How do you decide which projects the network investigates?


Initially we designed a project 'launch model'. This consisted of a 'quick victory' in the form of a prospective 'snap' audit, involvement in a large-scale, NIHR portfolio-badged observational study (LAS VEGAS) to improve our research credentials and finally a home-grown randomised controlled trial. Our 'snap' audit allowed us to actually construct the infrastructure of SWARM and prove to both ourselves and our consultants that this model worked. It also gave us momentum and grew enthusiasm amongst our trainee membership.

Besides this 'launch-model', project selection (as outlined in our constitution) is by democratic decision. This is by one of two ways. Firstly, trainees can submit a project proposal to the committee that is then considered by both the committee and the local trust trainee and consultant leads and marked using an objective matrix score sheet. The alternative selection process involves the presentation and selection of a project proposal at one of our annual conferences where trainee attendees are asked to vote on the best project ideas showcased. Either way we try to balance democratic choice (important to maintain trainee buy-in and ensure that the projects we are running match the interests of our membership) and committee opinion; the latter being important to maintain standards, ensure that our projects are both feasible and achievable and finally maintain our collaborative direction. Our plan is to form a yearly project strategy with a range of projects at differing stages of development / completion.


We've just run our first multi-centre audit, with the concurrent aims of testing our communication links and processes. Projects were presented by the committee members and selected by vote. In the future, project proposals will be submitted via a template to one of our project co-ordinators. These can be presented at the following committee meeting, discussed and approved for either peer-support (for small-scale projects requiring research experienced mentors) or TRAIN network support. Projects should complete a local pilot prior to regional roll out.