Linda Olubajo, a PhD student at Sheffield Hallam University, has joined the team for the next few months on secondment. Linda’s research aligns well with NIHR CYP MedTech – she’s currently exploring health technology collaborations that involve universities, industry and clinicians.
As many of you may already be aware, though these collaborations can offer considerable value via additional expertise, knowledge and resources, there can be numerous challenges brought about by different processes, terminology, cultures, goals and timescales. The challenges are multiplied in our sector due to more organisations needing to be involved, increased interdisciplinary working (across scientific disciplines), and considerable regulation. It’s also dominated by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) who, according to research, may find it more difficult to find the right partners and to access the NHS for clinical evaluation. Through her research Linda will be looking at the key individuals who work at the interface of these collaborations, and how their interpersonal relationships can help to overcome the challenges.
Linda applied for the secondment with us to immerse herself in the very context of her study – the process of developing health technologies – and to find out more about the individuals involved and the challenges they face. As we often facilitate this type of collaboration and help partners navigate the process, from validating unmet clinical needs and finding partners, through to gaining input from children and families, providing regulatory guidance and accessing clinical evaluation, Linda was eager to become involved. She hopes that her PhD will have practical application so she’s joining us in the first year of her PhD to help refine her research methodology – and potentially find some organisations keen to take part in her research.