Researchers at University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust are in the finals for a European award.
The team behind the Mobile Research Units, (MRUs) which takes research out on the road using purpose built mobile clinics, direct into communities, has been shortlisted for a Site Spark Award for their innovative approach.
The award recognises new and exciting approaches to recruit research participants that ‘have spark’ and make research ‘especially meaningful’.
The Plymouth Research and Development team launched the mobile research units in summer 2022 after learning that 97% of study participants said they would be more likely to take part in research if it were easier to access.
Since then, the mobile units have taken research to people’s homes and into primary care settings at GP practices and have enabled over 100 people to take part in research.
Eden Wildman, Research Nurse Specialist, said: “The team is thrilled to be recognised for this work and look forward to sharing our experiences with other sites, along with hearing of other innovation projects across Europe.
“Since we launched the units, we’ve had fantastic feedback from participants who are pleased to get involved in research and no longer have to travel to make a difference to the future of healthcare.”
One such group benefitting from mobile research units is parents. Families taking part in the HARMONIE study - which recruited 7 babies in the first week - were able to access immunisation for protection against RSV infection (respiratory syncytial virus) through a single antibody dose and follow-up through the study’s app.
Gary Minto, Medical Director of Research and Development at UHP said: “We’re extremely proud of this innovation and our work with community partners to improve access to health care research across the whole integrated care pathway, and especially to our underserved communities in the South West.”
The mobile research units were launched following an initial funding of £33,000 from the National Institute for Health and Care Research Clinical Research Network South West Peninsula (NIHR CRN SWP) via the Covid-19 Vaccine Taskforce.
The team has been invited to present their innovative work and findings at the European Site Solutions Summit in Lisbon, Portugal.
Shortlisted alongside UHP is Re:Cognition Health and SGS. The winner will be announced at the Summit in November.