ERIC’s goal is to create a platform for student researchers and young professionals working in, or interested in, the field of integrated care with 0-5 years of experience and/or in the process of doing their Master’s, PhDs or post-docs. Through supporting a community of early-career researchers across organisational and professional boundaries, we hope to not only bring people together to advance the science and knowledge behind integrated care, but also to enhance the adoption of health systems policy and practice.
We feel the network will be beneficial to early-career researchers to support connections and collaboration in integrated care research through promoting experiential learning, mentorship and supporting the development of essential skills for success in academia and industry.
We welcomed almost 20 participants from around the world for the first ERIC virtual Town Hall meeting. ERIC, formerly the Young Researchers in Health Network (YRIHN), has been revitalised and this new network will sit within the IFIC platform to provide rich contacts and resources to support students and early-career professionals. The Town Hall kicked off with Viktoria sharing the history of ERIC and why she ended up founding the network originally. She noted that along with her colleagues, who were both starting their PhDs in the field of Health Economics, they noted that many students lacked mentorship and support as they navigated the start of their research careers. Fundamental skills like how to present your work and tailor to a specific audience, or how to write for a health service research journal were a challenge without the right support. So, they ended up forming this network where student members attended pre-conference workshops and Viktoria and colleagues ran them. However, it was very difficult to sustain independently as students had other competing responsibilities.
Prior to the Town Hall meeting we launched a survey asking what early-career professionals and students wanted from the network. The results found most respondents said ‘international knowledge exchange and collaboration with other young professionals on projects’ was a motivator for joining the ERIC platform. Participants also hoped to gain ‘learning about different aspect of integrated care and develop skills and resources for research’ as part of their membership of the network. Results also showed 82% of participants would like to join for monthly webinars with guest speakers, while many also expressed their interest in being a member of IFIC special interest groups, attending study tours in different countries and becoming a book reviewer for IJIC.
This initial meeting also highlighted some of the challenges faced by students. Several participants wanted an opportunity to connect with other students doing their specific research in integrated care, and one Canadian based student, who is interested in the intersection of clinical integration and women’s health, was keen to connect with other of the students, researchers or practitioners, involved in the same scope of work.
Another delegate, a recent PhD graduate, working on integrated care implementation research in a developing country, shared the challenges of publishing in journals interested in policies transferable to Western or developed countries’ context. Viktoria noted that IFIC and ERIC would be open to supporting a potential blog by them sharing his experience with the challenges of publishing this specific research with the research community at large.
As we advance with the ERIC Platform there will be an opportunity for potentially two leadership positions in the ERIC team. The roles will focus on knowledge mobilisation activities, and the second would support interdisciplinary research activities across the network. At the meeting a handful of participants indicated their interest in the volunteer positions. Further details about the position descriptions and application process will be coming out soon!
It was great to meet survey respondents at the ICIC18 conference, in Utrecht. During the conference ERIC was officially launched and we also hosted a range of events including a career panel discussion with experts in the field, a speed research networking event and after conference socials.
We look forward to announcing further opportunities to engage in ERIC activities in 2018-2019. In addition to the two leadership positions, they include becoming a book reviewer for International Journal for Integrated Care, participating in pre-recorded or interactive webinars on selected topics in integrated care and taking part in IFIC’s special interest groups.
To join ERIC, become an IFIC student member and take advantage of a range of benefits including discounts on IFIC’s multi-country study tours, the Integrated Care Academy Summer School and access to networks within the foundation. Student membership costs €50, click here for more information.
Join ERIC on LinkedIn and be part of IFIC’s new platform dedicated to early career researchers, practitioners, professionals and students, to share, support, collaborate and exchange knowledge in integrated care research.
For more information about ERIC contact:
Mudi Kadu, Junior Researcher in Integrated Care Development and Implementation
Henriikka Laurola, Junior Researcher,International Foundation for Integrated Care (IFIC)