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Case study: Manchester infection doctor encourages others to get involved with NIHR’s Associate Principal Investigator Scheme

'The API Scheme gave me a sense of leadership and the chance to look at the overall picture'.

A Greater Manchester doctor has encouraged other health and care professionals to be part of an NIHR research development programme which helps prepare the Principal Investigators of the future.

Dr Irvine Mangawa is a Clinical Research Fellow in Infectious Disease based at North Manchester General Hospital (NMGH), part of Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust. 

Irvine recently completed the NIHR’s Associate Principal Investigator (API) Scheme. This is a six month in-work training opportunity which provides practical experience for healthcare professionals starting their research career.

The API Scheme provided the opportunity to lead on and deliver an NIHR portfolio trial under the mentorship of an enthusiastic Local Principal Investigator (PI). 

Irvine was mentored by Dr Alison Uriel, a Specialty Doctor in Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine and the Research Lead in Infectious Diseases at NMGH. Alison is also the Specialty Lead for Infection research at NIHR Clinical Research Network Greater Manchester. 

Irvine was allocated to work on the delivery of a study called the ‘Evaluation of the psychometric properties of the short form HIV Disability Questionnaire among women living with HIV in the United Kingdom

After a positive experience on the API Scheme, Irvine is enthusiastically continuing his research journey at NMGH. 

Reflecting on his API Scheme, Irvine said: “I think it can be normal for junior doctors to think ‘research is for other people’, but for me, being part of the API Scheme was a great starting point. It gave me the opportunity to not only learn a lot more about research, but also to get myself involved. 

“What I really liked was how the scheme gave me the opportunity to step up and look at things from the PI point of view. It gave me a sense of leadership and the chance to look at the overall picture. I got to know about the study set-up and the processes involved, the role of the R&I department, and I got to interact directly with the Chief Investigator (overall study leader) about the progress of the study.

“I had to keep track of the participant recruitment numbers and it made me think about strategies to make sure we reached our recruitment target. I had amazing support from the research team at NMGH and oversight from my mentor, but I was given the responsibility to say ‘this is my study’, and if something wasn’t working, I had to think about what we needed to do to change things.

“I would definitely recommend the API Scheme to others. If you are a junior doctor, I don’t think you would imagine yourself leading research, but that is what I was able to do. But at the same time, it is not putting too much pressure on top of what you are already doing. You can manage and it is well paced. On top of that, I have now got a formal certificate to show I have engaged in NIHR portfolio research and my name has been published [in the research paper].”

Interested in getting involved? 

Visit the NIHR website to read more about the API Scheme and how to get involved. 

Plus, the team behind the API Scheme is hosting a range on online Research Learning Lectures in March and April 2024, covering: Lessons learned from REMAP-CAP; how to do a systematic review and why they are useful; the Principal Investigator Pipeline Programme (PIPP) for Research Nurses and Research Midwives; Health Economics in Clinical Trials; and Pathways to principal investigator as an academic ICU pharmacist. Register your place now