Three minutes: Laura Marshall

A CSP Charitable Trust education and development award last year meant Laura Marshall could visit Melbourne, Australia – a key stepping stone in her research career.


Spreading my wings 

What did winning the award mean to you?

I was really surprised when I heard that my application for the CSP Charitable Trust education and development award had been successful. You hear about other people getting awards like that and I genuinely never thought it would be me. Being a novice in my research career, I assumed that funding of this nature would be allocated to support well-established teams with large projects. Once it had sunk in, I was really excited to plan how I would use the award to advance my clinical academic career and secure funding for a PhD.

What happened as a result?

My application outlined a visit to an international centre of excellence.  I visited Professor Kim Bennell, an eminent physiotherapy researcher at the University of Melbourne. My time was spent at the multidisciplinary research centre which is a centre of excellence for translational research. The research focus of the team in Melbourne is preventing and managing chronic musculoskeletal conditions, particularly osteoarthritis.  

Did the experience change your approach when you returned to the UK?

During my visit I gained valuable experience from internationally renowned clinical researchers. I had access to mentorship sessions and also spent time with PhD students and post-doctoral researchers to learn more about the projects currently running. I also developed specialist knowledge and skills in innovative research methodologies. I feel this was a catalyst to my career progression, as it enabled me to gather further evidence and experience to support my PhD application. I was lucky enough to spend a day at the Olympic Park, primarily to shadow the physiotherapy clinic. But an added bonus was a tour of the famous Melbourne Cricket Ground and the Rod Laver Arena, which is host to the Australian Open. I also squeezed in a visit to the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra to visit David Hunter and find out more about the research undertaken by his team.  It was an incredibly busy month, compounded by the fact that I returned from Australia and had an interview for my PhD the following day. Preparing my presentation on the plane home was surprisingly enjoyable, as I felt really motivated following my trip.

When did you get your current role? 

I have always had a keen interest in research and in 2013 I completed the National Institute for Health Research masters in research methods. This gave me an excellent grounding in clinical research and gave me the confidence to pursue a different aspect of my career. Over the last three years I have juggled both clinical and research roles in order to combine what I enjoy doing, with the ultimate goal of improving outcomes for patients. I have worked on various large research studies in the Arthritis Research UK (ARUK) centre of excellence at the University of Nottingham. I have also completed the Health Education East Midlands Clinical Scholar Silver Award, which allowed me to conduct a small research project while remaining active in clinical practice. I have been incredibly lucky to have had the support of my manager to enable me to gain this experience. My current role is at the ARUK pain centre on a community knee pain study. I am so excited about starting my PhD at Keele University next month, looking into the management of osteoarthritis in primary care.

Would you encourage other members to follow your lead?

Absolutely. The CSP Charitable Trust offers a number of awards to support individuals looking to progress their skills and careers in a variety of ways. Although I applied to undertake an international visit, the CSP supports a wide range of development opportunities. I would suggest taking the time to review the different awards to ensure you are applying through the most appropriate channels. Also, read the application form and marking criteria thoroughly and take the time to discuss your ideas with others before applying.
  • Laura Marshall is a research physiotherapist at the Arthritis Research UK pain centre, University of Nottingham. 

More information

See here for details on the CSP Charitable Trust Education Awards   
Laura Marshall research physiotherapist at the Arthritis Research UK pain centre, University of Nottingham.

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