Research at our hospices

Using Marie Curie Hospices as research hubs, we’re improving care and support for people living with any terminal illness.

Since 2011, our Research Lead Programme has helped us increase research activities at our hospices, and contribute to the knowledge and evidence base for improving clinical practice.

This programme enables our hospices to collaborate with academic units to conduct, support and promote research activities in palliative and end of life care. 

Why are researchers based at our hospices?

Our hospices are ideal places for us to conduct research as there are patients, carers and staff members there who may already have an interest in taking part.

Many of our hospices also have close links with local universities and hospitals, making it a great place for us to carry out research.

Building a research culture

As part of our programme, we appointed research leads to develop and facilitate clinically relevant research at five of our hospices − in Belfast, Bradford, Edinburgh, Glasgow and the West Midlands.

All research leads on our programme have an academic background, hold a PhD degree and have post-doctoral research experience. They are responsible for:

  • leading on the full cycle of enabling, starting and facilitating the development of research projects by writing research proposals, applying for funding and providing advice on research design
  • offering support and supervision for students wishing to undertake primary research or systematic reviews on palliative and end of life care
  • publishing research and presenting findings at local, national and international conferences
  • mentoring and guiding hospice staff who need support with their research by giving advice on research methodology and protocol design, and applicable legislation and regulations.
  • managing and facilitating research studies that use the hospices as a recruitment site

Key research projects

Research supported by our hospices usually explores how we can improve different types of care and support  whether that’s physical, social, spiritual or psychological − that people need towards the end of their lives.

Our research leads have worked on a diverse portfolio of research projects including:

  • improving palliative care in care homes
  • understanding carers’ experiences
  • identifying carers and their needs
  • economics of end of life care
  • psychosocial wellbeing of patients, carers and staff
  • quality of life and psychological needs assessment.

Over the last six years of our programme, we’ve seen an increase in research studies using our hospices as recruitment sites, as well as more hospice staff members getting involved in research and a stronger research culture informing our clinical practices.

An evolution: from leadership to fellowship

At Marie Curie, we’re keen to support the next generations of palliative and end of life care researchers.

That’s why, in 2017, we’ve evolved our successful Research Lead Programme into the Marie Curie Clinical and Academic Research Fellowships to further develop our research capacity and collaborations with leading universities and other organisations. 

These collaborations will help us to offer fellowship opportunities for researchers to get involved in palliative and end of life care research within a university by working closely with one of our hospices.

The fellowship programme is open for new applicants every three years. Two of our research lead posts have already been transformed into fellowships hosted by local universities. They are based at:

  • the University of Leeds’ Academic Unit of Palliative Care at the School of Medicine, which is supporting research activities at the Marie Curie Hospice, Bradford
  • the University of Warwick’s Division of Health Sciences at the Warwick Medical School, which is supporting research activities at the Marie Curie Hospice, West Midlands.

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