CLAHRC West to become ARC West following £9m investment from NIHR

11 July 2019

NIHR CLAHRC West has been given a £9 million award from the Government’s Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to become the Applied Research Collaboration West (ARC West) from 1 October 2019.

The investment, awarded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) which is funded by DHSC, will help develop better health and care through research that aims to address the immediate issues facing the health and social care system. The money is part of a larger £135 million award over five years to 15 ARCs across England.

Professor 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 Applied Research Collaboration 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.”

John Macleod, Director of ARC West and Professor of Clinical Epidemiology and Primary Care at the University of Bristol, said:

“This funding will help us work with our partners for better, more equitable, appropriate and sustainable health and care across the West, and is testament to the strength of our local collaborations. Securing the ARC West funding has been a real team effort, and it’s been an honour to work with the people who have made our bid a success. I would like to thank everyone involved in the process.

“I also want to pay tribute to the CLAHRC West team, who have worked so hard over the last five years to build our reputation for impactful applied research. I want to especially recognise the efforts of Professor Jenny Donovan in leading our first successful CLAHRC bid and then directing CLAHRC West. I am looking forward to building on the strong foundations that she and the rest of the team have laid.”

The funding will enable new research projects including forecasting demand in hospitals, increasing people’s physical activity levels, supporting people who self-harm and improving outcomes for children in care. ARC West will build on the success of the NIHR Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRCs), which the ARCs replace. NIHR CLAHRC West has a strong track record of producing impactful research with a range of collaborators.

The CLAHRC West team has worked on diverse projects including evaluating patient safety tools and the roll out of an intervention to reduce cerebral palsy in premature babies with the West of England Academic Health Science Network (AHSN), exploring the experiences of Somali families affected by autism, creating harm reduction materials with people who inject drugs and improving how healthcare professionals respond to signs of domestic violence and abuse.

ARC West will be hosted by University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust (UH Bristol). It brings together universities, local authorities, NHS trusts, clinical commissioning groups, voluntary sector and community organisations in the West of England, alongside patients and members of the public, to focus on improving health and care for local people.

Natasha Swinscoe, Chief Executive Officer of the West of England AHSN, said:

“The announcement of funding for the new ARC West is excellent news, and we look forward to building on our previous highly successful collaborations with CLAHRC West.

“We look forward to working closely with ARC West on our future shared work programme and expect further opportunities for collaboration to come from the national rollout of ReSPECT, which supports personalised recommendations for an individual’s clinical care in emergency situations, as well as healthcare innovations identified through national programmes.”

Robert Woolley, Chief Executive of UH Bristol and part of the successful bid team, said:

“Research is the lifeblood of our trust and wider health and care system. The work my colleagues will undertake in ARC West is vital and necessary. It will change how we deliver care and public health interventions.

“Applied research may not get the same attention as new cures or medical devices. But what it does is tell us how to do things better, or even stop doing certain things. The ARC West team will help its partners improve, from hospitals to mental health trusts, and voluntary sector organisations to local authorities. Congratulations to John and the team for this latest addition to the west’s impressive research landscape.”

Find out more about ARC West.