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NCRI has identified a need to address critical academic attrition points during clinical training and researcher career pathways to ensure research remains a driver of better healthcare. NCRI is improving the training and retention of clinical academics and early career researchers, creating a research-ready workforce.

Training and retention of clinical trainees

Over 150 clinical trainees have successfully participated in the activity of the NCRI Groups since we established the trainee scheme in 2014. Several former trainees have gone on to join NCRI Groups as full members. They have contributed to developing clinical trials within their areas of expertise, becoming co-applicants on grants.

Dr Paul Nankivell, NCRI Head and Neck Group

Paul is a Senior Clinical Lecturer at the University of Birmingham and Consultant ENT/head and neck surgeon. As a trainee on the NCRI Head and Neck Group, he was able to meet many of the key researchers working on head and neck cancer and learn about the landscape of trials in the UK. He benefited from guidance and support from the group when developing his own trial idea.

Dr Jenny Seligmann, NCRI Colorectal Group

Jenny is Senior Lecturer and Consultant in Medical Oncology, University of Leeds. The NCRI trainee scheme was an important aspect of her development as a clinical trialist, building confidence to present trial ideas to the group. She was able to meet researchers in other specialities and has since developed a clinical trial with some colorectal surgeons whom she would not have met at the early career stage without the scheme.

Including basic and translational researchers

Building on the success of the existing trainee program, the scheme is now expanding to create an Early Career Researcher Forum. The forum will have the capacity to involve hundreds of early career researchers and support them to realise their aspiration to contribute to the progress of cancer research with a broad range of opportunities. This will include opportunities to build collaborative networks in their field of interest, whilst developing new skills and supporting career development through training, mentoring and events. There will also be opportunities to get involved with research through the NCRI Groups.

The new early career researcher scheme aims to increase inclusivity by appealing to basic and translational researchers, allied health professionals, and clinical trainees across all areas of cancer research. The scheme has been partially funded by a grant by the Wates Family Enterprise Trust and Wates Foundation.

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