External CPD on Clinical Education Research – Staff Perspective



Clinical Education Research can be a thrilling and rewarding field, as demonstrated by Gillian Naylor and Faye Deane’s attendance at a “Mastering the Basics” research training event hosted by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) and the Association for the Study of Medical Education (ASME). The event focused on building capacity and facilitating collaborations among early career res

earchers, as well as promoting excellence in medical education. Topics covered included the importance of impact in research, the role of equality, diversity, and inclusion in research, and the process of obtaining funding through the NIHR. Overall, the event provided valuable insights and resources for those interested in pursuing research in the healthcare field.

See below for detailed information

Who knew Clinical Education Research could be adrenaline-fuelled?

Gillian Naylor & Faye Deane spend a day ‘Mastering the Basics’…

Faye Deane: As a chiropractor with a 15-year history of working clinically, the transition to academia has been at times, a little rocky.  Namely, the sense of imposture syndrome and self-doubt one experiences working alongside notable and esteemed colleagues, experts of their fields.  You realise early on that research is a core fundamental principle embedded ubiquitously within every school, vision, strategy and framework here at Teesside University.  Participating in the field of research provides an opportunity to contribute to the growing body of evidence for the professions we love, and which have served us well over the years. There is an altruistic sense of giving back and with that, an excitement at the thought of advancing the profession though evidence-based research.   In the field of chiropractic specifically, with a background in Public Health, I have been driven by the thought of professional integration within the wider healthcare environment and how I now have an opportunity working at Teesside University, contribute to that. The development of a new chiropractic student clinic opening in 2023 within the School of Health & Life Sciences has left me enthused to gain as much knowledge on the field research as I can.  Structuring the planning and delivery of the chiropractic clinical offering with research as a core component will complement both the SHLS (School of Health & Life Sciences) Medical Education group and the research strategy of the chiropractic department (n=3).

Gillian Naylor: As a physiotherapist teaching in Sports Rehabilitation for 16 years my research focus has based itself in learning and teaching on the MA through EdD route. I miss professional research within my field and experiences through MSc so when the opportunity to attend a ‘Mastering the Basics’ research training event at the Hospitium in York came up, I naturally jumped at the chance. The day brought some rich and thought-provoking conversations with colleagues across the North.

The event was hosted by The National Institute for Health & Care Research (NIHR) and the Association for the Study of Medical Education (ASME). The NIHR Incubator for Clinical Education was launched in 2020 with the purpose to build capacity, facilitate collaborations and foster professional development of early (and not so early) career researchers with the overarching strategy to maximise the output and impact of research healthcare research.  Similarly, ASME’s vision is to promote collaborative working relationships within the healthcare sector to promote excellence in medical education which is aligned with the needs of the healthcare profession.


The day began with an opening by Professor Anne-Maree Keenan OBE, the Deputy Director of the NIHR Biomedical centre in Leeds.  Anne-Maree gave a background of the NIHR referring to it as an ecosystem of investment in which patients and patient outcomes are at the centre of what they do.  She discussed impact as the key operating principle of the NIHR and the influence of research on future healthcare treatments, diagnostics, medical technologies or services.  Anne-Maree discussed Equality Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) in research highlighting under-representation of certain professional healthcare disciplines and the NIHR’s mission to distribute funding more equitably to these healthcare professions.  This largely resonated with Faye as chiropractic did not fall within any of the categories mentioned reinforcing the need for further research in this area.  For anyone who missed the event and would like to get a better understanding of the infrastructure of clinical research in the UK and how to attain funding through NIHR, the NIHR have a comprehensive YouTube channel.

There were several TedX style talks throughout the day concluded with a Keynote speech by Professor Tim Dornan, Professor of Medical Education at Maastricht University (Netherlands) and Honorary Professor at the University of Manchester.  All talks centred around the theme of becoming a clinical education researcher and the varying paths academics have travelled to arrive there.

Dragons Den style NIHR Bid

The highlight of the day was a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style notional bid for an NIHR award to fund one high-quality research project, costing up to £200,000.  Working in groups of 5-6, we had to co-write our own early research grant proposal based on an agreed research question on member had submitted a prior. A proposal that usually takes approximately 9 months, was constructed in 90 minutes and presented to the Dragons who consisted of:

  • Professor Karl Atkin; Professor of Sociology at the University of York
  • Dr Nicola Brennan; Senior Research Fellow in Medical Education at Peninsula Medical School
  • Professor Gary Frost; (the scariest of all the dragons) Professor of nutrition & Dietetics at Imperial College London & Professor
  • Paul Tiffin; Professor of Health Services and Workforce Research at University of York and Hull Medical School.

The task required use to work collectively, agreeing on a research question, completing an NIHR application form, a Lay Summary and Proposal Slides outlining the purposed research which needed to be no longer than 7 minutes, followed by 3 minutes of questioning by the ‘Dragons’.  This had to include an original and innovative research question, appropriate theoretical orientation, methodology, feasibility, meaningful plan to involve patients and the public, and a potential route to impact. Expertise in the room included a PPI (Patient and public) expert, Research Design Service expert and a statistician.  The activity allowed for scholarly conversation and discussion.  It was also very apparent that the task was adrenaline fuelled for many in the room! Questioning was provocative and many a presenter were left flustered.  We have rounded up the top 10 tips from both the panellists and the speakers during the day in the table below.

Overall, the day was a perfect introduction to the NIHR and ASME for those new to research and helped to foster networking links between academic institutions in the North.  The Dragon’s Den exercise was valuable as removed the stigma of applying for grants as an imposing and daunting task.  It would be great to bring the task to the SHLS Medical Education Research group to build a collaborative research community within our healthcare disciplines.

Faye & Gillian

There were 10 top tips from the Dragons following the proposals: 
1.      Keep the research question simple.
2.      Do not under-cost (the NIHR panellists will know if you have, and it will make you appear unprepared).
3.      Patient and public involvement should be at least 1% of the total amount of money requested and should be central to the bid.
4.      Make sure you know the literature; often large pieces of research are overlooked during grant proposals due to the use of refined search terms.
5.      How does your research make a difference? Embed impact and feasibility early on in your proposal.
6.      When responding to a panellist’s questions, keep your answers short and informed.
7.      Start small when it comes to applying for grants. The ASME for example has a £5,000.00 for its members (
8.      Collegiality, support and mentorship are vital – build your own research community.
9.      Get used to rejection and do not give up on an idea if you believe it is credible.
10.  To ensure research is high quality used mixed methodologies where possible.  Correcting the weaknesses of one methodology with the affordances of another.