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New five-year funding award continues world-leading integrative epidemiology research

Professor George Davey Smith

2 June 2023

The Medical Research Council Integrative Epidemiology Unit (MRC IEU) at the University of Bristol has been awarded funding to enable a further five years of world-leading research.

MRC IEU, which was established in 2013, is a leading centre for research into methods for causal inference, and evidence triangulation. It is also a leading centre for the application of causal methods to answer important questions about diseases in populations. Research from IEU enables valuable insight into many key challenges for population health, with important impact for further research, policy and practice. Seven of the core researchers within the unit were named on Clarivate's Highly Cited Researchers 2022 list.

The new funding, from the Medical Research Council, part of UKRI, totals £11,637,000. It covers work spanning six key programme themes:

  • Mendelian randomization
  • Statistical methods for causal inference
  • Data mining epidemiological relationships
  • Molecular drivers and predictors of pregnancy complications and future health
  • Immunopsychiatry
  • Behavioural, social and environmental determinants of physical and mental health

Speaking about the new funding, which began in April 2023, MRC IEU Director Professor George Davey Smith said:

"We’re delighted to be able to embark on five years of research which will expand the methods we develop and their application into new fields, including those of how immune response may influence psychiatric conditions. The confidence in the fantastic group of early- and middle-career researchers and clinicians linked to the IEU demonstrated by this funding is a testament to their existing achievements".

Commenting on the award, Dr Joanna Robinson, Head of Population and Systems Medicine at the MRC, explained:

"We are delighted to announce that the MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit will be funded for a further five years following successful international peer review. The Unit continues to make distinctive, important, and high priority contributions to UK research, with clear leadership in areas of Mendelian randomization, causal inference and pregnancy research. We wish to congratulate Professor Davey Smith on his successful stewardship of the Unit since its inception, and also the Unit as a whole on its evident teamwork and exceptional approach to open science. We’d like to thank the external review panel for their time and support and commend the entire team at the IEU for their dedication and achievements".

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