News posted 28 February, 2022

New funding boost for delivery of early stage clinical research across Greater Manchester

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The MFT-hosted NIHR Manchester Clinical Research Facility (MCRF) has received a £15.5 million award, further enabling it to provide opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds across Greater Manchester to take part in research.

Nationally, the NIHR has announced nearly £161 million to fund 28 NIHR Clinical Research Facilities (CRFs), expanding the delivery of early phase clinical research in NHS hospitals across England.

NIHR CRFs are a key part of the UK’s leading early stage clinical research infrastructure and play an important role in making the country a global hub for life sciences.

They support the delivery of early translational and experimental medicine research, from studies testing new treatments in patients for the very first time (first-in-human trials) through to early safety and efficacy trials (Phase IIa trials). They provide dedicated purpose-built facilities and expertise for the delivery of high-intensity studies funded by the NIHR, the life sciences industry and other organisations.

A total of 28 NIHR CRFs have been awarded funding in this latest round – five more than previously. These CRFs, which will run from 2022 to 2027, will play a key role in realising the ambition in the vision for the future of UK clinical research delivery to bolster the delivery of innovative trials across all phases, all treatment types and all conditions.

NIHR Manchester (MCRF) was founded in 2017 and is hosted by our Trust. This new funding award – A 24 per cent uplift on 2017-2022 – will allow MCRF to further grow its experimental medicine provision across Greater Manchester during the next five years, along with partners at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust and Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust.

Professor Jaclyn Smith is Director of MCRF, Honorary Consultant at Wythenshawe Hospital (part of MFT), Professor of Respiratory Medicine at The University of Manchester, and Programme Lead for Improving Respiratory Symptoms within the NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre (BRC). 

Professor Smith said: “We are absolutely delighted to receive this funding award – which includes a £3 million uplift – and is testament to the world-class staff and facilities we have within NIHR Manchester CRF.

“We now look forward to offering opportunities to take part in early phase clinical research to a broader range of our diverse communities across our region, as part of our aim to reduce health inequalities.

“I would like to extend my thanks to the NIHR and everyone involved in our MCRF funding bid.”

Professor Lucy Chappell, Chief Executive of the NIHR and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Department of Health and Social Care, said: “NIHR’s CRFs scheme has been a key force in translational research across England, helping to position the nation as internationally competitive in early stage clinical research.

“This new funding, a 43 per cent increase, will allow the CRFs to continue to drive forward innovation in experimental medicine and support translation of exciting discoveries into new treatments for patients.”

Minister for Innovation, Lord Kamall, said: “Clinical research has been vital in our fight against COVID-19 and in saving thousands of lives – whether through the rapid creation of vaccines or the identification of life-saving treatments like dexamethasone.

“Funding more CRFs across the country means we can continue to build on this innovation to transform our health service and ensure the NHS is able to deliver world-class care.

“As we build back better from the pandemic, I am committed to ensuring the UK remains a world leader in diverse, ground-breaking research.” 

Read more about the 2022 CRF funding announcement via the NIHR website.