March’s #OTalk Research is being hosted Professor Pip Logan and supported by Jenny Preston from the #OTalk Research team.
The National Institute for Health Research Integrated Clinical Academic Schemes (ICA): An opportunity for Occupational Therapists
This talk will cover a number of issues related to the National Institute for Health Research
The National Institute for Health Research celebrated its 10 year anniversary in 2016. Their strap line is Improving Health and wealth of the nation through research. It is the largest national clinical research funder in Europe with a pot of £1 billion per year. It is funded by the Department of Health and Social Care and has a number of different strands. One of the key aspects is that it is not just research for the National Health Service it is a place for occupational therapists working in social care, local authorities and charities to get involved. Through supporting research, infrastructure, training researchers, training clinical academics, disseminating research and implementing it into practice the NIHR provides a place for occupational therapists to complete masters, PhDs, advanced training leading to Professorships and consultancies.
The 2016 Strategic Review of Training looked proactively at future training needs. It acknowledged that there has been considerable changes in healthcare needs and technological advances, as well as changes in the nature of the academic workforce. Approval was given to the development and delivery of an NIHR Academy Strategy ensuring that the NIHR Academy both meets the needs of the wider research community and other key stakeholders now and in the future, and is fully and dynamically linked with NIHR and DH strategy. This document states that professions such as occupational therapy are areas that the NIHR would like to support, however very few applications come from occupational therapists.
The Integrated Clinical Academic Schemes (ICA), which is a dedicated strand for Nurses, midwives and AHPs is part of this Academy and I am the Lead Advocate for the Occupational Therapists and therefore link the Royal College of Occupational Therapy with the NIHR. I have a team of five other Occupational Therapists and we are here to help you become clinical academics. Plus I also chair one of the committees that reviews the Doctoral training applications and I sit as a member on the Health Technology Board. If an occupational Therapist applies to the NIHR to do a fully funded PhD, and I am not conflicted, than I will see the application and most likely get to review it and interview the candidate. However we get so few applications from occupational therapists.
For example of the NIHR ICA awards 40% are held by physiotherapists, 17% by dieticians, 14% by dieticians and only 12 % by Occupational Therapists.
When this is compared to the HCPC register we see that of the AHPs, 40% are physiotherapists, 29% are occupational therapists, 12% are speech and language therapists and 7% or dieticians.
Host BiosTina is co-Chair of the Wessex PIN as well as being Chair of the NIHR Involve Advisory Group, and a long time survivor researcher.
Claire is also co-Chair of the Wessex PIN, an OT at heart and passionate about co-production in research.
The Wessex Public Involvement Network (PIN) is a multiagency research partnership that works with the public co-productively seeking to improve all our research endeavours in the region.
- Have you applied or thought about applying for a personal award or a project grant to NIHR? how did you get on?
- Compared to other AHPs OTs are the least likely to apply for NIHR research funding. Why do you think this is?
- How can I and other Profs encourage OTs to believe in themselves like the other AHPs and come forward to apply for NIHR funding and fellowship?
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