The UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) has awarded nearly £800 million to 20 Biomedical Research Centres across England, to translate scientific discoveries into new treatments, diagnostic tests and medical technologies to improve patients’ lives.
Biomedical research in the North and Midlands gets a significant funding boost, with nearly £250 million of the funding invested outside of London, Oxford and Cambridge. A new Biomedical Research Centre has been funded in the south west, increasing the coverage of early stage research across the nation and ensuring everyone has access to cutting edge clinical trials.
NIHR Biomedical Research Centres are partnerships between healthcare professionals and academics in the country’s leading NHS trusts and universities. The centres, part of NIHR’s research infrastructure, receive substantial levels of sustained funding to attract the best scientists and create an environment where experimental medicine can thrive.
This fourth round of NIHR Biomedical Research Centre funding, awarded following an open and competitive process judged by international experts and members of the public, will support research over the next five years in areas such as cancer, mental health, dementia and infectious diseases. The new funding will also provide opportunities for a diverse range of professionals to undertake research, expanding research expertise in allied health professionals – such as physiotherapists, radiologists and dietitians – as well as in doctors and nurses.
The NIHR currently funds 20 BRCs, 12 of which have received additional investment in this new funding round. Over the past nine years, the BRCs have supported almost 60,000 studies and published 55,000 research papers, as well as supported the career development of more than 14,000 junior doctors and research scientists.
Health and Social Care Secretary and Deputy Prime Minister Thérèse Coffey said: “The pandemic has highlighted the importance of our booming research sector and the potential it has to not only strengthen health and care services, but lead to lifesaving developments.
“This additional funding will harness the UK’s world leading innovation and allow research centres up and down the country to attract experts in their field and conduct research that saves lives.
“From helping develop the Covid vaccine to discovering world-first treatments, these centres have already delivered ground-breaking research and will continue to help us tackle some of the biggest health challenges we face, including cancer, to ensure the NHS continues to deliver world-class care.”
Professor Lucy Chappell, Chief Executive of the NIHR, said: “Research by NIHR Biomedical Research Centres has led to a number of ground-breaking new treatments, such as new gene therapies for haemophilia and motor neurone disease, the world-first treatment for Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease, a nose-drop vaccine for whooping cough, and the first UK-wide study into the long-term impact of COVID-19.
“This latest round of funding recognises the strength of expertise underpinning health and care research across the country and gives our nation’s best researchers more opportunities to develop innovative new treatments for patients.”