Getting Started in Research

Step 1: Essential: your ideas, enthusiasm, and time.

Flowchart of the research process

Here you can find a flowchart of the process of research in the NHS

Research education and training courses will be offered by our regional AHP research network each year and will be advertised on our Events and activities page.

For many AHPs, formal research training may be an option and this can include access to funded MRes places through the NIHR programme and access to funding for PhD work through fellowship and Clinical Academic Training schemes.

We will keep you updated with the opportunities, please register with our mail list here.

Healthcare employees in the North West can apply for CPD and/or post qualification training modules through CPD online.

National training courses can be accessed through the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM) website and it is possible to sign up for email alerts from this website. The NCRM provides information for research, training and capacity building activities and aims to improve quality and range of methodological skills and techniques.

Find a PhD website provides a guide to current postgraduate research and PhD studentships about graduate research programmes from UK and international Universities and organisations. Find a Masters website provides a large database of postgraduate masters courses available in the UK and internationally.

Good Clinical Practice (GCP) training is a key requirement for all involved in the conduct of clinical research. GCP is the standard and guidelines to which all research should be conducted. It is mandatory for those working on clinical trials. GCP training is available through local research networks and NHS Trusts. It is also possible to apply for GCP training through the NIHR Learning Management System.

Research Data Management Training (MANTRA) is an open resource to support PhD students, early career researchers and digital data users with research data management. An online free course is offered with interactive units focused on key concepts of data management. Practical exercises provide experience in handling data in four software packages widely used by researchers.

Six things to do before writing your manuscript – in this PDF a seasoned editor gives advice to boost your chances of acceptance.

11 steps to structuring a science paper editors will take seriously – in this PDF a seasoned editor gives advice to get your work published in an international journal.

NHS Guide For Aspiring Clinical Academics and their Managers

How are treatments and cures discovered? What is the impact of clinical
research? How do we undertake clinical research? Why do we do clinical


You can discover the answer to these questions and many more by
registering to join the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)
Clinical Research Network (CRN) Massive Open Online Course (MOOC).


How can I access funding?

How can I access funding is one of the most commonly asked research-related questions. It isn’t easy, is the simple and honest answer. When you are starting out in research, it helps to align yourself with someone who is already established and preferably, who is working in the research area that you are interested in. Remember, it is not always necessary to have funding to conduct small research projects. It is important to make contact with your Research and Development unit manager to talk through your research ideas and aspirations. They will have information about local as well as national funding options including access to any in-house pump priming or capability funding.

What is ‘Patient and Public Involvement’?

It is important when considering undertaking research within the NHS (and an essential requirement for most funding streams) that the views of patients and the public are sought. For audits and small pilot or start-up projects patient and public involvement (PPI) may be helpful but is not a necessity. However, working in partnership with service users, informal carers and interested members of the public will greatly enhance the relevance and authenticity of major studies because of the unique insights they can bring to the planning process and beyond. With careful thought the partnership can be beneficial through all stages of the research process.

Trust PPI groups – your R&D manager will have these contact details , i.e. SRFT

Research network user/consumer/PPI reference panels, i.e. Parkinson’s UK

Higher Education Institutes PPI groups, i.e. Universities

North West People In Research Forum The North West People in Research Forum is an organisation which is devoted to supporting patient and public involvement (PPI) and public engagement (PE) in health and social care research in the North West.


INVOLVE is a Department of Health agency including experts in public participation who believe in a democracy where citizens are able to take and influence the decisions that affect their lives.

There are many ways of accessing PPI for research. You do not have to find your own users but can approach established groups at local, regional or national level. These include:

Good Clinical Practice: Is it important?

Everyone involved in the conduct of clinical research must have training to ensure they are best prepared to carry out their duties. This is laid down in the Research Governance Framework for Health and Social Care 2005, covering all research in the NHS in England, and in law for those people working on clinical trials.

The principles of GCP state that: Each individual involved in conducting a trial should be qualified by education, training and experience to perform his or her respective task(s). (2.8, E6 Guideline for Good Clinical Practice).

Please send us your questions