Healthwatch Essex launches Research Ambassador Network

Here at Healthwatch Essex, we are always keen to share our research skills and learn from others. We are therefore pleased to announce the foundation of our Research Ambassador Network – a scheme that invites individuals with an interest in health and social care, qualitative methods and lived experience to volunteer with us to gain experience conducting research in the charity sector.

Starting in November, the Research Ambassador Network will host monthly hybrid meetings in-person and online. At these sessions, you will have the opportunity to meet other Research Ambassadors. We will be able to try out different research methods that you are interested in, explore academic literature, and conduct data analysis related to our projects. The sessions will be supplemented by a Research Forum, where speakers with academic and clinical expertise will be invited to talk to us. You will also have the chance to write for our monthly Research Reflections blog, with our full support.

The Research Ambassador Network is an opportunity for members to develop their research skills in a charity, build connections with others from different backgrounds, and share their own experiences and expertise in a supportive environment. The Network is open to anyone, regardless of educational and professional backgrounds, including:

  • Undergraduate and postgraduate (taught and research) students who are keen to gain valuable experience conducting research in the charity sector.
  • Medical, health and social care students and staff who would like to learn more about research and the role of lived experience in improving services.
  • Professionals from a range of industries who are looking to gain more qualitative research experience, particularly relating to health and social care.

You do not need to have prior experience of research, just a commitment to learning about the role that research can play in improving health and social care. Our meetings will typically last between one to two hours at a time convenient for members. You will be invited to spend some time preparing for meetings, either by reading suggested literature or analysing data provided. We will work flexibly with you to make sure that these activities do not affect your other commitments.  We want to make sure that the Research Ambassador Network is as inclusive and accessible as possible.

You can find out more information here. If you have any questions or would like to get involved, please email Healthwatch Essex’s Research Manager Dr Kate Mahoney at [email protected] or call 07565 189844.