Matthew Gummerson is the Partnership Facilitator for the University of Portsmouth and Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust (PHT). He tells us more about his role and the value it can add to the University of Portmouth.
How has your career led you to become the Partnership Facilitator between the University and the Portsmouth Hospitals trust?
After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2003, I worked here for a couple of years as a Research Assistant in Humanities. I then spent a decade at Portsmouth City Council, supporting partnerships that included the local health system and the University to address key challenges facing the city. So in many ways this new role is an extension of a career built on helping organisations to work together on shared goals.
Tell us about your job role and how you see it working?
This new job was created to build collaborations between PHT and the University around education, research and innovation.
There are three key elements to my role:
• enabling connections
• developing collaborations
• delivering capacity
So, for example, it is about linking researchers at the University with clinicians at PHT to develop new ideas that improve people’s lives. Then finding ways to bring in other disciplines across both organisations to grow those projects. And creating shared resources that support people to do more, together.
What do you hope to achieve in your first year?
I want people to have a shared understanding of what PHT and the University of Portsmouth are trying to achieve together, and remove some of the barriers that currently get in the way. We will have developed some new research collaborations that
can lead to grants, high impact publications etc. And we will be working on some workforce development plans for staff at PHT, delivered by the University of Portsmouth.
What has been your greatest achievement with the role, so far?
Getting R&D set-up costs waived for the University of Portsmouth researchers at PHT. It’s a really challenging financial time in the NHS and the need to cover costs is pressing, but through the partnership we were able to make the case that nurturing the research relationship with the University was the priority.
How can your role help the researchers and innovators at the University of Portsmouth?
The hospital is a fantastic resource, with 7,000 staff treating half a million patients each year, and with a real commitment to research and innovation. I can help people at the University by linking you with the right people or by developing new ways of working to support you to collaborate more effectively.
What do you perceive as the biggest challenge going forward?
For me the challenge is about how we grow some of the fantastic research collaborations we already have into much bigger grant-funded programmes.
What’s the most exciting upcoming opportunity for the University and the hospital to work together on?
There are so many, but to pick just one I think the opportunity to improve the lives of dialysis patients in the Renal Department – with work underway with the School of Engineering, Sports and Exercise Science, the School of Health Sciences and Social Work and the School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences.
When you are not at work, what would we most likely find you doing?
Putting off until tomorrow whatever I should be doing today.
How can people get in touch with you?
I split my time between the Research and Innovation office at QA Hospital and the University. Always happy to meet for a chat about any ideas people may have. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.