Skip to main content
Kent Academic Repository

Research engagement and research capacity building: a priority for healthcare organisations in the UK

Peckham, Stephen, Zhang, Wenjing, Eida, Tamsyn, Hashem, Ferhana, Kendall, Sally (2023) Research engagement and research capacity building: a priority for healthcare organisations in the UK. Journal of Health Organization and Management, . ISSN 1477-7266. (doi:10.1108/JHOM-12-2021-0436) (KAR id:100633)



To research involvement of healthcare staff in the UK and identify practical organisational and policy solutions to improve and boost capacity of the existing workforce to conduct research.


A mixed-method study presenting three work packages here: secondary analysis of levels of staff research activity, funding, academic outputs and workforce among healthcare organisations in the United Kingdom; 39 Research and Development lead and funder interviews; an online survey of 11 healthcare organisations across the UK, with 1,016 responses from healthcare staff included for analysis; and 51 interviews of healthcare staff in different roles from six UK healthcare organisations.


Interest in research involvement is strong and widespread but hampered by a lack of systematic organisational support despite national policies and strategies to increase staff engagement in research. While useful, these external strategies have limited universal success due to lack of organisational support. Healthcare organisations should embed research within organisational and human resources policies and increase the visibility of research through strategic organisational goals and governance processes. A systems-based approach is needed.

Research limitations/implications

The research gathered data from a limited number of NHS trusts but these were purposively sampled to provide a range of different acute/community health service organisations in different areas. But data was therefore more detailed and nuanced due to a more in-depth approach.

Practical implications

The findings are relevant for developing policies and practice within healthcare organisations to support research engagement. The findings also set out key policy and strategic recommendations that will support greater research engagement.

Social implications

Increased research activity and engagement in healthcare providers improves healthcare outcomes for patients.


This is a large scale (UK-wide) study involving a broad range of healthcare staff, with good engagement of nurses, midwives and Allied Healthcare Professionals who have not been previously achieved. This allowed valuable analysis of under-researched groups and comparisons by professional groups. The findings highlight the need for tailored action to embed research reporting, skills, professional development and infrastructure into organisational policies, strategies and systems, along with broader system-wide development.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1108/JHOM-12-2021-0436
Additional information: This author accepted manuscript is deposited under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC) licence. This means that anyone may distribute, adapt, and build upon the work for non-commercial purposes, subject to full attribution. If you wish to use this manuscript for commercial purposes, please contact
Uncontrolled keywords: health services research; Capacity building; Health professionals; Research engagement
Subjects: R Medicine
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research > Centre for Health Services Studies
Funders: Cancer Research UK (
Depositing User: George Austin-Coskry
Date Deposited: 27 Mar 2023 08:12 UTC
Last Modified: 21 Apr 2023 14:16 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

  • Depositors only (login required):

Total unique views for this document in KAR since July 2020. For more details click on the image.