MAHSC kick-starts research theme planning for BRC 2022

walking researcher

The clock is ticking for MAHSC as it begins planning for the next NIHR Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) funding call by inviting research theme submissions from across the partnership.

This coincides with the current NIHR Manchester BRC becoming operational this month.

Formed through partnerships between leading NHS organisations and universities, BRCs conduct translational research, transforming scientific breakthroughs into life-saving treatments for patients. They are funded on a five-year cycle by the NIHR and host research themes across a range of disease and therapeutic areas.

In September 2016 a single Manchester bid for a NIHR BRC was awarded £28.5m to drive forward research in seven themes: musculoskeletal, hearing health, respiratory, dermatology and cancer (prevention and early detection, radiotherapy and precision medicine). This tranche of BRC funding runs from 2017 to 2022.

MAHSC has started to work towards an expanded BRC 2022 application by inviting investigators to complete and return a research theme questionnaire (RTQ). It is based on the pre-qualifying questionnaire in the BRC application process.

‘Over the next five years, we want to consolidate and strengthen the themes in our existing BRC and consider how we expand the disease areas it covers’ said Professor Colin Sibley, MAHSC Research Director. ‘Now is the time to objectively review what options could be included in a future application and decide how best to take them forward for this nationally prestigious funding vehicle.

‘Nothing is ruled in or out at this stage of the process.’

After the submission closing date (27 April) completed RTQs will be objectively assessed using bibliometrics, similar to those used by NIHR, and reviewed by a panel of external and internal experts. There will then be a workshop meeting on 27 June, open to all involved, to discuss the submissions.

The workshop will be attended by Professor Ian Bruce, NIHR Manchester BRC Director, who will present on lessons learnt from the last submission process. BRC Hearing Health Theme Lead, Professor Kevin Munro, will share his thoughts on how to develop a research proposition to the level required for BRC submission.

After the review and workshop MAHSC’s Research Director, working with the MAHSC Research Board and the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health Research Group, will propose an action plan for the submitted research themes in a prioritised order.

‘Nothing will be finalised for inclusion in the next BRC application until the 2022 competition is announced. That will allow us to monitor the progress of existing and potential BRC research themes to ensure they align with the stringent submission criteria.

‘Our aim will be to put Manchester in the best possible position to achieve ongoing BRC funding success in 2022’ concluded Professor Sibley.


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