Boom time for British research

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 11 November 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a2323
  1. Geoff Watts
  1. 1London

    Twelve new research centres planned for England aim to exploit new ideas for the benefit of patients. Geoff Watts takes a closer look at how one centre proposes to make clinical research practical

    Medical job hunters with professorial ambitions may have spotted a recent advertisement placed by a Manchester NHS trust in collaboration with Manchester University. On offer were no fewer than 12 chairs, ranging from pharmacology and paediatrics to cardiology and chemical pathology.

    The roots of this mini-boom in academic employment lie in Best Research for Best Health, the 2006 strategy document from the NHS’s National Institute for Health Research. Among the plans it laid out was a scheme for a dozen new biomedical research centres in England. The plan has become a reality—and Manchester is among the chosen.

    Like several recent developments in the organisation of medical research in Britain, these new centres are in line with thinking spelt out by the 2006 Cooksey report into health research funding in the United Kingdom. While acknowledging the strength of basic UK research, the report said that the system “must also address the barriers to translation of basic research that result from the gaps identified between basic and clinical research, and between clinical research and …

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