I was very lucky to be nominated by the BRC to attend this year’s NIHR Doctoral Research Training Camp on the topic of ‘Applying for further funding’ held in the beautiful town of Leamington Spa.
It was an amazing experience attending the three day residential workshop. I was able to make new friends from all over the country, and share experiences of working in diverse clinical specialties.
We were divided into groups, assigned mentors and requested to draft a full NIHR grant application for a new research study of public health importance, within the day. This was very challenging but as the day progressed, I quickly realised the purpose of the exercise was to make us work together as a group while taking responsibility for different sections of the application. We were also advised to book appointments to discuss different sections of the application like funding and statistical plan with NIHR experts, which was very insightful. This made me realise what NIHR is expecting to be included in different sections of an application and reiterated the importance of PPI, which can sometimes be omitted.
On the last day we were asked to give small presentations and appear in front of a panel as a group and again that was a very valuable experience. My takeaway message from NIHR workshop was that when preparing for an application, research your topic well, allow yourself plenty of time to prepare and pay attention to all sections. Also it was reassuring to know that NIHR is always ready to provide support, should you need any help while writing an application.
I highly recommend attending the training camp. It is both an immensely useful learning experience and at the same time a very enjoyable one, especially the networking, meeting the experts and some delicious meals in a beautiful location.
Written by: Dr Ehtasham Ahmad, Clinical Research Fellow NIHR Leicester BRC and Leicester Diabetes Centre.