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The University of Oxford and local NHS partners have won £126.5 million to support medical research.

© Oxford University / John Cairns

The money, from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), includes £113.7 million for the existing University of Oxford/ Oxford University Hospitals Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) and £12.8 million for a new Biomedical Research Centre specialising in mental health and dementia, run by the University and Oxford Health NHS Trust.

The National Institute for Health Research, which is funded through the Department for Health, today announced that the two Oxford BRCs were among a number throughout England to receive funding for 2017 to 2022 following a competitive bidding process. NIHR BRCs bring together expertise within the NHS and leading research organisations to turn latest discoveries into fundamentally new treatments for patients.

Since being established in 2007, more than £150m had already been invested by NIHR to tackle major healthcare challenges, including many clinical studies involving patients at Oxford hospitals including the John Radcliffe and Churchill hospitals and the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre.

The two BRCs will work closely together, and with the Oxford Academic Health Science Centre, to develop innovations in areas such as working with ‘big data’, personalised medicine and tackling the problems of multiple long-term conditions and dementia.

Oxford NIHR Biomedical Research Centre 

The joint working of Oxford University and Oxford University Hospitals allowed the BRC to go from strength to strength and I am delighted to see this recognised in the increased funding.

Professor Alastair Buchan, Dean of Medicine and Head of Medical Sciences, University of Oxford

The further funding of £113.7m represents a significant increase of almost £10m for the existing Oxford BRC, and will support research including cancer, diabetes, genetics, neurology, infection, musculoskeletal, stroke and surgery.

The success of the Centre in the award of major new funding reflects the scale, success and excellence of the OUH-University of Oxford partnership in medical research.

NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre Director Professor Keith Channon said: 'I’m delighted that our Biomedical Research Centre has been successful in winning this major additional funding for a further five years – reflecting the scale, scope and excellence of our clinical research.'

Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Chief Executive Dr Bruno Holthof said: 'This continued support for the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre is a testament to the close working between the Trust, the University of Oxford and industry to bring innovation in research to the patient bedside.'

NIHR Oxford Health Biomedical Research Centre

Our collaboration is offering new insights into dementia and finding new ways to beat it. I am delighted to see the achievements of our dedicated and talented joint team recognized in the additional funding for an NIHR Biomedical Research Centre dedicated to mental health and dementia in Oxford.

Professor Alastair Buchan, Dean of Medicine and Head of Medical Sciences, University of Oxford

The new University/Oxford Health BRC is one of only two across the country dedicated to mental health and dementia. The hub of the new centre will be based at Oxford Health's Warneford Hospital site. The site also houses the University of Oxford's Department of Psychiatry and its associated research centres and facilities.

Stuart Bell CBE, Oxford Health's Chief Executive, said: 'We're thrilled to host this new NIHR Biomedical Research Centre dedicated to mental health. This award recognises Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust and the close partnership with the University of Oxford.'

Professor John Geddes, Director of the new NIHR Oxford Health BRC said: 'Oxford University is already a world leader in basic research, but this new biomedical research centre will enable us to drive insights from our discovery science into innovative treatments.'

Major healthcare challenges

Professor Sir John Bell, Regius Professor of Medicine at the University and Chairman of the Oxford Academic Health Science Centre (AHSC) said: 'The award of NIHR funding to Oxford’s BRCs is a great refection of the strengths of the Oxford AHSC partners, and will enable us to work together to address major healthcare challenges in areas such as chronic diseases, dementia and digital health.'

Professor Alastair Buchan, Dean of Medicine and Head of Medical Sciences Division, University of Oxford said 'The Oxford BRC was initially funded ten years ago and, as a result of the successful strategic alignment of the University and the Trust to create Oxford University Hospitals, the BRC was re-funded five years ago in 2011.

'The joint working of Oxford University and Oxford University Hospitals allowed the BRC to go from strength to strength and I am delighted to see this recognised in the increased funding to take us through to 2022.

'The partnership between Oxford University and the Oxford Health Foundation Trust is a close and successful relationship that achieves better understanding of psychiatric conditions and creates new treatments that help people cope with - and recover from - mental ill health. At the same time, our collaboration is offering new insights into dementia and finding new ways to beat it. I am delighted to see the achievements of our dedicated and talented joint team recognized in the additional funding for an NIHR Biomedical Research Centre dedicated to mental health and dementia in Oxford.'

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