The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) has announced a £135 million investment in 15 new NIHR Applied Research Collaborations (ARCs), which will join up some of the country’s best universities, leading innovators and local authorities to solve some of the biggest issues facing health and social care over the next five years.
The funding has been awarded to 15 partnerships covering every area of England, made up of health and care providers, commissioners, local authorities, universities, private companies, charities, and academics, who will work together to address specific health or care issues in their region.
The ARCs scheme aims to improve outcomes for patients and the public; improve the quality, delivery and efficiency of health and care services; and increase the sustainability of the health and care system both locally and nationally.
The funding will also support, facilitate and increase the rate at which research findings are implemented into practice.
A total of up to £15 million of additional NIHR funding will be available to NIHR ARCs to facilitate cross-ARC collaboration on identified national priorities for applied health and care research, to deliver a step change in national-level impact.
The new funding follows a number of successful projects by NIHR Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRCs), including research that led to the commitment in the NHS Long Term Plan of every woman receiving care from the same midwife during pregnancy, birth and postnatally by 2021. The new NIHR ARCs will replace the CLAHRCs in October 2019.
Health Minister Nicola Blackwood said: “As the population grows and demand on the NHS increases, it is paramount we develop the next generation of technologies and improve the way we work to ensure the NHS continues to offer world-leading care.
“The UK has a proud history of cutting edge health research and by supporting the great minds in health and social care, this funding has the potential to unlock solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing healthcare and revolutionise the way patients access treatments in the future.”
Prof Chris Whitty, NIHR Lead and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Department of Health and Social Care, said: “The unique local collective approach at each NIHR ARC will support applied health and care research that responds to, and meets, the needs of local patients, and local health and care systems. The network will also be able to tackle health priorities at a national level.
“The 15 new NIHR ARCs will ensure that we grow applied health and care research in every region in England. The additional funding announced today means we will ensure that our world-leading research is turned into real benefits for patients and ensure the NIHR Applied Research Collaborations work together to have national-level impact.”