Oxford’s Joint Research Office (JRO) has expanded to include teams from Oxford Health (OH) NHS Foundation Trust and Oxford Brookes University (OBU), joining the clinical research support teams from the University of Oxford (OU) and Oxford University Hospitals (OUH) NHS Foundation Trust.
The Oxford JRO now includes both of Oxford’s NHS Foundation Trusts and both of its universities, promoting and facilitating greater collaborative working across and between the partner organisations in clinical research, for the benefit of the people they serve.
The development of the Oxford JRO has been supported at the highest level in each organisation and by the Board of the Oxford Academic Health Partners, of which all four institutions are members.
The JRO was originally established in 2011 to facilitate the delivery of clinical research in Oxford by improving communication and streamlining processes through shared knowledge and expertise between OU and OUH.
It featured in a recent Academy of Medical Sciences report which concluded that streamlining research through joint R&D offices was one of the key ways to enhance the interface between academia and the NHS to improve the health and wealth of the UK.
JRO Staff provide services such as research governance, contracts, grants, finance and business development. The combined efforts of the JRO’s teams have underpinned the success of the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre (BRC), and will now play a similar role with the NIHR Oxford Health BRC, the NIHR Oxford Health Clinical Research Facility (CRF) and the newly-established NIHR Oxford CRF.
The JRO has played a vital behind-the-scenes role in establishing Oxford’s leadership in healthcare research and its far-reaching benefits for patients, not just in the NHS, but also beyond the UK. This has been particularly evident since March 2020, with the JRO playing an important role in enabling Oxford researchers to develop the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine or identify treatments for COVID-19 in the RECOVERY Trial.
The research support teams from all four partner organisations will continue to operate autonomously, but they will work together to identify how they can align their processes and activities.
Oxford researchers, many of whom already deal with two or more of the partner organisations, will be asked to contribute to this process.