PURPOSE: The embedded researcher is a healthcare-academic partnership model in which the researcher is engaged as a core member of the healthcare organisation. While this model has potential to support evidence translation, there is a paucity of evidence in relation to the specific challenges and strengths of the model. The aim of this study was to map the barriers and enablers of the model from the perspective of embedded researchers in Australian healthcare settings, and compare the responses of embedded researchers with a primary healthcare versus a primary academic affiliation.
DESIGN/METHODOLOGY/APPROACH: 104 embedded researchers from Australian healthcare organisations completed an online survey. Both purposive and snowball sampling strategies were used to identify current and former embedded researchers. This paper reports on responses to the open-ended questions in relation to barriers and enablers of the role, the available support, and recommendations for change. Thematic analysis was used to describe and interpret the breadth and depth of responses and common themes.
FINDINGS: Key barriers to being an embedded researcher in a public hospital included a lack of research infrastructure and funding in the healthcare organisation, a culture that does not value research, a lack of leadership and support to undertake research, limited access to mentoring and career progression and issues associated with having a dual affiliation. Key enablers included supportive colleagues and executive leaders, personal commitment to research and research collaboration including formal health-academic partnerships.
RESEARCH LIMITATIONS/IMPLICATIONS: To support the embedded researcher model, broader system changes are required, including greater investment in research infrastructure and healthcare-academic partnerships with formal agreements. Significant changes are required, so that healthcare organisations appreciate the value of research and support both clinicians and researchers to engage in research that is important to their local population.
ORIGINALITY/VALUE: This is the first study to systematically investigate the enablers and challenges of the embedded researcher model.