Research for non-academics – Navigating the research road

The College is hosting this new virtual event in collaboration with the RCPCH Trainee Research Network. It will be an exciting day of workshops on multiple topics to support non-academic clinicians beginning their research career.

Research for Non-Academics banner
Date: -
Time: -
Fully booked

The RCPCH Trainee Research Network (TRN) facilitates collaborative working and support across existing trainee research networks, both regionally and nationally. It aims to increase the opportunities for trainees to carry out child health research and provide peer support and guidance.

This full-day event, hosted virtually over Microsoft Teams, is designed to offer guidance and support to non-academics who are interested in starting their research career. Whether you're an allied healthcare professional or a medical student, this event is curated to help you kickstart your research journey, regardless of your career grade.

Throughout the day, attendees will have the opportunity to participate in a series of workshops led by members of the TRN which will cover a range of topics to provide insight and practical advice.

Here's a glimpse of what you can expect

Getting published - how, when and why

This workshop focuses on the various ways you can create content for your CV or portfolio without conducting formal lab-based research. Discover alternative avenues to showcase your expertise and enhance your credibility.


Dr Chris Worth is a paediatric endocrinology registrar in Manchester. He has an interest in technology and congenital hyperinsulinism and recently completed a PhD combining these two topics. Chris is generally angry about how hard it is for trainees to get involved with research and thus holds national roles in the NIHR and RCPCH to try and improve the situation. He also co-chairs a regional trainee research network in the North West, designed to help trainees at all stages of their research journey. When not at work, Chris is to be found running up and down muddy hills in the rain with a soggy map.

Professor Will Carroll is a children's doctor working in the Midlands region of the UK. He has a particular interest in childhood asthma and teaching. He is probably best known as the co-editor of the Illustrated Textbook of Paediatrics, which is widely used by medical students around the world, but has written six paediatric textbooks in total aimed at paediatricians at every stage of their training. He is Editor-in-Chief of the Elsevier journal Paediatrics and Child Health. He is currently the Director of Postgraduate Medical and Dental Education at the University Hospital of the North Midlands and the Joint Officer for Research for the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. He is chair of the Effective Preventative Medicines Group for the NHS England Children's and Young Persons National Asthma Bundle. He still wonders how he ended up even partially successful, and attributes 99% to luck and the rest to good fortune. X (formerly Twitter): @heretolearnkids

NIHR Portfolio Research

This session will introduce delegates to the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network (CRN) and its research portfolio.  It will demonstrate how the NIHR CRN facilitates delivery of clinical research studies, and outline ways in which the network supports the clinical workforce to get involved in undertaking research.  In particular, the session will provide an overview of the NIHR CRN Associate Principal Investigator Scheme and illustrate the benefits the scheme is bringing to Children's research and the clinical paediatric community.  


Dr Vanessa Poustie is based within the University of Liverpool and has a senior management role within the NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) Coordinating Centre, heading up the coordination of a number of Clinical Specialty Groups including Children, Infection, Reproductive Health and Childbirth, and Ophthalmology, and having oversight of the Associate Principal Investigator Scheme. She has worked within the NIHR since its inception, having established and led the management of the internationally-renowned NIHR Medicines for Children Research Network (MCRN) from 2005 to 2015. Prior to her role within the NIHR, Vanessa coordinated a multicentre clinical trial of oral energy supplements for children with cystic fibrosis, building on her previous role as a paediatric dietitian. 

What is sponsorship?

In this workshop we explain what sponsorship is and how it can help the research process, but also when sponsorship may not be needed, and what you can do without a sponsor. The speakers will provide practical examples of trainee-led regional projects carried out without sponsorship, with guidance for how to organise projects and manage data. The workshop will be interactive and audience questions are welcome, the panel will share their experience and advice on the challenges of research with or without sponsorship. 


Dr Hannah Cooney is a community child health subspecialty trainee in Thames Valley region, until recently training within the West Midlands, and co-chair of Paediatric Research Across the Midlands (PRAM), the West Midlands regional trainee-led research network. Alongside community paediatrics, her interests include training and education. 

Dr Tim van Hasselt is a neonatal subspecialty trainee in the West Midlands, and the other co-chair of PRAM. Tim is currently out of programme undertaking a PhD as part of an NIHR Doctoral Research Fellowship at the University of Leicester.  

Dr Thiloka Ratnaike is currently working as an Academic Clinical Lecturer in Paediatrics for the University of Cambridge. She works in Colchester Hospital as a Paediatric ST5 registrar while balancing life as an academic. Thiloka is committed to her goal of streamlining the diagnostic process for patients with mitochondrial diseases globally, under the guidance of Professor Patrick Chinnery and Professor Rita Horvath. She is also working, under the guidance of Professor David Rowitch, on a new project that aims to understand the possible genetic causes underlying cerebral palsy. Thiloka set up the Child Health East of England Research Initiative (CHEERI) which is a trainee-led research network aimed at improving access to research opportunities within the region. She is passionate about empowering Paediatric trainees with the skillsets to consider pathways in academia, and has helped set up research collaborations with local universities.

Patient safety

Research and improvement often intersect but both do have defined characteristics which are important to recognise when planning and delivering projects. Both may involve patients and the public and both require discipline and hard work in order to achieve intended goals. This session will use case examples to discuss common issues which may face those undertaking patient safety initiatives and learn how to avoid common errors.  


Professor Damian Roland is an experienced Paediatric Emergency Medicine clinician who is passionate about improving the care of the ill and injured child. He has internationally recognised expertise in the creation and evaluation of interventions (including education) to improve the differentiation of well from deteriorating children in emergency and acute care settings. Previously he has developed the Paediatric Observation Priority Score (POPS), now available as an app. He is currently clinical lead for the NHS England National Paediatric Early Warning System. He has a strong interest in Social Media as a means of Knowledge Translation using X (formerly Twitter) account @damian_roland and blog, The Rolobot Rambles.

Golden tips for critical appraisals

This session aims to provide attendees with the knowledge and skills that they need to find relevant academic papers and appraise them. This session is suited to both the novice and more experienced reader of papers. We will consider what the purpose of critical appraisal is and how it is relevant to your current/future practice, and we will share top tips to demystify and simplify the process. 

Participants will learn how to ask relevant research questions and how to find academic papers that answer those questions. We will review ways to search for papers and simple techniques to improve your searches. The session will use practical examples to demonstrate important concepts in critical appraisal, giving an overview of the main considerations when appraising published work and checklists/tools to help with this. We will cover some basic statistical concepts for reading papers to reinforce your knowledge or get you started. You will leave more confident at picking up a paper and making a rapid evaluation of it. 


Dr Eva Wooding is Co-chair of the national RCPCH Trainee Research Network (TRN) and Chair of the South West Peninsula regional TRN, PenTRAIN. She works as an academic paediatric trainee at the Royal Devon University Hospital and at the MRC Centre for Medical Mycology at the University of Exeter. She has a Masters in Clinical Education and tutors in postgraduate and undergraduate evidence based healthcare, encouraging healthcare professionals to inform their practice using the best available evidence. She is an advocate for trainee-led research and passionate about building research skills and capacity amongst the child health workforce. X (formerly Twitter): @paedsdr

Dr Michelle D'Souza is a paediatric trainee in North West London and honorary clinical fellow at Imperial College London. She recently investigated the barriers to participating in research during paediatric training and is keen to address these with the support of local and national research networks. 

Whether you're looking to get published, understand sponsorship, contribute to NIHR Portfolio Research, enhance patient safety, or improve your critical appraisal skills, this event has something for everyone.

For any questions or enquiries regarding this event, please contact the Research & Evidence Team at

Registrations are now closed