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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 at Solent NHS Trust. As we tailor the programme around you, you can apply with any level of experience in research or academic training. 

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 training in research methods 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?

You will participate in the programme for up to one year, and cover:

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 RDP participants will join a growing research community around Solent, 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.


The programme includes a package of workshops throughout the year delivered by experts and specialists within the Trust and from our external partners. The workshops will include: 

  • Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) training sessions to develop skills for involving and engaging patients and the public in research projects from the beginning.

  • Library and literature searching training from our internal Knowledge Specialist to support participants to find and identify appropriate evidence to underpin their research project.

  • Introduction to critical appraisal of the literature,

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

  • Introduction to research ethics in healthcare.

  • Understanding research infrastructure.

  • Building support networks.


You will be fully supported to produce evidence of your learning and development during the programme, which may include:

  • Literature review or summary/report of a chosen topic, in line with service development and engagement with patient and public groups (e.g. Side-by-Side). 

  • Poster abstract in preparation for Solent R&I conference 2023. Encouragement to submit abstracts to applicable external conferences.

  • Spotlight piece in Trust comms/social media to share with others their experience and progress.

  • Project updates to professional team meetings to support embedding 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 Research Team. Your time on the programme can be flexible, lasting up to a year.

Research background

"Dipping my toes into research"


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

Find out more about the Research Developer Programme

Applications are currently closed for the RDP 2023, but please contact the team if you would like to find out how you can be part of a future cohort.

Thanks for your message, will be in contact as soon as possible.


News + events

Safety, Excellence and Improvement Forum

5 June 2023

12.40pm - 1pm


Safety, Excellence and Improvement Forum

6 June 2023

12.40pm - 1pm


Intro: Patient, People & Public Participation

6 June 2023

2pm - 3pm


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