Learning Enhancement and Development
  1. About & Contacts
  2. Events
  3. Learning spaces
  4. Qualifications & accreditation
  5. Establishing a Teaching Persona
  6. Learning & teaching
  7. Learning Success
  8. LEaDER Centre
  9. LEaD projects
  1. Past Events
  2. Learning at City Conference 2017
Learning Enhancement and Development

Session 3I - Paper 1

Bridging the gap between clinical research and routine practice - the CommuniCATE Project

Dr Celia Woolf - School of Health Sciences, City, University of London
Professor Jane Marshall - School of Health Sciences, City, University of London
Dr Madeline Cruice - School of Health Sciences, City, University of London
Dr Anna Caute - School of Health Sciences, City, University of London
Ms Katie Monnelly - School of Health Sciences, City, University of London
Dr Stephanie Wilson - School of Health Sciences, City, University of London

CommuniCATE is a speech and language therapy study that is developing and evaluating technology-enhanced approaches to aphasia therapy.  This paper demonstrates approaches employed within this clinical intervention research project to ensure Knowledge Transfer of novel treatment methods from research into practice during the lifetime of the project.

Evidence based practice is essential in modern healthcare, yet transfer of novel treatment approaches from research into practice is often slow (e.g. Haynes & Haines, 1998; Newman et al, 1998; Grol & Grimshaw, 2003; Meline, 2003; McKenna et al, 2004, Schoonover, 2009; Pentland et al, 2011).   Numerous barriers exist, including difficulties clinicians face in accessing recent research evidence; limited training opportunities; and clinicians lacking confidence in employing unfamiliar approaches.  All of these can mean ‘tried and trusted’ treatment methods persist even when newer approaches may offer greater benefits.

Aphasia is a language impairment, most commonly caused by stroke, which affects an estimated 367,000 people in the UK.  Aphasia affects speaking, understanding, reading and writing.  It can have profound consequences for an individual’s communication, independence and social participation.

The CommuniCATE Project at City, University of London (CommuniCATE: enhancing Communication in Aphasia through Technology and Education) is investigating technology-enhanced approaches to aphasia therapy.   A collaboration between SLTs and technology researchers, the project is developing novel approaches to therapy and service delivery.

From the outset the CommuniCATE project incorporated education and Knowledge Transfer as core activities, aiming to facilitate rapid transfer of cutting edge research into routine clinical practice.  Now in the project’s final year, this has been achieved in a range of ways including:

- Student Clinical Placements within the research clinic

- Student masterclasses and workshops

- Undergraduate and postgraduate research projects

- NHS Clinical Champions

- Secondment of a researcher into NHS service

- Workshops for NHS clinicians, support workers and volunteers

- Internships for newly qualified SLTs.


These activities have resulted in more than 100 SLTs who are familiar with applying cutting edge technology-enhanced approaches to aphasia therapy and service delivery.  

The CommuniCATE Project provides a model for combining clinical research with education and training to ensure rapid transfer of new approaches into routine practice.  The Knowledge Transfer strategies are applicable to other clinical research, both within SLT and other healthcare contexts.

Attendees will gain insights through practical examples of how education, training and Knowledge Transfer have been built into the core activity of this cutting edge clinical research.  Examples will include:

  • project planning and protocol development in partnership with NHS clinicians
  • provision of high quality pre-registration student clinical placements within the research project, whilst maintaining quality of both education and data collection.
  • partnership working with local NHS and voluntary services
  • formal and informal training of clinicians, support workers and volunteers in novel intervention approaches.


Haynes B. & Haines A. (1998) Getting research findings into practice: barriers and bridges to evidence based clinical practice. BMJ 317(7153), 273–276. 

Grol R. & Grimshaw J. (2003) From best evidence to best practice: effective implementation of change in patients’ care. The Lancet 362(9391), 1225–1230. 

McKenna H., Ashton S. & Keeney S. (2004) Barriers to evidence-based practice in primary care. Journal of Advanced Nursing 45(2), 178–189. 

Meline, T. (2003). Evidence-Based Practice in Schools Evaluating Research and Reducing Barriers. Language, speech & hearing services in schools, 34 (4), p. 273.

Newman M., Papadopoulos I. & Sigsworth J. (1998) Barriers to evidence-based practice. Intensive and Critical Care Nursing 14(5), 231–238. 

Pentland D., Forsyth K., Maciver D., Walsh M., Murray R., Irvine L. & Sikora S. (2011) Key characteristics of knowledge transfer and exchange in healthcare: integrative literature review. Journal of Advanced Nursing 67(7), 1408–1425.

Schoonover H. (2009) Barriers to research utilization among registered nurses practicing in a community hospital. Journal for Nurses in Staff Development 25(4), 199–212.