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Doctoral Training Fellowship Extends Criteria in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

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In response to the current pandemic, the joint British Geriatrics Society / Dunhill Medical Trust Doctoral Training Fellowship – to support the front-line health professionals undertake research relevant to age-related diseases and frailty – has extended its criteria to include project applications related to COVID-19. Eligible candidates for the three-year clinical research fellowship include doctors, nurses, and allied health professionals working with older people. One award will be made in this second year of the scheme, with the award covering the costs of a three-year Fellowship.

The Fellowship is open for research projects that have the potential to prevent, delay, or reduce future health and social care requirements and to improve older people’s functional ability. COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of funding new research related to supporting high-quality, person-centred care, both during the pandemic and in its wake. While COVID-19 is the predominant concern for the UK health system at the moment, much of the care needed by those living with frailty and other age-related conditions will continue to be routine in nature. Research projects furthering the understanding and treatment of age-related diseases and conditions unrelated to COVID-19 will continue to be accepted.

The deadline for applications is 31 July 2020 and shortlisted candidates will be interviewed on 6 October 2020. Applicants must be a member of the British Geriatrics Society for the lifetime of the grant and meet the requirements for a programme of PhD study at a UK-based university. The grant will cover salary, tuition fees, overhead expenses, and general living costs.

Professor Adam Gordon of the British Geriatrics Society, commented: ‘The COVID-19 pandemic has served to highlight the way in which care for older people sits at the heart of our society. Much pandemic planning has focused on how to support those living in care homes, how to provide the best care for older people in hospital, how to rehabilitate older people following COVID-19 infection, and how to minimise social isolation for older people with frailty who are shielding.

‘We think it’s only right that the BGS/Dunhill Fellowship extends its criteria to consider what, and how, we can learn from the pandemic. We will, of course, continue to look at supporting all research for care of older people, particularly in improving older people’s functional ability but the inclusion of COVID-19 and its implications for older people are important.’

Susan Kay of the Dunhill Medical Trust, commented: ‘We’re delighted to be working in partnership with our colleagues at the British Geriatrics Society, once again. The need to find ways to maintain and improve older people’s functional ability will be all the more important as we emerge from the current crisis and the successful recipient of this fellowship will have the opportunity to positively impact older people’s healthcare for years to come.’ 


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