The government has just allocated £800 million of grants over the next five years for translational research i.e. research focused on pulling new scientific discoveries into treatments that will benefit patients. This work will be in National Institute for Health Research (NIHR – the research-focused part of the NHS) centres and units, collaborating with charities and industry. This is funding that was originally announced in the Plan for Growth and has now been allocated.
Back in the Plan for Growth published alongside the 2011 Budget in March, the government announced that they would invest a minimum of £775 million over the next five years in building “translational research partnerships” – basically projects to support ‘early stage’ research focused on developing innovative medicines and treatments for patients.
7) The Government will form new Translational Research Partnerships from its £775 million investment in NIHR Biomedical Research Centres and Units.
2.202 The NIHR has launched a new open competition for Biomedical Research Centres and Biomedical Research Units, which will be awarded after international peer review in summer 2011. NIHR will invest a minimum of £775 million over five years in this infrastructure, which will form the basis of new translational research partnerships.
This opened a competition to decide how to award the money.
And today, they are announcing the awards they have made – not just the minimum £775 million but £800 million has been awarded.
Where is the new funding going?
This funding will support 11 NIHR Biomedical Research Centres for the next five years. You can see a list of the 11 new centres here.
Biomedical research centres are part of the NHS partnership with universities, they focus on driving progress on innovation and translational research in biomedicine into NHS practice. They also collaborate with industry and charities.
The first 12 NIHR Biomedical Research Centres were established in 2006 and are in the last year of their five year’s worth of funding. More about these and the process that established them here.
The government committed to lots of work to support health research in the plan for growth – a lot of this, including changes to the regulation of health research are still ongoing. (see my previous blog on the plan for growth for a rundown of all the things the government is planning to do).
A further plan for growth is expected this autumn.The NHS is currently reviewing innovation in the NHS, recognising that the NHS is a world leader at invention but that the spread of these inventions within the NHS is often too slow, with us sometimes failing to take them up into widespread use at all. They are asking for input by 31 August to suggest how to improve this and accelerate the take up of innovations across the NHS.