We asked Yvette Hibberd the new Partnership Facilitator between the University and the Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust to answer a few questions to tell us more about her and her role.

How has your career led you to become the Partnership Facilitator between the University and the Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust?

I’ve been working in health research, mainly in the NHS, for 16 years. As a research assistant at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases in Bath, I worked in various roles in both the delivery and facilitation of health research.  I have a degree in Psychology and have always been interested in health research and methodology, so these roles were perfect for me. I was promoted to research associate and project managed an international study looking at a chronic pain condition called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. I also worked with a research group looking at Adolescent Rheumatology at UCL and, as a manager on a national ovarian cancer project. I recently moved to Hampshire and was really excited to be offered the role of Partnership Facilitator which consolidates my significant experience of working for both Higher Educational Institutions and NHS research. 

What has been your career highlight to date?

I was invited to present the study of chronic pain at the International Association for the Study of Pain in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  It was a great experience going to such a large international meeting where I enjoyed meeting people from around the world working on chronic pain.  I also had the chance to see a little bit of Argentina too. 

Tell us about your role and your key responsibilities?

This is a new role, primarily working with research teams at both Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust (PHU) and the University of Portsmouth (UoP) to deliver collaborative research projects based at PHU.   My role will involve assisting researchers across both organisations in developing collaborative funding proposals in support of their research activities and to help navigate the Health Research Authority (HRA) and Research Ethic Committee (REC) approval systems essential for NHS research.  Once studies have opened, I help with their ongoing management and governance.  I am also supporting the development and delivery of research projects through the PHU/UoP collaborative SIGHT programme. 

How do you support researchers and innovators at the University?

As soon as they have an idea of a research proposal, researchers contact me so that I can help them find the right clinical groups, funding, and assist with the effective set up of their project. 

What one piece of advice would you give researchers and innovators looking for support with NHS research?

Contact me as soon as possible so we can go through the funding and feasibility of the proposed study.  Studies can take a while to get started as they will need to go through the HRA/REC approval systems as well as the Portsmouth University Hospital feasibility checks. I can assist with this process so that the study can open without any difficulties, particularly where patient interventions are involved.

What are your goals for 2022?

I hope to meet as many groups and individuals as possible and to pass on information to researchers or innovators who want to conduct research at the Portsmouth University Hospitals, to make their NHS research journey as easy as possible.

What is your biggest challenge for 2022?

As I am new in my role I don’t know as many researchers and research groups as I would like who wish to conduct research within the NHS from the UoP and PHU.  Hopefully this will develop over time as I get to know them.

What excites you most about your role?

I am excited about the UoP and PHU collaboration and look forward to assisting and smoothing the way for research groups in both organisations to continue to develop and grow in the future.

What are you working on at the moment?

I am currently setting up studies for SMEs who have been supported by the SIGHT programme (Supporting Innovation and Growth in Healthcare Technologies).  This is an ERDF-funded business support project led by the University of Portsmouth in conjunction with the Wessex Central Research Network (CRN) and PHU. 

I am also managing opened studies in terms of assisting with any amendments which need to be submitted to the HRA/REC as well as monitoring PHU sponsored studies to make sure that they are running as detailed in their protocol.    

Finally, I am enjoying meeting with new researchers who would like advice on how to conduct research in the NHS.

When you’re not at work, what would we most likely find you doing?

I have a great love of the outdoors so you will most likely find me either pottering in my garden or exploring the area on my bike.  Having moved to Hampshire from London in the middle of the 2020 lockdown and love being near the sea, there are a lot of new places to explore.

How can people get in touch with you?

You can email me at Yvette.Hibberd@porthosp.nhs.uk