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Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the research activities of UK ophthalmologists

Hogg, HDJ; Low, L; Self, JE; Royal College of Ophthalmologists’ Academic, and Research Subcommittee; Rahi, JS; (2022) Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the research activities of UK ophthalmologists. Eye 10.1038/s41433-022-02293-y. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted negatively on many areas of biomedical research and there is concern that academic recovery will take several years. This survey aimed to define the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on UK ophthalmologists' research activities and understand the implications for recovery. METHODS: An online survey comprising multiple choice and free-text questions was designed, piloted and then distributed to Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCOphth) members in January 2021. Respondent characteristics, research expectations and experiences through the pandemic were captured. Descriptive and comparative statistics were applied to quantitative data alongside content analysis of qualitative data. RESULTS: In total, 148 respondents (3.7% of RCOphth membership) comprised 46 trainees (31.1%), 97 consultants (65.5%) and 5 SAS doctors (3.4%); 54 had clinical-academic roles (36.5%) and 65/94 (69.1%) ophthalmologists with fully clinical posts identified as research-active. Of 114 research-active respondents, 104 (91.2%) reported an impact on their research from COVID-19; negative impacts included loss of research time (n = 69), research delays (n = 96) and funding shortfalls (n = 63). Content analysis identified five common themes; type of research activity, clinical demands, institutional challenges, COVID-19 alignment and work-life balance. CONCLUSIONS: UK ophthalmology research has been adversely impacted by the pandemic. A substantial proportion of UK ophthalmologists are research active, but 20.4% of those surveyed felt that the pandemic had made research less attractive. Strategic steps must be taken to nurture UK ophthalmologists' engagement with research, especially for those who currently do no research, if the profession is to align itself with the Government vision of 'Research for All'.

Type: Article
Title: Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the research activities of UK ophthalmologists
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/s41433-022-02293-y
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41433-022-02293-y
Language: English
Additional information: © 2022 Springer Nature Limited. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: Royal College of Ophthalmologists’ Academic and Research Subcommittee
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Institute of Ophthalmology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health > Population, Policy and Practice Dept
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10158725
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