The CW Young Fund is now open for applications to its 2023/4 funding round.

The award is there to promote and advance the development of pharmacy in Northern Ireland by supporting education,  knowledge and research.

The two winners of the 2022/23 funding round were:

  • “Exploring Experiential Learning in an Updated MPharm Programme” – managed by Dr Sharon Haughey and Fiona Hughes of Queen’s University Belfast; and
  • “Valuing Community Pharmacy Services in Northern Ireland – Remote Provision of Care” – managed by Dr Aaron John Courtenay and Dr Deborah Lowry of Ulster University, and Dr Oisín Kavanagh of Newcastle University.
Fiona Hughes – Queen’s University Belfast

In the first of two profiles of 2023’s awardees, we spoke to Fiona Hughes, who co-managed the “Exploring Experiential Learning” project at QUB.

Tell us a bit about what your research was about, and how you identified the need for research in this area.

“The move to train pharmacists such that they are ‘prescriber-ready’ upon registration and the new GPhC/PSNI Standards for the Initial Education and Training of Pharmacists 2021 are generally considered to be the most significant change within the profession in the past 25 years. One of the most noticeable differences to previous training standards is the emphasis placed upon experiential learning. Knowing that pharmacy students will go out earlier on placement to all sectors and for longer periods of time, we wanted to explore pedagogies and approaches to learning that capitalised on this opportunity. We developed an approach specific for Northern Ireland (NI), that was based on existing research and theories from other parts of the world. Firstly, as we develop new educational techniques and strategies, we want to ensure that we have feedback on what we are doing to ensure it is the right fit. Our research ensures that pharmacist supervisors who are helping students learn in all sectors of practice and the students themselves have the opportunity to give feedback on the educational tools and techniques, allowing us to improve them. The research is focused on practice supervisors in community pharmacy but it is hoped that outcomes will be transferable to all sectors of practice. A second driver for the research was that many studies focus on the use of the approaches in medical education and there is very limited data from NI. We wanted to ensure we were beginning to build a picture from the outset about using this approach in NI.”

Why did you choose CW Young as a funder for your research?

“Since our research has direct impacts for pharmacy students and the development of the profession in NI, we  considered CW Young to be a potential funder for the research since this contribution to the profession and patients is central to the purpose of the fund. The fund is focused on NI projects that bring benefits for the profession and importantly, patients and this aligns with our purpose as pharmacy educators. We had both received funding from CW Young separately in the past for previous projects and understood that the process. An important aspect is that the application was an opportunity for the approach to our research to be peer reviewed by a group of experienced pharmacists.”

How did you find the process of applying for funding from CW Young?

“The process is very logical, and we received consistent support from the administrator to ensure the paperwork was complete. The application process focusses on the research protocol itself and ensured that we had reflected on this appropriately, so it was a useful quality assurance tool. It also ensures that sufficient thought has been given to timelines and funding. Once submitted, the decision was relayed to us very promptly which was a significant advantage in that we were able to get going with the research!”

What would you say to anyone who is about to apply for funding from CW Young this year?

“It is really important that there is data generated about pharmacy in NI so that our perspective is contributing to what is already known within the profession. The CW Young fund presents a straightforward opportunity for anyone who requires support to undertake research on and within their practice. We found the process to be accessible, user-friendly and supportive and encourage others to make use of this unique and very positive opportunity.”

The deadline for applications to the 2023/4 funding round is 5pm Friday 6th January 2023.

To find out more and apply, click here.