NHS research funding to facilitate further collaboration between Oxford engineers and clinical collaborators

The University of Oxford and local NHS partners have won £126.5 million to support medical research. The money, from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), includes £113.7 million for the existing University of Oxford/ Oxford University Hospitals Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) and £12.8 million for a new Biomedical Research Centre specialising in mental health and dementia, run by the University and Oxford Health NHS Trust.

The National Institute for Health Research, which is funded through the Department for Health, today announced that the two Oxford BRCs were among a number throughout England to receive funding for 2017 to 2022 following a competitive bidding process. NIHR BRCs bring together expertise within the NHS and leading research organisations to turn latest discoveries into fundamentally new treatments for patients.

Since being established in 2007, more than £150m had already been invested by NIHR to tackle major healthcare challenges, including many clinical studies involving patients at Oxford hospitals including the John Radcliffe and Churchill hospitals and the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre.  The two BRCs will work closely together to develop innovations in areas such as working with ‘big data’, personalised medicine and tackling the problems of multiple long-term conditions and dementia.

Professor Lionel TarassenkoProfessor Lionel Tarassenko, who leads the Technology & Digital Health theme in the BRC (£5.7M in the next five years), said: 'The BRC funding enables our research in the Institute of Biomedical Engineering (IBME) to be translated into clinical applications for patient benefit. In the last five years, with BRC funding, we have replaced bedside paper charts with an early-warning tablet computer and real-time estimation of the patient’s risk score. This is now live in every adult ward in Oxfordshire hospitals. We have also developed a smartphone app for the management of gestational diabetes (affecting 10% of pregnant women) which is integrated with NHS IT and is now being used in the four NHS Trusts in the region. The next five years of funding will enable us to integrate our risk estimation algorithms for secondary care with our technology for the management of chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart failure in primary care and in the community, to enable real-time patient management which is agnostic of patient location'.

Other IBME researchers who will receive BRC funding include Professors Alison Noble, Constantin Coussios, David Clifton and Maarten de Vos.

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