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Researcher Development Programme (RDP)

This programme has been designed for anyone who is interested in learning more about research; in influencing how it impacts care or in how it can support you professionally and personally. 


It is aimed at clinical and non-clinical staff, those using our services and anyone who works alongside us providing community and mental healthcare in Hampshire, Portsmouth, Southampton and the Isle of Wight. As we tailor the programme around you, you can apply with any level of experience in research or academic training. 

To apply please see below.

The Solent Researcher Development Programme is a safe and easy way for people to dip their toe into research before committing to something bigger. I supported Amy because this is her area of interest, and when people are supported to develop their interests, they enjoy coming to work.

Everything we do is based on research and we need people doing research who have an understanding of clinical services, rather than being based in universities.
Eloise Whitaker, Clinical Lead Podiatrist

What's it about?

The aim of the programme is for people to gain confidence in research and begin to get more involved. Your focus could be on personal and/or team development.


Depending on your level of experience, it will include an introduction to commonly used research approaches as well as techniques for using research evidence, and ways to get involved with research projects and teams. The overarching aim is to make research more accessible, raise awareness of how research improves care and to engage anyone living or working in our communities to get involved. 

What does it involve?

There are three in-person training days spread over five months covering:

Training in a variety of research methods

Training and support in sharing learning and writing

Mentoring from those actively 
involved in research

Support for career development and funding opportunities

Support to link with research networks 
in a field of your interest

Peer support from your cohort, and others across the programme

We hope that the Researcher Development Programme participants will join a growing research community around Hampshire, and we are committed to supporting you beyond the programme. Participants will also act as ambassadors for research and, once they feel confident, serve as a point of contact and support for colleagues, fellow patients or anyone who may be interested in research.


As well as the three training days, the programme provides ongoing individual support and access to a range of virtual workshops delivered throughout the year by specialists from the local NHS and external partners. The workshops include: 

  • Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement

  • Library and literature searching

  • Writing for a range of audiences and publications (including social media, blogs, posters, and journals).

  • Survey design 

  • Interviews and focus groups

  • Development and use of clinical outcome measures 


You will be fully supported to summarise or evidence your learning and development during the programme. This will vary depending on each individual but may include:

  • A literature review or summary/report of a chosen topic

  • Poster preparation for a conference or learning event 

  • A presentation at a conference or learning event 

  • A patient or public engagement event

  • An evaluation report or summary

  • A spotlight piece e.g., blog for social media to share with others your experience and progress

  • Project updates to professional team meetings to support research activity and skills development within the clinical team

  • Development of a funding application to support further research skill development

Support for participants:

Each participant will be supported by a mentor; this is usually a research-active clinician or one of the Academy Team. There will also be patient and public representatives at each of the training days. The Academy team are keen to support you during and after the programme as your research ideas, interests, and opportunities develop.

Research background

"Dipping my toes into research"


Amy Barber, Podiatrist at Solent NHS Trust, shares her Research Development Programme journey.

Apply for the RDP

Applications are now closed for the January 2024 Researcher Development Programme.
We are expecting to run a further programme in Autumn 2024. Please email if you would like to be placed on a contact list for further information nearer the time.

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