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Oxfordshire research funding programme praised for impact on NHS

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A 10-year programme of research funding at Oxfordshire’s hospitals has had a positive impact on patient care, a new paper has reported.

Interviews with clinical leaders on the work of the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) found ‘numerous’ examples of positive impact on patient care.

The interviews with 37 leaders also identified challenges resulting from the BRC, which has been awarded more than £250m in public funding to support research in Oxfordshire.

The paper looked at the impact at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (OUH), which runs the BRC with the University of Oxford, which conducts most BRC-funded research.

They reported that the BRC has helped increase the number of research studies at BRC though some felt BRC research did not fully align with OUH clinical needs.

Interviewees also said the BRC had contributed to a rise in medical and non-medical research staff and there was greater staff awareness in some clinical areas of research opportunities.

Efforts should be made to inform staff of these opportunities, they reported, and there were concerns that some staff had moved from clinical into research work.

The interviewees reported that people taking part in research had access to new treatments, though some may feel inconvenienced or over-burdened by offers to take part in research.

It was also highlighted that the BRC had improved the reputation of OUH and increased collaboration with the university.

Research praised by interviewees included:

  • A smartphone application for pregnant women to monitor their diabetes at home.
  • The first transient ischaemic attack (TIA) and minor stroke clinic in the UK.
  • Replacing bedside hospital charts with tablet computers to improve safety and save time.
  • New, non-invasive tests for liver disease.
  • A “bionic eye” electronic implant to restore some vision to blind people.


The paper “Does a biomedical research centre affect patient care in local hospitals?” has been published in Health Research Policy and Systems.

The BRC is funded through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), an England-wide drive funded by the Department of Health to support research which can benefit the NHS.

In September 2016, the NIHR announced the BRC had been successful in its bid for a further five years’ funding and would receive £113.7m from April 2017 to 2022.

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