On a daily basis, we work with tiny pieces of evidence, fine conceptual distinctions and complex theories. Yet our core goal is to make a practical difference.
We are committed to conducting research which informs patient care and policy. We aim to share our findings in ways that anyone interested in the topics we study can understand.
This is not always easy. We want to inform positive changes in practice and policy as soon as possible. However, high quality research takes time. Often it takes a lot of time and walking down many blind alleys before the picture begins to emerge.
We want to make our work accessible to as broad and varied audiences as possible. Yet conveying research in ‘plain language’ is a challenge. Clear and simple messages may betray the complexity and nuances of findings. We are constantly seeking to improve how we balance the demands for rigorous evidence, its timely availability and its broad resonance.
To increase our impact on practice and policy and engage with the broader public:
- We keep close connections with local service commissioners and national policy makers. We listen to their concerns and priorities and feed back findings from our work.
- Many of us continue to do clinical work. This informs the questions we ask. It helps us formulate recommendations that can work in the messy ‘real life’ rather than only in the realms of orderly theory.
- We teach and supervise the new generations of healthcare practitioners.
- Lay User Groups and Advisory Groups (involving practising clinicians and decision makers rather than only academics) support each of our studies.
- We share our findings with broader audiences through public events, blogs, new items, twitter feeds, etc.
- We make available the final author’s copy of our research papers in Apollo, the University of Cambridge open access repository.
Our recent “impact and engagement” activities and achievements include:
- Vice-Chancellor’s Public Engagement with Research Award for Dr Anna Spathis and Dr Stephen Barclay for work on cancer-related fatigue in young people
- ESRC Impact Acceleration Award for Dr Mila Petrova and Dr Stephen Barclay for “Prepared to Share?”, study on patient data sharing in complex conditions and at the end of life
- Care towards the end of life: Research into practice
- Images of Care and Dying series; find a 9-minute video below;
- What is a good death? – Cambridge Festival of Ideas event;
- Public lecture by Professor Merryn Gott, University of Auckland, on ‘avoidable’ hospital admissions at the end of life. You can find Merryn’s blog about her visit, which also summarises her arguments, here.