The Centre of Excellence for Musculoskeletal Health and Work has been renewed for a further 5 years with an investment of £2.2 million from Versus Arthritis and the Medical Research Council.
This investment will allow the centre to continue discovering and developing cost-effective ways to reduce the burden of work disability caused by musculoskeletal conditions (MSDs). These include low back pain, osteoarthritis, inflammatory arthritis, gout and rarer conditions such as lupus, which cost an estimated 30.6 million working days to be lost each year. The UK has the highest rates of new claims for disability of any of the Organisation of Economic and Commercial Development (OECD) countries with the two most common causes of disability being musculoskeletal disorders and mental health conditions.
The Centre, which was established in 2014 with an initial investment of £1.4 million over 5 years, is coordinated from the University of Southampton’s Medical Research Council Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit (MRC LEU), based at Southampton General Hospital. The Centre involves multidisciplinary collaboration with the Universities of Aberdeen, Bath Spa, Keele, Lancaster, Liverpool, Manchester and Salford and colleagues at Guys’ and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, the King’s Centre for Military Health Research and the Institute for Employment Studies.
Over the last five years, the initial investment in the Centre has enabled the MRC LEU to build collaborations and develop a critical mass of research skills as well as a talented group of early career scientists now supported to strengthen research capacity in key areas. From the initial award, collaborators have also succeeded in leveraging an additional £5 million for work and health research on which the Centre expects to build substantially.
Dr Elaine Wainwright, a co-investigator based at Bath Spa and an Honorary Research Fellow at the Centre for Pain Research at the University of Bath, said '
"I am absolutely delighted to join this outstanding group. The Centre's research programme is critical to finding the best ways of reducing the burden of work disability caused by musculoskeletal conditions. I look forward to working with the Centre on the best ways to give effective early support to people who wish to remain in work".
Find out more about the Centre here.