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Not enough time for research? Use of supported funding to promote allied health research activity

Authors Wenke R, Weir KA, Noble C, Mahoney J, Mickan S

Received 14 November 2017

Accepted for publication 9 February 2018

Published 21 June 2018 Volume 2018:11 Pages 269—277


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Video presented by Sharon Mickan and Rachel Wenke.

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Rachel Wenke,1,2 Kelly A Weir,1–3 Christy Noble,1,4,5 Jill Mahoney,1 Sharon Mickan1–3

1Allied Health Clinical Governance, Education and Research, Gold Coast Health, QLD, Australia; 2School of Allied Health Sciences, 3Menzies Health Institute Queensland, 4School of Medicine, Griffith University, Southport, QLD, Australia; 5School of Pharmacy, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, Australia

Purpose: The current project evaluated the impact of a short-term, supported funding initiative that allowed staff from allied health (AH) professions to undertake research activity within rostered employment time. Specifically, the project will report on outcomes pertaining to individual research capacity, research output, and overall satisfaction with the initiative.
Participants and methods: Sixteen AH clinicians (n=16) from six AH professions participated in the evaluation of the initiative, with data being collected within a service improvement framework. Clinicians received up to 4 weeks of protected time relieved from their clinical duties to undertake research activities, including writing for publication, undertaking a systematic review, data analysis, and preparation of ethics applications. An AH Research Fellow provided additional support and mentorship, including the development of an implementation plan. Evaluation included pre–post measures of individual research capacity using a 15-item self-report Research Capacity and Culture (RCC) survey, a post-implementation satisfaction survey, and monitoring of research output achieved.
Results: Statistically significant improvements (p<0.05) were found on 14 out of 15 items on the RCC tool, with meaningful improvements in securing funding, analyzing qualitative data, writing for publication, literature searching skills, and providing advice to less experienced researchers. Overall satisfaction with the initiative was high, with positive comments from AH professionals (AHPs) regarding the initiative. Research output arising from the initiative included eleven manuscripts being submitted, with six currently in publication and others under review.
Conclusion: The preliminary findings support the feasibility of implementing a local, clinical funding model to promote individual research capacity and research output for AHPs. The short-term funding should be supported by local mentorship and guidance. Local barriers and suggestions to optimize implementation, including integrating within existing research infrastructure and using flexible “backfill” options, will also be described.

Keywords: research capacity building, allied health, research engagement, funding

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