Clinical-academic research and career pathways #physiotalk 11th April 2022 8pm BST

Our next tweetchat is on Monday 11th April 2022 at the usual time of 8pm BST

Hosted by Samuel Stuart (on behalf of Physiotherapy Research Society) @PhysioResSoc / @samstuart87

Physiotherapy Research Society (PRS)

The Physiotherapy Research Society (PRS) is a Professional Network of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy and is for all physiotherapists, particularly those interested in pursuing research within their career – whether qualified physiotherapists, assistants, students or associate members of an allied profession. The PRS mission is to ‘promotes an understanding and implementation of research and best evidence, with an aim to develop physiotherapy practice and promote high-quality patient care’ by promoting high standards in physiotherapy research practice, education and evidence development. 

Tweet chat:

Increasingly, our profession is being expected to provide robust research evidence for the diagnostics procedures and treatment interventions that are provided to patients, and therefore this equates to a need to explain the basis for our practice to patients, colleagues, funders etc. Physiotherapy research is a constantly developing and has grown substantially over recent years (a quiet revolution), but the pathways that have been established to allow physiotherapists (and other AHPs) to conduct clinical-academic careers are still at an early stage compared to our medical colleagues. Despite the fledgling nature of the physiotherapy research culture within the NHS and other settings, there is some fantastic research being conducted by physiotherapists that we would like to highlight.

Clinical-academic careers for physiotherapists can be challenging from those initial steps pre-PhD through to Professor positions. While there have been physiotherapists that have been actively involved in research for decades, much of this activity has relied on self-motivation and research within academic roles alone. Recent developments by the NIHR have made steps to allow physiotherapists to undertake clinical-academic style careers, with research training, mentorship and professional development undertaken via funding provided. However, the complexities and intermittent nature of the funding provided by the NIHR (as well as other funders) can be extremely challenging for physiotherapists to undertake. For example, the short-term nature of research contracts, lack of support following periods of funding (i.e., post PhD, post post-doc fellowship), applying for funding nationally rather than locally, lack of research roles within the NHS for those with PhDs, not combining clinical and academic work until later in the career etc. We would like to discuss the difficulties with current systems and enquire about suggestions for solutions, or new pathways that could be implemented. 

Immense progress has been made in clinical-academic careers and pathways within a relatively short period of time, and as such challenges remain. The NIHR and physiotherapists have exposed the potential and have generated substantial levels of interest in early career professionals, therefore we would like to help them realise their potential with benefit to both the clinical and academic sectors. 

This tweetchat via physiotalk will provide an opportunity to discuss physiotherapy research and the careers that are available, as well as challenges and solutions that can be implemented for clinical-academics. Outcomes of the chat will be shared throughout the Physiotherapy Research Society membership and forwarded to the local NIHR and CAHPR networks around the UK. 

Chat Questions

  • Q1: What do you believe physiotherapy clinical research is good for?
  • Q2: How do we develop clinical-academic careers for physiotherapists?
  • Q3: Is the NIHR (and other UKRI etc.) clinical-academic funding pathway fit for purpose?
  • Q4: Do we need to adopt a clinical-academic pathway from established medical pathways?
  • Q5: How do we change our physiotherapy culture to promote research?
  • Q6: How do we encourage early engagement in research by physiotherapists?


Chat Host

Dr Samuel Stuart, a clinical-academic physiotherapist and committee member of the Physiotherapy Research Society, will lead this physio talk on behalf of the Physiotherapy Research Society. Dr Stuart underwent an NIHR funded PhD at Newcastle University and has since had a prestigious international post-doctoral fellowship and a subsequent career development award from the Parkinson’s Foundation. He has worked in clinical practice and research in the UK and USA. He currently directs the Physiotherapy Innovation Laboratory (PI-Lab) ( at Northumbria University. 

Chat transcript

If you missed the chat you can catch up with the transcript here

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