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New NIHR Academy launched to future-proof UK research workforce

A new academy was launched yesterday by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to ensure the UK stays at the forefront of medical research.

The NIHR is aiming to secure the capacity and capability needed to meet the growing challenges currently faced by the NHS, from multimorbidity in the elderly to children and young people’s mental health.

It is hoped that the new academy will attract groups where research capacity is currently low, such as nursing, pharmacists and social scientists, and open up new career opportunities and progression.

Upskilling the workforce of bioinformatics and data science, and building capacity in under-represented sectors like primary care, social care and primary health, are also amongst the new academy’s goals.

The NIHR currently invests more than £130m a year in training and development, making it the largest funder of health research training in the UK.

Speaking at the launch event at the Barbican Centre in London yesterday, Lord O’Shaughnessy, parliamentary under secretary of state for health, said: “The government is committed to unlocking the next wave of treatments and innovations – that’s why we invest £1bn a year into health and social care research.

“The NIHR Academy will ensure the UK remains at the forefront of research by bringing together more than 4,000 academics to find lifesaving solutions to key emerging health problems.”

Six new ‘incubators’ were also announced by Professor David Jones, dean of the NIHR Academy, for research capacity in primary care, public health, social care, health data science, nursing and emergency care.

He said: “Our new incubator programme will be transformational in building stronger research in areas of need. Each will be co-produced and tailored to the need.

“For example, our partnership with Health Data Research UK will bring together new communities to advance training and career development in health data science.”

Dr Matthew Hallsworth, head of external relations at the NIHR Office for Clinical Research Infrastructure, wrote for NHE in our Sept/Oct issue to discuss driving innovation across the NHS.


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