Research posted 20 February, 2024

MFT doctor encourages others to get involved with NIHR’s Associate Principal Investigator Scheme

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A Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT) doctor has encouraged other healthcare professionals to be part of a National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) research development programme, which provides practical experience for clinical colleagues starting their research career.

Dr Irvine Mangawa is a Clinical Research Fellow in Infectious Disease at North Manchester General Hospital (NMGH), part of MFT, and recently completed the NIHR’s Associate Principal Investigator (API) Scheme. This is a six month in-work training opportunity which prepares participants of the scheme to become the Principal Investigators (PI) of the future.

The API Scheme provides the opportunity to lead on and deliver an NIHR portfolio trial under the mentorship of an enthusiastic and experienced Local PI, (a Principal Investigator based within the API’s site/trust, legally responsible for the study), as well as gaining valuable enhanced skills and understanding around the delivery of NIHR research.

Irvine was mentored by Dr Alison Uriel, a Specialty Doctor in Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine and the Research Lead in Infectious Diseases at NMGH. Alison is also the Specialty Lead for Infection research at NIHR Clinical Research Network Greater Manchester, one of the five NIHR organisations hosted by MFT.

Irvine was allocated to work on the delivery of a study called the ‘Evaluation of the psychometric properties of the short form HIV Disability Questionnaire among women living with HIV in the United Kingdom’.

After a positive experience on the API Scheme, Irvine is enthusiastically continuing his research journey at NMGH.

Reflecting on his API Scheme, Irvine said: “I think it can be normal for junior doctors to think ‘research is for other people’, but for me, being part of the API Scheme was a great starting point. It gave me the opportunity to not only learn a lot more about research, but also to get myself involved.

“What I really liked was how the scheme gave me the opportunity to step up and look at things from the PI point of view. It gave me a sense of leadership and the chance to look at the overall picture. I got to know about the study set-up and the processes involved, the role of Research and Innovation (R&I) at MFT, and I got to interact directly with the Chief Investigator (overall study leader) about the progress of the study.

“I had to keep track of the participant recruitment numbers and it made me think about strategies to make sure we reached our recruitment target. I had amazing support from the research team at NMGH and oversight from my mentor, but I was given the responsibility to say ‘this is my study’, and if something wasn’t working, I had to think about what we needed to do to change things.

“I would definitely recommend the API Scheme to others. If you are a junior doctor, I don’t think you would imagine yourself leading research, but that is what I was able to do. But at the same time, it is not putting too much pressure on top of what you are already doing. You can manage and it is well paced. On top of that, I have now got a formal certificate to show I have engaged in NIHR portfolio research, and my name will be published as part of my contributions to the study.”

MFT hosts one of the largest and most diverse NIHR portfolios in the country, comprised of; NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre, NIHR Manchester Clinical Research Facility, NIHR Clinical Research Network Greater Manchester, NIHR Applied Research Collaboration Greater Manchester, and the NIHR HealthTech Research Centre in Emergency and Acute Care (launching April 2024).

As one of the top recruiters to clinical research studies in UK it is at the cutting-edge of healthcare research, innovation, and life sciences, delivering R&I across MFT’s 10 hospitals and local care organisations.

Visit the NIHR website to read more about the API Scheme and how to get involved.