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Dorset patient champion shares experience of health research

Dorset patient champion shares experience of health research

Graham Jackson is a Research Champion at Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. In this role, he helps to spread the word about the importance of health research. Find out about his experience, his reasons for getting involved and how he's helping to develop the role.  

Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your experience of health research

I have a scientific background with a PhD in Chemistry and worked for the Ministry of Defence as Head of Oceanographic Research in support of the Royal Navy. My medical knowledge, apart from my own experience as a patient, is virtually zero. I have been involved in two NHS trials. The first was a new approach for colorectal cancer surgery. The second was a trial for a pain relief drug when I had open heart surgery about 15 months ago.

What motivated you to become a research champion?

I saw an article in one of the local papers about becoming a research champion at Dorset County Hospital and thought this was an opportunity to put something back into the NHS after all the excellent treatment I had received over the years.

What activities have you been involved with as a research champion and what difference do you feel they make to others and to research?

Although we’ve been meeting for approximately 18 months, the research champions are still trying to define our roles and possible contributions to research projects. I have extensive experience in reviewing research papers, delivering the oceanographic research strategy and assessing research proposals from academia and industry. This would enable me to contribute advice to NHS research proposals and preparing abstracts of scientific papers in plain or non-technical English.

How has being a research champion benefited you and how have you been

The main benefit to me is the insight and understanding of research being undertaken at Dorset County Hospital which I was not previously aware of. I have been supported by Zoe Sheppard and her team, who have organised several workshops and meetings to help define and understand the role of a research champion.

Find out more

In 2019, the work of Dorset County Hospital's research volunteers, known locally as Patient Research Ambassadors, was recognised at the CRN Wessex Awards. The group received the award for excellence in patient and public involvement and engagement in recognition of their work to promote the benefits of health and care research. 

To find out more about research at Dorset County Hospital, please visit

To find out more about how you can get involved in health research or become a Research Champion, please visit