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Case study: Your Path in Research - Emily Taylor

Embedded within Cornwall Council, but funded by the Network, Emily has already started identifying gaps and facilitating conversations around how to build capacity and capability in preventative, public health and social care research.

Working to ensure health and care research is firmly on the agenda of public health and social care organisations and chiefs, Emily will also act as a conduit between the local authority and the Network, using her knowledge and skills to make connections and introductions.

“I am a strong believer in the power of connections,” she said. “It is amazing what can be achieved simply by bringing the right people together at the right time.”

Emily joins the Network as she comes to the end of a PhD looking at independence in older people. She also has experience as a physiotherapist in the NHS, and as a service consultant in the charity sector.

“I have a diverse working background spanning health, care and voluntary sector positions,” she continues. “In all these roles, I loved the work but there was the same frustration that it was often reactive, and it felt like a lot of the wealth of knowledge that we had from working on the front line with service users was not heard.

“I got involved in research as I wanted to ensure that this knowledge was used proactively to facilitate improved systems and positive change. Empowering staff with the tools to inform and conduct research is not only important for their own development and wellbeing, but also improves the outcomes for their service users. It gives us the knowledge needed to feel more confident that the services and support being offered are right for that person at that time.

“I have already heard inspiring examples of how research has helped to identify gaps in service provision, leading to the implementation of an intervention and use of the knowledge generated to provide the evidence for the funding of a new post. On another level, I have seen how thinking about and sharing research can have a positive impact on hope and morale, by inspiring and facilitating discussion about new and beneficial ways of working.”

Emily is passionate not only about research, but about the benefits it can bring in career terms. “My experience is that research adds to your career by making space for creativity and thinking about how we can optimise our resources to everyone's benefit. Each person brings new perspectives and experience to research, which is crucial for making sure that the things that we set out to learn match what is important and relevant for the people who need to know.

“For me, research gives a freedom and autonomy that I did not have in other roles. It is a challenging career, but it is a challenge that I enjoy.”

Emily is the second person in the region to be appointed by the Network to help foster even stronger relationships within the public health and social care sectors, with Alessia Rose already working in a similar role at Devon County Council.

Find out how to make research part of your career on the NIHR website: