Trust research empowers people with learning disabilities

CIDER logo

As part of National Learning Disabilities Week, the Trust is proud to celebrate the work of its research teams.

They work across a number of projects which aim to improve the lives of those living with learning disabilities.

One of those is Cornwall Intellectual Disability Equitable Research (CIDER). This is a partnership between the Trust and the University of Plymouth. It was launched in 2018.

This October marks 6 years since it was launched. It is led by Professor Rohit Shankar. He is a director of CIDER.

“It is now well recognised that people with intellectual disabilities die prematurely and have significantly worse health and social outcomes. What is missing is this has arisen due to a lack of suitable research. Involving people with intellectual disabilities in research has not happened. Or it is an afterthought.

“CIDER’s primary goal is to empower people with intellectual disabilities. We also want to give them a research voice. Getting it right has significant benefits for society as whole.

“Finding solutions to the complex health and social problems of people with intellectual disabilities can pay significant dividends to all of us. Thus, we should make them the vanguard of research not the back waters. This is what our patients want and are also keen to give back to society.”

Professor Rohit Shankar

The team work all year round on projects which aim to help people with learning disabilities.

One of their most recent projects looked at inclusion in commercial research.

As a result, the project raised awareness of this in research with commercial organisations.

It also allowed them to raise awareness of this issue in the intellectual disability population. Some of whom were not aware of this exclusion from research.

Another aspect is that commercial organisations are asking for support. The Research Team have been able to develop specialism in this area.

It has also led to an increased confidence from advocacy groups to talk about and take part in research.

“Over the past year we have grown as a team, working with a variety of collaborators across England and Wales. But most importantly, we have been working for people with intellectual disabilities.

“We have been developing research questions that matter. We have learned from our collaborators at Cornwall People First and CHAMPS about what matters. What we should be doing to enable more accessible research. And also designing exciting research questions from the ground up.

“The next 12 months will see applications for more research grants submitted. The implementation of our inclusion work, opening of groundbreaking research, sharing our knowledge, and working with our community. We want to spread the news that research is for all.”

Sarah Lennard, CIDER Lead and Assistant Research Manager for the Trust

Our Research Team deliver clinical research throughout Cornwall.

Research is a vital part of NHS care to find the best treatments and services to improve the nation's mental and physical wellbeing.

Our Trust is a research-active NHS Trust. This means that research and adding to the evidence base for healthcare form a key part of our services.

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