Academic Toolkit - ACT!

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Pre-PhD preparation

Initial planning

Start 1 year before funding application deadline and complete by 9 months before funding application deadline

To plan for a PhD you will need to pull together a lot of pieces. Make sure you understand what is needed for each stage.

  1. Start early. This means at least 12 months before any funding application deadline. There are a range of funding opportunities available and the application deadlines are usually displayed on the relevant website. All steps are likely to take longer than you anticipate.
  2. Seek help. Find the right person with the right knowledge and ask them to support you. Talk to your local Research and Development (R&D) Department.
  3. Pursue patient and public involvement (PPI) as early as possible. This will help shape your research question and all aspects of the study as well as helping with future funding / ethics applications etc.  The national organization providing advice about PPI is INVOLVE.  Small grants of (typically) up to £500 to conduct PPI work are available from NIHR Research Design Service. This funding may also facilitate focus groups at the initial planning stages of projects. The RCPCH has developed an Infants, Children and Young People's Research Charter that you should look at.
  4. The Health Research Authority website has lots of really useful information that can help you get started.
  5. Generation R helps researchers identify the nearest young person group.
Planning and improving research - Health Research Authority External link

The HRA website has lots of really useful information that can help you get started.

Points to consider when assessing the feasibility of research - NIHR document External link

Prepared by the: Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) and NIHR Medicines for Children Research Network (MCRN).

RCPCH engagement resource External link

The resources in these booklets take you through engagement using tried and tested activities from the RCPCH “Engagement Café” series.

RCPCH research charter External link

Infants’, Children’s and Young People’s Child Health Research Charter, which contains eight principles for involving children in research along with links to training, tools and resources which users of the academic toolkit might find useful

RDS link External link

RDS advise on all aspects of clinical research design and provide support for PPI

Find a supervisor
Develop your research question
Plan for OOP and inform TPD
Find your collaborators
Investigate funders
Think about feasibility
Find a mentor
Approvals for clinical projects
Check whether your study is research
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