If science funding needs to be forward looking, then research training must be even more so
Training the next generation of research leaders and preparing the Allied Health Professions for the future of healthcare is a major objective of the Sheffield BRC. Investing in research capacity development is essential to the long-term success of research.
We aim to attract, develop and retain the best new researchers by:
- Supporting our researchers in their career trajectory by encouraging opportunities for strategic collaborations
- Driving initiatives to support greater gender balance in academic research
- Promoting multidisciplinary research to drive innovation that will deliver intelligent medicine to patients and the health system
Our Training and Development Strategy
Establish an interdisciplinary faculty
Our trainees (both clinical and non-clinical) work across many different areas of translational research, from new approaches in stroke rehabilitation to looking into the genetic causes of Motor Neurone Disease. Establishing a Junior Faculty will allow our trainees to benefit from interdisciplinary peer support and promote equal access to training initiatives. Joining up with other National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) infrastructures and the integrated academic training pathway (IATP) for clinical academic trainees across Yorkshire and Humber will help our junior faculty to build critical mass.
Provide high quality training
We will establish a training committee to approve Professional Development Plans for all our trainees and review progress against these in 6 monthly reviews for PhD progress and 3 monthly reviews for 1-year clinical research fellowships.
The Sheffield BRC recognises that strong support and flexibility are key in the career progression of academics. For each research fellow, an individually negotiated programme of formal training is developed which is designed to support his/her personal development, in addition to general research and leadership skills.
We will encourage uptake of external mentorship programmes: particularly the Academy of Medical Sciences mentorship programme for clinical lecturers and NIHR and HEE programme for allied health professionals.
We will deliver inclusive, innovative interdisciplinary training in translational neuroscience based on the highly integrated multidisciplinary translational neuroscience pathway developed within the Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience (SITraN). In addition, the Northern BRCs will work together, under the auspices of the Northern Health
Sciences Alliance, to develop a regional approach to training, maximising opportunities
and furthering the goal of developing integrated training across the NIHR Infrastructure.
The University of Sheffield provides an outstanding PhD training programme for each of its candidates. We will also utilise where appropriate programmes within the local IATP and CLAHRC, in addition to the BRC specific training programme. This experience will be supplemented through the BRC Trainees Support Group, the aim of which is to provide a platform for knowledge exchange, networking opportunities and shared resources. Monthly meetings will be targeted to assist in the development of the competencies necessary for developing into an independent researcher and focus on personal effectiveness skills (leadership, career planning) and engagement, influence and impact skills.
Participate in national NIHR training initiatives
We encourage trainees to participate in the national NIHR faculty and make use of initiatives such as Short Placement Awards for Research Collaboration (SPARC), NIHR Infrastructure Doctoral Training Camp, and Crick institute exchanges.
Establish industry secondments for trainees
We have established the Wadsworth fellowship programme which is an international
placement supported by Battelle and have an appointed facilitator at the Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience to help to co-ordinate project placements. We are in discussions to arrange other industrial training with for our trainees and will continue to seek more opportunities.
Increase NIHR Research capacity
Training tomorrow’s research leaders will be achieved by:
- Developing matched Junior faculty positions from other funders and industry.
- Ensuring high quality local training and mentorship is integral to all positions
- Attracting high quality candidates
Attract the best trainees
We will establish a Training Committee which will advise and approve post allocation based on:
- Project merit (aligned to BRC deliverable)
- Project training opportunities
- The feasibility of a pump-priming post to deliver data in time to apply for external funding
- A plan for any gap between completion of fellowship and obtaining external award
The Training Committee will jointly interview potential trainees with supervisors.
Monitor the need for a Joint Training Office to ensure the continuity of employment rights for trainees
The need to move between different organisations at various points of the academic training pathway has disadvantaged trainees in terms of benefits associated with length of service and can particularly affect women in terms of maternity benefits. Recent national directives suggest this issue may now be resolved, however we will monitor contractual issues that affect our trainees and if necessary will pursue the setting up of a joint training office across our partner institutions.