Blood and Transplant Research Units

NIHR's Blood and Transplant Research Units (BTRUs) are research partnerships between universities and NHS Blood & Transplant (NHSBT).

We have invested £15.1 million in four BTRUs (see table below) as follows:

  • donor health and genomics - Director: Professor John Danesh, University of Cambridge
  • organ donation and transplantation - Director: Professor Michael Nicholson, University of Cambridge (in collaboration with Newcastle University), with a focus on understanding how to improve the quality of organs prior to donation
  • stem cells and immunotherapies - Director: Dr Karl Peggs, University College London
  • development of new red blood cell products to support the transfusion needs of patients with rare blood groups and those with complex and life-limiting conditions - Director: Professor Dave Anstee, University of Bristol.

Multidisciplinary centres of excellence, the BTRUs support the needs of NHSBT for research to improve the supply of blood, blood products, stem cells and tissues, and organs for transplantation by:

  • creating an environment where world-class research, focused on the needs of NHSBT and the patients it serves, can thrive
  • translating advances in research into benefits for users of NHSBT’s services
  • focusing on areas of greatest priority
  • providing high quality research evidence to inform decision-making by NHSBT.

Further information:

NIHR briefing document


Topic-based priority areas

Name of BTRU

Lead University in partnership with NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT)


Manufacture and clinical assessment of cultured red cells

NIHR BTRU in Red Blood Cell Products at University of Bristol

University of Bristol

University of Bath

University of the West of England

University of Warwick

Organ donation and transplantation

NIHR BTRU in Organ Donation and Transplantation at Cambridge and Newcastle Universities

University of Cambridge

 Newcastle University


Donor health and genomics

NIHR BTRU in Donor Health and Genomics at University of Cambridge

University of Cambridge

University of Oxford

Genome Research Limited (Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute)


Haematopoietic stem cell transplantation and immune therapies

NIHR BTRU in Stem Cells and Immunotherapies at University College London

University College London 

Queen Mary University, London