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The impact of genomics education on professional practice


Project Description

In October 2018, NHS England launched a world leading Genomic Medicine Service that builds on 30+ years’ experience of delivering clinical and laboratory genetic services, and on advances in whole genome sequencing resulting from the 100,000 genomes project.

Established in 2014, the Health Education England Genomics Education Programme (GEP) works to realise the potential of these exciting developments through a co-ordinated approach to genomics education across the NHS workforce.

The GEP has developed CPD for qualified health professionals, including postgraduate training in Genomic Medicine, a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) and short online courses. To date, over 1,500 NHS staff have undertaken training in genomic medicine and 7,000+ the MOOC. Online courses have recorded c.10,000 completions. Courses attract individuals from a wide range of professions.

The GEP also works with professional groups to develop new professional training curricula and standards for genomics education. It shares best practice internationally, including strong collaborations with the Melbourne Genomic Alliance in Australia and with Genomes BC in Canada.

To date, understanding of the impact of current programmes on participant professional practice, their perceptions of their professional identity or their contribution to the clinical workforce is limited. A preliminary study undertaken by the University of Birmingham Health Services Management Centre indicated that learners valued the interprofessional learning environment offered by genomics education; and that their genomics learning influenced their subsequent professional practice.

This PhD will build on this work, looking in depth at aspects of the influence of genetics education programmes on participants’ professional practice, professional identities and subsequent career trajectories. Key project aims are to:

• Summarise existing understanding of the impact of genomics education on professional practice.
• Identify participant expectations how genomics education will influence their practice and career trajectories
• Explore the impact of genomics education on alumni perceptions of their professional identity and integration into the clinical workforce
• Identify whether some professions are more likely than others to integrate their genomics education into their professional practice
• Investigate the perceptions of employers as to the value and impact of genomics education
• Investigate the development of communities of practice in genomics and their influence on translation of learning into practice and workforce change.

Person Specification
You will have a strong background in Social Science research methods, including experience of qualitative methods. You will have a commitment to research in education and hold or realistically expect to obtain at least an Upper Second Class Honours Degree in a relevant subject. An understanding of genomics is desirable, but not essential.

Informal enquiries should be directed to Sharon Buckley at

To be considered for this studentship, please send the following documents to Viktorija Ziabliceva at :

• A detailed CV, including nationality and country of birth;
• Names and addresses of two referees;
• A covering letter highlighting your research experience/capabilities;
• Copies of your degree certificates with transcripts;
• Evidence of your proficiency in the English language, if applicable.

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend an interview, which will include a short presentation of initial research proposals, including suggested research aims/questions, a brief overview of relevant literature and a possible research design.

Funding Notes

Fully funded PhD studentship starting in January 2020. Funded for 3 years (FTE) at RCUK rate, including fees (Home/EU) and appropriate research consumables. The studentship may be undertaken on a full or part time basis.

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