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Vacancy details

Closing date: 28 February 2022

First5 GP Research Champion (CRN Kent, Surrey and Sussex)

As part of a national initiative, the NIHR Clinical Research Network Kent Surrey and Sussex (CRN KSS) is seeking to recruit a highly motivated GP or First5 GP, with an interest in research to take on the exciting role of GP Research Champion with a focus in Kent.

Kent, Surrey and Sussex is one of 15 Local Clinical Research Networks (LCRNs) which make up the NIHR Clinical Research Network. The NIHR Clinical Research Network supports the rapid set-up and effective delivery of studies; so that researchers can gather the robust evidence needed to improve treatments for patients. CRN KSS is hosted by Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust.

Our aim is to drive clinical research delivery performance across the locality, and champion the role of clinical research in the NHS and non-NHS organisations at every level. To help us achieve and strengthen links between GP registrars and First5 GPs, we are looking for individuals who share our passion for bringing clinical research opportunities to patients,  increase research capacity in primary care and raise the profile of CRN primary care.

Working with the Primary Care Specialty Leads and Research Delivery Manager, the Research Champion will play a key role in engaging GP registrars and First5 GPs, to work on NIHR CRN Portfolio research. A key task is to create awareness, improve access, exposure and promote opportunities to participate in primary care research across the region as well as exploring local research opportunities within academia.

The research champion position is available for 12 months in the first instance. A job description is below for further information including time commitment and salary.                                              

Applicants should send expressions of interest in the form of a two page short CV and covering letter by email to by 5.00pm on Friday 3 September 2021. Informal enquiries should be addressed to Dr PaulDeffley, Primary Care Specialty Leads or BeckyDilley, Research Delivery Manager at the same email address. 

 Job description

Please use the contact details above for a full job description and person specification.

Job details

  • Job Title: NIHR CRN: KSS GP Registrar and First5 GP Research Champion - Kent Focused
  • Band: 0.3 PA (£350 per month) initially for 12 months
  • Base Own practice/Home/Kent
  • Department / Portfolio NIHR CRN: KSS Primary Care Clinical Specialty Research
  • Reports to: CRN Primary Care Clinical Specialty Research Lead/Research Delivery Manager Primary Care

Job summary

As part of a national initiative, the NIHR Clinical Research Network  Kent, Surrey and  Sussex (CRN KSS) is seeking to appoint  GP Registrars and First5 GP Research Champions, to increase the engagement of GP registrars and First5 GPs to undertake high quality NIHR primary care research. They will also provide invaluable advice and support to staff working within the Clinical Research Network. This strategic initiative is to have similar appointments across the country and a requirement of the role is to encourage networking with colleagues and attending ad-hoc national meetings to cascade learning.

CRN KSS has an extensive GP practice engagement (with over 50% of all GP practices engaged in NIHR work in 2020/2021). Our aim is to achieve 45% of GPs being research active, which could be improved further, because there is a pressing need to develop more Principal Investigators  (PIs) and  potential Chief Investigators (CIs) in primary care.

In comparison to other CRN specialties, such as anaesthetics, there is little tradition of having well-developed networks of trainees who are research-active in General Practices, therefore, the CRN is keen to build stronger partnerships in the development, delivery and dissemination of our research and encourage greater levels of participation and engagement towards its research-active workforce in Primary Care with physicians early on in their professional careers.

We are seeking applications from GP registrars/ First5 GPs to fill a vacant research champion post to cover the Kent and  Medway area.  The champion will work with members of the CRN team to raise GP registrars’ and First5 GPs’ awareness of opportunities to participate, influence and create an impact, in primary care research, especially research delivery in day-to-day practice. The post holder  will form and facilitate the strengthening of links between early career GPs and the CRN primary care specialty delivery team.  

Main duties and responsibilities


  • To increase research capacity in primary care and engagement of GP registrars and First5 GPs with NIHR CRN Portfolio research by exposure to research early in their career. 
  • Facilitate the development and delivery of high quality, health and social care research projects, encouraging clinicians to participate in research.
  • To share with other GP registrars and First5 GPs  the large body of knowledge the CRN has to offer, including research awareness, GCP training– all customised for primary care. 
  • To provide a nurturing environment for exposure to research experience and ‘seeding’ of research concepts in service-driven registrars, preferably in research-active GP training practices using nationally developed materials.  
  • To offer support, advice and mentorship to First5?GPs in research-active and non-research-active practices.

Main Responsibilities

  • Making sure information about health and social care research is cascaded, by engaging with course organisers, GP trainers, trainees, First5? learning groups (and other early career fora)  through attending meetings, social media, newsletters, blogs etc.  The impact of this investment will be measured in terms of:
    Activity – meetings attended, individuals spoken to, newsletters etc.
    Participation in research by registrars and First5
    Have a more active role by helping researchers to choose and participate in research topics which are most likely to bring benefits to patients, or advising them on the design and delivery of their studies.  

Championing and mentoring

  • Raise the profile of primary care research with GP registrars and First5 GPs to promote interest in and participation in research, and research delivery in day-to-day practice.
  • Highlight the positive impacts of research in primary care to ensure that there is awareness of healthcare research and the benefits it brings and to encourage greater levels of participation and involvement in research.
  • Proactively identify and develop strategies to overcome barriers to engagement and/or recruitment activity.    
  • Develop good working relationships with research-active and research interested healthcare staff to ensure the continued success of NIHR portfolio research studies. 
  • Offer support and mentorship to First5 GPs e.g. via a First5 learning set.
  • Involve, influence and inform the ways in which we communicate with patients and the general public about healthcare research.
  • Work with established groups, individual clinicians, Research & Development departments and lay representatives to promote primary care research.
  • Engage and promote research campaigns such as ‘International Clinical Trials Day’ and ‘Be Part of Research’.  
  • Promote primary care research to the pharmaceutical industry and other research funders.

Academic Career Pathways

  • Develop relationships with relevant local academic units and in collaboration, map academic career pathways available to GPs in the region.
  • Networking opportunities for your professional life or to enhance your CV.
  • Enhance your understanding of primary care research (what is happening and how it’s done).
  • Flexible hours and a chance to make a difference in your local community. 

GCP and PI/CI Training

  • Gather intelligence on where registrars/ First5 GPs are based.  
  • Explore and use RCGP Research Ready eLearning modules and other interactive learning videos where appropriate.
  • Work in partnership to increase access to GCP, PI and CI training opportunities for registrars/ First5 GPs in the region.

Study specific

  • Provide Primary Care clinical pathway expertise and feasibility assessment for CRN KSS studies as part of the PC GP Feasibility Group.
  • Contribute to the training and support of research practices in the use of search procedures, screen prompts and templates which can help to identify patients eligible for research projects.
  • Increase the number of clinical studies in the primary care research portfolio and the number of patients recruited into them.

Generic tasks

  • Support the CRN primary care delivery in the preparation of reports, papers and auditing information on GP registrar and First5 GP research activity.
  • Attend and deliver presentations as appropriate at  meetings with study representatives, primary health care professionals, and CRN staff as required.

Key working relationships

Internal to the Trust

  • Research Delivery Managers & Deputy Research Delivery Managers
  • Lead Research Nurse and Workforce Delivery Manager for the network
  • Network Research Nurses
  • Project Coordinators
  • HR, health and safety and occupational health staff as needed
  • Other research staff in the Trust

External to the Trust

  • Local RCGP Faculty, its First5 GP group and local facilitator and associates in training (AiT) lead
  • Local NIHR GP ACFs/ACLs
  • Local university academic departments of primary care and their academics
  • GP registrar training programmes and postgraduate tutors
  • Local VTS schemes
  • PC Specialty Leadership and CRN KSS GP feasibility group
  • CRN locality primary care delivery teams and CRN workforce development team 
  • Local GP practices and primary care teams
  • Local CCGs and NHS England      
  • Other important stakeholders involved with primary care research such as LMCs, practice managers’ groups, patient and public representative groups.

Person specification

Values and Behaviours

Essential criteria for all posts

  • Demonstrable commitment to and focus on quality, promotes high standards to consistently improve patient outcomes
  • Demonstrable skill to work together to serve our community through delivering safe and excellent clinical care
  • Value diversity and difference, operates with integrity and openness
  • Treating others with compassion, empathy and respect
  • Share information openly and effectively with patients, staff and relatives
  • Works across boundaries, looks for collective success, listens, involves, respects and learns from the contribution of others
  • Uses evidence to make improvements, increase efficiencies and seeks out innovation
  • Actively develops themselves and others


Essential criteria for all posts

  • Qualified GP, within 5 years post-CCT
  • Engaged in continuous personal and professional development.

Desirable criteria

  • Research qualification or equivalent training

Knowledge and Experience

Essential criteria

  • Experience of working in a structured and organised manner
  • Experience of collaborating with fellow clinicians
  • An understanding of, and commitment to, research in primary care settings
  • Understanding of primary care and general practice services and clinical pathways

Desirable criteria

  • Experience of undertaking or participating in research
  • Experience of training and advising others on IT issues

Skills and Capabilities

Essential criteria

  • Self-motivated and enthusiastic with strong analytical and problem-solving skills, the ability to think laterally and work with minimal day-to-day supervision
  • Excellent interpersonal, communication, presentation, verbal and written skills
  • Ability to work as part of a wider team
  • Ability to meet the travel needs of the post
  • Able to work flexibly
  • Good social media skills
  • Strongly committed to bringing benefits to patients through the delivery of excellent patient focused clinical research within primary care

Personal Attributes

Essential criteria

  • Adaptability, flexibility and ability to cope with uncertainty
  • Willing to engage with and learn from peers, other professionals and colleagues in the desire to provide or support the most appropriate interventions
  • Professional calm and efficient manner 
  • Effective organizer/prioritisation skills
  • Influencer and networker
  • Demonstrates a strong desire to improve performance and make a difference by focusing on goals
  • Attention to detail
  • Highly motivated with ability to influence and inspire others
  • Ability to work independently