Edge Hill’s Medical School director has been named as one of NHS North West’s research Wonder Women.
Professor Clare Austin, Director of Medical Education and Associate Dean of Research and Innovation at Edge Hill University has featured in a short film produced by the NHS to showcase the talent and ambition of women in health and social care research.
As Clare explains in the video, which is part of the Wonder Women series produced by NHS R&D North West, she started her research career by taking a traditional academic route, studying for a BSc and PhD in Pharmacology at the University of Liverpool then taking a position as a postdoctoral research assistant. Clare was then awarded an externally funded Personal Fellowship from the British Heart Foundation.
In 1995, Clare moved to the University of Manchester as a lecturer, and subsequently became a senior lecturer. She took up the position as Associate Dean in Health and Social Care at Edge Hill University in 2014, where she has responsibility for research, innovation and postgraduate education within the faculty. In 2018, following the announcement that Edge Hill was to open a medical school, Clare also became Director of Medical Education at the University.
She said: “My job is very much involved in research, but it’s not my own research any more, my role is really about helping to others in the faculty to develop their own research.”
As part of her role, Clare also provides advises on the highs and lows of research work.
“The highs are when you get a research grant or a research paper accepted the lows are very much when they’re rejected.
“You need to develop a thick skin and be prepared for the lows, she said. “There are lots of challenges where you don’t get your research grant or you don’t get your paper accepted but ultimately there will be successes and the key thing is to keep carrying on. You have to be confident in your ability and not be afraid to volunteer to do things and push yourself forward.”
She added: “Within my role supporting women to develop their research is a key priority and we have done this in a number of different ways. The introduction of mentors has been very successful. Coupled with that is the opportunity for people to talk about their research and get feedback on their research ideas. The key thing is giving women the opportunity to develop their confidence in research.”
The series of nine films, with one issued every four weeks until September 2019 aim to celebrate some of the unseen elements to health and social care research, and the women who work in this area, as well as encouraging people thinking about doing health research.