Health research boost for the North-east
(10 June 2008)
30 new researchers are set to join the Wolfson Research Institute at Durham University as part of the biggest expansion yet of its work on improving health.
The expansion includes researchers working alongside NHS staff to find practical solutions to health problems in the North East. The multi-million pound expansion includes over £2 million from the National Institute for Health Research to fund several new research posts - part of a joint project with Newcastle University - to run an advisory service on undertaking research for practitioners in the NHS. The ‘Research Design Service’ will provide advice on practical research methods, techniques and ethical issues in health care research. Other important collaborations include pioneering research using advanced medical imaging in collaboration with the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough and a new mental health research centre funded by the Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Trust. The expansion also includes several new staff joining the Institute to help local Primary Care Trusts make decisions on how to improve health care for people in the region. Director of the Wolfson Institute, Professor Tim Blackman, said: ‘It’s a big expansion of our current work with the NHS as well as our partners in local government, and it shows what can be done by working together to pool our resources and match our expertise to some of the North East's biggest research challenges. This will help increase the quality of the health care for patients and improve health and wellbeing for the population as a whole, especially to tackle health inequalities'. ‘There are many issues in the North East like health-related worklessness that are deep-seated and need a better understanding of how to tackle them effectively. Research is vital and can help practitioners by providing evidence about what works and developing the skills to deliver better services. There’s a strong mutual interest between Durham University, the NHS and local government in working together to tackle problems of national and regional significance.’ New posts have also been created at the joint Centre for Translational Research in Public Health, a collaborative project across five of the region's universities to help develop good practice on health issues such as childhood obesity and smoking. Thirty new staff will be in place at the Wolfson Research Institute by October 2008 as part of the £5 million boost to research. The Wolfson Research Institute is a major interdisciplinary unit within Durham University that fosters research on human health and wellbeing in both developed and developing countries. The Institute seeks to understand the determinants of health and wellbeing, and to improve health and the quality of people’s lives by contributing to public policy, professional practice and the development of new products and tools. The Wolfson Foundation part-funded the Institute’s striking waterfront building on the University’s Queen’s Campus in Stockton-on-Tees, where many projects have their office or laboratory facilities. The North East Public Health Observatory is also based in the building. The Institute has a particular commitment to the health and well-being of people living in the North East of England.