UK government announces £800M for health research

This is the UK’s largest ever investment in translational health research. The 31 separate awards include funding for four new Biomedical Research Units, specialising in dementia research.

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The UK government is to invest £800million over five years to develop partnerships between clinicians in the National Health Service (NHS) and universities to advance translation of basic research through to the clinic. The research will be coordinated through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and carried out in its biomedical research centres. These partnerships will also collaborate with industry and charities.

The NIHR Biomedical Research Units funding scheme supports NHS/University partnerships to undertake internationally excellent translational clinical research in priority areas of high disease burden and clinical need, in which the UK has identified research strengths. The scheme is intended to enable excellent, but comparatively small research groups at the forefront of their field internationally, to achieve or further develop critical mass.

The priority areas for the research units are:

  • Cardiovascular Disease;
  • Deafness and Hearing Problems;
  • Dementia;
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases;
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases;
  • Nutrition, Diet and Lifestyle (including Obesity);
  • Respiratory Disease

UK Chief Medical Officer, Sally Davies said, “By focussing on translational research across a wide range of diseases, the centres and units will help pull new scientific discoveries into benefits for patients.”

All applicants from NHS and university partnerships for funding were assessed by an independent international selection panel, with the funding allocated to each partnership determined by the scale, nature and quality of the research to be conducted.

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