Strategies for Translational Research in the United Kingdom

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Science Translational Medicine  13 Oct 2010:
Vol. 2, Issue 53, pp. 53cm28
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3001129


  • Fig. 1. The research and development path, UK style.

    An overview of a typical health research pipeline (from basic research to clinical delivery) is depicted by showing the kinds of questions asked at each stage of the process. Translational research is not a linear process, and questions flow in both directions along the pipeline; results from both basic and clinical research can raise translational questions. The ultimate goal of the process is to deliver better care to patients. The bodies that fund research at each stage and the organizations to which they report are shown on the right. The BBSRC (Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council) and MRC report to the RCUK (Research Councils UK), which includes all governmental research councils in the United Kingdom for both the sciences and humanities and reports to the UK governmental Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. NIHR and the MRC report to the OSCHR (Office for Strategic Coordination of Health Research). NIHR and NHS providers report to the NHS (National Health Service).

  • Fig. 2. BRCs: Infrastructure and interface.

    Illustrated are the various possibilities for interactions among the NIHR-funded BRCs and other NIHR funding streams (red) and MRC funding streams (blue). BRCs provide the physical infrastructure and points of contact for collaborations among NIHR and other translational researchers and various entities indicated by color-coded cogs: Basic researchers (purple); translational researchers (blue); foundations/granting agencies (green); academic medical centers (includes the AHSCs discussed in the text as well as other BRCs and research hospitals) (orange); and industry (red). Ideally, these collaborations yield knowledge suitable for later-stage funding streams and relevant to the eventual deployment of improved patient care in the clinic.



  • Table 1. BRCs and AHSCs in England and Wales.


    Comprehensive BRCs
    (NHS* trust/academic partner)
    AHSCsSpecialist BRCs
    [NHS trust/academic partner (specialty)]
    • Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust/University of Cambridge
    • Guy’s and St. Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust/King’s College London
    • Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust/Imperial College London
    • Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals NHS Trust/University of Oxford
    • University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust/University College London
    • Cambridge University Health partners
    • Imperial AHSC
    • King’s Health Partners
    • Manchester AHSC
    • UCL† Partners
    • Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust/UCL Institute of Child Health (pediatric/child health)
    • Central Manchester and Manchester Children’s University Hospitals NHS Trust/University of Manchester (genetics and developmental medicine)
    • Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust/UCL Institute of Ophthalmology (ophthalmology)
    • Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Trust/Newcastle University (aging)
    • Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust/University of Liverpool (microbial diseases)
    • Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust/Institute of Cancer Research (cancer)
    • South London and Maudsley NHS Trust/KCL‡ Institute of Psychiatry (mental health)

    *NHS, National Health Service; †UCL, University College London; ‡KCL, King's College London

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