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New SSS Lead Facilitator on joining CRN South London

We spoke to our new Study Support Service Lead Facilitator, Mina Cha, about why she joined the NIHR CRN South London. Mina also talks about her previous research experience and passion for community engagement.

What attracted you to CRN South London?

As a nurse, I was eligible for an NIHR bursary for an NIHR-Academy of Medical Royal Colleges Clinician Researcher Credentials Programme. During the postgraduate certificate course in clinical research delivery, I was introduced to the culture and landscape of NHS research and the importance and value of the research network. The UK national infrastructure supporting high research standards and activities impressed me a lot. I am from South Korea, and to the best of my knowledge, although a national research support institute exists, there is nothing like the Clinical Research Network (CRN) in my country. Working for the CRN is quite a unique opportunity for me, and I am very motivated to learn more about the UK research infrastructure and support network research. You only find beautiful, motivated people at CRN South London. I feel lucky to be at this CRN.

What role will you be doing for CRN South London?

As part of the Study Support Service (SSS) team, I will support researchers and research teams conducting health and social care research. Health research in south London is active thanks to many big players, including large NHS trusts, the King's Health Partners, universities, research-active GP surgeries and communities and many others. Some of my daily tasks include providing early contact to chief investigators and helping to identify additional sites for studies.

What is your background in research?

My first research experience was doing a couple of systematic reviews, one of which was part of my postgraduate degree programme at King's College London. Of course, it did not involve recruiting people to studies (the most fun part of research) or getting approval from any regulatory bodies!

My first research delivery role was as a research nurse at St Thomas' Hospital in London. I worked for the critical care research team. The team delivered high-profile COVID-19 trials and observational studies, including theĀ RECOVERY trial and GenOMICC study. I also worked as part of the imaging research team last year, where I gained most of my working knowledge in research governance and regulatory approvals required for involving NHS service users.

How are you finding things so far?

I love it. Working at the CRN makes me feel that I am a part of a giant organisation. It may be too early to say, but I feel my favourite part will be working on primary care and non-NHS settings studies, simply because I believe in healthy communities. More robust research should bring better health and quality of life to the community so that people don't need to come to hospitals. I feel so lucky to be able to support these studies.

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.