Biomedical Research Units (BRUs)

Based within England’s leading NHS organisations and universities, 20 NIHR Biomedical Research Units undertake translational research in priority areas of high disease burden and clinical need.

NIHR BRUs focus on specific therapeutic areas of disease including: musculoskeletal, gastrointestinal, respiratory, cardiovascular, dementia, nutrition, diet and lifestyle and deafness and hearing.

The aims of the BRUs are to:

  • Drive innovation in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of ill-health
  • Translate advances in medical research into benefits for patients
  • Provide a key component of the NHS contribution to our nation’s international competitiveness by building on the best research leaders and their teams and enabling their host institutions to achieve or further develop critical mass in a priority research area:
  1. supporting the further development of NHS/University partnerships with existing critical mass in the priority research areas, “building on the best”;
  2. enabling excellent, but comparatively small, research groups (comprising a relatively small number of research leaders, working in one of the priority areas, who are at the forefront of their field internationally) to achieve critical mass.

BRU research areas

Details of the BRUs and their research areas are given in the table below.

NameName including host organisation and academic partner Priority area  Funding for five years from 1 April 2012
NIHR Barts Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit NIHR Biomedical Research Unit in Cardiovascular Disease at Barts Health NHS Trust and Queen Mary University of London Cardiovascular disease £6,557,380
NIHR Birmingham Liver Biomedical Research Unit NIHR Biomedical Research Unit in Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease at the University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Birmingham Gastrointestinal disease £6,561,700
NIHR Bristol Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit NIHR Biomedical Research Unit in Cardiovascular Disease at the University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Bristol Cardiovascular disease £6,970,180
NIHR Bristol Nutrition Biomedical Research Unit NIHR Biomedical Research Unit in Nutrition, Diet and Lifestyle at University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Bristol Nutrition £4,500,000
NIHR Cambridge Dementia Biomedical Research Unit NIHR Biomedical Research Unit in Dementia at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Cambridge Dementia £4,500,000
NIHR Leeds Musculoskeletal Biomedical Research Unit NIHR Biomedical Research Unit in Musculoskeletal Disease at the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and the University of Leeds Musculoskeletal disease £6,675,334
NIHR Leicester Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit NIHR Biomedical Research Unit in Cardiovascular Disease at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust and the University of Leicester Cardiovascular disease £6,559,020
NIHR Leicester-Loughborough Diet, Lifestyle and Physical Activity Biomedical Research Unit NIHR Biomedical Research Unit in Nutrition, Diet and Lifestyle at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust and Loughborough University Nutrition £4,500,000
NIHR Leicester Respiratory Biomedical Research Unit NIHR Biomedical Research Unit in Respiratory Disease at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust and the University of Leicester Respiratory disease £4,500,000
NIHR Liverpool Pancreatic Biomedical Research Unit NIHR Biomedical Research Unit in Gastrointestinal Disease at The Royal Liverpool & Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust and the University of Liverpool Gastrointestinal disease £6,563,040
NIHR Manchester Musculoskeletal Biomedical Research Unit NIHR Biomedical Research Unit in Musculoskeletal Disease at Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Manchester Musculoskeletal disease £4,950,000
NIHR Maudsley Dementia Biomedical Research Unit    NIHR Biomedical Research Unit in Dementia at the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and King's College London Dementia £4,500,000
NIHR Newcastle Dementia Biomedical Research Unit NIHR Biomedical Research Unit in Dementia at Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Newcastle University Dementia £4,500,000
NIHR Nottingham Hearing Biomedical Research Unit NIHR Biomedical Research Unit in Deafness and Hearing Problems at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust and the University of Nottingham Deafness £6,257,280
NIHR Nottingham Digestive Diseases Biomedical Research Unit NIHR Biomedical Research Unit in Gastrointestinal and Liver Diseases at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust and the University of Nottingham Gastrointestinal disease £7,199,341
NIHR Oxford Musculoskeletal Biomedical Research Unit NIHR Biomedical Research Unit in Musculoskeletal Disease at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust and the University of Oxford Musculoskeletal disease £9,794,722
NIHR Royal Brompton Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit NIHR Biomedical Research Unit in Cardiovascular Disease at The Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust and Imperial College London Cardiovascular disease £9,740,780
NIHR Royal Brompton Respiratory Biomedical Research Unit The NIHR Biomedical Research Unit in Respiratory Disease at The Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust and Imperial College London Respiratory disease £9,735,620
NIHR Southampton Respiratory Biomedical Research Unit   NIHR Biomedical Research Unit in Respiratory Disease at Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust and the University of Southampton Respiratory disease £7,314,600
NIHR Queen Square Dementia Biomedical Research Unit NIHR Biomedical Research Unit in Dementia at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust  and University College London Dementia £4,500,000

 

Future of NIHR Biomedical Research Units

NIHR BRU funding to date has resulted in the delivery of a substantial portfolio of world-class research, building capacity and critical mass in identified priority areas. As such, the distinction between BRCs and BRUs has become less valid and the current NIHR BRU designation will be discontinued from April 2017.

A new period of NIHR BRC funding runs from 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2022.

Further information

Detailed information about the resources and capabilities of the existing BRUs is available at the UK Experimental Medicine Resource Finder website, or contact the NIHR Office for Clinical Research Infrastructure at nocri@nihr.ac.uk. There is also an NIHR briefing document.