£9m For South Coast Health Research

11 July 2019, 09:19 | Updated: 11 July 2019, 09:26

ARC research funding

£9 million of government funding has been awarded to health research projects across the South Coast.

It'll create a new organisation called ARC Wessex - working with the NHS and universities in Bournemouth, Southampton, Portsmouth and Winchester.

The team will look into dementia, long term conditions and making communities and workplaces healthier.

Professor Alison Richardson, is the Director of ARC Wessex, based at University Hospitals Southampton NHS Foundation Trust & University of Southampton, where she specialises in cancer and end of life care. She believes this investment in research is vital: 

"We are enormously pleased to have been awarded this funding from the National Institute for Health Research. Our collaboration is focussed on some of the biggest health challenges facing communities across Wessex. Our research will bring together patients and the public, local health and care providers and universities to work together to produce and implement research to enable prevention of ill health, more effective treatment and care and better outcomes. It's a very exciting time and we look forward to starting our programme of work in earnest in the autumn."

Dr Phil Richardson, Lead Director Dorset ICS and NHS Dorset CCG, said: 

"We are delighted that the ARC has been supported by NIHR. As a leading integrated care system we very much see ARC as a key delivery partner and a valuable member of Research Active Dorset."

The ARC Wessex researchers will be working across four research areas:

1. Ageing and dementia
2. Long Term Conditions
3. Healthy Communities
4. Health Systems and Workforce.

The research has been designed alongside the priorities for the NHS in the Wessex region and to compliment research carried out in other local research organisations.

Professor Sherria Hoskins, Dean of the Faculty of Science at the University of Portsmouth, said: 

"This is substantial funding that represents our growing strength in health research and has been secured as part of a team effort both from within the University of Portsmouth and across the region. We are extremely excited at the prospect of working with excellent teams from the Universities of Bournemouth, Winchester and Southampton and colleagues at the National Institute for Health Research as part of this Wessex Research Collaboration. It is particularly exciting because the focus is on applied research in some key areas of challenge in health for our nation, for example dementia and diabetes. With £9 million to contribute to research over the next five years we believe that we can have a significant real world impact."

Professor Tim McIntyre-Bhatty, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Bournemouth University: 

"Bournemouth University (BU) is delighted to be part of the Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) working with our colleagues to deliver high quality health and care research that is relevant to the Wessex community and has a high impact. The ARC places the focus on community and public involvement in research, matching BU's strength for bringing together research, education and professional practice through Fusion."

Professor Jane Murphy, Professor of Nutrition, Bournemouth University: 

"Our ageing and dementia research at Bournemouth University uses collective expertise to improve the lives of older people with long-term conditions including dementia, and their families across the community. The Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) will enhance working with our NHS partners to accelerate our innovative person-centred research to address the complex health challenges of our ageing population across Wessex and demonstrate impact and benefit for older citizens and the health and care they receive."

"Our growing population is placing an unprecedented demand on our healthcare services. It is, therefore, more important than ever that researchers work together to discover and deliver the most effective healthcare processes, strategies and techniques," said Professor Simon Jobson, Dean-Designate of the University of Winchester's new Faculty of Health and Wellbeing.

"As we prepare to launch our new Faculty of Health and Wellbeing, Winchester is well-placed to join NIHR ARC Wessex in our collective mission to achieve this."