Reflecting on the first twelve months of the Health Services Research Centre


Jonathan Bevan

Manager, Health Services Research Centre

Last summer the Health Services Research Centre was established following the award of funding from the Alliance Strategic Investment Fund. It is designed to bring together health services researchers from across AMBS, to promote interdisciplinary and innovative health services research, to provide a collective local identity for health services researchers at School and to increase the national and international profile of AMBS health services research. Since it was formally launched last November, the Centre has played an important role in shaping research agenda; ensuring that on-going work and high quality publications are produced and disseminated effectively; and in promoting communication, impact and building capacity among early career researchers and PhD candidates.

Since joining the Centre as Manager in February, I have been impressed by the breadth of the research and the quality of the people working in the Centre. The Centre is organised into four research themes: Organising care; Management knowledge, leadership and governance; Implementation; and Improvement and performance. The Organising care theme is led by Professor Ruth McDonald and is concerned with investigating and evaluating ways of delivering and commissioning care. The Management knowledge, leadership and governance theme is led by Professor Mike Bresnen and focuses on the challenges confronting healthcare managers in a changing institutional and organisational environment. The Improvement and performance theme is led by Professor Kieran Walshe and explores the way performance regimes for health care organisations and professions are created and constructed and their effects. Lastly, the  Implementation theme is led by Professor Ruth Boaden, and encompasses much of the work being undertaken in CLAHRC by focussing on the use of evidence in practice, and examining systems for research and innovation in health care and how to improve and change health care services.

The first year has very much been one of consolidation, the set-up of new procedures for the management of the Centre, and the recruitment of new staff. September 2015 saw the establishment of the Centre and the appointment of a director and four research theme leads. Drs Daniela D’andreta and Mhorag Goff were appointed earlier this year to rather unique research roles to support research activities across the Centre. Kate Lagan has also joined me to support with the administration of the Centre and to help lead our programme of events.  In terms of wider networks, there are many researchers from across AMBS for whom health services research forms at least part of their research activity, and identifying and establishing membership has therefore been a core activity for the first year. To date the Centre has core members from all divisions of AMBS, affiliate members from across AMBS and the wider University and an extensive network of contacts (180+) interested in the organisation and delivery of health and social care services.

In addition to a launch event in November 2015, among the other activities being undertaken in the first year have been the creation of a bespoke website which continues to be developed to include high quality content, including publications and funding opportunities, and a range of media such as key message videos. We have also held a number of theme networking events, and have an Organising care theme network event planned for the 27 September. The HSRC has also been active in creating a community of 28 health service researchers including PhD and DBA students, contract research associates and research assistants, and others following a research career path. Recognising that these researchers may not always be early in their career, the group is called the Researcher Development Network (RDN). The first meeting took place in January 2016 to develop a programme of events and several workshops have taken place this year. The RDN meets regularly to support research activity including grant applications and writing for publication.

In addition to a notable public interest report Where does the money go? Financialised chains and the crisis in residential care, a research monograph and several 4* journal publications, the Centre has also supported monthly seminars and research symposia, and a number of grant applications involving collaboration with colleagues from across the University. We are holding a symposium event on 12 September in collaboration with the Fairness at Work Research Centre and the Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research into Ageing. This will include a programme of contributors speaking on the theme of Fairer Futures? Reshaping Care for Older People. Among the contributors to this will be Professor Rose Batt of Cornell University, who will be flying to the UK especially to speak at the event. Among other prestigious speakers we have lined up for the coming year are Jane Banaszak-Holl of the University of Michigan, and Chief Executive of NHS England Simon Stevens, who will speak at the forthcoming Teddy Chester Lecture in November.

My colleagues and I working in the Health Services Research Centre are proud of the progress and achievements being made in the first year. Our Fairer Futures? event on 12 September will be followed by an early evening drinks reception to celebrate the Centre’s inaugural year, and to showcase the research being undertaken in the Centre to an internal and external audience. I would like to take the opportunity to extend an invitation to any colleagues with an interest in health services research to attend this, and ask that you email for a complimentary ticket, or indeed for any more general information about the HSRC and future events.




About Author

Alliance Manchester Business School has a global reputation for innovative and influential teaching and research, which impacts business on a local, national and international level. We call this Original Thinking Applied.

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