Record-breaking number of MFT researchers shortlisted for the 2019 Greater Manchester Clinical Research Awards

More MFT researchers than ever before have been shortlisted for the Greater Manchester Clinical Research Awards, taking place on Thursday 7 November.

Sixteen individuals and teams from across our Trust have been chosen from more than 200 nominations across 14 Greater Manchester trusts, primary care, academia and other local partners.

Dr Iain McLean, Acting Managing Director for Research and Innovation at MFT, said: “I would like to congratulate our finalists and thank everyone who took the time to complete a nomination form for this year’s Clinical Research Awards. Research across Greater Manchester is growing year-on-year, and it is inspiring to see so many researchers and teams across MFT being shortlisted for accolades across the board.

“Two finalists have been put forward for a lifetime achievement award to acknowledge their dedication and commitment to the Trust, which is particularly great to see. Our people have also received nominations for best debut and early career researcher of the year awards, which is fantastic as it demonstrates excellence at all stages of research and innovation pathway.

The hard work of many individuals and collaborative team efforts have been recognised in these nominations – demonstrating MFT’s vision is to improve the health and quality of life of our diverse population, by building an organisation that excels in quality, safety, patient experience, research, innovation and teaching – and I wish all finalists the very best of luck at the award ceremony in November.

Snippets of the MFT nominations can be seen by clicking on the boxes below:

Lifetime Achievement:

Kathy Evans

Kathy’s central role in R&I has made her instrumental in the success of organisations MFT is proud to host, including the NIHR Greater Manchester Clinical Research Network, the NIHR Manchester Clinical Research Facility, Manchester Academic Health Science Centre and latterly Health Innovation Manchester.

She has supported the development of colleagues within R&I and MFT but crucially also in other GM Trusts. Kathy’s career in research goes back many years as a Research Nurse both in her native USA and in the UK, and she has also worked on the clinical service side of the NHS as a directorate manager in orthopaedics, and more besides. I cannot think of a more fitting recipient of this award for 2019.

Professor James Hill

Professor Hill is the driving force behind research within the colorectal department at Manchester Royal Infirmary (MRI), actively encouraging involvement with multicentre RCT’s and home-grown research studies.

Regardless of his role within the trial he is a very active member of the team, liaising with staff and other departments required to support research delivery. His keenness to encourage collaborative working allows better Research opportunities for patients and allows the teams to achieve the best results possible. Without Prof Hill’s presence at the MRI over the last 25 years, it’s categorically clear to all involved in 2019 that the Research team would not have had the successes it has.

Research Midwife of the Year:

Catherine Chmiel

Catherine has always been a keen advocate for incorporating research into clinical care, enabling evidence based research to improve patient care. The MAVIS clinic is a shining example of this idea, and what can be achieved if research runs cohesively alongside clinical care.

Catherine’s ability to manage in a humble and down to earth manor is nothing short of amazing. This also extends to the countless patients that Catherine has cared for through their pregnancies in the MAVIS clinic, of which she has had countless thanks. To say it is a pleasure to work with Catherine is an understatement, it is a privilege. She is highly driven and a force to be reckoned with, yet she remains down to earth and practical with her approaches to developing research and care within the NHS as a whole.

Research Practitioner of the Year:

Susannah Glasgow

In addition to her continuous contribution to research delivery in the Cross Divisional Research Hub as a passionate research practitioner, she has been the sole driver in increasing patient participation and engaging the rheumatology team across Wythenshawe and Withington hospitals.

Susannah’s role has been pivotal to increasing research participation amongst rheumatology patients. She has worked hard to identify patients for study recruitment in outpatient clinics and clinical MDT meetings. Susannah’s excellent communication skills allow her to put patients at ease when discussing research and develop outstanding working relationships with colleagues.

Research Administrator / Coordinator of the Year:

David Triggs

David has been hugely refreshing to work with. He has shown a high level of engagement from the outset and has been very respectful of extraordinarily tight time lines and we feel he has gone the extra mile to respond within these very short time frames. David is very attentive to the administrative detail ensuring the correct forms are prepared and ready, including those which are site specific.

We work with a whole community of administrators/ coordinators across many hospital sites in the UK. We recognise that David’s delivery on the LocoMMotion study is top of the league.

Eloise Cook

Eloise is, in short, the very best study coordinator that it is actually possible to imagine. She came from the LCRN to her post with EMERGING, and it was clear from day one that the LCRN is clearly pretty good at training study coordinators.

Eloise has designed a study within a study to evaluate paramedics’ perceptions of training for this study and other pre-hospital research. The legacy of this research (which is now funded and going ahead) will be that we know far more about how to effectively engage paramedics with clinical research and incentivised recruitment to pre-hospital research.

Best Debut:

Poly Kirkilli

Poly joined the research team at Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine in April 2018 as a research administrator to support the 100 000 Genomes project.  Poly hit the ground running, she proved herself immediately to be a superb asset to the research team and certainly was a great support to me whist recruiting to the 100,000 genome project. She is reliable and conscientious. 

She picked up the complicated processes with speed and accuracy when inputting the patients on to the genomic England portal and was invaluable when assisting me to sort out queries within the project. She is a worthy candidate for being recommended for the “best debut” nomination.

Outstanding Contribution:

The GAME Study team

The GAME study team led by Chief Investigator Mr Bibhas Roy including physiotherapist’s nurses and doctors at Trafford Hospital transformed the way shoulder surgery patients receive physiotherapy, by using a series of personalised computer video games to help patients exercise and track their recovery progress at home.

The success of this study was collaboration between the organisations and the personnel who really drove this project. This study allowed opportunity for Allied Health Professionals (who wouldn’t normally carry out research) to become research active and undertake this project. The physiotherapists Ian Pullen , Gemma Wilde, Sam Rhodes as well as consultants Dominic Marley and Bibhas Roy really were instrumental to the delivery of this project and Amy James from the CRN, all with one aim to benefit patients.

The games have been introduced into patient care at Trafford Hospital following the success of this clinical research study, supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network (CRN).

Emma Harrison

Emma makes the Manchester Clinical Research Facility at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital a welcoming, exciting and friendly place to be. She is an invaluable member of our team and I cannot imagine having to carry out investigations and treatments on the children without her help to prepare, distract and most importantly laugh.

The words that come out the children’s mouth most in this ward is ‘Where is Emma?’
They all absolutely adore her. She always makes an effort to greet everyone that walks on this ward and tries to put a smile on their face. We see children with all levels of ability, communication and development needs and Emma will always ensure that as a team we are providing an experience that is holistic and inclusive of the child and their family.

Greater Manchester Research Education Team

The Greater Manchester Research Education Team is a collaboration between The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust and Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust.

In February 2019, the GM research nurses identified a lack of access to cancer education amongst the research teams in the district general hospitals. Aware of the strong links between continuous training, job satisfaction and quality care, a group of research nurses agreed to relaunch an adapted and updated Cancer Research Introductory course (CRIC).

The group is hopeful that better oncology training and understanding for the GM cancer centre research teams will lead to increased job satisfaction, increased knowledge of protocol treatment ultimately increasing study set up times and improved patient care.

Investigator of the Year:

Dr Tim Felton

Dr Tim Felton is the research lead for Critical Care at Wythenshawe Hospital and the Manchester Biomedical Research Centre and has recently been instrumental in securing a number of grants, as either the lead applicant or co-applicant. The most high profile of these being a grant totalling £4.4 million awarded to MFT by the Department of Health & Social Care that Dr Tim Felton led.  The grant call is for Antimicrobial Resistance Research Capital Funding and the application design is to fund two new research laboratories (capital, estates and staff) for MFT; one at Wythenshawe and the other at MRI.

Dr Felton is extremely supportive of his colleagues and has frequently offered to be part of a study team, as CI, PI or Co-Investigator, to get projects off the ground in areas or with teams unsure of how to engage with research. Furthermore, Dr Felton is a pleasure to work with and has inspired a culture of MFT striving to be one of the best hospitals in the UK for research and innovation.

Research Team of the Year (sponsored by Syneos Health):

Functional/Cross-divisional team

The cross-divisional team in R&I at Wythenshawe Hospital work with a variety of clinical teams across many specialty areas. The number of NIHR portfolio studies in General and Colorectal Surgery in which we participate has increased exponentially.

The team have embraced the increasing volume of work with enthusiasm. The emergency surgery studies in particular require comment. These have involved developing research skills amongst a whole cohort of surgical trainees who identify, recruit, consent and do assessments as part of the studies. This has proved challenging as the trainees have not had experience of clinical research but the team have worked alongside them, supporting, role-modelling and teaching them in the fundamentals of research in practice allowing them to develop their confidence and ability in delivering research.

Team Excellence Award for Research Patient Experience:

Midwifery Research Team

I am nominating the midwifery research team at MFT as we have developed a unique clinical research setting in Saint Mary’s Hospital in Manchester. Since moving to the premises 10 years ago we have developed translational antenatal clinics for high risk pregnancies that combine clinical care with the opportunity for our women to participate in Reproductive Health and Childbirth research studies.

In order for the clinics to work effectively the research midwives have to combine their clinical expertise as midwives with their research knowledge and experience to ensure that the women of Manchester receive high quality antenatal care whilst participating in research.

Our novel clinics have also contributed to the latest CQC inspection where we were acknowledged for providing quality care in a research setting. I think that our unique way of working has set the tone for the National standards that have now been set for the assessment of research in future inspections.

Paediatric Oncology and Haematology team

The team have received numerous thank you letters, daily feedback, cards, and surveys from patients and families over the last few months. The cards addressed to the team thank members for the support, compassion, knowledge, help and good communication while being on trials. The feedback and thanks received reflect the patient focussed hard work everyone strives to achieve.

Patients are supported and fully informed at every visit, making what is for the patient and family a very difficult time due to the nature of early phase oncology trials as easy as possible during their stay.

I couldn’t pick out a single individual from the team to nominate as the whole team strives to ensure all patients have an excellent research experience.

Early Career Researcher of the Year:

Dr Anisa Visram

Anisa was employed as a senior paediatric research audiologist for the hearing health theme at Manchester Biomedical Research Centre investigating the use of aided cortical auditory evoked potentials in infant hearing aid users (commonly known as the ladies in the van project). 

Anisa has recently been successful in obtaining a charity award for £350,000 to extend this work to investigate aided corticals in 200 infants who wear hearing aids. Anisa has been responsible for the day-to-day running of this project over the past 4 years. In order to make the research study accessible to as many families as possible, we obtained a philanthropic donation of £50,000 to buy and design a bespoke van so that we can take our hearing research around the country.

This has been one of the most challenging studies we have ever undertaken.  It has required individual approval from the Research and Development offices of more than 100 NHS Trusts and ‘buy in’ from NHS paediatric audiology teams.

Brooke Bianco

Brooke started working on Cystic Fibrosis (CF) clinical trials in 2016. Last year she was awarded an MFT fellowship to conduct her own research into the effects of fatherhood in CF, She has published her findings, has presented with a patient, and is now through to the final (interview) round of an NIHR doctoral fellowship to turn this into a PhD project.

Brooke has developed and led a programme of research directed and informed by patient need. She has had to develop new techniques and skills to do this. She has successfully been awarded an MFT fellowship which she has turned into an application for external (NIHR) funding, and has taken patient involvement to the core of the project at every step. She has also, despite her junior position, been able to support and mentor other researchers along the way. She exemplifies the NIHR ideals of patient centred research, support for others, and innovation in research.

The awards are organised by the National Institute for Health Research Clinical Research Network: Greater Manchester and recognise the region’s hard-working and top-achieving researchers, research teams, R&D departments and other support staff.