Future Researcher Leaders

Below a selection of our researchers reflect on the research their funding has enabled them to undertake.

Gemma Donovan

University of Sunderland

Gemma and the EMULSION team received a grant from PRUK in 2014.

The Clinical Pharmacy Research Grant has not only allowed us to complete a really worthwhile study into unlicensed medicines, it’s also kick started myself and Lindsay’s research careers. We’ve been able to access training opportunities to develop our research skills and network with other researchers both inside and outside of the pharmacy profession. The guideline analysis we conducted has been very insightful in looking at how unlicensed medicines are being managed in secondary care and highlighting the potential gap for this support in primary care. In contrast, the qualitative work has shown how unlicensed medicines are used in practice by healthcare professionals and patients. Both of these pieces of work have provided a foundation for future research in this area, and shown what improvements might be needed in to how we manage unlicensed medicines and the potential role of pharmacists. We’ve also created a blog for anyone else who might be interested in applying for grants as early career pharmacy researchers.

See Gemma’s full report.


Richard Keers

Clinical Lecturer in Pharmacy

Richard received a UKCPA-PRUK grant in 2015.

“The PRUK Clinical Pharmacy Research Grant has enabled us to evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of pharmacy TECHnician supported MEDicines administration (TECHMED) in a general hospital. The grant has also enabled me to develop vital research project management skills as a junior researcher. We have studied the impact of TECHMED on the frequency of omitted medication doses across multiple wards in a randomised trial, whilst also completing interviews with both nursing and pharmacy staff as part of a mixed method process evaluation to gather their experiences of the new service along with its advantages and disadvantages.

 Omitted medication doses are an important and enduring threat to patient safety in hospitals, and research evidence suggests that many of these omitted doses arise due to unavailable medication on the ward. This presents an opportunity for pharmacy professionals to have a role in the ward-based medicines administration process, to maximise the safe and timely supply of scheduled doses. Our aim is for others to be able to use our findings to help guide future development and implementation of services like TECHMED, and the PRUK research grant has been instrumental in working toward this goal.”

See a list of Richard’s publications.


Esnath Magola

Community Pharmacist and Researcher

Esnath Magola was awarded Personal Research Awards by PRUK in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Esnath is a budding researcher with her eyes set on an academic career. After graduating from the University of Manchester in 2002, Esnath registered as a pharmacist in 2003. She worked in various community pharmacy settings and completed an MSc in Community Pharmacy, before she took an Honorary Lecturer post at Manchester Pharmacy School in 2010. She still works part-time as a practitioner for Alliance Boots and teaches undergraduates students on the MPharm degree at Manchester Pharmacy School.

Whilst she was a lecturer, Esnath secured a Research Associate post at the University of Manchester in January 2013, and began developing a PhD research proposal. In 2014 she was awarded her first PRUK Personal Award which funded the first year of her PhD studentship; she has since secured two further Personal Awards to complete her research. Her PhD project explores transition to practice for novice (newly qualified) community pharmacists and develops a peer support intervention. As she begins the third and final year of her PhD in 2016, Esnath will conduct a feasibility study of the intervention. She states “securing these awards provides me with the experience needed to become a well-rounded independent researcher, with skills in qualitative research, grant writing and project management.’’

Esnath’s success in being awarded this funding allows her to develop her research skills whilst adding new knowledge to inform policy, practice and education for the pharmacy profession. She plans to remain in academia and develop a traditional joint Teaching and Research focused academic career, in the education of pharmacy professionals.

Joan MacLeod

Lead Pharmacist

Joan was awarded a Bursary in 2014 and a Personal Award in 2016.

As a Lead Pharmacist in primary care (Aberdeen Health & Social Care Partnership), one of my key responsibilities is advising social care colleagues (both care providers and care management) on aspects of the medication support service. Through this, I have become aware of the very practical medication-related challenges faced by these services (in particular the learning disability services) and the lack of available evidence to underpin the guidance I was involved in writing.

The award from PRUK has enabled me to undertake relevant research as part of a Doctorate of Professional Practice (DPP) at the Robert Gordon University – a distance-learning doctoral degree designed for working professionals. Now, in year three of the DPP, I am working with local Learning Disability groups to research the experiences that people with learning disabilities (and/or their carers) have with regards to medication.  It is my hope that this research will help to improve the pharmaceutical care of people with learning disabilities in the future.

I am very grateful for the advice and financial support that PRUK has given me and would encourage other pharmacists with research ideas to consider applying.