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7th September 2021

The North Wales researcher network making collaboration easier than ever

Woman networking online on laptop in Community of Scholars team meeting

We’re all missing the ‘water cooler’ chat of pre-COVID times – a chance to connect with colleagues who aren’t in your usual circles, perhaps at events or collaborative meetings.

However, the increased use of digital platforms has made it possible to reach new connections from your own home. The Community of Scholars, launched in February this year, is a virtual space for clinicians and academics to link and collaborate.

The Community is funded by Health and Care Research Wales, and delivered in partnership by the North Wales Organisation for Randomised Trials in Health and Social Care (NWORTH) and Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB).

Dr Lynne Grundy and Professor Paul Brocklehurst founded the scheme, and explained more about how being involved can benefit your career.

“The Community of Scholars is aimed at applied health researchers and health and social care practitioners across North Wales, to enable meaningful partnerships that produce research collaborations,” said Lynne, Associate Director of Research and Innovation at BCUHB.

“Access to resources through the Community can also help users develop their researcher skills for example, how to complete grant applications, leadership skills and how to develop teams and make time for research in your day-to-day.

“These are delivered through a range of platforms such as video, podcasts and factsheets, to suit everyone’s learning styles.”

Paul, who is the Director of NWORTH, explained how being part of the community makes it easier than ever to get connected.

“It’s really simple to join – the only requirements are that you have a nhs.uk or a ac.uk email address and be based in or working in North Wales.

“There’s lot of opportunities to collaborate, it’s a simple way to take a look at researchers in a similar field, or with a different skillset to you, to find exactly the right contact for your project.

“We think this is a really brilliant resources for researchers with any level of experience to broaden their personal networks, and make collaborations happen regardless of geography or restrictions.”

Being part of the Community of Scholars also means you receive a weekly bulletin with funding updates, new eLearning content, funding reminder text alert messages and more.

The scheme is in its infancy, and Lynne and Paul welcome any feedback on how the Community has worked, and any suggestions for the future.

To find out more and sign up, visit the Community of Scholars website.