We marked the third anniversary of the launch of THIS Institute on 31 January 2021. Since our launch we have worked collaboratively to support the NHS by producing useful, actionable, high quality evidence that directly responds to service need and helps patients and staff. Our mission remains as important and relevant as ever, especially in pandemic conditions.
During 2020, we have:
- Mobilised rapidly to launch projects to respond to the challenges for the NHS posed by COVID-19. Using innovative methods and collaborations across the health and care system, these projects have shared a focus on “what good looks like” in these unprecedented times – for example managing obstetric emergencies in women with possible COVID-19 and developing an ethical framework for COVID-19 testing for healthcare workers.
- Made further investment in developing capacity UK-wide in the study of healthcare improvement. Our fellowship programme, which accounts for a third of our budget, funds 26 researchers with diverse forms of expertise at 17 universities across the UK and nurtures a vibrant community. We made awards for doctoral fellowships at eight universities in 2020, and we introduced a new themed fellowship scheme that is helping, among other things, to support the pandemic response.
- Worked in a highly inclusive, participatory way. Our work is characterised by deep stakeholder engagement, valuing diverse expertise and perspectives – including those of patients and staff. For example, our paper on seven features of maternity unit safety involved a wide authorship group, with 61 collaborators, including parents, healthcare professionals, system leaders, and policy-makers. It has achieved an exceptional level of attention, with an altmetrics score placing it in the top 25 articles ever published in BMJ Quality and Safety.
- Accelerated the launch of Thiscovery, our bespoke online research and development platform for healthcare improvement. Thiscovery has a key role in meeting the pressing need to build an evidence base remotely for innovations in healthcare practice.
- Ran our first virtual THIS Space annual event. We were delighted that around 500 people joined us for a diverse and inclusive programme, featuring fantastic keynote talks, panels, and presentations.
We are committed to the principles of scientific rigour, co-production, equity and inclusion, and high-quality engagement. 2021 will see us continue to advance our scientific agenda to address priority areas for NHS patients and staff, while remaining alert to the enormous pressures the system is under. To support our work, we’ll be further developing the capabilities of Thiscovery to support remote research and development. And we’ll be launching our third post-doctoral competition, open to applications from universities across the UK.
We will keep you updated on our progress and we hope you stay safe and well.