Research opportunities in the post-Covid19 world

This event has now finished. Please see our events website for details of upcoming events at Brookes.

Health Research Seminars

Who this event is for

  • Academic community




Research opportunities in the post-Covid19 world 

Chair: Professor Paul Carding, Director OxINMAHR

Panel members: Dr Sophie Hyndman (Deputy Director & Senior Research Adviser, NIHR Research Design Service South Central), Prof. Eila Watson (Professor in Supportive Cancer Care, OBU), Prof. David Evans (Associate Dean Research and Knowledge Exchange, OBU)

Lessons learnt

From the vantage point of eight months or so into the UK’s experience of Covid-19 the panel were able to share with us their insight of its current and possible future impact upon seeking research funding. 

Dr Sophie Hyndman presented a mainly positive appraisal of the situation following the tranche of funding from UKRI and DHSC for Covid-19 related research. Following early Covid-19 research initiatives, the focus for funding is now likely to be on topics such as ‘Long-Covid’. The hope is that the more expedient administrative processes experienced recently will be here to stay. Pre-Covid research agendas are still in place and proceeding, following delayed deadlines (good for some!).

Prof. David Evans sought to bring some balance to the discussion by reminding us of imminent problems including Brexit (e.g. uncertainty about ‘Horizon Europe’), the impact of the reduced income of charities and the economy in general and hence future research funding and capability (e.g. including cost of study extensions). Research collaborations and national networks (including, but wider than the OxCam ARC) will be even more worthwhile due to the focus the pandemic has brought upon health disparities, making ‘place’ a significant feature of potential research plans. 

Prof. Eila Watson reiterated the points made above and especially the significant impact upon the income of CRUK, potentially affecting cancer research for many years to come. In terms of making applications for funding she emphasised the importance of working ‘smart’ – ensuring good practices are clearly described e.g. PPI. Eila observed that research teams can work across topics using the methodological skills they have and should be proactively looking broadly.

‘Place’ was discussed further by the panel and the work that is already done to increase generalisability of OBU based research. The increased use of technology due to Covid-19 has made broader recruitment much more attainable. 

Prof. Paul Carding then brought the panel’s attention to the need for more research in Social Care. He observed that a definition of what we mean by Social Care is first needed; with suggestions of that delivered in care homes (a disparate potential research setting, unlike the NHS), care of people with learning disabilities and non-paid care in people’s homes. He noted that the focus for the government seems to be to keep people out of hospitals and enable people to do well at home. Research teams need to recognise where they have expertise relevant to Social Care (very likely to be in many areas at OBU) and be ready to respond to funding calls.

Time allowed for one question from the audience: Have we learnt better ways of doing research since Covid-19? The panel shared reflections on new recruitment methods and cost savings set against the difficulties of team working virtually. 

Summarised by

Sara Matthews, MPhil/PhD student, Supportive Cancer Care, School of Nursing and Midwifery, OxINMAHR