Two physiotherapists based at the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre have been successful in obtaining an NIHR Doctoral Clinical and Practitioner Academic Fellowship (DCAF). Lucy Dove and Simon Wood will begin their fellowships in 2024.
The DCAF scheme constitutes the doctoral tier of the Health Education England (HEE) and National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Integrated Clinical Academic Programme. It supports future clinical academic leaders with immediate aspirations for PhD study and is open to all non-medical professions.
Lucy is an Advanced Practice Spinal Physiotherapist whose research focuses on the patients she sees in the spinal clinic who have sciatica, nerve pain that causes weakness in the leg. Her research aims to better define and to measure leg weakness in people with sciatica in the hope of developing new treatments.
As part of her NIHR fellowship, she will complete a doctorate in Clinical Neurosciences under the supervision of Professor Annina Schmid, who supported her in her application. Lucy says that she hopes to build closer links between OUH’s Oxford Spine Service and the University of Oxford during her fellowship.
Simon’s area of interest is looking for the underlying factors associated with a poor outcome in patients with femoral acetabular impingement after a physiotherapy-led rehabilitation programme and will be based at the University of Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences. Femoral acetabular impingement is when the ball of the hip pinches against the cup of the hip, which can damage the cartilage and lead to arthritis. His research investigates the psychosocial components and pain phenotypes that may influence the outcome of treatment.
Simon added: “It’s been five years since I first thought of applying for a PhD. It has been a long journey, full of ups and downs, but the end game was worth it. The success has been down to a strong team and many people helping along the way who I can’t thank enough. Now I must deliver what I promised which is the next challenge!”
Professor Helen Walthall, OUH Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professionals Research and Innovation, said: “We are delighted for Lucy and Simon. The NIHR DCAF award is an extremely competitive national award and so it is testament to their determination, motivation and the strength of their application that they have been successful.
“We would like to think that the research support and infrastructure at OUH, including the partnership with the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre and the wider University of Oxford has played a crucial role. Both Lucy and Simon have been supported on their research journey by Professor Karen Barker and colleagues in the Physiotherapy Research Unit (PRU) based at the NOC, and they must also be very proud of this achievement.”