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Health & Social Care Research Across North East & North Cumbria.

Neil's Research Story

Neil's Research Story

Neil Hoye, a Consultant Nephrologist at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, took the first step on his research journey by securing Greenshoots funding.

Neil Hoye says...

"Work hard, be flexible, be confident in what you know; but be respectful to the many people you will meet who will know more."

On this page

How did you get started in research/what inspired you?

A number of factors. Frustration was one significant component if I’m honest! As a nephrology trainee, when I was learning for my specialty exams, I started to appreciate how thin the evidence base was for a lot of what we do, particularly in comparison to other specialties. Not knowing what to do in different clinical scenarios irritated me. I have always prided myself on trying to provide the best care for my patients, but increasingly felt my hands were tied by a lack of certainty. I was keen to progress our knowledge base and was drawn to scientific study, impressed by the rigour and demands that it necessitates and the outcomes one aspires to.

I have been fortunate to have learned from a number of supportive mentors, who are inspiring by their very nature. Through their tutelage and support, I have been able to dip my toe into the exciting world of research without getting overwhelmed. I am already very grateful to many different people whom I have met.

What do you enjoy about research?

It affords me the opportunity to further future patient care through knowledge advancement. As a medic, I have a reasonable breadth of scientific knowledge, particularly about the kidneys, and know how to apply scientific findings to gain clinical benefit. Working with “proper” scientists however - seeing their meticulous approach, their vast depth of knowledge and experience is inspiring. Furthermore, I have learned how to better appraise the evidence for current therapy, allowing for more informed decision making on a day-to-day basis. Lastly, it offers the opportunity to meet, collaborate and engage with multiple new like-minded colleagues, who are often very dedicated and talented individuals, to directly benefit patients. Beyond that, I have learned a lot from many colleagues in my brief research career thus far, forming firm friendships with this experience is particularly rewarding. 

What training and support have you found most valuable in your career?

The NIHR Greenshoots scheme channelled my enthusiasm for research delivery, which put me in touch with a supportive research mentor, who encouraged me into “PIing” - my first NIHR portfolio intervention trial. Freely available development courses such as PI Essentials helped me conceptualise more of what is/should be involved in clinical research. Alongside the Greenshoots scheme, I developed my academic writing skillset, chiefly through enrolment in the MMedSc degree and subsequent presentations/publications, have been very helpful.

Which people/organisations did you get in touch with to help you?

As a renal trainee, my local training program director was supportive of my out-of-program research placement in New Zealand, although predominantly it was through a lot of hard work and emailed correspondence with a notable nephrology professor in Otago that allowed things to come to pass. On my return to the UK, and following appointment to a substantive NHS consultant post, the NIHR Clinical Research Network North East and North Cumbria supported me financially and via a research mentor as part of the Greenshoots scheme.

Neil Hoye's top 3 tips

Take your time, try not to run before you can walk. Don’t take on too much initially, get a good mentor to help guide your journey.

Work hard, be flexible, be confident in what you know but respectful to the many people you will meet who will know more.

Look after yourself, and prepare yourself for a long, arduous but ultimately rewarding research journey!