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£20M health research collaboration announced for the southwest England

The Southwest Peninsula Clinical Research Collaboration, a partnership between Peninsula Medical School, NHS South West and the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth, has been awarded a 20 million grant to conduct research and improve care in major conditions including heart disease, diabetes, mental illness, childhood disability and age related conditions. This is one of seven new collaborations between NHS organisations and leading Universities announced today by Public Health Minister, Dawn Primarolo.

The new NIHR (National Institute for Health Research) Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care were selected by an independent international selection panel and will start work on 1 October 2008.

Each Collaboration will bring together universities and their surrounding NHS organisations to test new treatments and new ways of working in specific clinical areas, to see if they are effective and appropriate for everyday use in the health service. Where potential improvements are identified, the Collaborations will help NHS staff to incorporate them into their everyday working practices, so that patients across the local community receive a better standard of healthcare.

Dawn Primarolo said: This new government funding will help to improve health outcomes for patients across England, with particular emphasis on conditions that cause chronic distress to patients and are a significant issue for the NHS to manage.

Sir John Tooke, Dean of the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry and Chair of the South West Peninsula Clinical Research Collaboration, said:

This is a fantastic opportunity for the clinical academic partnership in Devon and Cornwall to engage in research that will improve our health services and better meet the needs of our population.

It will enable us to address major health problems including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, mental illness, childhood disability and age related conditions.

We will now have the means to address the questions that matter most to patients and local healthcare professionals, and accelerate the translation of research findings into practice. The funding provided will also support our plans to develop a world leading Institute of Environment and Human Health focussed in Cornwall. It is particularly encouraging to have the development of the environment theme endorsed by the high level international advisory panel that reviewed our submission, which augurs well for other support we are seeking for this crucially important area.

This substantial award, achieved after fierce competition, is a measure of the quality of the partnership between the Universities of Plymouth and Exeter, the NHS in Devon and Cornwall and our Strategic Health Authority NHS South West, and underscores our burgeoning research reputation.

Professor Sally C. Davies, Director General of Research and Development, Department of Health said: The NIHR Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care represent an exciting and innovative partnership between Universities and the NHS. They will undertake high quality applied health research and develop new ways of translating research findings into improved outcomes for patients. They will be conducting this work at the front line of the NHS so that the benefits and findings from research can be swiftly incorporated into routine clinical practice.


Contact: Andrew Gould
The Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry

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