Jo Cooke, Deputy Director and Capacity Lead of NIHR CLAHRC Yorkshire and Humber.
NIHR has, since its inception, recognised the need for a strong scientific research base in the allied health professions, in particular to inform service planning and decision-making. NMAHPs work across a range of clinical and non-clinical environments within the NHS. Each allied health profession has a unique clinical focus and some, such as nutrition and dietetics, have developed a critical mass of research active professionals. However, not all NMAHPs are at the same stage of research capacity development.
Despite this diversity, allied health professions share similar challenges in building research capacity. Some knowledgerelated – the lack of quality and generalisability of research evidence – and some practical problems – the lack of time,
skills and resources. With the right support and guidance, it is possible for those NMAHPs who are interested in research, to establish a career that combines this interest with patient care and service delivery.
To achieve this aim, the NIHR has developed a number of research training opportunities to support the career pathways of NMAHPs alongside clinical activity. Although pathways to an integrated clinical and research career are well established for medical staff, comparable opportunities are not well defined for NMAHPs and often clinicians who are interested in becoming involved in research do not know where to be begin.
NIHR CLAHRCs are making an important contribution to NIHR’s challenge of research capacity building for NMAHPs and this report that sets out what has been done across
the CLAHRCs to achieve this aim. Brief case studies in the report illustrate the best examples of how capacity building for NMAHPs have been achieved.
I welcome this report and hope that the information of what the NIHR CLAHRCs offer will assist NMAHPs and NHS managers to make the most of opportunities that will ultimately bring direct benefits to patients and the public.
Dr Louise Wood
Director of Research and Development
Department of Health