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National Institute for Health Research Masters in Clinical Research awards 

Abigail Roberts
Abigail Roberts

28 November 2016

Trust physiotherapist Abigail Roberts and dietitian Rupal Patel have been successful in securing funding from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to carry out a full-time Masters in Clinical Research (MRes) at City University, London. They both attended the Trust’s Research Development Programme in 2015, designed to support staff to develop and lead their own research projects.

The MRes is a taught programme designed to develop a student’s understanding of quantitative and qualitative research methods. Both students will also work on research projects they have designed, allowing them to put the knowledge they have gained into practice. 

Abigail is a physiotherapist working in the transplantation department at Harefield Hospital. Her MRes project will focus on investigating the relationship between peak cough flow measurements and respiratory function tests in post-lung transplantation patients. The research could help to identify those at risk of developing chest infections early. Abigail hopes her study will help prevent hospital admissions, reduce patients’ length of hospital stay and lower morbidity and mortality rates in this at-risk patient group. 

Abigail began her course five weeks ago and said of the award:

“I have always been eager to develop my knowledge and skills in clinical research and the NIHR MRes course is particularly geared towards helping nurses and allied healthcare professionals get into this area.

“I applied following completion of an internal, Trust allied health professional research course, but the MRes itself is designed for people from all research backgrounds. You do not need any previous experience. The university has provided superb teaching and support so far. I couldn't recommend the MRes course or City University more highly. It has connected me to a fantastic research network, which will no doubt help me along on my research journey.”

Rupal Patel
Rupal Patel

Rupal, a highly specialist cardiothoracic transplant dietitian, added:

“I decided to apply for a NIHR-funded Masters in Clinical Research after enrolling in the 12- week research course run by Professor Mary Morrell at the Trust. I wanted to learn more about how to conduct my own research and this course is ideal as it is aimed at all allied health professionals.


“Studying full-time at university has different challenges to working at Harefield. However I am really enjoying it and hope to get much more out of it as the year progresses”.


As part of her research dissertation, Rupal will investigate weight increase in patients following a heart transplant. This research will hopefully facilitate rehabilitation and improvements in quality of life in post-transplant patients.

If you are thinking of taking part in research and need advice please get in touch with the research development team in the Research Office, Royal Brompton Hospital.

Research development team:

Ms Jayne Alderson - J.Alderson@rbht.nhs.uk


Dr Rahima Begum - R.Begum4@rbht.nhs.uk