ARC research and implementation fellowships

The new NIHR ARC East of England is a 5 year applied research collaboration starting in October 2019, between Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Foundation Trust and the Universities of Cambridge, East Anglia, Hertfordshire and Essex, who will be working with partner NHS trusts, local authorities, regional sustainability and transformation partnerships (STPs), patient-led organisations, charities, and industry partners, to address specific health or care issues in our region. Read more about the ARC East of England here

The new NIHR ARC East of England is a 5 year collaboration, starting in October 2019, between Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Foundation Trust, and the Universities of Cambridge, East Anglia, Hertfordshire and Essex, who will be working with partner NHS trusts, local authorities, regional sustainability and transformation partnerships (STPs), patient-led organisations, charities, and industry partners across the region. ARC East of England aims to improve care across the following research and cross cutting themes; • mental health over the life course (led by Prof. Jesus Perez); • ageing and multi-morbidity (led by Prof. Claire Goodman); • palliative and end-of-life care (led by Dr Stephen Barclay); • inclusive involvement in research for practice led health and social care (led by Prof. Fiona Poland and Dr Elspeth Mathie); • health economics and prioritisation in health and social care (led by Prof. Jenny Whitty); • population evidence and data science (led by Prof. Carol Brayne); • prevention and early detection (led by Prof. Wendy Wills). Research projects focus particularly, but not exclusively, on communities with the greatest health challenges in: • Great Yarmouth and Waveney • Peterborough and Fenland • Stevenage • Thurrock. The ARC East of England will also co-lead applied research in; mental health; and palliative and end of life care nationally with the ARC South London.

The ARC Fellowship replaces the highly successful CLAHRC Fellowship which began in 2010. The Fellowship is essentially the same, but introduces an additional component, implementation, as an alternative to research.  Applicants for our 2020 ARC Fellowship will be able to apply for either the Research Fellowship or the Implementation Fellowship.

1. ARC Implementation fellowship

As part of our remit, the ARC East of England has a comprehensive implementation strategy. This is based on a relational model founded on the principles of communities of practice (a well-established tool for knowledge exchange and skills development), quality improvement techniques, and evaluation methods. The ARC Implementation Fellowship is central to this strategy, and is a programme for health and social-care staff including undergraduates/postgraduates interested in implementation. It is designed to develop a cadre of people with the knowledge and skills to be effective in implementing evidence-based improvements to health and social care. The fellowship will be funded by the ARC for one day a week for one year and comprises two main elements: attending half-day teaching workshops and action learning sets once a month, and conducting an implementation project, normally in the fellow’s workplace, for the remaining allocated time. A key aim of the fellowship is to make it valuable to the employing organisation as well as the individual fellow. Therefore the fellowship time must be agreed with the employer as protected time for the fellow. The implementation fellows will join with the research fellows for part of the fellowship workshop programme and action learning sets, while part of the programme will be tailored specifically around developing implementation skills. Further details on the workshop programme will be published later this year.

The implementation project must be underpinned by:

  • rigorous, relevant evidence;
  • adaptation of such evidence to fit context(s) requiring change;
  • the involvement of motivated people to move change forward and evaluate success.

The ARC East of England Implementation Leads, Professors Andrée le May and John Gabbay, will provide supervision for the Implementation Fellows. We welcome applications from anyone with an interest in implementation in the health and social care sectors. You may have your own ideas for a project, or projects may linked to the ARC East of England’s research themes

(1) Mental health over the life course; (2) Ageing and multi-morbidity; (3) Palliative and end-of-life care; (4) Inclusive involvement in research for practice-led health and social care;  (5) Health economics and prioritisation in health and social care; (6) Population evidence and data science; (7) Prevention and early detection.
We also particularly encourage applications from previous CLAHRC Fellows who have done a piece of evidence-based research that they would like to implement into practice.

2. ARC Research Fellowship

The CLAHRC Research Fellowship has been running since 2010, and is aimed at healthcare professionals who are keen to develop an understanding of the research environment, and to develop skills in research methodology, service redesign and change management. Its successor, the ARC Research Fellowship, will again focus on local applied research and evaluation projects, building local capacity for evidence-informed practice, and facilitating networking across health and social care. Since the CLAHRC Fellowships began, 105 Fellowships have been awarded. All of our fellows have come from a wide range of backgrounds — Consultant Psychiatrists, NHS managers, Clinical Psychologists, Consultant Clinical Neuropsychologists, General Practitioners, Registered Nurses, and they hail from across the East of England (Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Great Yarmouth).

The ARC Research Fellowship will maintain the same arrangements as its predecessor, so fellows will be funded by the ARC for one day a week for a year, to carry out a project during their fellowship year under the supervision of one of the ARC’s senior researchers.  In addition to the research project, we hold a programme of monthly half day teaching workshops and half day action learning sets. The research time, workshop and ALS sessions are agreed with the employer to be protected time for the fellow. The key aim of the Fellowship is to make the programme valuable to the individual fellow and their employing organisation.

You can see the 2019 CLAHRC Fellowship workshop programme here 

The research project can be a specific project chosen by the fellow or he/she can contribute to a project within one of the ARC East of England’s research themes . We encourage prospective fellows to identify their area of interest and make contact with the theme lead in order to decide on a possible project prior to interview. Putting together a proposal for a research project within the ARC is part of the application procedure. This is to ensure that the project is able to be started at the beginning of the Fellowship and is able to be completed within the Fellowship year.

ARC Fellowship taught components

Making sense of the research world and promoting the implementation of research-based evidence in healthcare organisations are the main aims of the fellowship programme. With this in mind and depending on their type of fellowship, the taught component will help the fellows develop a tailored understanding of research and evidence, research methodology, systems theory applied to healthcare, and theory of change management. A new additional component relating to implementation will be developed specifically for the implementation fellows. More details will be released later this year.

These newly acquired skills can be applied in the workplace to effect real change that ultimately brings about improvements in service delivery.

Action learning set: the sets meet for a 3 hour session every alternate month. The sessions are led by Professor Mike Cook. The aims of the ALS are:

  • Learning from experience and sharing that experience with others
  • Being open to the challenge of colleagues and listening to alternative suggestions
  • Having time where you are listened to in a non-judgemental atmosphere
  • Generating more choices about the way forward
  • Reviewing the outcome of actions with the support of fellow set members and sharing the lessons learned

For general queries about the fellowships, please contact the CLAHRC Core team at