Research News

MRC peer review explained

Friday, 17 June 2016 15:06

The MRC funds research across the biomedical spectrum in all major disease areas. But do you know what happens to your MRC grant application when you press ‘submit’?

Familiarising yourself with MRC peer review will not only help you navigate the selection process but also learn more about what reviewers are looking for.

You are invited to go behind the MRC scenes in their short animation explaining how the MRC peer review process works.

Further Information

INVOLVE - supporting active public involvement in NHS, public health and social care research

Thursday, 09 June 2016 10:08

INVOLVE (est. 1996) is part of, and funded by, the National Institute for Health Research, to support active public involvement in NHS, public health and social care research. It is one of the few government funded programmes of its kind in the world.

As a national advisory group INVOLVE’s role is to bring together expertise, insight and experience in the field of public involvement in research. Their aim is to advance public involvement as an essential part of the process by which research is identified, prioritised, designed, conducted and disseminated.

INVOLVE defines public involvement in research as research being carried out ‘with’ or ‘by’ members of the public rather than ‘to’, ‘about’ or ‘for’ them. This includes, for example:

  • working with research funders to prioritise research;
  • offering advice as members of a project steering group;
  • commenting on and developing research materials;
  • undertaking interviews with research participants.

When using the term ‘public’ they include:

  • patients
  • potential patients
  • carers
  • people who use health and social care services as well as people from organisations that represent people who use services.

INVOLVE also have a series of briefing notes available to download from the website in PDF form. They are primarily aimed at researchers new to public involvement, and will help them plan, resource and support public involvement in their work. They can be used as an index to see what other resource are currently available. However keep in mind that they will be continually updated and you will need to keep checking via the website.

The ten briefing notes currently available are as follows.

    Briefing notes for researchers: involving the public in NHS, public health and social care research:

  • Briefing note one: Introduction: Who are the briefing notes for?
  • Briefing note two: What is public involvement in research?
  • Briefing note three: Why involve members of the public in research?
  • Briefing note four: Why members of the public get involved in research
  • Briefing note five: Be accessible
  • Briefing note six: Who should I involve and how do I find people?
  • Briefing note seven: Collaboration
  • Briefing note eight: Getting started
  • Briefing note nine: What to do if things go wrong
  • Briefing note ten: Where to go for further information

INVOLVE publicly advertises for members for its advisory group every few years. They last recruited in 2012 and normally recruit every two to three years. A new recruitment round will begin in the autumn of 2016. They currently have 12 advisory group members.

How are INVOLVE advisory group members recruited? New members are recruited through public advertisements and interviews. Advisory group members are invited to join the INVOLVE Group on the basis of their ability to provide personal and/or professional expertise that will be valuable in moving INVOLVE’s work forward. Main Group members are appointed by the Director of Research and Development, Department of Health, England, often following a recommendation from the Chair of INVOLVE.

If you have any questions about membership, please contact INVOLVE on This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call them on 02380 595628.

eBook - On Evaluating Healthcare System Innovations

Tuesday, 24 May 2016 09:06

An e-book published today is the first to comprehensively address the challenges faced by healthcare providers in evaluating system-level innovations in healthcare services in an evolving landscape.

If innovations can be better evaluated then better, evidence-based decisions can be made by healthcare providers to improve the quality of health services in the UK.

Entitled ‘Challenges, solutions and future directions in the evaluation of service innovations in health care and public health’, the book is the result of a partnership between the MRC, the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and the Health Foundation, together with Universities UK and Academy Health.

The e-book, edited by Professor Rosalind Raine at University College London and Professor Raymond Fitzpatrick at the University of Oxford, brings together a global range of expert opinion following a two-day symposium in London last year. The event saw over ninety world-leading applied health researchers and methodologists debate how to address increasing complexity, diversity and pace of change within health systems.

The first edition of the e-book will be published through the NIHR’s Health Services and Delivery Research journal.

Further Information

MRC announces cross-council awards worth nearly £10m to tackle antibiotic resistance

Monday, 23 May 2016 09:17

Three large collaborative grants, totalling £9.5m, have been announced by the MRC as part of a cross-council initiative to tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

The awards together mark one of the biggest investments into AMR since the initiative launched and will use new technology to exploit natural compounds, develop a tool to offer better and faster diagnostics and explore how the body’s own immune system can be boosted to fight infection.

AMR is a significant and growing challenge. The world is facing an increase in the number and type of bacteria resistant to antibiotics alongside stagnation in the development of new antibiotics or viable alternatives. It is clear that an interdisciplinary approach at a global level is needed to tackle the challenge if we are to save millions of lives being lost as a result of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

The MRC has been working with the other research councils that form Research Councils UK to identify research opportunities that cross disciplines to help tackle the rise in AMR.

The latest round of awards has been funded by the MRC, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) through the AMR cross-council initiative, established in 2014 as part of a strategic and co-ordinated effort to address the growing problem head on.

A Project Summary:

Accelerating development of infection diagnostics for patient management and reduction of antibiotic misuse

Professor Christoph Wälti at the University of Leeds


Rapid diagnostic tools are urgently needed to stop the unnecessary use of antibiotics. This project will develop a new tool that can be used by doctors to detect the presence of a bacterial or viral infection quickly before antibiotics are prescribed. The test will also be able to tell which bacterial strain has caused the infection, as different strains require different treatments, and whether the particular type is commonly resistant to antibiotics. This will allow for a much more targeted use of antibiotics, reducing the number of prescriptions and increasing efficacy for patients.

Further Information

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