An overview of the Council of Deans of Health’s research policy work

22 June 2016

The Council of Deans of Health represents the interests of its member institutions in both education and research. The Council is proud of its members’ important contributions to the UK’s overall research excellence.  Here we provide an overview of the Council’s research policy work.

Promoting members’ research work

The Council plays a key role in promoting the impact of members’ research to policy makers and politicians.

The impact assessment element of the REF has given universities an excellent opportunity to showcase the impact of their research. This is particularly important for applied research in nursing, midwifery and the AHPs where research can have a rapid and significant impact on practice. Nevertheless, the Council and its members still face a challenge to make the connection between research, education and evidence-based practice consistently and widely understood and valued for our disciplines.

In 2015 the Council published Care Transformed: The impact of nursing, midwifery and allied health professional research. 

Representing and supporting members engaged in research

With the move to an executive team built around portfolio roles the Council now has an Executive Lead for Research, Professor Patrick Callaghan of The University of Nottingham. The Council has also recently set up a research advisory group which has so far had a teleconference to discuss Lord Stern’s review of REF, and which is contributing to the development of our longer-term research policy.

Looking ahead, the Council hopes to find ways to support members prepare for any future REF and to use Council meetings to foster discussion, generate debate and enable collaboration between research-active members.

The Council of Deans of Health Scotland has set up its own short-life research group to produce a position paper on research policy. We will take this group’s work into account as we develop our wider Council position.

Working to ensure that the architecture of research funding is appropriate and enabling for our professions and that the processes relating to research are transparent, efficient and effective

The Council engages in policy relating to the architecture of research funding, for example by responding to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills Green Paper Fulfilling Our Potential: teaching excellence, social mobility and student choice consultation and submitting evidence to Lord Stern’s review of the REF.

With the major forthcoming changes to research funding announced by the Government in May 2016 (the establishment of UK Research and Innovation bringing together the Research Councils, quality related research funding for universities and Innovation UK) it will be more important than ever that the Council strives to ensure that the funding infrastructure is supportive of research undertaken by nurses, midwives and AHPs.

Helping to strengthen research capacity in nursing, midwifery and the allied health professions

The Council already has, and is working to strengthen, relationships with funding bodies and with other organisations working on nursing, midwifery and AHP policy in relation to research including the Council for Allied Health Professions Research (CAHPR), Universities UK, the Health Services Research Network (HSRN) and the Association of UK University Hospitals, which hosts the Clinical Academic Careers Group for nurses, midwives and AHPs.

In May 2016 the Council hosted a research dinner bringing together Professor Philip Nelson (Chair of Research Councils UK), Professor Jane Elliott (Chief Executive of the ESRC), Sir John Saville (Chief Executive of the MRC), Chris Whitty (Chief Scientific Adviser for the Department of Health, with overall responsibility for the DH R&D budget, including NIHR) and a number of Council members engaged in high profile research.

We are currently working to develop and promote our priorities for research capacity building for our disciplines.

For further information please contact Fleur Nielsen, Head of Policy

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