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Academics awarded £9million for health inequalities study

21 August 2013

Rachel Atkinson

Researchers in Health and Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences will tackle pressing health problems

The UCLan team, featuring Professor Soo Downe (main pic) and Professor Caroline Watkins (below).

Researchers at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) are part a North West group who have been awarded £9 million to help tackle some of the nation’s most pressing health problems.

Universities, NHS organisations and Local Authorities along the North West coast have joined forces and invested a further £12.5 million 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.

UCLan’s School of Health and School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences academics will collaborate with scientists from the University of Liverpool and Lancaster University to address issues of health inequalities through improvements in public health and chronic disease interventions.

“This investment shows the commitment to supporting the development of innovative and quality services that will reduce health inequalities in England."

caroline watkins

The UCLan team, featuring Professor Caroline Watkins and Professor Soo Downe, will take the lead in the development of the research workforce through supporting clinical academic careers. They will also investigate how to improve mental health care and examine new ways of working with NHS organisations in delivering health programmes.

Nigel Harrison, Dean of the School of Health, said: “This investment shows the commitment to supporting the development of innovative and quality services that will reduce health inequalities in England. The programme will deliver research that translates into better health outcomes and will make a real difference to the delivery of new treatments and to the management of the complex needs of patients.”

Professor Watkins added: “We are delighted with this funding because it will not only allow the team to do critical research but it is also a great chance to offer opportunities to postgraduate students. Our postgraduates will be able to work with our experts in stroke; midwifery; mental health nursing and gain vital research experience.”

“This is great news for patients – this funding could potentially help the development of ground breaking treatments which could revolutionise care."

The funding is part of a £124 million national programme.

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.

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.”

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

Professor Dame Sally C. Davies, Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Advisor at the Department of Health, added: “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.