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Oxford medical researchers win prestigious national awards

14/03/2019
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Four leading healthcare academics in Oxford have received a prestigious national award.

The University of Oxford professors have been named National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Senior Investigators in recognition of their 'outstanding contribution to clinical and applied health and social care research'.

The successful candidates are all prominent researchers in the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre (BRC).

Together, the University of Oxford, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust make up the Oxford Academic Health Science Centre (Oxford AHSC), a partnership that coordinates clinical and academic excellence across the partners.

Senior Investigators are appointed from NIHR Investigators through annual competitions, informed by the advice of an international panel of experts. In total, more than 300 Senior Investigators have now been appointed, with the number of active Senior Investigator awards maintained at around 200. They form part of the NIHR Faculty.

As well as the new appointments, three professors who had previously held awards were designated Emeritus Senior Investigators.

Among the people recognised was Prof Helen McShane, Director of the NIHR Oxford BRC. She said: "I am very proud to be one of the academics to have received this award. I’m equally proud of my university colleagues whose outstanding research leadership has been recognised with this highly competitive award.

"It is a testament to the pioneering clinical research work that is being carried out in Oxford to benefit patients, as well as an endorsement of the fantastic partnership between the University of Oxford and the city’s two NHS trusts, embodied by our BRCs."

Prof John Geddes, Director of the NIHR Oxford Health BRC, said: "These are highly prestigious awards and NIHR Senior Investigators play a leading role in delivering patient-benefiting, cutting edge research. I would like to congratulate my colleagues for achieving this national recognition. The Oxford Academic Health Science Centre now has 39 NIHR Senior Investigators, demonstrating the strength, depth and vitality of clinical research across the city."

The new NIHR Senior Investigators are:

  • Professor Helen McShane
    Director of the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre; Professor of Vaccinology, Nuffield Department of Medicine
  • Professor Ann Sarah Walker
    Professor of Medical Statistics and Epidemiology, Nuffield Department of Medicine
  • Professor Matthew Costa
    Professor of Orthopaedic Trauma, Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences
  • Professor Richard McManus
    Professor of Primary Care, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences

The new NIHR Emeritus Senior Investigators are:

  • Professor Alastair Buchan
    Professor of Stroke Medicine, Radcliffe Department of Medicine (RDM)
  • Professor Ian Pavord
    Professor of Respiratory Medicine, Nuffield Department of Medicine

Also named as an NIHR Emeritus Senior Investigator was Prof Rury Holman, Director of the RDM's Diabetes Trials Unit, who was formerly associated with the NIHR Oxford BRC.

The NIHR describes Senior Investigators as 'among the most prominent and prestigious researchers funded by the NIHR and the most outstanding leaders of patient and people-based research within the NIHR research community'.

Each is awarded a discretionary fund of £15k per year. In addition, NHS institutions with whom Senior Investigators are associated and which are eligible for Research Capability Funding (RCF) attract an additional amount for each of their Senior Investigators.

The role of the NIHR Senior Investigator includes:

  • contributing significantly to the NIHR as a senior leader;
  • leading in the training and development of staff;
  • acting as an ambassador for the NIHR in the wider healthcare system;
  • maintaining and developing a track record of excellence in clinical and applied research;
  • contributing to economic growth; and
  • integrating patient and public involvement and engagement into research.
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