The Chiropractic Academy for Research Leadership (CARL) was formed in 2016 in response to a need for a global network of early career researchers and leaders in the chiropractic profession. Thirteen fellows were accepted competitively and have since worked together at residentials and virtually on many research and leadership projects. In 2020, the CARL program ended for this first cohort, and it is now timely to take stock and reflect on the achievements and benefits of the program. In this paper we present the structure of CARL, the scientific and leadership outputs as well as the personal value of CARL for the participating fellows. As a result of the success of the first CARL cohort, organizations from Europe, North America, and Australia have supported a second cohort of 14 CARL fellows, who were competitively accepted into the program in early 2020.
Background: The Chiropractic Academy for Research Leadership (CARL) was conceived in late 2015 by three senior academics (Adams, Kawchuk, Hartvigsen) to identify and mentor talented, promising early career chiropractic researchers in a global network . The program was devised in response to a lack of mature research culture across the chiropractic profession and aimed to develop a critical mass of successful early-career chiropractic researchers globally while at the same time encourage multi-disciplinary perspectives and cooperation in research and academia across professions. In parallel, CARL was additionally intended to be an opportunity for a ‘timeout’ from the day-to-day pressure of work environments allowing space to reflect and consider long-term, deeper issues around individual career development, as well as strategic research planning for the chiropractic profession. Importantly, the founders aimed to develop confidence amongst these future leaders by providing direct mentorship, support and advice regarding research focus, personal and skills development, and career pathways.
In late 2015 an international call for applications was launched. Through a competitive process that involved assessments of written applications (including motivations, experience and expertise) and personal interviews, 13 CARL fellows were accepted into the program. Three years later in June 2020, CARL ended for this first cohort and a second cohort of Fellows, CARL II, was accepted using the same procedure.
The overall aim of this paper is to report on the process and outcomes of the first cohort of CARL fellows, those participating in the program between 2016 and 2020. Specifically, we aim to describe the content and activities of the three-year program, its scientific and leadership outputs, the contextual and informal impact of the program for the fellows and mentors, and finally the implications for the chiropractic profession.
Author keywords: Research capacity — Leadership — Chiropractic
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