20 August 2013 17:20

Researchers at Lancaster University are an integral part of a regional consortia awarded £9 million, part of a £124 million programme, to tackle some of the nation’s pressing health problems.

The Universities of Lancaster, Liverpool and Central Lancashire, in collaboration with the Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group, have come together with NHS organisations and local authorities along the North West coast to invest a further £12.5m to support research that improves services for patients.

Health Minister Lord Howe announced the investment, which is supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

It will help ensure patients benefit from innovative new treatments and techniques, which could revolutionise future health care and support local authorities in their new public health role promoting the health of their populations, reducing chronic disease and mortality.

Researchers from across the country were invited to bid for the funding, which has been provided by the Department of Health, to address long term conditions and public health challenges.

The successful teams are now known as NIHR Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRCs).

As newly appointed Director of Engagement for the NIHR CLAHRC North West Coast, Professor of Sociology and Public Health at Lancaster University Jennie Popay will have a significant input into the new partnership.

Professor Popay, who also leads a programme of work on health inequalities in partnership with eight local authorities in the region, said: “This major investment by NIHR, local universities, the NHS and local government will deliver better health and social care services.

“It will also help local authorities and their partners develop new ways of working that will improve people’s health across the NW as well as reducing the gross inequalities in life expectancy and wellbeing that blight many areas of the region.”  

Lord Howe, Health Minister said: “This is great news for patients – this funding could potentially help the development of ground breaking treatments which could revolutionise care.

“With a growing elderly population, the need for innovative and effective solutions has never been more important.”

Professor Dame Sally C. Davies, Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Advisor at the Department of Health, said: “Supporting our leading researchers is so important and these NIHR CLAHRCs will link the NHS, universities, and other relevant organisations providing care for patients in what will be ground-breaking work to improve the lives of thousands of patients across the country.”

The researchers within the new CLAHRCs will also work closely with industry, such as pharmaceutical companies, software companies and medical device manufacturers as they look for ground breaking ways to improve patient care.