Health Research

Health research news, events and info for the South West

Research Capability Funding - new call

📥  HealthResSW

What is RCF?

NIHR RCF is a funding stream designed to help research-active NHS organisations attract, develop and retain high-quality research, clinical and support staff by supporting salaries.

Who is eligible?

Researchers, NHS or academics involved in people based research who will recruit from any of our Consortia areas; Bath & North East Somerset, Swindon, and East Wiltshire and the North and West localities of Wiltshire.

To cover:

  • the part of an NIHR Faculty member's salary which is not covered by other NIHR sources
  • new staff, who are expected to be Faculty members, but who have not yet obtained funding from the other NIHR sources
  • existing Faculty members who are "between grants"
  • the time spent by Faculty members in preparing grant proposals
  • the time spent by Faculty members in contributing to wider research needs, for example, in peer review panels
  • the research-related time of NHS-employed administrative and secretarial staff who are supporting Faculty members in their NIHR-related work.

Please contact Dr Lisa Austin: for an application form and the guidance notes.

Competition closes 13th October 2017


Volunteers needed for the Thinking About Mental Illness Recurrence (TAMIR) study

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Researchers from the University of Bath's Department of Psychology would like to invite anyone over the age of 18 who has previously experienced a mental health problem to take part in an online research study answering several questionnaires.

It doesn’t matter if you have experienced more than one mental health problem, or if it has been formally diagnosed or not. The questionnaires should take approximately 20 minutes to complete. All responses are anonymous and will be stored safely.

The study is being conducted by Taruna Jamalamadaka, a Trainee Clinical Psychologist at the University of Bath. This project has been approved by the University of Bath Psychology Research Ethics Committee and the Health Research Authority and is being supervised by Professor Paul Salkovskis and Dr Emma Griffith.

Find out more information or participate here. You can also contact the research team at


One million people have taken part in primary care clinical research

📥  HealthResSW

Over one million people in primary care have actively participated in research studies looking at healthier lifestyle, disease diagnosis and prevention, and management of long term illnesses such as diabetes.

Clinical research is the way clinicians in primary care (including GPs, dentists and pharmacists) gather evidence about new treatments, in order to improve patient care in the NHS.

Simon Denegri is the NIHR National Director for Patients and the Public in Research, he said:

“This is fantastic news. The nature of the health challenges facing the UK means that GPs, in partnership with patients and carers, have a crucial role to play in developing treatments of patient benefit. That over one million people have volunteered to participate in clinical studies is a mark of how successful this partnership has become. The NIHR hopes that many more people and their families will be encouraged by this to also come forward and help us do more life-saving work. Research cannot happen without them.”

Read the full story on the NIHR website.


Symposium: Engaging young people, with pain related health conditions, in research

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Pain is a common experience in young people who experience chronic illness, and a burden for many of these young people. Young people who experience ongoing pain report poor outcomes in terms of psychological, physical, social and peer-related functioning. Whilst the impact of pain on normative adolescent development is assumed, little is known about the exact social challenges that these young people experience. Moreover, the limited work in this area has typically focused on use of more traditional methods of interviews and questionnaires to explore this area. To develop knowledge in this important area, it is necessary that the chosen research designs match both the communication mediums and styles of young people.

About the symposium
The purpose of the symposium, kindly funded by the British Psychological Society, is to discuss more creative and/or online research methods to better engage with young people in a research context.

The symposium comprises of 3 seminar days spread across two locations:

3 March 2017 (University of Stirling)
19-20 April 2017 (University of Bath)

Each seminar day will bring together researchers, clinicians and young people with an interest in social challenges faced by adolescents with pain related health conditions and/or expertise in using creative assessment techniques to evaluate the use of creative research designs in the context of paediatric health.

Find out more and register here.


More studies than ever before in the West of England

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The 2015/16 NHS Research Activity League Table, published by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), shows all local NHS Trusts are delivering clinical research, as set out in the NHS Constitution. The League Table provides a picture of how much clinical research is happening, where, in what types of trusts and settings, and involving how many patients.

The studies typically compare new with existing treatments, look at screening or prevention programmes, consider the causes and patterns of disease and follow the health and wellbeing of larger number of people over a period of time.

In primary care, 60 per cent of general practices in the West of England recruited people to NIHR research studies, placing the West in the top two regions in England for GP research involvement. The average for England is 42 per cent of general practices recruiting to NIHR studies.

And for commercial studies, where GPs recruit patients to trials run by pharmaceutical and other healthcare companies, the West of England featured strongly, with GPs in Wiltshire working on 19 studies, the joint highest level in country. Collaboration with industry is vital to enable the NHS to deliver first class clinical research, speeding up the development and availability of new treatments, therapies and diagnostics.

Patients, carers, and the public are essential to clinical studies and without them this research could not happen. Last year, 20,500 people took part in clinical studies in the West of England.

Read the full story here.


Patients more likely to survive in research-active hospitals

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A study, supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network (CRN), has found that bowel cancer patients are more likely to survive in research-active hospitals.

Even patients who are not involved in the trials themselves benefit from being in hospitals where a large amount of clinical research is taking place.

Using data from the NIHR CRN, researchers Dr Amy Downing and Professor Eva Morris at the University of Leeds discovered that people are more likely to survive after operations in these types of hospitals and are more likely to still be alive five years afterwards. There was nearly a four per cent increase in the five-year survival rate for those treated in highly research-active hospitals.

Read more here.


The Conversation: Pain is more than a physical process – now a study in mice suggests it may even be socially transferable

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Dr Edmund Keogh, a reader in Psychology, discusses whether pain in one individual can affect the pain experiences of another and if pain be socially transferred.  He begins by examining a study,  published in Science Advances, that found the presence of another mouse in pain, increased the bystanders pain sensitivity levels.

The study shows pain has a strong social environmental dimension, and that pain in one animal can effect pain sensitivity in those close by. It also suggests that the social transmission of pain sensitivity to other mice might occur through a wider range of senses than previously thought.

There are questions that research like this start to generate, which we can use to think more about human pain experiences. For example, how the senses might interact, and how information from one of our senses crosses over to influence another.

Read the full article on The Conversation »


Pain stories: Young people with pain and their families needed to talk about how they make sense of pain

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Researchers from the University of Bath are interested in talking to young people who experience pain and their families to help us understand what it is like for individuals and their families to live with pain and to learn more about how pain is understood.

Existing research studies have shown that living with ongoing pain can pose different challenges for young people and their parents as well as for other family members. However, what we know little about is how young people who experience pain make sense of their pain and what it is actually like to live with pain on a daily basis. Additionally, we also little about how pain in young people impacts on other family members and how pain is understood by parents and siblings.

In this study, Dr Abbie Jordan and Dr Elaine Wainwright are interested in asking young people and their family members to tell us how they make sense of living with pain and its impact on family life. Using Skype, Dr Jordan and Dr Wainwright will conduct interviews with young people and their families to understand more about how pain is understood within the family and how it impacts on the lives of individuals within the family.

As the study is focused on the experiences of family members, the researchers are keen to talk to:

  • young people aged 11-20 years who have experienced pain for at least three months and their family members.

In particular, they are keen to talk to at least one parent of the young person and any interested siblings.

If you would like to take part in the study or to find out more information, please email the researchers at

The ASCmeIT app showcased at conference on Computers Helping People with Special Needs

📥  HealthResSW

The 15th International Conference on Computers Helping People with Special Needs was attended by specialist health professionals and researchers with a remit to help people with special needs through computing. Professor Sarah Parsons, from the Digital Bubbles team, presented the ASCmeIT app. The app, which allows people with Autism Spectrum Conditions to share their ideas on what kind of new technology could help people with autism, was particularly welcomed at the conference as it encouraged ideas from the autistic community as opposed to experts.

The Digital Bubbles group, who came up with the ASCmeIT idea, includes researchers from the Universities of Bath, Southampton and Sussex who are interested in how digital technology can best support people on the autism spectrum. Bath Research & Development managed the technical development of the app.

The proceedings from the conference, which includes the presentation from Sarah (What Technology for Autism Needs to be Invented? Idea Generation from the Autism Community via the ASCme I.T. App), are available here.


ASCmeIT app showcased at PETRA conference

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Dr Lisa Austin, University of Bath, represented the Digital Bubbles team and their ASCmeIT smartphone application at this this year’s PErvasive Technologies Related to Assistive Environments (PETRA) conference in Corfu.


Poster presented at the PETRA Conference

The ASCmeIT app allows people with Autism Spectrum Conditions – as well as families, teachers, professionals, and anyone who supports someone with autism – to share their ideas on what kind of new technology could help people with autism. Through the app you can upload a one minute video explaining your idea, which is then shared with researchers so that new developments in digital technologies for autism can be matched to support the needs of users. The app has proved very successful with over 100 videos uploaded since its launch.

The aim of the PETRA conference is to bring together such technologies to address important social and healthcare issues for sensitive populations, such as the elderly, persons suffering from chronic conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Cerebral Palsy, and other disabilities or traumas.

The app was well received and gained a lot of interest at the conference, with many attendees keen to learn more about co-creation of research with users and especially to hear more about methods to connect with people that were considered harder to reach.