Blackpool hospitals share in £59m research funding to tackle health inequalities

Blackpool Teaching Hospitals are to share in a £59.1million award to translate its scientific discoveries into new treatments, diagnostic tests and medical technologies to improve patients’ lives over the next five years.

The award to the National Institute for Health (NIHR) and Care Research Manchester Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) will increase the coverage of early-stage research across the country, ensuring everyone has access to cutting edge clinical trials.

NIHR biomedical research centres are partnerships between healthcare professionals and academics in the country’s leading NHS trusts and universities. The centres, part of NIHR’s research infrastructure, receive substantial levels of sustained funding to attract the best scientists and create an environment where experimental medicine can thrive, while also providing opportunities for a diverse range of professionals to undertake research, expanding research expertise.

Formed in 2017 with a £28.5 million five-year award from the NIHR, Manchester BRC is the largest BRC outside the South East and brings together world-leading academic clinical researchers. With this new award, research will expand to include Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust,. The funding also allows Manchester to expand from its research areas of cancer, dermatology, hearing health, musculoskeletal, and respiratory into areas including heart disease, mental health, and rare conditions.

The partnership will accelerate and enhance the portfolio of research programmes based at Blackpool, addressing the community and wider population’s health needs through research partnerships.

Blackpool Hospitals’ Chief Executive Trish Armstrong-Child said: “We are delighted to become partners in this programme.  Biomedical Research Centres focus on transforming scientific breakthroughs into diagnostic tests and life-saving treatments for patients. This truly demonstrates the strides we are making in Blackpool as we continue to expand our research programmes with key partners across the Northwest. We continue to work hard to address the health needs of our local community and research teams across Manchester will collaborate with our researchers here at the Trust in order to answer vital research questions.”

Blackpool’s Director of Research Dr Gavin Galasko, said:

“As partners within the NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre, we will focus on the key research priorities for our community such as heart disease and cancer. We will be bringing new and innovative research directly to where it is needed. Through the centre we will be able to increase our research infrastructure to support research in its very earliest phases, which complements well with our NIHR Patient Recruitment Centre activity delivering research in its later phase. We are looking forward to collaborating with research teams from across Greater Manchester as we look to answer important research questions which will hopefully improve health outcomes for our community here in Blackpool”

 Research, Development & Innovation Manager / PRC: Manager at Blackpool, Dr Angela Parker, added:

“Being a partner of the NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre will not only enable new and innovative research to take place in key health priority areas for our community within Blackpool & the Fylde Coast, but it will also enable new research training opportunities for our staff at BTH enhancing our capacity and capability to carry out vital research. There is also a strong programme within the BRC of patient, public, involvement and engagement which will allow our community to have a real voice in the research that we do and the research we should be doing. I am delighted both for the Trust and our community as we put Blackpool on the research map!”

You can read more about the 2022 BRC funding announcement via the NIHR website.


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