Celebrations mark 10th anniversary of research fellowships programme

05 July 2019

Celebrations mark 10th anniversary of research fellowships programme
Celebrations marking 10 years of Imperial Health Charity’s Research Fellowships programme have kicked off a new campaign encouraging NHS staff to get involved in research.

Set up by the charity in 2009, the innovative programme provides funding for members of staff at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust to take the first steps in their academic career.

The initiative offers a platform for fellows to progress onto further study while enabling them to make a personal contribution to improving care for patients.

Dozens of fellows joined staff from Imperial College London, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and the Royal Brompton NHS Foundation Trust at the college’s South Kensington campus for a celebration event on Tuesday 2 July, marking the programme’s 10th anniversary.

Speakers included Professor Waljit Dhillo, Professor in Endocrinology and Metabolism at Imperial College London, Professor Janice Sigsworth, Director of Nursing at the Trust, and Professor Mary Wells, the Trust's Director of Nursing Research.

Now the charity is encouraging staff across the Trust to start their research journey by applying for a fellowship.

Ian Lush, Chief Executive of Imperial Health Charity, said: “Through the Research Fellowships programme, we’re proud to support pioneering research and innovation while giving staff the opportunity to gain valuable experience and progress their clinical academic careers.

“I’m delighted that the hard work and dedication of our fellows is now being translated into real improvements in patient care across the Trust’s hospitals.”

"The fellowship put me on the path to becoming a clinical academic"

Since the programme was launched in 2009, the charity has awarded more than £3 million to support the research projects of around 100 fellows.

Some have gone on to become clinical academics lecturing at Imperial College London, while the results of our fellows' work have helped to shape clinical care at the Trust.

With support from the charity, Dr Shivani Misra (pictured above) used her fellowship to explore a rare type of diabetes which affects only 20,000 to 40,000 people in the UK. Her work showed that cases are often misdiagnosed in south Asian and African-Caribbean people, leading to patients receiving inappropriate or ineffective treatment.

The fellowship led Dr Misra to set up a special genetic diabetes service at St Mary’s Hospital and she was also named as one of London’s leading health influencers by the London Evening Standard in 2018.

Dr Misra said: “I’m so grateful to Imperial Health Charity for funding the first year of my research journey, which enabled me to generate some pilot data. If it wasn’t for that initial support, my study would have never happened. I really believe the programme has helped me to support more patients and put me on the path to becoming a clinical academic.”

Start your research journey today

The fellowships are funded by Imperial Health Charity and the NIHR Imperial Biomedical Research Centre, with up to £65,000 available for each successful applicant. Funding is available for pre-doctoral and post-doctoral fellowships, and both medics and healthcare professionals outside of medicine are encouraged to apply.

Events marking the programme’s 10th anniversary will be taking place throughout 2019 and applications for the 2020/21 programme open on Tuesday 1 October 2019.

To start your research journey today, click here or email grants@imperialcharity.org.uk

Image credit: Fergus Burnett, Imperial College London