4.1 ACORN: Addressing Capacity in Organisations to do Research Network.

A research capacity building initiative in CLAHRC Yorkshire and Humber

CLAHRC YH is committed to develop research capacity in individuals and partner organisations.

Research capacity development (RCD) is a core principle of the CLAHRC YH and  is a reporting requirement to the NIHR.

ACORN (Addressing Capacity in Organisations to do research network) will be the body that supports a community of practice

ACORN will: to drive research capacity development in NHS and Local Authority  partners.

  • be led by the Programme Director/Capacity Lead  in CLAHRC YH
  • comprise of CLAHRC YH partner organisations who have agreed to be a case study site in the research capacity work-stream of the CLAHRC YH
  • include members who are CLAHRC Capacity Leads (CCL) in each organisation
  • meet three times per year
  • develop and share good practice of building research capacity

1. What is Research Capacity Development?

Some definitions include

 ‘a process of individual and institutional development which leads to higher levels of skills and greater ability to perform useful research". (Trostle 1992 pp1321).  

‘a funded, dynamic intervention operationalised through a range of foci and levels to augment ability to carry out research or achieve objectives in the field of research over the long-term, with aspects of social change as an ultimate outcome’ ( Condell & Begley 2007 pp 273)

2. The CLAHRC model of RCD follows a framework

This is based on the model developed by Cooke (2005) and adapted in the CLAHRC SY.

The case study sites will be encouraged to make assessment based on this model 

3. What will a CLAHRC YH case study site do?

Each CLAHRC YH research capacity case study site will

  • have a CLAHRC Capacity Lead(CCL) in place
  • complete an organisational service review based on the RCD CLAHRC principles and indicators in the first year of joining ACORN ( see appendix)
  • develop a research strategy with action plan
  • Review the achievements against the action plan annually, and use this to contribute to the CLAHRC YH annual report (First will be March 2015)
  • Meet with the CLAHRC YH Capacity Lead three monthly to explore and review progress and actions
  • Adapt plans based on levels of achievements on review
  • Attend 4 monthly ACORN meetings
  • Contribute to ACORN in developing and applying measures of organisational research capacity building


4. The Research strategy in case study organisations

The research strategy will be developed within the CLAHRC partner organisations. It will be coordinated by the CCL and undertaken by a group of key stakeholders  with executive level support.

The strategy will take into account the context, and developmental stage of the organisation with respect to research capacity

It will aim to

  • Increase research activity (projects undertaken in trust); increase the number of patients who are participants in research projects, and increase the number of practitioners involved in research. This will include, but not be exclusive to CLAHRC YH projects (thereby supporting the match agreements)
  • Increase capacity of individuals in the organisations including increasing skills and confidence to do research through training,  developing secondment opportunities, and funded research and evaluation time.
  • Increase the amount of funding into the organisation that is research linked, and improve quality of services, and return of investment through research and evaluation activity.
  • Develop and strengthen links with the NIHR and DH infrastructure, and other research organisations to support synergy and increase return on investment
  • Support the adoption of evidence based actionable tools identified by the CLAHRC YH and the AHSN


5. What will a CLAHRC Capacity Lead do?

    The CLAHRC capacity Leads (CCL) will

  • Support the development of a Research Strategy in their organisation, which includes building research capacity in individuals and teams and at an organisational level.
  • Work with the Associate Director of Capacity for CLAHRC YH to develop and deliver capacity building plans in their organisation
  • Develop and explore measurement of impact of capacity building over the lifetime of he CLAHRC YH, and share these results with the CLAHRC YH
  • Recognise any work undertaken around capacity building will be defined as ‘matched’ time into CLAHRC YH
  • Work with other CLAHRC  YH Capacity Leads to develop joint learning  set/ community of practice called ACORN
  • Apply for funds to undertake further capacity building activity, both within their organisation, and in the CLAHRC community
  • The level of commitment for each CCL will be determined with each organisation, but would be a minimum of 5 days per year.