UCLH BRC awarded £111.5 million in research funding 

14/09/2016 00:00 
The biomedical research centre (BRC) at UCLH has won £111.5 million in funding from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to extend its groundbreaking biomedical research.

The award, which will cover five years from April 2017, represents a significant uplift to the funding granted to the NIHR University College London Hospitals BRC in 2011.

The BRC’s work currently focuses on cancer, neurosciences, dementia, cardiovascular and inflammation, immunity and immunotherapeutics and the new award means the BRC can expand its work into other areas where UCLH and UCL also excel.

The international panel judging the funding award described the level of integration between the BRC’s partnership organisations UCLH and UCL as ‘outstanding’ and the quality, volume and breadth of research across the partnership as ‘excellent’.

UCLH chief executive Sir Robert Naylor welcomed the news. He said: “This is a fantastic result. The renewed funding will go far to reinforce the areas of research where we are already world leaders.

“I am also delighted to learn of the uplifted funding for the BRC which will enable us to work on new disease areas that will benefit greatly from a focused research effort.

“I’m particularly pleased to see that our exceptional partnership with UCL has been recognised and I would like to congratulate everybody involved in putting together our bid.”

BRC director Professor Bryan Williams said everyone at the BRC was extremely pleased with the uplift. “This is great news for patients and great news for our UCLH/UCL partnership.

“Our mission is to improve outcomes for patients with some of the diseases most difficult to treat. This funding means we can continue developing some of the best science in the world at UCL and get it to patients faster than ever before. It confirms us as a world-leading centre for biomedical research.”

The BRC invests in staff posts, equipment, facilities and training. Commended for its track record in translating fundamental biomedical research into clinical research that benefits patients, the BRC’s strategy for the future was described by the international panel as ‘highly relevant to the health of patients and the public’. The BRC’s work involving patients and the public in research was described as ‘excellent’.

The BRC’s award is part of a record £816 million investment in NHS research announced today by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

Mr Hunt said: “The UK has so often led the world in health research – from the invention of the smallpox vaccine to the discovery of penicillin and the development of DNA sequencing. Today, we are making sure the UK stays ahead of the game by laying the foundations for a new age of personalised medicine.

“We are supporting the great minds of the NHS to push the frontiers of medical science so that patients in this country continue to benefit from the very latest treatments and the highest standards of care.”

BRC chief operating officer Nick McNally said: “This outcome is not only a signal of support for the scientific strengths of the BRC but also for how the BRC is set up to help the UCLH/UCL partnership deliver on its ambitious goals in experimental medicine, from how we set our priorities to how we allocate funding and track the outputs and impacts of BRC research. We’re particularly proud of our work to get patients and the public actively involved in our work.”

Professor David Lomas, UCL Vice-Provost (Health), said: “This funding is excellent news for researchers, doctors and patients alike, accelerating the translation of our research into new treatments.”

UCL has two other biomedical research centres (BRCs), Great Ormond Street and Moorfields Eye Hospital, which received £37m and £19m respectively, meaning UCL has received more funding than any other UK university.

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