Tab Content: Current strengths
Several areas of research activity are pursued within the Faculty.
These map onto one or more of the divisions within FHM (Biomedical and Life Sciences, Health Research and Lancaster Medical School). As such the ambitions of individual divisions within the Faculty are one set of drivers for this research strategy, but noting that cross faculty (and cross university) groupings and priorities also exist, and reflecting the multidisciplinary and translational nature of much of the research performed in the Faculty and the University.
Current research themes of critical mass within FHM and their components are the following, ordered alphabetically by main heading without imply any ranking of importance. There is synergy between several of these, which reflects the multidisciplinary nature of the FHM research portfolio
- Ageing (including End of Life Care*, Neurodegeneration* and Cancer*):
- Mechanisms of normal ageing using Drosophila as a model system
- Age-related health problems, including neurodegenerative, musculoskeletal and eye conditions
- Palliative and end of life care across the lifespan
- Mental health and well-being of the ageing population
- Technology and healthy ageing
- DNA damage and repair mechanisms
- Signalling mechanisms in normal and cancerous tissue
- Palliative and end of life care for those with cancer
- Health information, computation and statistics:
- Novel geostatistical modelling and analytical methods
- Epidemiology of infectious and non-communicable diseases
- Project design and statistical analysis
- Infectious Disease Transmission and Biology:
- Parasitology and tropical infectious diseases
- Environmental microbiology
- Gastro-intestinal microbiology
- Mental Health:
- Psychological treatments for bipolar disorder
- Health and clinical psychology
- Organisational health and well-being
- Social and Economic Inequality in Public Health:
- Health equity and knowledge exchange
- Intellectual and physical disability
- Health economics
*may develop into independent themes
Tab Content: Support mechanisms
Various sources of Faculty or central University funding are available to help support FHM staff in the delivery of this strategy:
- Travel Fund for participation in conferences/workshops/research activity (central funding + faculty supplement, administered by FHM Associate Dean for Research)
- FHM Equipment Fund allocation (biannual allocation from university centre, disbursed by Policy and Resources Committee on receipt of divisional bids)
- Early Career Small Grants for staff in the early stages of their career to pursue short research projects that deliver outputs or can help to underpin applications for more substantial funding eg to Research Councils, EU Horizon 2020 or major medical/health charities (annual competition administered from University Research Support Office and assessed by faculty Associate Deans for Research and departmental Research Directors)
Advice in applying for these funds is available from the Associate Dean for Research and FHM Research Support Officer.
In addition FHM hosts part of the NIHR-funded Research Design Service North West, which advises on research design to researchers in the North West who are developing proposals for national, peer-reviewed funding competitions for applied health or social care research.
Tab Content: Impact strategy
FHM encourages all staff to engage and contribute to delivering the impact of their research in the following ways:
- To engage with service users including patients, their families and the public so they can inform the research process
- To develop links with health and social care professionals
- To develop international and national partnerships
Actions and opportunities to enhance research impact include the following:
- Strengthening of the Lancaster Health Hub, involving partnership with local NHS Trusts and Industry
- Recognition of Knowledge Exchange and Public Engagement activity in workload models and promotion cases
- Faculty support from the ADR for activities to support user group engagement
- Lancaster Pathways to Impact funding; FHM Knowledge Exchange awards; and Public Engagement with Research grant schemes that can provide financial support for impact activities
- Biannual Impact Audit and Report to publicise success and acknowledge staff activity
Tab Content: Translational research
The Faculty's focus on translational research allows our work to inform and improve treatment, disease management and other aspects of healthcare.
Our translational programme draws upon several well-established workstreams within the divisions of Biomedical & Life Sciences and Health Research, and involves partnerships with colleagues in other faculties and in other organisations, particularly the NHS and industry.
The Faculty has led the establishment and development of the Hub, a formal strategic partnership between Lancaster University and six NHS Trusts across Lancashire and Cumbria. This drives locally-led, NHS / University collaborative research by facilitating scientific collaboration and partnerships. It also delivers a framework for joint research governance, linking the University, the NHS and the NIHR CRN as appropriate.
We will build upon the foundations laid over the past few years to increase the amount, scope and impact of our translational research activity. We will also increase the range of our external partners, both in the UK and abroad.
At the same time we recognise the need to continue to build our capability and infrastructure for translational research. As part of this, we will:
- deliver NIHR IAT programmes for academic clinical fellowships and clinical lectureships.
- achieve success in obtaining NIHR senior investigator awards.
- develop a strategy with partners for bidding for major NIHR infrastructure funding, for example, a Biomedical Research Centre.
- work with our NHS partners to establish joint appointments for senior clinical academics to lead collaborative research programmes.
We will also build upon our growing record of success in working with industry, particularly SMEs, to enhance opportunities for partnership working around translational R&D.
Tab Content: Engagement with networks
We work closely with the new NIHR and NHS England networks for research and innovation across the North West Coast, particularly the NIHR CRN, the NIHR CLAHRC, and the AHSN.
In addition, we are a founding member of the Northern Health Science Alliance, which links the eight northern research-led universities with their partner NHS Trusts to drive large-scale collaborative research across the whole of the north of England. We engage with and lead numerous national research networks, and are leading internationally initiatives on ageing, neurodegenerative diseases, end of life care, geostatistical modelling and malaria vectors.
We aim to increase not only our participation in these larger networks but also our strategic leadership of initiatives and programmes within their work streams to enable the Faculty to build further upon its growing reputation as a major focus for advancing and delivering high-quality research in health and medicine.