In the first of a new series of blogs, NIHR Incubator co-Chairs Edd Carlton and Heather Jarman look at progress and talk about plans for the future.

In the three years since its inception, the multi-professional NIHR Incubator for Emergency Care (EC Incubator) has grown far beyond our anticipation, even with a hiatus due to the pandemic. The redevelopment of this website, in collaboration with RCEM Learning, gives us an opportunity to reflect on what we have achieved but also to think about what more we could be doing to continue to develop and foster Emergency Care as an exponentially growing research specialty. 

The aims of the ECIncubator are:

  • Stimulate and inspire those currently working or aspiring to work in this field to pursue academic careers and,
  • Enhance the opportunities for those pursuing academic careers in the field of Emergency Care by signposting to relevant training opportunities and mentorship.

We can say confidently we have achieved these but there is still more we can do. We have an excellent membership of over 100; covering all levels of academic seniority, a multitude of different ideas and projects and importantly from a huge diversity of professional backgrounds. Members have had the opportunity to join our regular free webinars, which bring in speakers with expertise in areas that we all find a challenge in Emergency Care research, such as patient and public involvement and ethics and consent. 

One of the key challenges when the ECIncubator was set-up, was identifying individuals to support and develop, particularly those at the beginning of their research journey, those in geographically under served regions and those afforded less opportunity in terms of their professional background. We have been able to achieve this through our active social media (@ECIncubator), the help of the NIHR and most importantly collaboration across professions. We have worked with the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, Royal College of Nursing, Royal College of Paramedics, PERUKI and academic physiotherapists to name but a few. However, we are far from identifying everyone who could benefit from the work of the ECIncubator. That is why we are launching a member’s database that will allow all members to access brief information on professional background, geographical region, research interests and contact details. We hope this database will continue to grow and foster a collaborative approach. Take a look and you may be surprised who is doing research in your field across the country and take that opportunity to make contact, collaborate and share ideas. 

Emergency Care is a specialty that sees over 20 million patients per year across the NHS. There are boundless opportunities for research to improve care for all our patients, yet we remain underserved as a research specialty. There are fewer than twenty tenured university academics across the country, very few higher NIHR personal awards, a paucity of post-doctoral opportunities but many, many enthusiastic and talented individuals. The ECIncubator was set-up to address this disparity when compared to traditional academic specialties, but we aren’t there yet and this will take time. 

Moving forward there will plenty on offer from the ECIncubator to assist improve opportunities for our members:

  • We will continue our Webinar series, with sessions guided by our members and recordings freely available through our website.
  • Our mentorship database will be updated and expanded. The importance of mentorship in academia cannot be underestimated.
  • We will offer an independent review service for substantial personal fellowship awards prior to submission.  Currently this is informal and led by members of our steering committee, please email [email protected].
  • We will continue to work with RCEMLearning to develop a research educational package which is relevant to our members and replaces generic Good Clinical Practice training.

We also recognise the importance of face-to-face learning and that is why we are planning the ECIncubator Interactive Symposium in Bristol on the 23rd and 24th June 2022, supported by the NIHR and in collaboration with the Research in Emergency Care Avon Collaborative Hub (REACH). The aim of this event is to shape your future in Emergency Care Research by focussing on those subtleties of research development such as grant writing, patient and public involvement and publishing that are so important, yet often underexplored. Whatever your professional background, we look forward to meeting you as an emerging and aspiring researcher in Emergency Care in Bristol. 

To sign up please go to 

Prof Heather Jarman and Prof Edd Carlton (ECIncubator Co-Leads)