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£113.7m boost for Oxfordshire research

This article is more than seven years old.

More than £113.7m will be invested in ground-breaking Oxfordshire medical research after funding was renewed for the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) for a further five years.

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), which is funded through the Department for Health, announced that the Oxford BRC was one of 20 successful BRCs throughout England to receive funding for 2017 to 2022 following a competitive bidding process worth a record £816m. 

The further funding of £113.7m represents a significant increase of almost £10m, and will support Research Themes including cancer, diabetes, genetics, neurology, infection, musculoskeletal, stroke and surgery.  

The NIHR Oxford BRC is a partnership between the University of Oxford and Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (OUH) to fund medical research to transform NHS patient care.

The success of the Oxford BRC in the award of major new funding reflects the scale, success and excellence of the OUH-University of Oxford partnership in medical research.  

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 the OUH hospitals including the John Radcliffe and Churchill hospitals and the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre.

The OUH NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre will work closely with the newly awarded BRC in mental health at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, bringing the total NIHR funding to the Oxford BRCs to £125m over the next five years. 

The BRCs will work with the Oxford Academic Health Science Centre, to develop innovations in areas such as working with 'big data', personalised medicine and tackling the problems of multiple long-term conditions and dementia.

NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre Director Professor Keith Channon said: "I’m delighted that our Biomedical Research Centre has been successful in winning this major additional funding for a further five years - reflecting the scale, scope and excellence of our clinical research. 

"We look forward to our hospitals and the University continuing to work together in clinical research that will have direct benefits for NHS patients".

Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Chief Executive Dr Bruno Holthof said: "This continued support for the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre is a testament to the close working between the Trust, the University of Oxford and industry to bring innovation in research to the patient bedside."

Professor Sir John Bell, Chairman of the Oxford Academic Health Science Centre (AHSC) said: "The award of NIHR funding to Oxford's BRCs is a great refection of the strengths of the Oxford AHSC partners, and will enable us to work together to address major healthcare challenges in areas such as chronic diseases, dementia and digital health."

Professor Alastair Buchan, Dean of Medicine and Head of Medical Sciences Division, University of Oxford said "The BRC was initially funded ten years ago and, as a result of the successful strategic alignment of the University and the Trust to create Oxford University Hospitals, the BRC was re-funded five years ago in 2011.  

"The joint working of Oxford University and Oxford University Hospitals allowed the BRC to go from strength to strength and I am delighted to see this recognized in the increased funding for the OUH BRC to take us through to 2022."  

Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt said: "The UK has so often led the world in health research - from the invention of the smallpox vaccine to the discovery of penicillin and the development of DNA sequencing. Today, we are making sure the UK stays ahead of the game by laying the foundations for a new age of personalised medicine.

"We are supporting the great minds of the NHS to push the frontiers of medical science so that patients in this country continue to benefit from the very latest treatments and the highest standards of care."

Chief Scientific Advisor, Professor Chris Whitty, said: "The future of NHS care depends on the science we do now. This new funding will enable clinical researchers to keep pushing for medical breakthroughs. The NIHR Biomedical Research Centres announced today offer huge potential benefits for patients across the country."

Previous NIHR Oxford BRC-supported research has included the following.

  • A project to replace bedside paper charts with 'early warning' tablet computers to identify at risk patients at OUH hospitals.
  • Support for research that developed an Ebola vaccine by the University's Jenner Institute as part of an international consortium.
  • Pioneering use of whole genome sequencing - a process to decode a person’s complete DNA code - for rare diseases and cancer.
  • Recruitment of 10,000 people to analyse stroke and mini strokes (transient ischaemic attacks or TIAs) trends, leading to discoveries in the risk of recurring stroke and a change in guidelines so minor stroke patients are assessed in 24 hours instead of four weeks.
  • Support for the University of Oxford's Acute Vascular Imaging Centre (AVIC) at the John Radcliffe Hospital to study the impact of stroke and heart attacks in real time.
  • Funding for projects at the John Radcliffe Hospital to implant a 'bionic eye' retinal implant into patients with retinitis pigmentosa and deliver a virus to replace missing gene in the retina of patients with choroideremia.
  • A smartphone app with a Bluetooth-enabled blood glucose meter for pregnant women with gestational diabetes to monitor blood glucose levels and send information to health professionals via a secure website.

The full list of Research Themes for the Oxford BRC for 2017 to 2022 are:

  • Cardiovascular 
  • Diabetes and Metabolism 
  • Gastroenterology and Mucosal Immunity 
  • Genomic Medicine 
  • Haematology and Stem Cells 
  • Antimicrobial Resistance and Modernising Microbiology 
  • Multi-modal Cancer Therapies 
  • Multimorbidity and Long-Term Conditions 
  • Neurological Conditions 
  • Musculoskeletal 
  • Stroke and Vascular Dementia 
  • Surgical Innovation and Evaluation 
  • Technology and Digital Health 
  • Vaccines for Emerging and Endemic Diseases 
  • Obesity, Diet and Lifestyle 
  • Respiratory
  • Clinical Informatics and Big Data 
  • Molecular Diagnostics 
  • Imaging  
  • Partnerships for Health, Wealth and Innovation