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Introduction

Connecting with others for support, supervision and guidance is often noted to be one of the most crucial elements for success. This is particularly the case in speech and language therapy where the diversity of our profession means we may be involved with something that wouldn’t be frequently experienced by others around us.

This may apply to a clinical area you are working, the direction your career is going, or a statistical test you’re running.

Joining and being involved in different networks puts you in a better position to reach out to others and exchange ideas. This section will introduce you to key RCSLT research networks that you can get involved with, as well as those we support including CAHPR.

The networks described here are highly inclusive and you do not need to be a researcher to join them. You may be interested in hearing about recent evidence to inform your clinical practice, learning about how you can embed research in your daily role, or you may be embarking on a PhD. They provide an opportunity to meet like-minded individuals and share experiences and knowledge. 

Research Champions

Who are Research Champions?

Research Champions are SLTS who:

  • Share the RCSLT vision of an evidence-based and research-active profession.
  • Have experience of appraising and applying a range of evidence to clinical practice.
  • Facilitate the application and gathering of evidence within their organisations.
  • Use research, audit and evaluation to support practice.

Mission Statement

A UK-wide network of speech and language therapists that strives to ensure that speech and language therapy is an evidence-based; research-active profession, bringing together research and clinical practice, by working in partnership with the RCSLT and wider research networks.

Vision

  • Each SLT in the UK will have access to a RCSLT Research Champion.
  • Each SLT service will have a culture of applying and gathering evidence of effectiveness, that is supported by their research champion.
  • Each research champion will be supported by the RCSLT to disseminate information, promote evidence-based practice, signpost SLTs to sources of support, facilitate collaborations and share good practice

How much time do I need to dedicate to this?

This is really up to you. There is no specified commitment but you are encouraged to embrace your role as a research champion within your everyday practice.  Dissemination to your team can be part of existing meetings, and you may decide to embed EBP and research related activities in your professional development plans. You will receive additional emails from the RCSLT, inviting you to be involved in RCSLT Research work or other opportunities,  and you will be part of an online group. There be events which you might wish to attend, such as biennial  Research Champion Workshops or RCSLT Conference, and  also Council for AHP Research (CAHPR) hub events.

How will I be supported?

Responsibilities of the RCSLT

The RCSLT will provide information on latest evidence, resources and opportunities to enable Research Champions to support their colleagues. We will co-ordinate the network and support mentoring and collaboration through a directory and discussion boards. The RCSLT Research and Development team will be available for advice and support, provide CPD opportunities as appropriate and continue to raise the profile of the network.

Your CAHPR hub can also offer support to you and your team on research activity. You'll be part of a network of champions connected online, enabling the sharing of ideas and providing support.

Research Champions will be invited to participate in a range of CPD opportunities such as attending events, participating in consultations, reviewing resources, and contributing to RCSLT publications and the website. Being a Research Champion will count as ‘professional activity’, contributing to your Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) CPD requirements.

What sort of things do Research Champions do?

For a range of ideas on how you might fulfil the role of a research champion, please see our activity menu which lists a variety of possible actions, though we encourage you to think outside the box! The research champion network has shared their ideas and added to this menu- if you have anything else to add, please tell us by getting in touch

What are the benefits to my service?

  • Closer links with the RCSLT
  • Improved:
    • Access and application of evidence to practice
    • Service delivery through application of the most up-to-date evidence
  • Access and collaboration with RCSLT hubs and AHP research networks
  • Local data to prove your service has an impact
  • Support to SLTs on where to go with a research question
  • Access to research resources
  • Sharing of information, evidence and research opportunities
  • Links with sources of support
  • Promotion and development of a culture of EBP and research
  • CPD opportunities

How do I become a Research Champion?

Please see our mission statement and complete the application form.

If you would like to discuss the Research Champion Network before signing up please contact Katie Chadd, Research Support Officer. Alternatively you are welcome to download and submit a completed registration form.

Other RCSLT Research Networks

Research Networks

Are you looking for assistance with some research? Do you want to join a research collaboration or be involved somehow? Or do you just want to discover more about research in the speech and language therapy sector?

If the answer is yes, then learn more about our RCSLT research networks.

The RCSLT supports several different networks to support clinicians and researchers in their evidence-based practice and research:

  • RCSLT Research and Development Reference Group: A network of research leaders in speech and language therapy to advise the RCSLT strategically on research and development
  • Clinical Academic Network: A network of SLTs who volunteer to be clinical academic ‘mentors’ for those requiring some guidance.If you would like to be introduced to a mentor, please download and complete an expression of interest form and return to Katie Chadd, Research Support Officer. If you would like to apply to become a Mentor, please submit this form.
  • RCSLTGroups: A professional network of regional hubs bringing together all sectors of the profession to face key challenges together

Linked research networks

  • ResNetSLT: a twitter handle, hashtag (#ResNetSLT) and blogsite running monthly tweetchats connecting a network of SLTs wanting to learn about research and clinical practice.
  • ClinAcSLT CEN: a twitter handle and new CEN supporting clinicians to carry out research.

Other key RCSLT networks

Clinical Excellence Networks (CENs) are a great way to keep up to date with the latest research evidence and network with others working in your clinical area. More information about CENs can be found here.

To find out more about the RCSLT Research networks and how to get involved, contact Katie Chadd, Research Support Officer.

Council for Allied Health Professional Research

The Council for Allied Health Professional Research (CAHPR) aims to develop AHP research, strengthen evidence of the profession’s impact and value for enhancing service user and community care, and enable the professions to speak with one voice on research issues.

CAHPR is made up of three elements:

Regional Hub Network

There are 23 CAHPR hubs across the UK which are open to all AHPs. The hubs bring together clinicians, researchers, students and managers.

Contact your local hub if you are an SLT thinking about embarking on a research project, a student or clinician interested in a career in clinical research, or an established researcher keen to develop collaborations with local AHPs.

All RCSLT Hubs can benefit from making links with their local CAHPR network. These links will not only bring opportunities for SLTs to become involved in research and/or develop their research skills, but will also offer a key source of contacts and expertise in meeting the challenges around evidence-based practice and research that all AHP clinicians are facing.

View the contacts for each local hub

Strategy Committee

The CAHPR strategy committee is made up of representatives from each of the AHP professional bodies, two AHP managers and two AHP consultants. The committee oversees the CAHPR’s outward-facing activity with regards influencing research policy and collaborative links, as well as operations and continued development.

Professoriate

The CAHPR professoriate is made up of all UK professors who are certified AHPs and shares perspectives and expertise relating to the onward development of AHP research.

Resources

CAHPR have produced a series of handy leaflets on a range of key topics for researchers. They are available for download here, or you can contact CAHPR@csp.org.uk for copies.

Some examples include:

RCSLT’s CAHPR Representatives

Amit Kulkarni – Strategy Committee

Sue Welsh – Manager Representative, Strategy Committee

Hazel Roddam – Regional Hub Representative, Strategy Committee

External Research Networks

In the Nations: