Over 3m investment in health research units at Bangor University

Over £3m is to be invested in integrated healthcare research at Bangor University over the next three years.

The Welsh Government has announced £2.3m funding for two grants to the University, one of which is to be match-funded with the University’s own investment.

The funding will support Bangor University’s North Wales Organisation for Randomised Trials in Health (NWORTH), and the Welsh Health Economics Support Service, part of Centre for Health Economics & Medicines Evaluation (CHEME).

The funding via Health and Care Research Wales will support the trials units to attract more large-scale, externally funded, high quality trials, to support the units to grow, invest in expertise and to deliver research evidence from trials within clear timescales. 

The Welsh Health Economics Support Service (WHESS) supports the trials units with health economics expertise, which is a crucial element of applying for funding from major UK clinical trial funders. 

Professor Nicky Callow Dean of the College of Health and Behavioural Sciences said:

"We are delighted that the Welsh Government has awarded funding to our Health and Care Research Wales contributors at the School of Healthcare Sciences. Bangor University has an excellent reputation for its health related research, and we are pleased to support and conduct research that informs and makes a difference to health and care in Wales and beyond.”

The North Wales Organisation for Randomised Trials in Health (NWORTH) is one of only three registered UK Clinical Research Collaboration (UKCRC) Clinical Trials Unit in Wales. Clinical trials are fundamental to the development of evidence based clinical practice and effective healthcare. NWORTH provides methodological and statistical support, IT infrastructure and rigorous quality assurance, whilst also conducting its own research across a broad range of clinical areas.

NWORTH Director Professor Paul Brocklehurst explained:

“Our staff work with research clinicians from a range of organisations across the UK to ensure that their clinical research is thorough and stands up to scrutiny. The work includes anything from liaising with researchers on how to set up complex research projects, to managing the research process and evaluating the information that is generated by the trial. We also run our own trials too and our research interests include evaluating the effectiveness of dementia care services to the effectiveness of treatments for rehabilitation and musco-skeletal conditions. The funding from Health & Care Research Wales is matched by Bangor University and enables us to continue our vital work for another three years. We also hope to extend our portfolio to include areas such as public health and making sure patients are at the centre of the research process and everything we do.”

Professor  Rhiannon Tudor Edwards, Co-Director of the Centre for Health Economics and  Medicines Evaluation (CHEME), Bangor University said “As Director  of  the Welsh Health Economics  Support Service (WHESS),which  provides  Health Economics  expertise to the  medical  and health services research community across Wales, I am delighted about this award.  WHESS is funded by Health and Care Research Wales (HCRW), and is a collaboration between health economists at Bangor University and health economists at Swansea University. Health Economics is fundamentally about how we use scarce health care resources to meet our needs, and increasingly this is joined up with social care needs in society.  Health Economics is an integral part of medical, health and social care research across Wales. We make a material contribution to international calibre research coming from Wales; support those with research ideas in the NHS Health Boards and local authorities that could improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of care for patients, and we nurture and mentor the next generation of health economists across Wales.  This £1.2 million across Wales will enable us to provide Health Economics support at an All-Wales level for the next three years, working closely with the 3 regional clinical trials units and as part of the Research Design and Conduct Service.” 

Added to Welsh Government funding already received by the University for its research contribution to the Wales Kidney Research Unit, the Wales Cancer Research Centre, the Wales Centre for Primary and Emergency Care Research and the Centre for Ageing and Dementia Research and contributing to the Welsh BRAIN Unit and the National Centre for Mental Health in Cardiff, Bangor University is making a significant contribution to healthcare research in Wales.

Publication date: 1 September 2015