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Region showcases unrivalled research route for trainee medics

An award-winning campaign to attract more doctors and dentists to train in the North East and North Cumbria has launched a new interactive ‘roadmap’ to promote careers in research.

The campaign, which is a collaboration of NHS trusts in the region, has teamed-up with junior doctors, NIHR Clinical Research Network North East and North Cumbria, Newcastle University and Health Education England to showcase the wealth of research opportunities on offer for people choosing to train in medicine the North East and North Cumbria.

The ‘roadmap’ guides trainees through what’s on offer whether they’re at the start of their career as a medical student or further along as specialty doctor or consultant.

Doctors and dentists in training are also sharing their own stories of how they have found their place in research and our region in a series of short films.

Leading the project is trauma and orthopaedic speciality trainee and research fellow, Helen Ingoe.

She said: “It's been such a great experience for me that I wanted to make sure other trainees in, and outside the region, were aware of the unrivalled opportunities on offer in our region. 

“I've loved every minute of it. I've learned so many life skills that I would never have done if I had just gone straight through my training without doing any research. I just feel that I can take my career anywhere that I want.”

Helen identified that it was sometimes hard for trainees to see, at a glance, how they could get involved in research which is why she came up with the idea of the roadmap.

The North East and North Cumbria is home to world-class centres for research and pioneering new treatments. 

At the forefront of research to identify the causes of genetic diseases, it is the home to Newcastle University's Faculty of Medical Sciences where pioneering work in this area, as well as cancer, ageing and life sciences, alongside its internationally recognised Medical School, is ensuring the training of doctors of the future. The University also works closely with the NHS Northern Genetics Service with its international reputation in many areas of life sciences.

Postgraduate dean for Health Education England working across the North East and North Cumbria, Professor Namita Kumar said; “We pride ourselves on being a region which supports our medical trainees to be the best they can be.

“Having opportunities to take part in research is not only an enriching and rewarding experience but a vital part of training and providing quality patient care. Our region is home to some of the pioneering and cutting-edge research so there’s plenty on offer for anyone choosing to train and work here.”

The region is also leading hereditary breast and ovarian cancer research and stem cell harvesting at Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Trials Research Centre and is home to the UK’s very first Campus for Ageing and Vitality – a fantastic partnership between The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Newcastle University.

The North East and North Cumbria is also a large recruiter to clinical trials and has strong collaborations including the Centre for Translational Research, which brings to together the five north east universities and is delivering research to improve health and wellbeing and tackle inequalities.

Professor Steve Jones, Head of the School of Medical Education, Newcastle University, said: “We are proud that our teaching for all medical students is informed by the latest research undertaken by colleagues who work in the Health Service across our region. 

"There are many opportunities for Newcastle University students to become involved in medical research from the first year of their studies.

"Many choose to do so, and through this they contribute to greater knowledge and the improved care of patients, whilst at the same time taking the first steps on the road to becoming the medical academic leaders of the future.”

Professor Caroline Wroe, Clinical Director at NIHR Clinical Research Network North East and North Cumbria said: “We are delighted to see this roadmap develop, it’s great to be able to access and understand the range of opportunities available for trainees to engage in research across both primary and secondary care in the region.

“I moved to the region in the middle of my core training, and as a part-time specialist trainee with small children, I had the opportunity to take OOPE and do a PhD at the Institute of Human Genetics. This was a fantastic opportunity and established the foundations of a career long interest in research, balancing family life with career development and the translation of academic medicine into patient benefit.

“The development of this roadmap allows us as a region to ensure we develop, support and retain our future researchers.”

To find out more visit the NHS Find Your Place website.