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Local Research Specialty Lead for Neurology - West of England

Vacancy details

Closing date: 06 July 2022

The Role: CRN West of England Local Research Specialty Lead for Neurology 

Duration: Starting May 2022 until 31.3.2024

Closing Date: TBC

Reimbursement & time commitment: 0.5PAs per week (0.05 WTE

Are you passionate about being research active and having a positive impact on patient care? Do you have ideas about how we engage and support colleagues to be more research active? Do you have good leadership skills and the ability to influence? 

What is the Local Research Specialty Lead (LRSL) role?

The LRSL will play a key leadership role in the on-going development and performance of the LCRN, providing clinical leadership, advice and accountability for their specialty activities and research delivery.

The LRSL provides the vital link between the local, geographically based networks (LCRNs) and national networks of specialty-specific expertise which is essential to the success of the NIHR Clinical Research Network.

The LRSL will lead the development of LCRN clinical activity within a specified specialty:

  • engage with the Clinical Divisional Lead to support successful research delivery
  • encourage local clinicians to participate in NIHR Clinical Research Network Portfolio studies
  • build upon local clinical strengths, research interests and priorities

The LRSL will assist the Research Delivery Manager:

  • with the clinical perspectives of the delivery of the studies managed within the specialty
  • in the development of the local infrastructure of research studies

The LRSL will engage with the National Specialty Leadership to:

  • contribute to national strategies and initiatives to support the successful delivery of the specialty’s national objectives
  • undertake additional duties as requested by NIHR CRN Coordinating Centre, for example, Early Feedback Reviews to support the national Study Support Service offering to researchers and the Life Sciences Industry
  • act as the key link between the national networks of specialty-specific expertise and the LCRN.

Strategic Priorities and Objectives

  • Strategic priorities: growth of portfolio studies delivered within the region, improved performance and increased collaboration with NHS and other key organisations
  • Growth: Develop the portfolio in new areas, ensuring the LCRN plays to our regional strengths
  • Performance: Improve delivery of the high level objectives to ensure a quality service
  • Collaboration: Strengthen working relationships between and within organisations to facilitate the development of a balanced portfolio and reflect the diversity of health care provision and need

What will the role involve?

Accountable to: LCRN Clinical Director and LCRN Clinical Divisional Lead

Key relationships: LCRN Clinical Director, LCRN Clinical Divisional Lead, Research Delivery Manager, Clinical Research Leadership Group, Partnership Group, providers of NHS services, other health and social care organisations, NIHR Clinical Research Network Coordinating Centre, NIHR CRN National Specialty Lead and specialty leads from other LCRNs

Key performance indicators:

LCRN’s contribution to:

  1. National/ local objectives for the specialty
  2. High Level Objectives as required in the LCRN Host Organisation Contract

Working with clinical colleagues across the LCRN

  • Engage with the local clinical research community to ensure the timely and effective delivery of all the studies on the local NIHR Clinical Research Network Portfolio.
  • Proactively promote local clinical engagement and awareness of research within the specialty; provide advice, support, encouragement and mentorship to clinicians and other professionals who express an interest in becoming involved in a research project.
  • Identify local strengths, capacity and capability to ensure that the continued development of the local portfolio maximises patient focused research opportunities for patients across all sectors of the LCRN population.
  • Work with local investigators, NHS and other organisations and the LCRN management team to agree and report on the objectives and targets for the specialty in order to contribute to LCRN performance over the annual planning cycle.
  • Provide a strategic overview of the local infrastructure required to support the research specialty with an emphasis on identifying and addressing local blocks to successful delivery; refer issues to the National Research Specialty Lead as appropriate.
  • Work with and support NHS and other organisations within the LCRN to maximise their involvement in NIHR Clinical Research Network Portfolio studies, with reference to industry studies.

Working with LCRN leadership

  • Support the LCRN Divisional Lead and Research Delivery Manager to ensure the LCRN delivers in line with the LCRN Host Organisation Contract.
  • Help to develop local research capacity for the specialty through actively seeking new opportunities for contributing to national multicentre studies and identifying local opportunities to expand expertise/experience and knowledge.
  • Work with the Research Delivery Manager to undertake local feasibility assessments and reviews for commercial studies, including identifying potential sites/investigators that could conduct the study, assessing the available research resources including skills, facilities and equipment and provide robust recruitment goals.
  • Keep up to date with changes to national and local healthcare arrangements in order to advise the LCRN on new potential opportunities and/or challenges to the delivery of the NIHR CRN portfolio of studies.
  • Link with the NIHR local infrastructure (e.g. NIHR Biomedical Research Centres (BRC), NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Science, CLAHRCs/ARCs.) to develop effective partnerships.
  • Support the development of new ways of working that will increase the integration of health research and patient care, and improve the quality, speed and coordination of clinical research.
  • Work in close collaboration with neighbouring LCRNs to remove artificial barriers to participation in NIHR CRN Portfolio studies.
  • Promote NIHR CRN activity and the aims, objectives and successes of the NIHR throughout the network area and represent the CRN at local, regional and national meetings.

Working with national NIHR leadership

  • Provide local intelligence to the national NIHR CRN Specialty Leadership, including:
        - pressures/issues relating to the delivery of the portfolio
        - examples of good practice and positive impact in their locality
        - locally-led studies that are open to recruitment at new sites
        - emerging clinical needs
        - unrepresented patient populations
  • Be an active member of the National Specialty Group, attending national meetings and contributing to national initiatives led by the national Specialty Group.
  • Contribute to national CRN initiatives, developing and sharing best practice.
  • To engage with NIHR Faculty including Senior Investigators.

Knowledge, skills and behaviours expected of the Local Research Specialty Lead

Local Research Specialty Leads must be facilitative, able to work flexibly and effectively in a developing organisation and to motivate and support others to deliver measurable results that make the NIHR CRN vision a reality.

It is expected but not mandated that the LRSL will be actively participating in the recruitment to at least one NIHR Portfolio research study.

It is essential that candidates demonstrate their achievements, ability and expertise against the following criteria:

  • A motivational leader with well-developed interpersonal skills and the ability to work with stakeholders at all levels.
  • An effective facilitator who is able to bring colleagues together to work in a collegiate way for the overall benefit of the local community in which they work.
  • Excellent communication and presentational skills with the enthusiasm to act as a “champion”.
  • The influencing skills to achieve results through other people.
  • Strongly committed to bringing benefits to patients through the delivery of excellent patient focused research within the NHS and other settings.
  • Experience as a clinical investigator leading a multi-centre clinical research study.
  • Experience of undertaking research in the NHS or other settings.
  • Ability to contribute constructively in meetings and appreciate both national and local aspects with a willingness to lead initiatives at both these levels.

Support available when appointed

The LRSL role will be supported within the core team through a named research delivery manager and a portfolio facilitator. The CDL will also be supported through the CRNCC National Specialty Group.

What are the benefits of being a Local Research Specialty Lead?

As part of the national network of NIHR CRN leaders, the LRSL will drive the clinical research agenda which is one of national importance. The LRSL leadership role within the LCRN is high-profile and demanding with LRSLs expected to act as ambassadors for the NIHR within a specific specialty. However, the benefits of the role include providing a key role in an organisation with an international reputation for innovation and achievement in the field of clinical research delivery.

How to apply

Please submit a cover letter and CV outlining how you meet the role specification to

For more information please contact Heather Bell (