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Joint Research Champion event a success for networks

Joint Research Champion event a success for networks

Research Champions came together at a jointly hosted event organised by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Networks (CRN) in Kent, Surrey and Sussex, South London, North Thames, and North West London.

Seven Research Champions from across Kent, Surrey and Sussex attended, alongwith Research Champions from across London to share knowledge and workshop ideas to maximise their roles. Items for the agenda had been suggested by lay people themselves in addition to ideas from colleagues from the four local clinical research networks involved.

Gillian Fletcher, a lay representative to the Partnership Board CRN Kent, Surrey, Sussex led a session in the morning looking at the many different ways in which Research Champions have been involved with research. These included a wide variety of activities including being a member of a research and development group, speaking to members of the public about research opportunities, being part of an advisory group for research, working with local schools to raise awareness of research and many more.

Delegates were pleased to welcome Karen Inns, the Patient, Public Involvement and Engagement Priority Lead from CRN Coordinating Centre who explained in her presentation how a national strategic review had led to the Patient Research Ambassador initiative being refreshed and relaunched as Research Champions. The key messages of the programme are: driving improvements in equity of access via all NIHR programmes is a key priority and
being clear on our focus on engaging with diverse and underrepresented communities in research, especially those groups who are currently less likely to take part in research.

The agenda also included a presentation on increasing diversity and equality in what we do. This was given by a Research Champions from North Thames, who is a member of the Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) community, and she drew on her own personal and professional experiences. Delegates were also given the opportunity to comment and feedback on the proposed questions for the new national version of the Participant Research Experience Survey (PRES) to be launched in April 2020.

In addition to very useful opportunities for Research Champions to meet each other, learn more about Research Champion’s' activities in different areas and network, there was an opportunity for the CRN Kent, Surrey and Sussex team to tell delegates about our newly launched Research Champion Impact Awards. Entries are open for individual RCs and R&D teams who support them until 28 February 2020. The award will be presented at a celebratory event on 30 April.