What is known about clinician-researcher careers in Allied Health? A scoping review

Dr Caitlin Brandenburg1, Professor Elizabeth Ward1,2, Ms Madeline Raatz1

1Centre for Functioning and Health Research, Metro South Health, Queensland Health, Brisbane, Australia, 2School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

Evidence supports that research engagement by clinically-active investigators results in improved translation of results and better patient outcomes. At a national level in Australia, ‘Clinician Researcher Capability’ has been identified as one of the priorities of the Medical Research Future Fund. Although multiple studies have confirmed that the Allied Health (AH) clinicians want to participate in research, the career pathway and job opportunities for AH professionals who want to pursue research as a formal part of their career is unclear. This scoping review aimed to describe what is known from the literature about Allied Health research careers in health services.

A structured search of Medline, CINAHL, Embase and Web of Science was completed in June 2020, for literature published 2010-2020. 2,221 abstracts were found and screened by two reviewers. 205 articles went through to full text screening. Full text screening and data extraction is currently nearing completion.

Very few studies focused on the career aspects of research engagement by clinicians, and much of the information about careers in the literature is incidental. Studies touched upon the limited job opportunities and career pathways available for research in health services. The research had mixed results regarding the role of research in career progression for clinicians. Many authors concluded that stronger clinician-researcher careers pathways are needed.

Literature on careers for AH clinician-researchers is limited. More research is needed on career aspects, including the development of sustainable career pathways.


Dr Brandenburg is a Principal Project Officer at the Centre for Functioning and Health Research in Metro South Hospital and Health Service in Queensland, a research centre which focuses on building research capacity and capability within the Allied health Workforce. She has worked across different health settings and has an interest in building research and EBP capacity in health professionals.

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