£9 million boost for health research in the west country
Press release issued: 11 July 2019
Health researchers in the west country have been given a £9 million award from the Government’s Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to enable them to tackle the area’s most pressing health problems. The funding will enable new research projects including forecasting demand in hospitals, increasing people’s physical activity levels, supporting people who self-harm and improving outcomes for children in care.
The investment, awarded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) which is funded by DHSC, will help develop better health and care through research that aims to address the immediate issues facing the health and social care system.
The money is part of a larger £135 million award over five years to 15 pioneering research teams across the country, known as NIHR Applied Research Collaborations (ARCs).
Professor Chris Whitty, NIHR Lead and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Department of Health and Social Care, said: "The unique local collective approach at each NIHR Applied Research Collaboration will support applied health and care research that responds to, and meets, the needs of local patients, and local health and care systems. The network will also be able to tackle health priorities at a national level.”
These ARC teams build on the success of the NIHR Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRCs), which the ARCs replace from 1 October 2019. The team in the West, NIHR CLAHRC West has a strong track record of producing impactful research with a range of collaborators. This has included numerous projects with researchers from the University of Bristol’s Centre for Academic Primary Care (CAPC).
The CLAHRC West team has worked on diverse projects including evaluating patient safety tools and the roll out of an intervention to reduce cerebral palsy in premature babies with the West of England Academic Health Science Network (AHSN), exploring the experiences of Somali families affected by autism, creating harm reduction materials with people who inject drugs with the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Evaluation of Interventions at the University of Bristol and improving how healthcare professionals respond to signs of domestic violence and abuse with the Centre for Academic Primary Care at the University of Bristol.
ARC West will be hosted by University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust (UH Bristol) and brings together universities, local authorities, NHS trusts, clinical commissioning groups, voluntary sector and community organisations, alongside patients and members of the public, to focus on improving health and care for local people.
John Macleod, Director of ARC West and Professor of Clinical Epidemiology and Primary Care at the University of Bristol, said: "This funding will help us work with our partners for better, more equitable, appropriate and sustainable health and care across the West, and is testament to the strength of our local collaborations. Securing the ARC West funding has been a real team effort, and it's been an honour to work with the people who have made our bid a success. I would like to thank everyone involved in the process.
"I also want to pay tribute to the CLAHRC West team, who have worked so hard over the last five years to build our reputation for impactful applied research. I want to especially recognise the efforts of Professor Jenny Donovan in leading our first successful CLAHRC bid and then directing CLAHRC West. I am looking forward to building on the strong foundations that she and the rest of the team have laid."
Robert Woolley, Chief Executive of UH Bristol and part of the successful bid team, said:
"Research is the lifeblood of our trust and wider health and care system. The work my colleagues will undertake in ARC West is vital and necessary. It will change how we deliver care and public health interventions.
"Applied research may not get the same attention as new cures or medical devices. But what it does is tell us how to do things better, or even stop doing certain things. The ARC West team will help its partners improve, from hospitals to mental health trusts, and voluntary sector organisations to local authorities. Congratulations to John and the team for this latest addition to the west's impressive research landscape."
Dr Katrina Turner, Joint Head of CAPC, said: “Having been involved with CLAHRC West and seen the fantastic research undertaken, and the excellent methodological expertise of the individuals involved, I am delighted that this work will continue under the leadership of John Macleod. As previously, there will be strong links between the ARC and CAPC, and between the ARC the other NIHR programmes in Bristol, such as the NIHR Schools of Primary Care, Public Health and Social Care Research, the Bristol Biomedical Research Centre, and the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Evaluation of Interventions.”
About the National Institute for Health Research
The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is the nation's largest funder of health and care research. The NIHR:
- funds, supports and delivers high quality research that benefits the NHS, public health and social care
- engages and involves patients, carers and the public in order to improve the reach, quality and impact of research
- attracts, trains and supports the best researchers to tackle the complex health and care challenges of the future
- invests in world-class infrastructure and a skilled delivery workforce to translate discoveries into improved treatments and services
- partners with other public funders, charities and industry to maximise the value of research to patients and the economy.
The NIHR was established in 2006 to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research, and is funded by the Department of Health and Social Care. In addition to its national role, the NIHR commissions applied health research to benefit the poorest people in low- and middle-income countries, using Official Development Assistance funding.
About NIHR ARC West
The NIHR Applied Research Collaboration West (NIHR ARC West) co-produces better, more equitable, appropriate and sustainable health and care across the West. It does this through applied health research projects and implementing research evidence, regionally, nationally and internationally. Co-producing research with partner organisations and the people affected by the research is at its heart. To achieve this, its researchers work with health provider organisations, including local NHS and public health, the wider health and care sector including voluntary sector organisations, patients and the public, and other ARCs and academic groups.