5th March 2024

Blog | Bridging Theory and Practice: reflections from a Student Nurse at CoDH’s Research & Innovation Conference

A guest blog by #150Leaders Jade Hunt, Nursing Student at the University of Plymouth who attended the Council of Deans of Health’s Research & Innovation Conference in February.

I had the most incredible time at the Council of Deans Research and Innovation Conference. I felt it was important to spend some time reflecting on this experience, as it is one of the highlights of my Student Nurse and #150Leaders Student Leadership Programme experience. My lovely #150Leaders peer, the incredible Student Nurse Sally Hao was there. We have a very supportive cohort who keeps in contact regularly, however, face-to-face meetings are always productive and an opportunity to connect. It was good to exchange how our projects are progressing and what we have learned from the programme. She is inspirational and asked the final panel a brilliant question about encouraging students to engage in research and increasing opportunities for this.

Firstly, Research and Innovation strategies were discussed with Abigail Phillips from Welsh Government explaining the importance of robust pilots. Tony Soteriou expanded on this, highlighting the importance of building a stronger vibrant research commercialisation community. This commercialisation focuses on the implementation and transfer of research into practice. Subsequently, discourse moved from research and innovation strategies to funding. Helen Cross from the Scottish Funding Council spoke about the new level of recognition and importance of healthcare research and highlighted the vital role of cross-fertilisation across different fields. This builds on our learning from 150 leaders and the importance of HCP working together to push forward practice using our perspectives and insights to enrich and improve healthcare for all. This was a common theme throughout the conference.

The amazing Ruth Endacott from NIHR spoke passionately about improving the health and wealth of the nation. It was brilliant to see the opportunities for early career HCP including bursaries and internships. Zoe Martin from Cancer Research UK finished the session on Research and Innovation funding discussing the economic benefit of funding research and the steps the UK government must take so that people can live #LongerBetterLives Peter Mathieson discussed #FutureProofingResearch and the importance of supporting clinical academic roles, encouraging the wider healthcare workforce to engage in research. Bella Starling director of wearevocal.org discussed inclusive partnerships and inclusive research. She finished with a beautiful poignant poem from Nasima Begum.

After lunch the focus was looking ahead to REF 2029, this provided me with insights into how REF provides accountability, benchmark information, establishes reputational yardsticks, and informs the allocation of funding. The last session of the day was around overcoming challenges with Parveen Azamali, Jenny Gamble and 150 Leader alumni, and Coach Joy O’Gorman with lots of learning including finding allies, mentorship, and challenging negative myths.