Our Clinical Research Facility (CRF) has been successful in their application for funding from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), as part of their Early Translational (Experimental Medicine) Research Competition 2016.
CRFs are dedicated, purpose built facilities with specialist clinical research and support staff from universities and NHS Trusts working together on patient-orientated commercial and non-commercial experimental medicine studies.
Our facility is a relatively new partnership with Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust and Lancaster University, and the funding package will be used to support the delivery of experimental medicine for participants across Lancashire and South Cumbria. Over the course of five years, between April 2017 and March 2022, our facility will receive a fantastic £750,000 to aid us in our aim of carrying out world-class research within experimental medicine.
In their application, our facility had to meet strict assessment criteria that reflected our current successes within our research strengths, the quality of our facilities for experimental medicine studies, our advantageous local partnerships, and our plans for the future. From this, the Assessment Panel at NIHR were able to determine that our facility and hospitals held great promise for working within the experimental medicine research field, and are ideally situated to enable participation and go from strength to strength with our development and research over the next five years.
Gemma Whiteley, Head of Research and Innovation at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Being designated an NIHR CRF as a result of receiving this funding is a huge achievement for the region, opening up opportunities for our population to have access to more high quality clinical trials in a safe and comfortable environment. Our CRF has already made a difference to our participants, one family said: ‘We enjoy our visits to the unit despite the reason behind them. We are made to feel welcome and have never been made to feel like a chore or an intrusion. It is a great place full of fabulous staff.’”
Andrew Pennington, Associate Director of Research & Development at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Receiving this designation and funding from the NIHR is an outstanding achievement and testament to the dedication and excellent partnership working of the two Trusts involved, along with the University. We are committed to ensuring that this infrastructure makes a real difference to our patients and that we’re able to continue to expand our research opportunities in the region.”
Heather Tierney Moore, Lancashire Care Chief Executive, said: “I am absolutely delighted that the Clinical Research Facility has been designated as an NIHR Clinical Research Facility. At Lancashire Care, we are committed to improving outcomes for the people that use our services through research activity, and this status and associated funding will enable us to further build on the activity that we already undertake in line with the mission of the NIHR. In 2015-2016, Lancashire Care was the highest recruiting Mental Health/Community Trust in the North West, with over 1300 participants taking part in our research. The partnership that we have with Lancashire Teaching Hospitals is unique in that it is one of only a few research centres in the UK that brings mental health and physical health research together. This exciting development will enable us to further build on the great work that we already do to improve health outcomes for the people of Lancashire and South Cumbria.”
Karen Partington, Chief Executive at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This is amazing news! Leading research programmes is an important priority for us in delivering excellent care, as they help to improve health outcomes for everyone and bring the latest medicines and treatments to patients in Lancashire and South Cumbria. I’m incredibly proud of our research team’s achievements and can’t wait to see what progress they make as a result of this invaluable opportunity.”