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Keywords:

  • managing R&D;
  • research and development;
  • research capacity;
  • research culture

Background  This study examined the research and development culture and capacity within one NHS Trust in Northern Ireland. Strengths and challenges were identified and opportunities for further research and development expansion were sought.

Methods  This is a two-stage project incorporating a baseline survey (n = 379) followed by consultation with key stakeholders across the Trust (n = 11).

Findings  In the survey, over half of the respondents (n = 194) stated they had participated in a research project and a significant number (n = 313) read health care journals. Identification of barriers to research resulted in findings similar to other published work. Staff responded positively about using research in practice (n = 328) and that practice should be influenced by research (n = 312). Nurse Managers indicated support for research and development activity.

Conclusion  The study provides a starting point from which to develop a positive research and development culture within this Trust.

Implications for nursing management  After establishing a baseline of research and development activity across a large acute Trust, the strengths and weaknesses of such activity were identified with a view to informing a strategy to develop this aspect of professional activity. A change in an organizational culture cannot be made without full support of both the clinicians and their managers.