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Case study: "There’s a role out there for everyone"

Your Path in Research: Lucinda's story

October 4th marks James Lind’s birthday - the doctor known for conducting one of the first ever clinical trials, helping to cure scurvy with lemons. This month is a fitting opportunity to celebrate the different careers available in research.

We spoke with Lucinda Inman, Senior Portfolio Facilitator at the NIHR Clinical Research Network West of England (CRN WE), to find out more about her research journey.

“Like many people, my first experience with research was through university. I did a BSc in Psychology at the University of the West of England, before an MSc in Applied Neuropsychology at the University of Bristol. During my MSc, I conducted a study on individuals with Parkinson’s and dementia at the Bristol Brain Centre. This was my first experience of conducting research within the NHS. It gave me a real insight into the impact research can have on patient care and outcomes.

“After university, I joined the Bristol Eye Hospital as an Assistant Trial Coordinator. I learnt so much during my two years there and really enjoyed getting involved and being hands-on in conducting clinical trials. I was able to develop my clinical skills as well as my research knowledge in both commercial and non-commercial studies.

“My next role was as an Assistant Psychologist; working on a service improvement project at the Bristol Haematology and Oncology Centre Psychological Health Service. I assisted in the design, delivery and evaluation of a psychological skills training package aimed at oncology and palliative care staff across the region. One of my biggest achievements comes from this role; this training package has now been adopted nationally. Ultimately, this means that staff feel better equipped to detect and manage mild to moderate psychological distress in individuals with cancer.

“From there I joined the CRN WE as a Research Portfolio Facilitator, before moving into my current role of Senior Research Portfolio Facilitator. My main focus is supporting our Industry Operations Manager to promote the West of England as an attractive place to carry out research and also to work collaboratively with our contacts in the life sciences industry; they bring us new and innovative ways of addressing major health challenges for the UK population. I enjoy working alongside people who are just as motivated as me to improve patient care and outcomes through research. The fact that we all strive towards this same aim, keeps spirits high.

“Not being from a clinical background, I thought research was limited to those with clinical registration. However, I’ve been able to get involved and have had a really interesting start to my research career. If someone was considering a career in research, I’d say there’s a role out there for everyone and each job you experience can open new doors on your career path in research. In particular, in the NIHR, you’re part of a huge national network of research staff and there is so much support available.”

Interested in finding out more about a career in research? Find out more about Your Path in Research.