NIHR launches research incubators

The National Institute for Health Research has launched four new ‘incubators’ for Clinical Education, Advanced Surgical Technology, Mental Health and Methodology.

The incubators will support academic research careers in the fields to encourage networking, training and career development, with an aim to increase academic research capacity.

The four incubators are: 

The Clinical Education Incubator will promote the value and attractiveness of clinical education research as an esteemed career destination. Given fundamental changes in the content of practice and ways of delivering healthcare services, clinical education must also fundamentally change to ensure professionals are ‘educated for complexity’. The Incubator will develop a multi-professional community of high calibre researchers across academic career stages.

The Advanced Surgical Technology Incubator has been created to develop a vibrant, highly skilled, multi-disciplinary operating theatre research workforce working across clinical, academic and commercial domains. It is a national clinical-scientific-industrial consortium including the Royal College of Surgeons, NIHR Brain Injury MedTech Co- operative and NIHR Surgical MedTech Co-operative, and aims to increase research capacity and future leadership training for those who will shape and deliver research into surgical technology, with a special focus on the challenges of the post-Covid-19 landscape. 

The Mental Health Incubator has been created to increase capacity in mental health research. Academics in mental health are desperately needed to help solve the increasing levels of mental health problems in the population. The Incubator, led by a steering group formed of NIHR mental health research professors and leaders from across NIHR Infrastructure, will showcase mental health research and careers and share training opportunities for those interested in mental health research.   

The Methodology Incubator will focus on how to attract researchers into careers in methodological disciplines and then how to support training and further specialisation to specific applied methodological areas. It will pay particular attention to gaps in the field of methodology disciplines, applied methodology areas and career progression. The Incubator has prioritised statistics and economics as a focus for the first year and has eight workstreams in progress, which will explore the wider issues and complexities around research capacity development for methodology within NIHR. 

Professor Dave Jones, Dean of NIHR Academy said, “It is fantastic to welcome these new Incubators. They will provide a community driven approach to making a difference to capacity building in these strategically important areas for health and social care research.”