This year Pharmacy Research UK celebrates 10 years as a funder of pharmacy research, providing research support to pharmacists early in their research career.
As we reach this milestone, we wanted to reflect on some of the things that we’re proud about, and to share a few facts and figures from our first 10 years!
Finally, as the principal research funder for pharmacists, we wanted to look forward to what the next few years might hold by way of new opportunities for pharmacists and pharmacy professionals wishing to develop research skills.
Throughout the 10 years since we were founded, we have provided funding for pharmacists to undertake independent research and training. The majority of our funding has been split between providing individual pharmacists with funding to undertake a supervised research project, and funding larger-scale research through project grants. We ran project grant rounds in 2013 and 2016, providing substantial funds towards critical issues pertinent to pharmacy research.
Our funding schemes are open to a range of different health areas and research questions, as our schemes operate on a response-mode basis. The largest proportions of our funding have been committed to issues relating to medicines optimisation and also the professional development of pharmacists and the skills needed to deal with a range of pertinent issues relating to public health issues. With the support of The Leverhulme Trust, we have also been able to dedicate significant amounts of funding to community pharmacy research.
We have supported over 60 pharmacists from a wide range of backgrounds, from those who work in community, to hospital and academia. As a result of our funding, our awardees have been able to attain further funding and advance their research activity.
Dr Sion Scott, Lecturer in Behavioural Medicine at the University of Leicester, said:
“From a career perspective, the awards have definitely accelerated my progression. I secure my first research focussed Lectureship at 25, which is quite early and again with grant income being a pre-requisite, the PRUK awards were a considerable reason for this.”
One of the bursary applicants we supported, Victoria Tavares from The University of Manchester, stated that her bursary:
“…has enabled me to supervise 4th year pharmacy student projects on my own so I am able to continue my research interests around equality, diversity and inclusivity via them and I am currently bidding to work on a project with colleagues around differential achievement and understanding assessment terminology.”
In 2018 we funded a pharmacist, Dr Barry Jubraj, to undertake a PhD by publication and he noted:
“I wish to place on record my thanks to PRUK for awarding me a level 1 bursary in 2018. The resulting PhD by publication has significantly improved my confidence and competence in supervising and publishing research, commenting on research and publication matters for a national NHS organisation; and offering research and other publications for the clinical and research communities to consider as they seek to improve patient care.”
Since 2014, we have been partnering with organisations to provide opportunities for pharmacists and health service researchers to contribute to research in pharmacy. This has formed a key part of our campaign and has been a significant part of our approach to our research strategy.
We are proud to have partnered with a number of organisations:
Health Service Research and Pharmacy Practice (HSRPP) conference
We are proud to have sponsored and supported the annual HSRPP conference, focussed on identifying and disseminating research papers that inform policy and practice development along with providing an encouraging environment for early career researchers. As the secretariat of the conference, we have been fortunate to see how the conference continues to attract early career and established researchers in the field of pharmacy practice across the UK. The next conference will be hosted by the University of Bradford and we look forward to the following conference being hosted in Ireland.
PRUK mentoring scheme
The PRUK mentoring scheme launched in 2017 and are proud to have a network of experienced researchers supporting pharmacists new to research with their career goals. From established a clinical-academic career, to undertaking training, our mentees have benefitted from a wealth of guidance and support from the professionals who have generously gifted their time to this scheme.
In September, we will be reviewing our current research strategy and implementing a renewed strategy for 2023 to 2026. We are always grateful for thoughts or ideas about where our funding could make the most difference, so if you have any suggestions you can let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also complete our survey here.
We already have some exciting new partnerships and projects lined up, and armed with a new strategy there should be more exciting new announcements and plans to come later in the year. We are delighted to be partnering with Wellbeing of Women on their project grant round, with the outcome to be announced at the end of the year. We are thrilled to be supporting three new fellowships via our partnership with the National Institute for Health Research, starting this year. We are also looking forward to renewing our collaboration with Diabetes UK again in the near future – an award which could potentially be the largest we have ever been able to offer.
When we were first established back in 2012 there was no guarantee that we would even make it to 10 years old! But now we feel that we are well set to build even further and look towards what we can achieve in our next 10 years.
Looking back over the past 10 years of activity we are incredibly proud of all the researchers that we have been able to work with and support, and incredibly grateful to all of the people who have helped us to deliver on our mission to support pharmacy research and support pharmacists to get involved in research work.
From our trustees and staff members, to our partners and advisors, it has been a collective effort to support our small charity to try to make as big a difference as we can. Thank you to everyone that we have worked with, or who has supported us during our first 10 years!