Why are the funds needed?
There aren’t enough people with the necessary skills to take forward stroke research that can improve treatment and care for people affected by stroke. Our charity hopes to fix this problem by funding passionate and talented researchers to become leaders of the future.
What did our charity do?
In 2013, we awarded funding to Dr William Whiteley at the University of Edinburgh to lead a stroke research-training programme for early-career health care professionals from the UK and Europe that were hoping to develop their careers in research.
This aimed to support passionate and talented professionals to pursue a career in stroke research in order to drive forward improvements in treatment and care for stroke.
Dr Whiteley and colleagues at the University of Edinburgh set up and ran eight ‘Stroke Winter Schools’. This provided support to healthcare professionals with limited research experience to secure funding for their own innovative projects, the next step in a research career.
Dr Whiteley said “Each participant came to the course with the seed of an idea for their own research study that could change the way stroke patients are treated. They used this as a motivating example during the course to understand how to make a research idea into a reality.”
The funds also supported mentoring and training for six promising researchers through Princess Margaret Foundation (PMF) Development fellowships, acting as a springboard for their careers. These researchers have developed our understanding of stroke, and problems in the brain linked to stroke. In total, they have also secured over £1million for this research, a large return on the investment by our charity.
Dr Whiteley said “This funding programme shows that we can find talented and passionate healthcare professionals who want to pursue a career in stroke research. With the right support, they can succeed. Many are lost to research because of limited opportunities to develop research ideas into concrete plans for high-quality projects that can secure funding.”
Dr Yvonne Chun who attended the Stroke Winter School and won a year-long PMF Development fellowship said “I was inspired by the stroke researchers I met on the programme. The programme enabled me to take time out of clinical training and immerse myself in learning about research methods and to successfully obtain a PhD fellowship.
I’ve gone from a standard clinical trainee who used to only hear about research findings to becoming a clinical academic who plays an active part in generating research evidence. I’m extremely grateful for this opportunity that has changed my whole career path.”