£3.7 million, over five years, has been awarded to Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust for facilities that will carry out research in areas such as communication impairments in children, social anxiety disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, depression, schizophrenia, and stroke.
The bid for research funding was coordinated by Professor John Geddes, Head of Department and Professor of Epidemiological Psychiatry, University of Oxford, Associate Medical Director (R&D) Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust and involved all three organisations working together to provide clinical research facilities at various sites across Oxford.
Professor John Geddes commented on the award and said:
“Cognitive and mental disorders are among the most important causes of global suffering. Developing effective therapies and preventive strategies is challenging for all healthcare providers and any advances in our understanding require the best basic and clinical scientists to work together in the best facilities. This additional money is really welcome and will be used to fund nurses, doctors and scientists in state of the art research facilities in South Parks Road, the Warneford Hospital and the John Radcliffe Hospital.
“A major expansion of, and integration between, basic and clinical science in Oxford has created the Oxford Cognitive Health Clinical Research Facility (OCHCRF) which is central to this strategy as it provides the full range of services required for experimental neuroscience. The OCHCRF is fully integrated with the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre, Oxford and the Oxford Neuroscience local research partnership spanning University discovery neuroscience and the two Oxford NHS Trusts. The key objective of the partnership is to generate a step-change in the translation of neuroscience discoveries into benefits for patients.”
Secretary of State for Health Andrew Lansley said: “The public and patients think it’s important that the NHS should support research into new treatments, and we agree. That’s why we’re investing over £100m in research facilities, nurses and technicians to help make the NHS a world-class place to do research.
“These researchers will push forward the boundaries of what is possible. These are the people and the facilities where the very best new treatments will be developed for a huge range of conditions – from cancer to diabetes and heart disease. NHS patients are the ones who will see the benefit of their work.”
Promoting and fostering this kind of medical research is one of the Government’s top priorities, and through the Health and Social Care Bill the role that research plays in the health service will continue to be strengthened.
Professor Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Advisor at the Department of Health said: “These are very exciting times for clinical research in the UK, and this funding is a reflection of the commitment we have to supporting world-class experimental medicine.
“The Clinical Research Facilities will play a key role in supporting advances in treatments for a wide variety of diseases and supporting collaboration with industry. Thousands of people will benefit right across the country.”
NHS Trusts and Foundation Trusts with clinical research facilities submitted bids for the funding, which were judged by a panel of UK experts in both medical research and in running clinical research facilities. Winning bids were selected on the basis of the quality and volume of world-class medical research they support as well as other criteria including the strength of their partnerships with universities and industry.