Symposium Research Capacity Building Collaboration (RCBC) for nursing, midwifery and allied health professionals: The perspective from Wales. Paper 1: Saltus, R. Dolan. G Research Capacity Building Collaboration (RCBC) and the Community of Scholars (CoS), Paper 2: Pierri. M First into Research Fellowship (FiR); Paper 3: Gill, P Collaboration, partnership and impact of RCBC Wales.

Roiyah Saltus, Paul Gill, Malissa Pierri

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOtherpeer-review


Symposium overview:

Building clinical academic research capacity is central to the development of global healthcare. Yet, limited opportunities are available for Nursing, Midwifery and Allied health professions (NMAHPs) to develop a clinical academic research career (Carrick-Sen et al. (2019). This symposium draws together a collection of papers on a long-standing and successful collaboration to build research capacity and capability in nursing, midwifery and allied health professionals in Wales.
This symposium aims to provide a critical overview of RCBC Wales, an initiative to build research capacity across disciplines, and will focus on three areas:

The purpose of the scheme and the success of the Community of Scholars, an integral part of RCBCWales to develop research leadership, enhanced research skills and a community of practice.
Insight into the First info Research (FiR) fellowship including reflections from a current funded FiR about the opportunity to take a first step into research.
A model of collaboration and partnership with sustainable success and impact.

The symposium focusses on the enabling effect and impact of RCBCWales on our participating fellows, institutions and external partners. More specifically we discuss the sustainability of our model to build capacity across disciplines, lessons learnt and the critical success factors for long-term collaborative provision. The symposium will be relevant to a range of researchers across the career pathway and those who undertake, support and host healthcare research.

Paper 1

RCBCWales and the Community of Scholars

This paper provides an overview of RCBCWales with a focus on our Community of Scholars Programme. Established in 2005, Research Capacity Building Collaboration (RCBC) Wales ( is an all wales collaboration aiming to increase the research capacity and capability of Nursing, Midwifery, Allied health professions. Since its inception, 122 RCBC Fellowships have been awarded, from four funding phases with nine cohorts.
The Community of Scholars (CoS) was established as an integral part of the RCBC initiative to:
Accelerate the development of Scholars methodological and research leadership expertise as a means of ‘fast tracking’ future research leaders;
Foster a facilitative environment for Scholars to meet regularly to discuss issues, share ideas and present their work;
Facilitate Scholars in building professional, research and policy networks;
Pool the intellectual capacity of nursing, midwifery and allied health academics, researchers, industry and policy leads in Wales for the benefit of the RCBC Scholars.
RCBC Scholars are contractually obligated to attend bi-monthly study days and an annual 2 day residential for the duration of their funding. The CoS programme is rooted in three core approaches that have been evaluated and refined. Firstly, the provision of an enhanced research skills training programme based on the surveyed needs of each cohort. Secondly, leadership skills through bespoke training including sessions on political influencing, media training, high level communication strategies and promoting. Thirdly, the cultivation of a community of practice through a positive, nurturing environment that seeks to foster a sense of community and an emergent sense of identity as research leaders and change agents.
The varying pathways (new, early and mid- career), and the rolling cohort (not just a single intake) helps the scholars to think beyond their professional boundaries, and gain confidence in working with and listening to others at different levels and across different disciplines.

Paper 2
First into Research Fellowship

This paper outlines one of our popular fellowships, First into Research (FiR). An outline of the fellowship structure is provided, followed by some reflections from a current First into Research Fellow.

The First into Research award aims to support those new to research or wishing to develop their confidence by conducting a small scale project which is undertaken one day for week for a year. Projects address questions relevant to nursing, midwifery and allied health professions which may have an impact on care, their role or patient outcomes. The First into Research (FiR) is a highly competitive scheme valued by applicants, HEIs and external partners. FiR epitomises the values of RCBC Wales to support and nurture those new to research to conduct impactful research. Our fellows report that protected time to conduct research in a supportive environment is a big attraction to the award.

The FiR provides an opportunity to build confidence in those new to research who may be passionate about an area of practice, with considerable clinical expertise but have less exposure to research. Despite many clinical responsibilities, the split of doing something enjoyable whilst learning and developing knowledge even just one day a week, provides some balance. It also gives fellows a chance to experience the realities of research under supervision, whilst also engaging with a supportive group of fellows at different stages of their research career. Networking, professional development, publications and research impact are all fundamental outputs for our FiR. For many it’s the first step and provides encouragement and confidence about where to go next.

The session highlights some of the benefits of the FiR including the CoS and broader experiences, builds on the first paper and highlights the importance of supporting research in practice outlined in paper 3.

Paper 3
Collaboration, partnership and impact

This paper aims to outline the principles of collaboration resulting in a sustainable, successful and impactful scheme.

Sustainability is based on a strong collaboration between education and health care providers based on shared interests and goals. As a collaborative, we recognize the importance of working with research and policy leads from across our eligible health professional groups in key HEI and NHS organisations in Wales to determine how best to build research capacity in their professions.
Ensuring employer support is mandatory for our scheme yet the reality of combining research and clinical practice can impact on the progress of our fellows. As a collaboration a key mechanism has been to cultivate a genuine shared commitment to research which has resulted in excellent relationships, buy in and support.
To enhance our core funding stream RCBC also works with other funders to match-fund fellowships to boost the number of potential fellowships. Additional funding has been secured from health boards, the third sector and industry to support fellowships in dedicated research areas, e.g cancer care. These externally funded Fellows join the Community of Scholars and have the same experience as RCBC funded fellows.
Alumni are also integral to development of capacity building schemes not only to gauge longer term impact on the Fellow, clinical practice and their professional group but also to input and network with existing cohorts. The ongoing commitment of our former fellows demonstrates the importance and value of longer term engagement.
The considerable and ongoing impact of the programme is demonstrated with nearly 1500 outputs including publications and conference papers, media and subsequent research funding grants. Impact on participating institutions includes enhanced research engagement across the eligible professions with opportunities to share expertise, resources, mentorship, learning and intellect that bridges the practice – academic boundary.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2022
EventRCN International Research Conference - Welsh College of Music and Drama, Cardiff, United Kingdom
Duration: 5 Sept 20226 Sept 2022


ConferenceRCN International Research Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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