Major funding announced for hearing and digestive diseases research

18 Aug 2011 16:06:00.000


Two University of Nottingham and NHS research partnerships in Nottingham have been awarded a combined £13.5 million in funding to help them to develop and translate new scientific discoveries into ground-breaking medicines, treatments and better care for all NHS patients.

Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (NUH) has secured two awards with the University of Nottingham, looking at gastrointestinal disease and hearing problems.

The Biomedical Research Units are supported by the National Institute for Health Research. Today’s announcement in Nottingham is part of £800 million awarded nationally.

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An independent panel of leading international experts assessed the applications from across England. Awards were made to NHS Trusts, working in partnership with universities, with an outstanding track-record of research excellence, and were based on the scale and nature of the proposed research and its anticipated benefit for NHS patients.

Professor Ian Hall, Dean of the University’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, said:

“We are delighted that the excellent research undertaken by the Biomedical Research Units in gastro-intestinal diseases and hearing has been recognized by the National Institute for Health Research. This funding will allow us to undertake further ground-breaking research in these two areas which should translate into improved healthcare for patients.”

The Nottingham Digestive Diseases Centre Biomedical Research Unit is carrying out pioneering research into infections and post infectious consequences in the Gastro-Intestinal tract and in the liver.  This research includes Clostridium difficile infection, Surgical and wound Infections, including MRSA, Hepatitis C virus infection and its complications including liver cirrhosis, Helicobacter pylori infection, peptic ulceration and gastric cancer, other GI infections including Campylobacter, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Diverticular Disease and Colonic inflammation and polyposis.

The Nottingham-based National Biomedical Research Unit in hearing was established in 2008 and is the only biomedical research unit in the UK funded to carry out translational research in deafness and hearing problems including tinnitus. This BRU works in partnership with the Medical Research Council Institute of Hearing Research.

Peter Homa, Chief Executive of NUH, said: "We’re delighted to have been awarded this funding – it’s a significant endorsement of the strength of the research and the quality of expertise we share between Nottingham University Hospitals and the University of Nottingham.

“Bidding for the funding was a highly-competitive process, where we were up against the best Biomedical Research Units in the country. With this money we will continue to ensure the latest scientific advancements are translated into improved care for patients.”

Brian Thomson, Director of Research and Development at NUH, added: “The award of two new Biomedical Research Units in Gastrointestinal Diseases and Deafness and Hearing Problems will bring over £13m to support clinical research in Nottingham.

“The awards recognise and build on the outstanding success of our research in these two important areas and will support our pioneering work in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of these important diseases.

“The Biomedical Research Units underpin the strong research partnership between the University of Nottingham and Nottingham University Hospitals and will allow us to translate new medical discoveries into benefit for our patients. They are therefore an exciting opportunity to improve the quality and effectiveness of our clinical care and are excellent news for patients in Nottingham and elsewhere.”

The BRU in Gastrointestinal Diseases is based at the Queen’s Medical Centre. The BRU is Deafness and Hearing Problems is based at Ropewalk House in Nottingham City Centre.

Announcing the funding today, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: “I am pleased to announce that in Nottingham two health research partnerships have been awarded over £13 million in funding. Their important work will help ensure NHS patients across the country receive word-class treatments and the very best health outcomes.

“This investment will see scientists in Nottingham contribute to the UK-wide development of exciting new science into tangible, effective treatments that can be used across the NHS. It means that patients will see real improvements in early diagnosis, survival rates and living a more independent and better quality of life.”


Notes to editors:  The University of Nottingham, described by The Sunday Times University Guide 2011 as ‘the embodiment of the modern international university’, has award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the QS World University Rankings. It was named ‘Europe’s greenest university’ in the UI GreenMetric World University Ranking, a league table of the world’s most environmentally-friendly higher education institutions, which ranked Nottingham second in the world overall.

The University is committed to providing a truly international education for its 40,000 students, producing world-leading research and benefiting the communities around its campuses in the UK and Asia.

More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranked the University 7th in the UK by research power. The University’s vision is to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health.

More news from the University at:

About the NIHR

1. The National Institute for Health Research provides the framework through which the research staff and research infrastructure of the NHS in England is positioned, maintained and managed as a national research facility. The NIHR provides the NHS with the support and infrastructure it needs to conduct first-class research funded by the Government and its partners alongside high-quality patient care, education and training.  Its aim is to support outstanding individuals (both leaders and collaborators), working in world class facilities (both NHS and university), conducting leading edge research focused on the needs of patients.

2. The selection process: All applicants from NHS and university partnerships were assessed by an independent international selection panel. The funding allocated to each NHS Trust/University partnership has been determined by the scale, nature and quality of the research activity to be conducted in each NIHR Biomedical Research Centre or Unit.

3. NIHR Biomedical Research Centres support research across a wide range of disease areas. These Centres are the most outstanding NHS/University research partnerships in the country; leaders in scientific translation and early adopters of new insights in technologies, techniques and treatments for improving health.  To ensure they are able to succeed, the NIHR BRCs will receive substantial levels of sustained funding.  NIHR BRC funding supports the NHS infrastructure to create an environment where scientific endeavour can thrive, attracting the foremost talent and producing world-class outputs.

4. The NIHR Biomedical Research Units funding scheme aims to support NHS/University partnerships to undertake internationally excellent translational clinical research in priority areas of high disease burden and clinical need, and in which the country has identified research strengths.  The scheme enables excellent, but comparatively small research groups at the forefront of their field internationally, to achieve or further develop critical mass.  The priority areas for NIHR BRUs are: Cardiovascular Disease and Deafness and Hearing Problems

5. Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (NUH) is one of the largest acute teaching trusts in the country. It is made up of Queen’s Medical Centre (QMC), Nottingham City Hospital and Ropewalk House, a facility in Nottingham City Centre where hearing services are based.

6. The Trust provides acute and specialist services to 2.5 million people within Nottingham and surrounding communities from QMC, City Hospital campuses and Ropewalk House.

7. NUH has an annual budget of £722million of public sector funding and employs over 13,000 staff, making the Trust one of the city’s biggest employers.  In addition, NUH has over 1,500 volunteers who each make a unique contribution to NUH. The Trust currently has around 1,700 beds and 87 wards.

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