Taking a collaborative approach to research

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 07 April 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:810
  1. Geoff Watts
  1. London

    The UK Clinical Research Collaboration has just launched a new initiative to encourage more doctors into research. Dr Liam O'Toole, who is heading up the organisation, talks about its goals

    “Igniting our potential” is the incendiary slogan of the still infant UK Clinical Research Collaboration (it is just one year old). The man responsible for lighting the blue touch paper, or at any rate holding the match-box, is the organisation's acting chief executive, Liam O'Toole. He wants the NHS to be a global leader in medical research. His mood is bullish. “There's an enormous amount of goodwill,” he claims. “Everyone's facing in the same direction and wants to roll their sleeves up and sort it out.” No dissenting voices? None that Dr O'Toole is aware of.

    The collaboration is run by a board of about 20 appointees, who represent the key players in clinical research, including the Medical Research Council, the Wellcome Trust, the Department of Health, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence, the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, the Association of Medical Research Charities, and the Academy of Medical Sciences. The government has pledged an increase in funding to meet the costs of new research.

    Dr O'Toole's confidence is probably justified because the problem that the collaboration was created to tackle, the under-performance of clinical research in the United Kingdom, has …

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