists can identify unique clinical questions around medicines use and through the research process can produce evidence that drives significant improvements in patient outcomes and overall standards of care.

Increasing pharmacist involvement in research is a strategic priority for the healthcare system, but there are many barriers that can prevent participation.

In this episode of The PJ Pod, we look at how pharmacists can become more involved in research, by hearing directly from those who have done just that. We speak to the members of our ‘Outstanding Pharmacy Early-Career Research Award’ (OPERA) 2024 shortlist, and winner, as well as Parastou Donyai, chief scientist at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, to explore some of the practical steps that individuals can take when starting out, while also considering the skills and characteristics that can help pharmacists thrive as researchers.

By the end of the episode, you should be able to:

  • Understand the value of pharmacist-led research;
  • Identify transferable pharmacy skills that can be utilised during the research process;
  • Know where to go for information, advice and support to help get started with research.

Many thanks to the OPERA 2024 shortlist: Zoe Edwards, Ryan McNally, Anneka Mitchell, Anna Robinson-Barella and Sion Scott, and to Parastou Donyai, for their contributions.

This programme is presented by Caitlin Killen, assistant clinical editor, research and learning, and produced by Geoff Marsh.

Further resources

  • The Associate Principal Investigator Scheme: a six month in-work training scheme, providing practical experience for healthcare professionals starting their research career;
  • Clinical Academics in Training Annual Conference: a cross-speciality conference for all aspiring clinical academics currently working in the UK and the Republic of Ireland, which brings together clinical academics from across disciplines to present their work, and develop their networks with each other and senior researchers;
  • The National Institute for Health and Care Research Advanced Fellowship: a postdoctoral Fellowship aimed at anyone with a PhD who has not yet been appointed to a professorial post. The advanced Fellowship supports individuals undertaking research in any scientific discipline or sector that can demonstrate a contribution to improving health and/or care;
  • NIHR Incubators to support research careers: an initiative that aims to encourage early-career interest in target disciplines to build identifiable communities through networking and provision of bespoke training and development support. Incubators provide targeted high-level career development support, led by experts in the field and supported by the NIHR;
  • NIHR Integrated Clinical and Practitioner Academic Programme: a funding programme that provides research training awards for health and social care professionals, excluding doctors and dentists, who wish to develop careers that combine research and research leadership with continued practice and professional development;
  • Pharmacy Research UK: an independent charity, committed to supporting pharmacy to improve the health of the public by funding research projects and individual bursaries, helping to develop research skills across the pharmacy sector.

Resources from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society

  • Research guidance and support: an overview of guidance and support available through the RPS, including one-to-one support sessions, in-depth guidance, and signposting to relevant funding, training and development opportunities;
  • Research and evaluation guides: resources developed for all pharmacy professionals at all levels to help build knowledge, skills and confidence in research;
  • Research funding and developing research proposals: information on best practice in research grant and Fellowship writing, including an overview of the main sources of funding available in pharmacy, as well as the information required to interpret a funding call and application guidance;
  • NIHR and RPS research e-Learning programme: a series of modules designed to improve clinical research awareness, knowledge and skills for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, who are new to research and/or have minimal experience of research or research opportunities.
  • RPS mentoring platform: an area for members looking to develop their career and access support.

Want to hear more from The PJ Pod? Follow us on SpotifyGoogle PodcastsApple Podcasts or other popular podcast platforms to listen to our latest episodes. 

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, June 2024, Vol 312, No 7986;312(7986)::DOI:10.1211/PJ.2024.1.321904

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