Almost £1 million to increase health research capacity across Wales


University's Treforest Campus

The University has been awarded almost £1million from Health and Care Research Wales to help increase the health research capacity across Wales.

USW will be administering the fund on behalf of RCBC Wales, which is funded by the Welsh Government through Health and Care Research Wales and is a collaboration between six university nursing and allied health departments in Wales.

The collaboration aims to increase research capacity in nursing, midwifery, the allied health professions and pharmacists across Wales and to contribute toward the development of clinical academic roles. It does this through different schemes ranging from First into Research opportunities, doctoral and postdoctoral studies, to a senior health career research fellowship. Tenovus Cancer Care and Aneurin Bevan University Health Board have also provided additional funds to support RCBC Fellowships.

Further information about a new call for Fellowships will be released in July, with the full call for applications in the autumn. Applicants from nursing and allied health professions in Wales apply for a Research Fellowship directly to RCBC Wales. The autumn call will include PhD studentships and First into Research opportunities.

RCBC awards are highly competitive attracting applications from a range of health and allied health professional groups. During the last round of funding, a number of health professionals started their First into Research Fellowships with USW.

Recent RCBC Wales funded research projects completed at USW include:

  • Vasiliki Saounatsou, (Speech and Language Therapy) Exploring parental perceptions of Parent-Child Interaction therapy for children with language difficulties
  • Kerys Thomas (Pharmacy) An Investigation of Troponin, CRP and NT -proBNP Monitoring for Patients Initiating Clozapine: A Pilot Study
  • Shaila Ahmed (Pharmacy), Duration of antidepressant prescribing in Wales
  • Ffion Evans (Pharmacy), Analysis of GP referrals to Adult Mental Health Teams relating to psychotropic medication
  • Jeannie Simpson-Davies (Nursing), Involvement in decision making in scheduled secondary care: The perspectives of people with a learning disability, their carers and acute learning disability liaison nurses.
  • Tracy James (Midwifery), The Breech Project – Evaluation of A New Service

The RCBC Team at USW includes Professor Martin Steggall, Dr Gina Dolan, Professor Joyce Kenkre, Dr Roiyah Saltus, Marina MacDonald, Lisa Griffiths and Dr Louise Bright.

Prof Martin Steggall said: “We are really pleased to have secured the new funding for RCBC Wales to further increase health research capacity at such a critical time. During the last influx of funding there was a range of really interesting research projects awarded through RCBC Wales and we hope to see a broad range of applications when the call opens in a few months’ time.”

Dr Gina Dolan, RCBC Wales Operational Lead added: “The key mechanism that RCBC Wales has adopted to promote a collegiate environment to nurture researchers is via its Community of Scholars. This adds value to the fellowships by providing mentorship and master classes in research methods and research leadership, including in engaging with and influencing policy. All members of the RCBC scheme join the Community of Scholars, which meets six times per year.”