This year’s Annual East Midlands Doctoral Network (EMDoc) Annual Conference which took place at Bishop Grosseteste University focussed on the theme of ‘Impact and exchange – making connections beyond the academy’. The event was attended by over 100 doctoral students and it was a great opportunity to see and discuss posters of their work and hear presentations of their studies. It was also an opportunity to showcase CaHRU’s research impact and how this was being developed.
Prof Siriwardena of CaHRU gave the keynote lecture during the afternoon of the conference on the subject of ‘Making a difference through research’. In the lecture he explained that most researchers are trying to make a difference through their work, but questioned how effective we were at achieving this and what steps we can take to make research more relevant to the wider community. The talk described examples of work from the Community and Health Research Unit which sought to improve health care and outcomes, and what had been learned about doing research that makes a real difference.
The lecture covered definitions of impact, explaining the difference between journal impact factors and real-world impact. Key principles for increasing the likelihood of impact were then presented including researching an important problem affecting many people significantly across a wide area while seeking to implement coherent solutions. A multidisciplinary approach with service user involvement and professional input can help to generate better solutions to problems. This could even be part of the research with patient and public involvement (PPI) and professional collaboration helping to define the problem and coproduce solutions. There were also advantages in working with others to communicate impact in original and interesting ways, being open to generating impact, and trusting others to help or support by relinquishing control.
Finally, the recently developed CaHRU infographics were presented as a way of communicating research and impact in an interesting and engaging way for both the public and professionals.
By Prof Niro Siriwardena
[su_document url=”http://communityandhealth.blogs.lincoln.ac.uk/files/2018/10/Impact20181.pdf” width=”660″]Multi-morbidity, goal-oriented care, the community and equity[/su_document]