The Yorkshire and Humber ENRICH team have recently set up a Research Advisory Group to enhance patient and public involvement in the development of research projects. The group consists of older people from a range of backgrounds who live at a care home and assisted living facility in York. To date, the group have met twice and have already provided valuable feedback for PhD student projects. In addition, members of the group have also taken part in a focus group for researchers from the University of Sheffield who are developing a funding bid for a study looking at interventions to reduce social isolation and loneliness in care homes. They are also helping us pilot our online research training course for care home staff – URiCH (Understanding Research in Care Homes).
We have all heard the old adages ‘Never work with children or animals’ or ‘mad dogs and Englishmen’ and I think that sometimes research in care homes and with people with dementia are often perceived similarly by fellow academics; just too difficult to do and only undertaken by the foolhardy.
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The MRC recognises the importance of clinical research and as part of refreshing their funding schemes, they have made some changes to the support is provided to clinical researchers. The Wellcome Trust’s Head of Research Careers, Anne-Marie Coriat, explains the approach, and opens the competition to host the new clinical #PhD programmes.