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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 457480, 4 pages
Original Article

The RCCM 2009 Survey: Mapping Doctoral and Postdoctoral CAM Research in the United Kingdom

1Centre for Complementary Healthcare and Integrated Medicine (CCHIM), Faculty of Health and Human Sciences, Thames Valley University, Paragon House, Boston Manor Road, Brentford, Middlesex TW8 9GA, UK
2Primary Care, University of Southampton Medical School, UK

Received 9 March 2009; Accepted 15 October 2009

Copyright © 2011 Nicola Robinson and George Lewith. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) is widely available in the UK and used frequently by the public, but there is little high quality research to sustain its continued use and potential integration into the NHS. There is, therefore, a need to develop rigorous research in this area. One essential way forward is to train and develop more CAM researchers so that we can enhance academic capacity and provide the evidence upon which to base strategic healthcare decisions. This UK survey identified 80 research active postgraduates registered for MPhils/PhDs in 21 universities and were either current students or had completed their postgraduate degree during the recent UK Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) 2001–2008. The single largest postgraduate degree funder was the university where the students registered (26/80). Thirty-two projects involved randomized controlled trials and 33 used qualitative research methods. The UK RAE also indicates a significant growth of postdoctoral and tenured research activity over this period (in 2001 there were three full time equivalents; in 2008 there were 15.5) with a considerable improvement in research quality. This mapping exercise suggests that considerable effort is currently being invested in developing UK CAM research capacity and thus inform decision making in this area. However, in comparative international terms UK funding is very limited. As in the USA and Australia, a centralized and strategic approach by the National Institute of Health Research to this currently uncoordinated and underfunded activity may benefit CAM research in the UK.