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Clinical Research Network; North West Coast Cancer Vacancies

Cancer SSL

Vacancies for Cancer Sub-specialty Leads (SSLs) – Clinical Research Network; North West Coast

Network Summary

The role of the LCRN is to establish and maintain an excellent NHS infrastructure for clinical research. This infrastructure includes clinical research support staff and sessional support for clinical investigators of all professions; funding for other NHS support costs; research management; governance systems and staff. The North West Coast Clinical Research Network (NWC CRN) is one of the 15 Local Clinical Research Networks contributing to the National Institute of Health Research Clinical Network of England. NIHR CRN CC has defined 30 national specialty areas for the purpose of overseeing and managing research delivery across the country. There are currently a number of vacancies for Clinical SubSpecialty Research Group Leads across the North West Coast region.

Sub-specialty Leadership roles are key roles helping the LCRN to effectively deliver NIHR research for patients benefit. Individuals will agree to work in partnership with the NIHR CRN CC/DH to drive forward the delivery of clinical research across the healthcare organisations in the NWC region. A role outline for local Sub-specialty Leads has been developed and is available on request (contact details below).

The process for appointment to posts is as follows:

Process for appointment of Clinical Research Leaders across NIHR CRN NWC

CRN NWC is seeking to fill the following roles:

Head & Neck
Upper GI

SSLs will belong to a wider ‘grouping’ of research specialties within CRN NWC and will be performance managed and supported by the Research Delivery Manager and Specialty Research Lead responsible for this Specialty. SSLs will also be supported by the CRN NWC core team to support them in delivery of their roles.

Appointment to any vacant posts will be made in an open and transparent manner. The process will be led by the Research Delivery Managers (RDM's) and Specialty Lead. Posts have been advertised through the existing Clinical Leadership of CRN NWC and through NHS Trust R&D Offices. All clinicians (of any professions with the suitable skills and experience) working at any site across the CRN NWC who meets the specification are encouraged to apply for these key roles.

Applications will be by submission of a brief CV to the RDM/Cancer Specialty Lead of the LCRN in the first instance.

The opportunity to discuss this post/application with the RDM/Cancer Specialty Lead will be offered.

Closing date for applications will be:

Friday 19th February by 12pm. Applications via brief CV with a supporting statement should
be submitted via (Portfolio Research Facilitator).

Informal discussions about this work can be held with either the RDM/Cancer Specialty Lead of CRN NWC as follows:

Cancer Specialty Research Lead:
Research Delivery Manager:

An interview panel will be convened shortly after the closing date to review applications and interview all shortlisted applicants. The panel will be chaired by the Cancer Specialty Lead and will include the Cancer Research Delivery Manager. This process will ensure fairness and equity in appointments. Interviews will take place on Thursday 11th March 2021 Specialty Research Leaders will be expected to commence their roles immediately upon appointment. Appointments will be up to 31st March 2023 in the 1st instance, with a one year probationary period. This may be extended further dependent on performance and contractual arrangements for future delivery of the CRN NWC.

Even though the clinical specialties and research groupings are organisationally discrete, specialty research leads and managers will work with other specialties when necessary in maximizing efficiency of resource allocation and delivery of studies across primary and secondary care, trusts and specialty boundaries.

A ‘core team’ of administrative staff will work with all clinical leaders to support them in delivering their mandate. Specialties will also be supported by a team of core ‘generic nurses’ so as to enable rapid response and support to failing trials and national priorities.

Cancer Sub- specialty Research Lead

Role Outline

Role and Purpose

The Cancer Sub-speciality Lead is a core member of the NIHR NWC Cancer Leadership Group and is the main source of clinical / operational advice to the Cancer Leadership of the NIHR CRN NWC Cancer on all matters relating to its area of expertise (tumour group specialty).

The role and responsibility of the Sub-speciality Lead is to advise and support the NIHR CRN NWC Cancer leadership team (Cancer Lead, Associate Cancer Leads and Research Delivery Manager) and partner organisations to ensure systems are in place to support coordination of the research elements of the cancer patient pathway, consistency of clinical practice and to achieve the best possible outcomes and experience for patients, irrespective of where their treatment and care is provided. The role includes:

  • Facilitating the development of the NIHR CRN NWC portfolio of cancer studies across and between organisations, including the industry portfolio
  • Provide a key link between Principal Investigators and the NIHR CRN NWC Cancer
    management team
  • Ensuring equity of access to clinical trials and other well designed studies to the
    patients across the North West Coast geography
  • Liaise with NIHR CRN NWC management team about performance of studies,
    flagging failing studies at an early stage and supporting remedial action plans to
    improve performance
  • Work with the NIHR CRN NWC management team to provide clinical leadership for
    service improvement in the delivery of clinical research where a need is identified
  • Participate in service monitoring; including clinical performance and outcomes in
    relation to the National Institute for Health Research High Level Objectives (NIHR
    HLOs) and the cancer specialty-specific objectives.

The NIHR CRN NWC Cancer Leadership Group, as a whole, has a key role in the development of plans to implement NICE Improving Outcomes Guidance in relation to clinical trials and research and to monitor implementation. It will ensure that concerns and areas of risk are raised with the NIHR CRN NWC Cancer Lead via agreed communication arrangements. The Sub-specialty Lead should have active engagement and communication with all MDT/nominated research leads from the constituent organisations in the network and will be accountable to the NIHR CRN NWC Cancer Lead.

Key Responsibilities

The Sub-specialty Lead will work alongside the NIHR CRN NWC Cancer Clinical Lead and Assistant Clinical Lead(s) to ensure the research responsibilities of the relevant tumour group clinical community are met. These are broadly;

  • Attend national sub-specialty group meetings to represent the NIHR CRN NWC
  • Together with the relevant tumour group clinical community, consider how to
    adopt national guidelines/standards relating to research published by NICE,
    Department of Health, Royal Colleges and other professional bodies/committees,
    setting out best practice
  • Identify local population needs and gaps in service in respect of the research portfolio in each tumour group; including specialist groups and Teenagers and Young Adults (TYA) Services and work with the NIHR CRN NWC partners to develop plans to meet these
  • Identify service configuration required to deliver the local and national trials portfolio and work with the NIHR CRN NWC to develop plans for implementation
  • Liaise with the tumour site specific groups about the development of local portfolios and to capture the essence of MDT discussions regarding the delivery of clinical research
  • Agree with the relevant tumour group clinical community, referral pathways for patients to access clinical studies in other networks where trials are unavailable in this locality and review these on a regular basis
  • Develop pathways of care for trial referrals across primary, secondary and tertiary services within the local geography
  • Reviews approved clinical trials and encourage patient entry with the local constituent MDTs
  • Work alongside the NIHR CRN NWC Cancer Leadership Group to identify barriers to recruitment of patients into clinical trials and work with relevant constituent organisations to overcome them
  • Collaborate with NIHR CRN NWC Research Delivery Manager and with commissioners to ensure excess treatment costs for clinical trials can be met locally


If anyone would like to have an informal discussion about the role, please contact Jaime Halvorsen (, Research Delivery Manager for Cancer or Dr Alison Birtle (, Speciality Research Lead for Cancer