CLAHRC East of England Fellowship Impact Evaluation

Emily Rosenorn-Lanng
28th October 2018

How to Become an Agent of Change in Health Research

Health research is a vital component of improving health outcomes, service delivery, and policy making. However, many health professionals may not have the skills, knowledge, or opportunities to engage in health research or to apply research evidence in their practice.

That’s why CLAHRC East of England has developed the Fellowship programme for health professionals working in the East of England region. The Fellowship programme is a one-year part-time programme that aims to support health professionals to develop their research skills, knowledge, and networks, and to undertake a research project relevant to their practice.

The Fellowship programme is based on a blended learning model that combines a taught programme, action learning sets, supervision, and online resources. The programme also provides access to academic and health research networks, and opportunities for dissemination and publication.

The programme has been evaluated by an independent research team from NCCDSW, who surveyed and interviewed the Fellows, their supervisors, and their managers about their experiences and views of the Fellowship process. The evaluation report provides a detailed analysis of the strengths and areas for improvement of the programme, as well as recommendations for future cohorts.

The evaluation report highlights some of the positive aspects of the Fellowship programme, such as:

  • The Fellowship is a positive experience for those who undertake it, the time requirements of the programme are well balanced and meet the needs of both practitioners and organisations.
  • The Fellowship is well regarded across professional groups, becoming increasingly competitive. Fellows and third parties recommend the programme to professional colleagues, increasing awareness and encouraging the development of a research culture.
  • Key research skills acquired through the Fellowship process have a wider range of applications in practice and support practice development. Organisational investment is required for the maximum benefit of the process to be achieved.
  • The Fellowship results in increased understanding of, and engagement in, academic and health research networks. The process can be described as transformative in relation to mind-set facilitating Fellows to become ‘agents of change’ within their organisation.
  • Action Learning sets are considered a particular strength of the programme due their supportive and interactive nature.

The evaluation report also identifies some of the challenges and areas for development of the Fellowship programme, such as:

  • The taught element of the programme could be further developed to more effectively meet the needs and learning styles of fellows.
  • A rolling programme of feedback should be designed and developed in relation to the individual units of the taught programme.
  • Fellows could be given additional support in the areas of qualitative analysis, writing for publication and applying for future funding.
  • Consideration should be given to the compulsory nature of the more specialised units, which would allow increased time to focus on key research skills.
  • Taught sessions should be interactive to ensure Fellows can remain engaged for the entire session.
  • Final reporting should be better aligned with other means of dissemination, with feedback given to Fellows upon completion.

The evaluation report also acknowledges some limitations of the research, such as the short time frame, the lack of consultation with key stakeholders within CLAHRC East of England, and the need for a longitudinal study to assess the impact of the programme.

If you are interested in reading more about this evaluation report, you can find it [here]. You will find more information on the aims, methods, findings, and recommendations of this research project.

If you are a health professional working in the East of England region or a related area, or if you are involved in supporting or assessing health research projects, you may find this report useful and relevant for your own practice development. You may also want to consider enrolling in or recommending the Fellowship programme for future cohorts. This programme offers a unique opportunity to enhance your health research skills and knowledge, and to become an agent of change within your organisation.

Meet the author(s)

Emily Rosenorn-Lanng

Emily Rosenorn-Lanng is a researcher and project manager at the National Centre for Cross Disciplinary Social Work (NCCDSW) at Bournemouth University. She has over 19 years of experience in conducting and managing various research projects in health and social care, local government, tourism and heritage sectors. She specialises in quantitative research methods, game-based learning, generative AI, cybersecurity, and accessibility. She is also pursuing a part-time PhD in game-based learning in Cyber Security education. She has published several research papers and reports on topics such as mental capacity, cyber fraud, child mortality, leadership development, and more. She has also participated in the InnovateUK cyberasap program, a pre-accelerator for cyber security start-ups.
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