Background The National Institute for Health Research initiative ‘collaborations for leadership in applied health research and care’ (CLAHRC) in Leicestershire Northamptonshire and Rutland (LNR) is a partnership between the University of Leicester and NHS trusts in LNR that aims to reduce the second gap in translation (the long delay between conducting research and it having an impact on clinical practice). MethodCLAHRC-LNR appointed specialist staff as boundary spanners and knowledge brokers to improve links between academia and the NHS, and to facilitate a range of activities designed to increase the implementation of research evidence. An inter-professional and interdisciplinary approach is used and incorporates a range of activities including: applied research, service evaluation and pilot projects, education and training events, knowledge dissemination activities and developing networks to increase the use of research in the NHS partners. ResultsCLAHRC-LNR’s close collaboration with partner NHS trusts has aided the development of a programme of applied research that aims to develop inter-professional team working to improve healthcare systems and patient outcomes. Co-ordinators (boundary spanners) have been appointed in trusts and have been crucial in facilitating inter-professional working. Activities include a successful programme of training and education courses within the NHS partner trusts using the principles of inter-professional education. CLAHRC-LNR is developing the use of knowledge exchange events and workshops as well as establishing communities of practice to bring together professionals from across LNR NHS trusts and the University of Leicester to share their expertise and build inter-professional relationships. CLAHRC fellows (knowledge brokers) are being appointed to work with co-ordinators to facilitate the use of research evidence in decision making in the trusts and clinical commissioning groups (CCGs). ConclusionInter-professional working is integral to the approach adopted by CLAHRC-LNR, running through many of its activities, and is proving vital to addressing and helping to close the second gap in translation.
Paul Sinfield, Kim Donoghue, Adele Horobin, Elizabeth S Anderson