The joy of research collaboration: Some practical pointers

This week marks the 22nd International Congress on Palliative Care in Montreal, Canada. Today, Sheila Payne, Emeritus Professor, International Observatory on End of Life Care, Lancaster University, UK, will be speaking on research collaboration at a special seminar at the congress. Here, Sheila gives a glimpse of her lecture.

Professor Sheila Payne

I have been reflecting recently on the wonderful opportunities for research collaboration that are opening up in palliative care. For example, this year, the European Commission has funded at least ten major international research projects that will investigate palliative care interventions to benefit patients and families. My hearty congratulations to all those involved in preparing these demanding proposals, whether successful or not.

Some people who have never participated in collaborative research may remain wary of becoming involved. If you’re among them – this blog post is for you. I hope that I can rehearse some of the advantages and challenges of being involved in collaborative research, especially international projects. By ‘collaborative research’, I am referring to all research projects that involve more than one person, based at one place.

I feel privileged to have learned so much from working on large international projects. For example, the PACE project (improving palliative care for older people in nursing homes) has taught me about implementing cross-cultural education and development in nursing homes in Europe.  Often great people, who are at the forefront of palliative care, lead the projects. The exciting thing is that they challenge my take-for-granted ways to do things. This might be learning about new research methods, different styles of project management, or understanding more about less similar disciplinary areas like anthropology or implementation science. These projects have expanded my networks, which makes it easier to set up new research projects in the future. By working together, there are opportunities to write more and better quality journal papers, blogs and books. These activities will help to develop your skills and enable you to contribute to subsequent projects.

International research teams provide opportunities for people at all stages of their career from those starting out by doing their PhDs, to those learning to manage projects in more senior roles. Being involved in collaborative research offers ‘free’ mentorship and can provide a strong foundation for subsequent careers. It is an honour to support the development of the next generation of palliative care leaders.


Complex, large projects are undoubtedly hard work. They require working to a strict time plan and coordination of all activities across countries such as data collection. The potential to get things wrong when working across languages and cultural expectations means that flexibility is essential.

Added benefits

I am fortunate to have visited many new places, tried different foods and drinks, and met amazing people. I know more than is healthy about airports in Europe and the vagaries of budget airlines. But most of all, research collaboration provides a platform to make a difference – to impact upon the way research is conducted, and translated into practical and policy outcomes to benefit patients and families.


  • Click here or on the image to see a video of Sheila talking about international research.



Share your story …
Would you like to share your experiences in international collaborative research on the EAPC blog? We’d love to hear from you! To find out more about contributing to the blog, please check our Contributor’s Guidelines or contact the editor.


An important highlight of EAPC Congresses is to honour the work of researchers. The 16th World Congress of the EAPC in Berlin will be supporting and recognising the work of scientists and clinicians who make an outstanding contribution to palliative care research.

Researcher prizes will be awarded in three categories: Early Researcher Award * Post-doctoral Award * Clinical Impact Award.

Closing date for applications: 30 November 2018. For more information on how to submit your application, or nominate someone for an award, please visit the congress website.


There’s still time to submit your abstract for an oral or poster presentation at the congress. Submit your abstract online hereFind more information on the congress here and/or register here.

This entry was posted in RESEARCH and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The joy of research collaboration: Some practical pointers

  1. Great post supporting collaborative research. As a retired paediatric oncologist who was involved in collaborative research when working I would strongly endorse your ethos. I am now retired through ill-health and the recipient of long term palliative care – I think there is a strong case for whenever possible having a patient voice as part of the collaboration from the beginning of the research design and hope that this will increasingly be the case. Certainly something I would be willing to commit to.

    • pallcare says:

      Thank you so much for your insightful comments. I will make sure that Professor Payne is aware of your comment. Kind regards from the social media team.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.