The IMPROvED programme has been creating a cadre of highly trained midwives, clinical academics, PhD students and postdoctoral fellows, who were accustomed to working across national and disciplinary boundaries. The three groups of medical professionals who will be comprehensively trained by the IMPROvED programme are as follows:
- Research midwives and laboratory technicians: went through extensive training in clinical data collection, database management, phenotypic assessment, sample pro-cessing and biobank curation. Much of these trainings were condensed into an intensive three month period prior to the initiation of patient recruitment. However, workshops have been continued throughout the duration of the programme. Midwives employed through the IMPROvED programme have been encouraged to register for higher research qualifications (such as Masters in Research Methodology).
- Clinical academics: Each of the six academic recruiting partners identified a junior clinical academic who went through training in all aspects of our multidisciplinary, multicentre, hospital-based study. Each junior clinical academic has been mentored by one of the senior investigators, and was involved in every facet of the study, from design, through to analysis of samples and interpretation of results. They were involved in the ethical discussions, interact with patient groups, and spend time with SME (Small and Medium Enterprises) partners.
- PhD students and postdoctoral fellows: several PhD students and postdoctoral fellows have been employed and trained through the IMPROvED programme. Although each has been working on specific, focused projects, they were co-supervised by investigators from different centres and different disciplines. For example, a PhD student has been employed between UCC and KI, and, utilizing the IMPROVeD biobank and database, searched for and validated biomarkers for spontaneous pre-term birth (incidence of 9% as with equally compelling health and economic arguments for screening). These students and fellows have been receiving high calibre scientific training but were also facilitate enhanced synergy and collaboration between partners.