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 presented 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

 

Competition for NIHR Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) funding

A new, open competition for NIHR Biomedical Research Unit (BRU) funding has been launched. Funding to the NHS partner is over a five year period, from 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2022. All applications will be reviewed by an independent International Selection Panel who will make recommendations on Biomedical Research Centre designation and funding. The NIHR BRUs will be funded to support people- and/or patient-focused early translational (experimental medicine) research, the aim of which is to translate discoveries from basic/discovery science into clinical research, and through to benefits for patients, the health system and for broader economic gain.

NIHR BRU funding has resulted in the delivery of a substantial portfolio of world-class research,building capacity and critical mass in identified priority areas over the period of NIHR BRU designation and funding. As such, the distinction between BRCs and BRUs has become less valid. The new, open competition has invited applications for NIHR BRC designation and funding. The current NIHR BRU designation will be discontinued from April 2017

The closing date for submission of pre-qualifying questionnaires (PQQ) by NHS/University partnerships that are interested in being considered for an NIHR BRU was 15 February 2016 at 13:00.

We do not expect to shortlist any NHS/University partnership where the academic partner, for example, the Medical School/Faculty of Medicine, has not achieved at least the Silver Award of the Athena SWAN Charter for Women in Science.

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