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CRN Wessex video transcript: Pathways for research within public health



So my name's Becky Wilkinson, and I'm a consultant in public health here at Southampton City Council.


My name's Ciara McGee and I'm an embedded researcher here at Southampton City Council, and I'm currently employed by Wessex Clinical Research Network (CRN). 


When I first worked in Public Health, a long time ago, I was really inspired by my director of Public Health and, you know, the way that he cared so passionately about improving people's health in the city and reducing inequalities. It just really rubbed off on me and it just made me think that public health is probably the most important job in the world.

My role is particularly on the health improvement domain, so my portfolio includes all things to do with the environment and place, creating healthy environments. It also includes physical activity and food environment, workplace wellbeing. But a big part of my role is to cover research and our academic links, and that's why I work so closely with Ciara.


So I finished my PhD in 2015 at Liverpool John Moores University, and the focus of my PhD was around developing and evaluating a school based intervention that used sport and physical activity to deliver smoke-free messages to Year 5 children.

After my PhD, I worked as a research assistant within the public health team at the university, and then there was an opportunity at Wessex CRN to undertake a scoping study to map the public health research landscape across local authorities and academia in the Wessex region.

And during that time, the NIHR had pledged to support public health research in non-NHS settings such as local authorities. And this led to this unique opportunity to work as an embedded researcher within the public health team here at the Council.

Yes, so I wouldn't say there's a typical career pathway into these embedded researcher roles, and that's because they're relatively new roles and the work associated with the roles do vary between local authority.

But in my experience, and for the work that I do, it is essential to have those research skills, to be able to work with people, to undertake research that's meaningful and relevant to the context that you're working in.

So these research skills would be typically developed through undergraduate and postgraduate study, but there are huge opportunities out there for people within these roles or who are interested in these roles to help sort of develop and refresh and enhance those research skills.