Medicine, Nursing and Allied Health Professions

 The National Institute for Health Research has confirmed £5.7 million for the next wave of funding, praising the centre’s patient-centred approach.

Nearly £6 million for patient-centred research facility

An Exeter research facility which puts people at its heart has received nearly £6 million in funding over the next five years.

The NIHR Exeter Clinical Research Facility (CRF) is a partnership between the University of Exeter and the Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust. It is funded by the National Institute for Health Research, which has confirmed £5.7 million for the next wave of funding, praising the centre’s patient-centred approach.

The facility supports high-quality research by bringing together members of the public with researchers who are working to find solutions to some of the greatest health challenges facing society, including diabetes, obesity, heart disease and dementia.

The NIHR Exeter CRF has almost reached its target of recruiting 10,000 people who live around the Exeter area to the Exeter 10,000 project, to provide data and samples of blood and urine which are used anonymously for medical research. Many of the participants agree to be contacted again if their physical or lifestyle profiles fit in with the recruitment needs of an academic researching a particular field. This means studies can swiftly progress from the point of identifying a need in clinic to meaningful research with impact.

Dr Gillian Baker, CRF Operations Manager said “This great outcome is testament to the excellent partnership between the University of Exeter, the NHS and the people of the South West who support and participate in our clinical research. Having nearly 10,000 people on our research register means we can undertake excellent clinical research that benefits local people and helps to improve the health and wellbeing of the nation.”

As well as participating in research, the Exeter CRF encourages members of the public to be involved in how the facility is run, including considering ethical decisions on research and ensuring publicity materials around research trials are pitched appropriately to the people they are aiming to reach.

John Barbara, a public member of the CRF’s steering committee said “Exeter CRF has given us the opportunity to help shape clinical research to make it amenable, attractive and understandable to the public. It is heartening that funding continues to allow progression of our partnership to improve healthcare through research.”

Professor Angela Shore, Vice Dean Research at the University of Exeter Medical School, said: “This is fantastic news for all the partners involved, most importantly, the public. They are integral to this facility, and they also benefit from the research it generates, which has a real impact on people’s live in the South West and across the world.”

The Exeter CRF is based in the £29 million Research, Innovation, Learning and Development (RILD) building, and was designed with the input of patients. As well as providing training across a wide range of health disciplines, the building brings together researchers and clinicians and academics with patients to ensure that research is focussed on answering today’s healthcare needs.

Suzanne Tracey, Chief Executive at the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This is fantastic news for our patients and our local community. Being able to participate in clinical research is a pivotal part of developing and improving the care that we offer and it is great to know that our patients will continue to benefit from the excellent facility for years to come.”

The funding was part of £112 million announced by the government to support Clinical Research Facilities across the country. Nicola Blackwood, Minister for Public Health and Innovation, said: “UK researchers lead the world and our investment in this area so far has led to a variety of breakthroughs, including the first new asthma treatment in a decade, and a promising treatment for peanut allergies in children, to name just two.

“We know that such ground breaking research simply would not happen without the support of these Clinical Research Facilities.

“I’m delighted to announce this £112 million of extra funding to support the skilled personnel and cutting-edge facilities we need to keep the UK at the forefront of clinical research.”

View a video about the Exeter Clinical Research Facility: 

Date: 21 November 2016

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