Research and Development

The Royal Cornwall Hospitals Research and Development department supports and facilitates health research in Cornwall. Research is a hugely important part of what we do at the Royal Cornwall Hospitals. It gives us new knowledge about how to treat and care for patients with different health conditions and helps us to provide our patients with the best and most appropriate care possible.

We are dedicated to developing ground-breaking treatments, technologies, and techniques as well as meeting your needs and identifying the best use of resources.

Find out about health and social care research that is taking place in your area and across the UK.

Links to reports on our performance in delivering research

More information about the department

Contact details

General Enquiries



Patient and Public Information

Research ideas

Social media

Strategic Leadership Team

Research Governance Manager & Archivist

Caroline Phillips:

Research Communications & Engagement Specialist

Amanda Datson:

Industry Operations Manager

Gina Townley:

Audit & Monitoring Officer

Brendon James:

Research Sponsorship Facilitator

Vahid Harandi:

How we approve research and make sure it is safe

  • The NHS Research Governance Framework sets out the standards by which research is conducted. This includes the monitoring of protocols and procedures to make sure that these are followed.
  • Any research we carry out must meet recognised ethical standards and respect the dignity, rights, safety and well-being of the people who take part.
  • These standards must be assessed and approved by an independent Research Ethics Committee (REC)

Links to further information on clinical research

Patient Information and health and care research

Patient information and health and care research.

Get involved in NHS Research in Cornwall

There are many ways people get involved with NHS research in Cornwall;

  1. A healthcare professional may approach you about taking part in a relevant study.
  2. We may advertise for people with or without a specific condition, usually on posters in GP surgeries and hospitals.
  3. Search by condition on a national database for clinical trial
  4. You can also register and choose how you wish to get involved. You could receive our newsletter, hear about local events, share your views on patient documents or work with our research teams on what is best for patients.
    • Any information we collect about you will be confidential.
    • All information will be held securely on Royal Cornwall Hospital computer servers and only be accessible by NHS Patient & Public Engagement Representative staff.
    • It won’t be shared with external organisations.
  5. Become a Research Champion for the Royal Cornwall Hospital

What are Research Champions?

Research Champions volunteer their time to help spread the word about health and care research to patients and the public. They can also help research and healthcare staff understand more about the experiences of those who take part in research.
Research Champions can be anyone; patients, carers, members of the public, people who have taken part in a research study before, as well as those who haven’t. Something that they all have in common is that they are passionate about getting more people involved in research so that we can develop better care and treatment for everyone.

What can Research Champions do?

What you contribute as a Research Champion will be shaped around your interests, skills and time. Some commit to regular activities while others may volunteer as opportunities arise. At the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust we hold monthly meetings that the Research Champions can attend at their convenience.
Research Champions may volunteer to get involved in some of the activities listed below:

  • Spread the word to patients and the public about health and care research
  • Raise awareness amongst friends and family about research and being a champion for taking part in health and care research amongst people they know
  • Help to make patients, public groups find out about local events and initiatives, where they can access information about research and studies they may be able to take part in
  • Encourage health care professionals to undertake research
  • Take part in local actions to mark International Clinical Trials Day and health awareness days
  • Speak to interest or patient groups about health and care research
  • Give feedback on research promotion, initiatives and communications and help shape local research studies

How can I get involved?

If you are interested in becoming a Research Champion or finding out more, then please get in touch with our Research Communications & Engagement Specialist, Amanda Datson.

Deciding whether to take part in clinical research

  • We will review the research set of eligibility criteria that participants must meet, we will give you information about the research and time to consider whether you want to take part.
  • You’ll receive an information sheet about the research which will contain the contact details of the research study team so that you can speak to them about any part of the study.
  • So that you can decide whether to take part, we will make sure you are fully aware of all study procedures and any changes to your standard care or treatment. We will also explain any risks or known potential side effects.
  • You do not have to take part and you are free to withdraw at any stage, even after the study has started. Your standard treatment will not be affected if you decide not to take part at any stage.
  • For further information and frequently asked questions please visit the NHS website.


We are committed to improving the experience for research participants and often conduct participant experience surveys to gain feedback and help us to improve our services.

Patient Support Groups

If you are involved in a patient support group and would like us to come along and give a presentation about research or be available to give information to attendees please contact Amanda Datson via email on

For further information and frequently asked questions please visit

Rehabilitation Enablement in Chronic Heart Failure (REACH-HF)

We have developed a new, evidence-informed, self-help manual (the “REACH-HF Manual”) for people with heart failure and caregivers. It aims to help them manage their condition using the principles of cardiac rehabilitation. The manual is designed to be used with the support of a specially trained cardiac nurse or ‘facilitator’.

We have evaluated the clinical effectiveness, cost effectiveness and acceptability of the manual for people with heart failure and their caregivers.

Our research team benefits from the involvement of the investigators who led and published several major trials of cardiac rehabilitation in the UK. The team has expertise in methodology (medical statistics, health economics, qualitative research, psychology, health behaviour change, evidence synthesis and modelling) and clinical practice (cardiology, primary care, cardiac rehabilitation, nursing and physiotherapy), and uniquely involves service users. The Heart Manual Service, NHS Lothian (with extensive experience in delivery and implementation of the Heart Manual for people after myocardial infarction or revascularisation) is a key collaborator.

REACH-HF is an independent research programme funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) under its Programme Grants for Applied Research scheme (Reference Number RP-PG-1210-12004). It builds upon work previously conducted by the research team during an NIHR Programme Development Grant award (Reference Number RP-DG-0709-10111). The views expressed are those of the research team and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.

REACH-HF Research Team Members

Beacon Site Steering Group

  • Rod Taylor
  • Hayes Dalal
  • Colin Greaves
  • Patrick Doherty
  • Sinead McDonagh

REACH-HF Joint Leads

Click here for Dr Hayes Dalal and Professor Rod Taylor’s profiles

Useful links

Programme of Research

This programme consisted of four conceptually linked work packages building on existing evidence for self-managing heart failure.

Work Package 1

This work package used systematic intervention development methods to develop a home based self-help manual for people with systolic heart failure and their caregivers (‘the HF Manual’). It was divided into two sections:

Work Package 1A – Led by Dr Colin Greaves

Research Question: What are the necessary intervention components of a home-based, self-help manual for people with HF?

Work Package 1B – Led by Dr Jennifer Wingham

Research Question: What are the necessary intervention components of a home-based, self-help manual for the caregivers of people with HF?

This work package used qualitative research methods. The study was informed by thematic analysis involving 26 caregivers in individual interviews or a focus group. 

Read the full study here.

Feasibility Study

Work Package 1 includes a feasibility study to assess the feasibility and acceptability of the REACH-HF Manual for patients, caregivers and facilitators.

Work Package 2 – Led by Professor Chim Lang, Dr Karen Smith and Professor Kate Jolly

Research Question: How feasible is the HF-manual in people with heart failure?

This work package will conduct a pilot trial to assess the feasibility of a definitive trial of the heart failure manual in people who have a type of heart failure called heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFPEF). 

Read the rationale for Work Package 2 here.

Work Package 3 – Led by Professor Rod Taylor

Research Questions: What is the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of the HF manual vs. usual care in people with systolic HF? What is the impact for caregivers of using the HF Manual vs. usual care?

This work package conducted a randomised controlled trial to assess the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of HF Manual vs. usual care. 216 people with systolic HF were recruited from four centres (Abergavenny/South Wales, Birmingham, Cornwall and York). Prior to the main trial, a 6-month pilot phase checked trial feasibility and intervention acceptability. Main trial outcome measures were collected at baseline and 6 and 12 months after randomisation. A process evaluation included assessing trial fidelity; evaluating patient and caregiver experience of using the manual and measurement of caregiver stress.

The results are being analysed now and expected in 2018. 

Read the rationale for Work Package 2 here.

Work Package 4 Led by Professor Colin Green

Research Questions: What is the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of the HF Manual vs. centre based CR in people with systolic HF? What is the expected value of information for future research, including a randomised controlled trial of the HF manual vs. centre-based CR in people with systolic HF?

This work will use evidence synthesis/modelling methods to bring together the trial evidence on home and centre based cardiac rehabilitation. After this is complete, the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of the HF Manual (home based CR) vs. centre based CR will be assessed.

Work Packages 3 and 4 will provide commissioners with evidence on the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of the HF Manual vs. usual care and vs. centre based CR. We believe that an evidence based home CR intervention could substantially improve the current suboptimal provision of CR in HF. This would thereby result in important improvements in patient and caregiver health outcomes and reductions in hospital admissions.

Feedback about your research experiences

We actively encourage our research participants to give their feedback on their experiences of study participation. This helps us to recognise our staff and improve our service.

To enable us to do this, we hold an annual, snapshot experience survey as well as welcoming feedback through Care Opinion. Care Opinion allows people to anonymously share their experiences, good and bad, of healthcare services across the country. Stories are then passed to department representatives who will review and respond via the website.

Research news

If you would like to read about some of the positive, life changing impacts research and development has achieved in our recent past, you may do so by viewing our research and development news page.

Links to some of our previous studies

Please see below sample of published research results from some of the studies that the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust have been involved in. We are aiming to increase the number available on this webpage in the future.

Please note there is often a significant time lag between the end of patient participation in a study and the availability of the results.


  • PROBESE- Effect of Intraoperative High Positive End-Expiratory Pressure (PEEP) With Recruitment Manuevers vs Low PEEP on Postoperative Pulmonary Complications in Obese Patients: A Randomized Clinical Trial



Critical Care


  • Effect of Topical Imiquimod as Primary Treatment for Lentigo Maligna: The LIMIT-1 Study


  • ALTITUDE: ALiskiren Trail in T2 Diabetes using cardiorenal endpoints

Emergency Medicine




Neurology: Multiple Sclerosis

Neurology: Parkinson’s Disease






Renal Medicine




Women’s Health & Obstetrics

NHS Staff Research

  • Hair today, gone tomorrow: How personal protective equipment guidance changed doctor’s facial hair during the COVID‐19 pandemic


The Cornwall research charity fund

Much of the Research and Development programme in Cornwall would not be possible without the generosity of our supporters.

Your charitable donations help us provide:

  • Patient amenities
  • State-of-the-art equipment
  • Innovative research opportunities
  • Funding towards additional staff so that we can offer more research opportunities

Recent fundraising has helped us transform one of our research clinic rooms into a child-friendly environment where children can play, read books, play computer games or watch films. These facilities act as a distraction for our younger visitors during their clinic visits as well as provide play facilities for them when accompanying others to their appointments.

Support the Cornwall research charity fund

You can get involved by:

  • Supporting our fundraising at events
  • Leaving a legacy gift
  • Nominating us as charity of the year
  • Fundraising for us
  • Making a donation

How to make a donation

Research Charity Fund Applications

If you are a contracted member of staff at the Royal Cornwall Hospital and are looking for funding to support or facilitate research please visit Research Charity Fund Applications

There are a number of ways you can donate to the research or cancer research funds through the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Charity, please visit their website to find out more.

If you would like your donation to go to either of these (research, or cancer) funds, please ensure you specify this at the time of payment and leave contact information so that we can confirm receipt. Alternatively, you can email or phone 01872 252690 with details of your donation.

Working With Us

Current vacancies for the Royal Cornwall Hospitals, Research & Development Department can be found at NHS jobs.

Links to useful information:

Find out what a career in NHS Research at the Royal Cornwall Hospital could offer you in the video below:

Page last reviewed: 17 May 2023

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