Summary of Actions
Chapter 1 - Efficient R&D Support for Research
1. CSO will define the job description of a nodal NRS R&D Director and become formally involved in the recruitment of new appointments to these posts.
2. CSO will define the functions of key NRS posts, particularly where they provide a nodal or national function. CSO will also more closely define the NRS services to be delivered locally and the associated delivery targets, but will not normally determine the grading or detailed functions of posts delivering those services.
3. CSO will undertake a formal review of the NRS Central Management Team in April 2016 in order to ensure it is optimally delivering on its functions.
4. CSO will require that all Health Boards take adequate steps to promote the availability of resources to support research.
5. CSO will require formal consultation and joint planning of NRS Infrastructure investments with partner universities and NRS Network and Specialty Group leads as a condition of funding.
6. By the end of 2015 CSO will require the submission of proposals from Health Boards on how the NRS Researcher Support funds will be pro-actively managed and allocated for researcher time and associated activities by their NRS R&D Directors, from April 2016. Access to NRS funding schemes will be conditional on CSO agreement to the Health Board proposals.
7. To ensure that the Networks and Specialty Groups remain the most efficient way of supporting our research activity, CSO will review the success of these revised arrangements in the second half of 2016.
8. CSO will seek to combine the Scottish Research Ethics Service and NRS R&D Offices into a single integrated service for researchers while retaining the independence of the REC decision making function.
9. CSO will arrange for shared access to study data for ethics and R&D staff through the Health Research Authority HARP database, streamlining access to electronic documents for R&D staff throughout Scotland.
10. CSO will refocus the early contact of ethics and NHS R&D staff with researchers on facilitating study approvals, with named R&D contacts being given to support the researcher in obtaining those approvals.
11. CSO will work with the HRA to revise the Research Governance Framework and implement an efficient ethics and R&D permission system across the UK that both builds on the efficiencies already delivered through NRS and operates seamlessly for sponsors and researchers across the UK.
12. It is proposed that the NRS website will be the portal through which researchers access relevant information on NRS resources and services, with local sites being linked through that portal. This will greatly improve understanding of the national NRS systems, infrastructure and service standards that NHS R&D Offices deliver through NRS funding.
Chapter 2 - Partnership with Scottish Patient and Public
13. CSO will require NRS Research Networks to show evidence of public involvement in their work.
14. CSO will review the effectiveness of SHARE in the first half of 2016.
15. The SHARE website will be developed to allow NHS patients across Scotland to identify clinical studies which are actively seeking participants. Patients will be able to review a list of available studies, and express their interest online.
16. CSO will conduct a more focused consultation with members of the public, including its own Public Engagement Group, before progressing this initiative.
17. CSO will continue to support research in pursuit of health and social care integration and will work with colleagues within the Scottish Government to ensure this important agenda has a properly constituted research dimension.
Chapter 3 - Targeted Deployment of Resources
18. CSO will aim to free up a minimum of 1% of its budget in 2016-17, rising to 5% by 2019-20, to be deployed in support of new initiatives.
19. CSO will create a budget to support pilot work designed to provide underpinning evidence for applications to larger funding schemes. At up to £35k, such awards will be determined within CSO in response to applications.
20. The CSO ETM and HSP Committees will be replaced with researcher initiated grant schemes with a closer focus on proposals of direct patient, or health services or public health, benefit. This emphasis will mean that early stage studies are unlikely to progress for consideration. The upper threshold of this scheme will increase to £300k.
21. To increase the policy relevance of the research funded, CSO will create a new scheme for research proposals that address specific Scottish Government policy priorities.
22. A greater emphasis will be placed on the analysis of project outcomes and impact on health and public health systems nationally and/or internationally. To that end CSO will introduce end of project interviews with the project principal investigator.
23. CSO will conduct a strategic review of unit purpose and funding in the course of 2015-16.
24. The paramount priority for deployment of CSO resources is meeting the NHS Service Support Costs for eligibly funded studies. CSO will ensure this principle is clearly applied across all of our investments, with funding being redeployed where necessary.
25. From 2016-17 CSO will revise the allocation of NRS infrastructure funds to ensure a more equitable deployment of resource based on activity.
26. From April 2016, NRS Biorespository and NRS Safe Haven funding will be separately contracted. Where costs for these and other activities should be included in research grant applications, this will be reflected in the NRS funding offered for subsequent years. This will allow Health Boards and universities to consider whether they wish to continue to have such posts funded.
27. A review of NRS biorepository activity and funding will be completed during 2015-16 to inform future investment in the network. A review of the NRS Safe Haven opportunities and investments will be conducted in the course of 2016-17.
28. CSO extend to all Health Boards the the opportunity to have service support posts funded as NRS infrastructure.
Chapter 4 - Investing in the Future
29. CSO intends to develop the NRS Fellowship scheme for candidates with little or no research experience but who demonstrate a clear wish to develop research as part of their career.
30. CSO will work with NES to produce a new jointly funded scheme where a limited number of pre- CCT candidates would receive 50% of their funding to undertake research.
31. CSO will discuss with its health services and public health research units how capacity building in these areas could be sustained by other means.
CSO will work
with key stakeholders so that the recommendations of the Health and
Biomedical Informatics Research Strategy for Scotland are taken
forward. The charter for safe havens will be published in the
33. CSO will work with the SFC, Industry and the Innovation Centres - particularly the SMS IC and Digital Health Institute - with a view to ensuring that relevant outputs from these initiatives are suitably evaluated to warrant their adoption in the NHS.
34. CSO will explore the creation of a new CSO International Advisory Board to provide expert advice on strategic research issues. Meeting once a year, with membership comprising key global leaders in their field, it would provide high level advice on the steps Scotland should be taking to deliver on its aspirations.