Skip to NavigationSkip to content

Government picks top-level NHS-academic research centres

Published on 12/03/09 at 11:32am

Five establishments have been named by the government as Academic Health Science Centres (AHSCs).

The centres - UCL Partners, Cambridge University Health Partners, Imperial College, King's Health Partners and Manchester AHSC - are tie-ups between universities and NHS organisations.

A key Darzi review commitment, their role is to speed up the movement of research breakthroughs in better-quality treatments into the NHS's day-to-day practice.

But the new centres will not receive central funding. The main benefit of AHSC status is "recognition and prestige", the government says.

The idea is that these NHS-academia hybrids - which will retain AHSC status for the next five years - can compete for international talent and funding by pooling resources.

UCL Partners, for example, is itself an amalgam of five British medical research centres and hospitals.

These are: University College London, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust, Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, The Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust and University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Created last September, the combined body can draw on the expertise of 3,500 scientists, senior researchers and consultants.

Its areas of research include oncology, the nervous system, heart disease, immunology and children's health.

The Department of Health says AHSCs will provide benefit to NHS patients as well as creating an economic boost for the UK as a whole.

It wants them "to realise the synergies between research, education, and health services to deliver better patient care and create a virtuous circle".

Health secretary Alan Johnson said: "In times of economic uncertainty it is even more important that we continue to support this country's knowledge industries to ensure that we benefit from the competitive edge which they provide."

Such centres already exist in the US, Canada, Singapore, Sweden and the Netherlands, bundling together research, teaching and patient care expertise.

Clinicians and researchers from these countries were involved in the AHSC shortlist process, interviewing UK applicants on their suitability for AHSC status.

Professor Sir Ian Kennedy, chairman of the Healthcare Commission, was also on the international panel.

The successful centres will be subject to review and the health secretary has decided that there will be a re-application process.

It is possible that there will be changes to legislation in order to allow more integrated governance arrangements, the government said.

Mission Statement is a leading portal for the pharmaceutical industry, providing industry professionals with pharma news, pharma events, pharma service company listings and pharma jobs,
Site content is produced by our editorial team exclusively for and our industry newspaper Pharmafocus. Service company profiles and listings are taken from our pharmaceutical industry directory, Pharmafile, and presented in a unique Find and Compare format to ensure the most relevant matches