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One stop shop to Educational Resources

With so many resources widely available in so many different places, it can be a challenge to navigate your way through it all. So, to help guide you in finding the support you need, the Education Core have developed a one stop shop signposting page.

We are delighted to share with you our new Educational Resources, which is now available from our website at

The Educational Resources is a collection of free eLearning courses and online resources from external providers relating to different aspects of clinical research.

It is an ongoing developing page, which we will continue to update and add more to, as we identify, source and review new resources; and if you know of any free resources that could be included, please do share these with us by contacting us at

Happy Learning!

Launching our 3-year plan

 As the new academic year commences, we are delighted to share our ambitious 3-year-plan for the Education Core at Edinburgh Clinical Research Facility, developed in collaboration with ACCORD.  

View our plan here:  Education Core 3 year plan – 2023 v2

Alongside the delivery of our regular course programme, we have identified key priorities to enhance education provision for the local clinical research community.  

The plan outlines projects focused on three distinct phases:  

  • Laying the foundations for new research staff 
  • Developing opportunities for research staff  
  • Engaging the wider clinical workforce to bridge the gap between clinical care and research. 

We look forward to updating you with our progress! Updates can be found on our website: Education Core: 3 Year Plan | Edinburgh Clinical Research Facility

As always, please feel free to email any questions or comments to:  

Funded Places

Over the last month, our team have been busy preparing for an exciting change in the Education Core. We are pleased to announce that we will be offering fully funded places for University of Edinburgh and NHS Lothian staff and students from August 2023. NHS Lothian Research & Development has supported this initiative, and it is thanks to them that there is the funding available for this.  

We are passionate that education is an essential component of clinical research delivery. It is required not only to ensure individuals have the tools and knowledge required to perform in their roles, but also to provide inspiration to develop new ideas, enhance practice and showcase excellence. Removing financial barriers to attend the majority of our courses, therefore, seemed like an obvious move. After negotiation and reconfiguring workloads, we are delighted to be able to make this a reality for the local research community. 

A quick note here, whilst we would love to apply this to all our courses, some of our more specialist courses will not have fully funded places available. In addition, there is a limit to our budget and as such the number of funded places available on eligible courses has to be restricted. Please be reassured though, the ratio of funded to non-funded places is definitely weighted in the local community’s favour (first come – first served though)!  

It has been surprising how this seemingly simple idea has had a significant impact on all our administration workflows and processes. We have changed all our booking forms, our website, our backend systems, waiting list processes and all our standard communication emails. We have worked through and tested our new processes thoroughly, but as with any new change, please bear with us if there are teething problems! 

Our biggest fear is that, despite this great opportunity, individuals may fail to appreciate there are still costs associated with running courses, and as they individually haven’t paid anything, they may make attending a low priority and either not show up or cancel at the last minute. We have tried to make our procedures as robust as possible to mitigate this risk, but we know this is not foolproof. So, we need your help! Whilst we definitely want you to make the most of this, we do ask you to be mindful when booking a place on one of our courses. Is it the most suitable course for you? Can you fit it in your busy schedule? Remember, we are a very friendly team, so if you want to discuss anything (such as content, target audience etc.) prior to committing to a place, please do get in touch 

We predict that the funded places will be very popular. We will have a specific waiting list for funded places in place. Please do let us know as soon as possible if you need to cancel your place so someone else can make the most of the opportunity. You are very welcome to pay for a place on a course if there are no funded places left, but be warned – to reduce administrative burden, we will not be able to organise refunds for people who have already paid if a funded place then becomes available.  

Finally, please make the most of this opportunity! We will be evaluating this new endeavour by looking at attendance figures, financial viability and suitability of audience. Giving feedback on post-course evaluation forms will also help determine the impact of this change.   

 Together, let’s prove that it is a sustainable and beneficial model going forward!!

Please read our full terms and conditions for funded places.  

Finally, why not check out our upcoming courses? 




Webinar 13 – Reflections on managing research during the pandemic

As we begin a new year it seems only naturally that we take the time to look back over the previous one. What we have gained, what we have lost and what we have learned. Regardless of where we fit in the grand scheme of things we all of moments that have defined the past year and reflections from these are often what drives up forward.

2021 was the year that Prof Tim Walsh‘s time as R&D Director for NHS Lothian came to an end. And it felt appropriate to get Tim’s reflections on the last year year from this unique position,  but also in his capacity as Chair for Critical Chair at the University of Edinburgh.

In Webinar 13 of our Research during a Pandemic series Tim reflects on how the pandemic was managed, both locally through the R&D team but also nationally, and emphasises how we were in more prepared than we could have been thanks to work that had been undertaken previously for Swine flu.

Webinar 12 – Research During the Pandemic: Research, Covid19 and beyond

Back in September we were lucky enough to welcome Sheila Morris to deliver the 12th Webinar in our Research during a Pandemic series. Sheila is the Lead Research Nurse for Infectious Diseases in NHS Lothian, and during her session she discusses her 30 year research career spanning the HIV Pandemic through to the Covid 19 Pandemic. She reflects on the research delivered over the past year and a bit, highlighting the collaborative approach that was taken to undertake many of the new vaccine studies and how many of these wouldn’t have been possible without the support from other staff and departments.  One of her take  home messages is that kindness goes a long way.

Sign reading 'Be Kind'

ECRF in Teaching Matters

This year, The University of Edinburgh celebrates five years of developing, supporting, and promoting Open Education Resources (OER) through the OER policy and service. The Teaching Matters team was delighted to showcase a series of blog posts in the recent ‘Hot Topic’: Open for Good: Five Years of Open Education Resources at The University of Edinburgh.

As part of these inspirations in the August 2021 Teaching Matters Newsletter Edinburgh CRFs Jo Merrifield and Danielle Marlow shared their experiences of how OER practices encourage continuous professional development for academics. 

Webinar 11 – Setting up a Covid Vaccination Programme

NHS Lothian and it’s four Health and Social Care Partnerships are playing their part in the biggest vaccination programme the country has ever seen, to help protect the population from Covid-19.


Road sign

In Webinar 11 of our Research during a Pandemic series, Pat Wynne and Ellie Hunter joined us to share their perspectives as they lead the vaccination programme for NHS Lothian.

Mulling over the challenges, successes and learning opportunities, Pat and Ellie give a candid account about bringing colleagues from the NHS, corporate partners and the Armed Forces together; thinking outside the box; and vaxi taxis

A really overwhelming programme, physically, mentally and emotionally, delivered by a truly inspiring team!

Let the sun shine!

The summer is finally here and after all that we have had to endure, it feels like a long time coming.  The opportunities for us to go out and feel the sun on our skin, visit with family and friends and partake in some of the activities we have missed so much during the pandemic is a welcome relief from the cold, wet winter days.

Sun in palm of hand

Taking time to savour these moments and make them count is a priority for us all as we don’t know which way the coin is going to land over the coming months.

If these last few months have taught us anything, it’s how precious life, moments and feelings are. So take this time, rest and recharge. We’ll be back with a new webinar at the end of July, so watch this space!

Webinar 10 – Nurse Director’s Perspective

International Clinical Trials Day on May 20th allows us all to take time and reflect on how far we have come in clinical research since James Lind undertook the first clinical trial on HMS Salisbury back in 1747.

James Lind feeding a sailor a lemon

Throughout the last 15 months, Covid has had us all running in circles. Lockdowns, roadmaps and protection levels have become our main focus, but International Clinical Trials Day 2021 also felt like an opportunity to share with our community what has been happening behind the scenes with our nursing teams.

Prof Alex McMahon, Executive Director, Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Healthcare Professionals in NHS Lothian obliged us by sharing all of this work and giving us his frank perspective on living through Covid.


International Clinical Trials Day 2021

International Clinical Trials Day is held every year on 20th May.

Portrait of James Lind

The day celebrates the anniversary of the first clinical trial in 1747 by Edinburgh born naval surgeon James Lind into the causes of scurvy (a condition caused by lack of vitamin C) on board the HMS Salisbury.

Symptoms of scurvy

At the time there were many conflicting ideas about how to treat scurvy, Lind confronted this uncertainty by treating his patients within a clinical trial, comparing 6 proposed remedies:

  • A quart of Cider each day
  • Half a pint of Seawater each day
  • 25 drops of elixir of Vitriol (Sulphuric acid), 3 times each day
  • Nutmeg-sized paste of Garlic, Mustard seed, Horseradish, Balsam of Peru and Gum Myrrh, 3 times each day
  • 2 spoonfuls of Vinegar, 3 times each day
  • 2 oranges and 1 lemon each day

Two sailors were allocated to each treatment arm for 14 days, and the trail showed that those who received the citrus fruit treatment experienced a remarkable recovery.

James Lind feeding a sailor a lemon

In 1748, Lind retired from the Navy and undertook professional qualifications at the University of Edinburgh before publishing “A Treatise of the Scurvy’ in 1753 and ‘An Essay on the Most Effectual Means of Preserving the Health of Seamen in the Royal Navy’ in 1757.

Even though the importance of Lind’s findings were not recognised at the time, 40 years later an Admiralty order was issued to supply lemon juice to its ships. Scurvy disappeared almost completely from the Royal Navy.

Edinburgh CRF’s Education Programme and Patient and Public Involvement teams will be marking this important day with a variety of online activities including:

  • A webinar with Professor Alex McMahon, Executive Director for Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professionals in NHS Lothian and he will be discussing his perspective on Covid19
  • A selection of should videos from some of the Scottish Research Nurse, Midwifery and Coordinators Network committee talking about their career pathways, how they got into research and how they ended up in the roles they are in
  • Launching a fully online bitesize course which is a ‘Practical Guide to Patient and Public Involvement’ and other Open Educational Resources
  • Colleagues from Edinburgh Clinical Trials Unit sharing their thoughts on clinical research

If you would like to follow our activities please follow us on Twitter @EdinburghCRF @WTCRF_Education @EdCRFPPI #ICTD21 #ICTD2021 @EdinUniECTU






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