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Friday 20 January 2023

Research Leaders Programme celebrates successful first year

Future research leaders have completed the first year of a development programme at University Hospital Southampton (UHS).

The RLP programme is open to all healthcare professionals substantively employed by UHS. It is managed by the Southampton Academy of Research (SoAR).

The programme supports award holders to take the next steps in their research career. It covers salary costs for at least one day a week (20% whole time equivalent) for up to three years.

Supporting our researchers

Ten researchers have completed their first year of the RLP, with a further seven being funded in a new, second cohort. Most of the award holders and their research ambitions are now profiled on the SoAR website.

Dr Kristin Veighey is the Academic Career Development Lead for R&D medical clinical research fellows. She said:

“It has been a real privilege to lead on the RLP Programme over this first year and see how the first cohort has developed in confidence and grown stronger as a group.

“I am grateful to this first cohort for coming along on the journey with us and helping us shape the programme.

“It has also been really exciting to see individuals thrive and secure competitive funding and fantastic opportunities.”

A successful start

Dr Katherine Lachlan is one of the first RLP award holders. She has gained approval to develop a universal assessment tool for people with a rare genetic condition called PTEN hamartoma tumour syndrome.

Some of the award holders have also secured competitive grants for their research, including Professor Bhaskar Somani and Dr Ahilanadan Dushianthan.

Prof Somani has secured £1.3m through the NIHR Invention for Innovation Programme, while Dr Dushianthan has won a £359,000 NIHR Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation grant.

Dr Stephen Lim has secured a £1m NIHR Advanced Fellowship which will fund both his clinical and research time. The funding will also support a multicentre study to address hospital-associated deconditioning in older adults.

Dr Veighey added: “These individuals are a credit to the programme, themselves and the Trust.

“They have demonstrated the value of such a programme to increasing our research portfolio, and by so doing, increase the quality of the care that we provide to our patients.

“I hope that the awardees will take their knowledge, expertise and influence back to their clinical areas. Together, they can inspire a multidisciplinary team of colleagues to integrate world-class research with world-class clinical care.”

Applications for the next cohort will open in September 2023. Please visit the SoAR website or contact the team at for more information.