ACORN (Addressing Capacity in Organisations to do Research) Community of Practice

This is a group of 12 NHS organisations and one Local Authority that meets every four months as a community of practice (CoP). The members also work on projects outside these meetings to expand and extend knowledge together about RCDi.

A CoP is a learning community where knowledge in a joint area of interest is developed and exchanged in a social environment. For those involved in ACORN this interest is about

  • developing research capacity in NHS and care provider organisations

  • constructing and supporting research-practice career pathways ‘close to practice’.

At least one representative per organisation attends ACORN.

Aims of ACORN

  • Increase research activity and reach in health services and public health research

  • Promote skills in individuals to engage, deliver and to develop research questions

  • Develop and support processes in organisations to deliver research within NHS organisations and across healthcare systems

  • Support clinical academic pathways for NMAHPs

  • Increase research networks, academic linkages and make best use of research infrastructure

  • Maximize and recognise impact of conducting research

  • Explore linkages with the wider health and social care system to develop and deliver research

The organisations and representative are:

  • Priorities for the ACORN in the next 2 years

  • Nursing Midwife and Allied Health Professional Research Careers

  • IMPACT: Using the Victor tool in your organisation

  • Engaging General Managers in research activity

  • Increasing Principle Investigator numbers and professional group

  • ACORN Visibility

  • In – reach of researchers into NHS

ACORN Members

John Hiley - Head of Research and Knowledge Services, Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust

John is Head of Research and Knowledge Services at BDCFT. The two teams, R&D and Library/Knowledge Services, integrate well to advance many aspects of Evidence Based Healthcare within the Trust. The R&D team have experience of a wide variety of projects in mental health, LD, dementia and various community services, and in a variety of locations from in-patient units, community settings to care homes and prisons.

The Library/Knowledge Services team support a variety of NHS staff and those from partner organisations with extensive support for EBH, skill development, and health promotion.

As such John's role is exciting and challenging, and fits well with his interests in promoting not only high quality research, but also developing the use of ‘research skills’ and the use of evidence in developing practice in his Trust.

Julie Bury - Research Fellow, Doncaster & Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Julie Bury is a Research Fellow at Doncaster & Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals. Her role is to support research capacity building and raise awareness of clinical academic career opportunities​ for nursing, midwifery and AHPs. She is currently a HEE/NIHR Clinical Doctoral Research Fellow.

Judith Holliday - Head of Research and Innovation, Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust

Judith leads research and innovation at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust with responsibility for research quality, delivery and Research and Development (R&D). Judith currently works with a range of partners to deliver high quality research opportunities to improve patient care. She is currently co-applicant on two NIHR funded projects with partners in the Wakefield area, one looking at housing support for patients being discharged from hospital and another looking at the local vision for public health research.

In 2018-2019 she was seconded to work part time alongside this role, as Research Impact Fellow with NIHR CLAHRC YH to develop the VICTOR research impact tool which helps to identify and make visible the impacts of undertaking research in the NHS.

Judith has a background in social research design and delivery with experience across national and regional health, housing strategy, regeneration and development programmes. She has worked for Homes England, Yorkshire Forward (the Regional Development Agency) and the Academy for Sustainable Communities (a national government body leading on skills and knowledge for the delivery of sustainable communities). Judith is Chair of the Yorkshire and Humber R&D Ops group and an Improvement Fellow of the Y&H Improvement Academy.

Nicki Barker - Principal Clinical Researcher and Advanced Physiotherapist, Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust

Nicki is an expert on Dysfunctional Breathing (DB) and the creator of BreathWorks, the UK’s first clinic for paediatric patients with DB. Nicki is also a key member of the Sheffield paediatric difficult asthma service and presents at events in the UK and Europe. Her other responsibilities include Vice Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee for The Children’s Hospital Charity, and member of the Research and Innovation Board and Clinical Research Steering Group at SCH.

Nicki’s current research priorities are into the efficacy of physiotherapy for children with DB, developing a tool for the early identification of DB and the development of medical technology to aid diagnosis and treatment of respiratory conditions. She promotes research activity in AHP’s and actively supports clinical colleagues at all stages of their research journey. She also supervises PhD students from neighbouring Sheffield Hallam University and fosters collaborations between academic and clinical institutions.

Dr Jane McKeown (PhD) - Senior Nurse Research Lead / Lecturer, Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust

Jane works in a clinical academic role between Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS FT and the University of Sheffield, Health Sciences School, Division of Nursing and Midwifery.

In Jane's NHS role, she is currently half way through a 3 year NIHR funded programme known as the 70@70 Senior Nurse and Midwife Leadership Programme. This 2-day week role is focussed on developing research capacity and capability amongst nurses. It also seeks to inform the NIHR of clinical research priorities. Jane works in a variety of ways to help nurses to understand their role in research and supports nurses wanting to develop clinical academic careers.

Lydia Harris- Head of Research and Development, York Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Lydia is the Head of R&D at York Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and has worked in clinical research since 2001. She worked for National Institute for Clinical Research in London for 7 years, before working a year at CRUK, before moving into the NHS at the Royal Brompton in 2009. Since then she has worked in several NHS clinical research offices in a variety of management roles.

Lydia’s roles have all been around the facilitation and supporting of research at all levels in the NHS, she works to increase the capacity and capability of delivering research in an NHS environment and to raise its profile locally and nationally.

Fiona Bell - Acting Head of Research, Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust

Fiona has worked at Yorkshire Ambulance Service for 5 years, first as the Research and Development manager and now leading a team of research paramedics in the development and delivery of high quality ambulance care research. She has responsibility for research governance and delivery, also acting as co-investigator on a number of projects in staff wellbeing and pre-hospital care.