Published: 07 August 2019
Version: Version 3 - January 2023Print this document
The NIHR offers two types of Research Professorships:
- NIHR Research Professorships - based in England only, with up to five awards offered per annual round
- NIHR Global Research Professorships - based in all four UK nations and internationally (subject to eligibility), with up to four awards offered per annual round
Please find below a list of people who have been awarded an NIHR Research Professorship from 2011-2021 and NIHR Global Research Professorships from 2018-2021.
NIHR Research Professorships
Round 12, 2022
- Launched - 29 September 2021; closed - 1 December 2021. 37 applications received.
- Shortlisting April 2022; 14 invited to interview on 12/13 July 2022.
Professor David Taylor-Robinson, University of Liverpool
Tackling child health inequality. An interventional epidemiology platform to inform policy
My professorship aims to bring together data to evaluate the effects of interventions and policies to help reduce child health inequalities in the UK and to inform policy decisions internationally.
The UK lags behind other wealthy countries in child health and continues to slip down international rankings. We now have the highest death rate in children under five in western Europe. Poor children are faring particularly badly. A child born in the most disadvantaged tenth of areas of the UK can expect to live around a decade less that a child born in the most advantaged tenth.
This research seeks to provide a detailed understanding of why children from more disadvantaged backgrounds have worse health, and how policies and interventions work, for whom, and under what circumstances, so informing real-world policy change that will improve health in childhood and in later life.
Professor Laura Shallcross, University College London
Care Home Evidence-based Interventions to Reduce Infection that are Sustainable and Holistic (CHERISH)
In England, around 410,000 people live in 11,000 care homes for older adults. Care home residents are prone to many infections like flu, urine infections and COVID-19, which affect their well-being, physical and mental health, and impact on the delivery of health and social care services. Many infections can be prevented by simple measures such as vaccination or wearing masks, but these are hard to implement because care homes are very different to healthcare settings.
In my research professorship I aim to build on what we have learned in the pandemic to reduce the impact of common infections in care homes. I will start by focusing on flu – the leading cause of care home outbreaks, and urinary tract infections – a major cause of illness, preventable hospital admissions and drug-resistance. Importantly, all our work will be delivered in partnership with people who live and work in care homes.
Professor Deborah Stocken, University of Leeds
Statistical Methods in Surgical Trials Evaluation and Research
Surgery is an important health care intervention accounting for one third of all NHS hospital admissions. Most people will benefit from surgery at some point and rely on effective, evaluated treatments. There is a paucity of surgical trials resulting in techniques being adopted with varied approaches and little evidence.
SIGMA-S will improve the health of patients by increasing the quality and quantity of clinical trials of surgical interventions. Novel statistical methods for optimising and tailoring interventions will ensure interacting components of complex surgical interventions are fully understood. Early phase methodologies and emerging computer simulated evidence will allow interventions to be evaluated more efficiently and effectively. Trialists, surgeons and patients will help make recommendations for adoption resulting in increased opportunities for patient participation and reliable, scalable evidence to reduce geographical variability in patient care.
Professor Laurie Tomlinson, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Using routinely-collected healthcare data to inform clinical guidance and improve population health
Analysis of the UK’s high-quality, routinely collected healthcare data can address important health questions such as the effects and safety of prescribed drugs. Such results may be particularly important when there is no evidence or uncertainty from randomised trials. At present such observational data is little used to develop guidelines as there is concern that the results are less robust than that from randomised trials.
However this data is rapidly available, low cost to analyse, and provides evidence about drug effects in the whole population rather than those included in trials. In this Research Professorship I will work in partnership with NICE, a global leader in developing guidelines for clinical care, to identify whether this ‘real-world’ evidence can inform and increase the impact of their clinical guidance, strengthening their work into the future and with potential cost-efficiencies and benefits for the health of the population.
Professor Sian Taylor-Phillips, University of Warwick
Population Health Screening Benefits and Harms: Evidence Synthesis methods to support policy-making
Health screening programmes are offered to millions of people worldwide. These range from cancer screening for adults to rare disease screening for newborn babies. Governments use research to decide which screening programmes to offer. The research shows the benefits of screening. For example, how many lives it saves. The research also shows the harms of screening, like people getting incorrect test results or unnecessary treatments.
This programme of work is about how to accurately bring together research evidence to support policy decisions. We will find better ways of linking different research studies together, using routine patient records as well as published research, and working together across several countries. This will enable governments to better understand the benefits and harms of screening for different groups of people (for example different ethnic or socioeconomic groups). It will help them to make better and more equitable decisions about which screening programmes to run.
Professor David Clifton, University of Oxford
Predictive Machine Learning and Digital Health for Improving Patient Outcomes
When patients are in hospital, ever more information about them is routinely collected – such as the results of blood tests, vital signs, diagnoses about any previous healthcare conditions that patients have had, the medicines that they have been prescribed, and so on.
This Research Professorship aims to develop new tools based on artificial intelligence (AI) to enable clinicians to improve the effectiveness with which hospital resources can be managed; for example, by identifying from routinely-acquired clinical data which tests are likely to be required for an individual patient, or by enabling resources to be proactively allocated through presenting to clinicians recommendations for them to consider in handling patients.
Many opportunities also exist in using hospital data to help identify otherwise-unnoticed conditions in patients, allowing early treatment to be started to improve outcomes and quality-of-life.
Round 11, 2021
- Launched - 24 September 2020; closed - 26 November 2020. 32 applications received.
- Shortlisting March 2021; 10 invited to interview on 23/24 June 2021.
Professor Christopher McDermott, University of Sheffield
Better outcomes for patients living with motor neuron disease
Across all UK communities 1 in every 300 people develop motor neuron disease (MND) and sadly there is no cure. Good care for people with MND can improve survival but accessing specialist care can be difficult. The first aim of my research is to improve the care that people living with MND receive.
I will develop and evaluate new approaches to delivering care for people with MND that are timely, effective, low burden and patient centred. My second aim is to ensure we find a cure as fast as possible. To do this everyone with MND must be supported to participate in clinical trials that are evaluating outcomes that are important to them and are designed to minimise the burden of being in a trial.I will develop with people with MND a new patient reported outcome measure and demonstrate how remote technologies can be used to make participation easier.
Professor Caroline Moore, University College London
BeSpoke: Building and Evaluating a risk Stratified PrOstate pathway for cancer screening, detection, treatment and surveillance
Prostate cancer is the commonest cancer in the men in the UK, and the second commonest cause of cancer related death. Some men will have an indolent cancer which is unlikely to cause harm, whilst others will have aggressive cancers which need prompt treatment.
This NIHR professorship will allow me to develop a personalised approach to prostate cancer, developing the components needed for a modern approach to screening for aggressive prostate cancer, refining the MRI techniques needed for men at higher risk, personalising the approach to monitoring lower risk cancers, and detailing the recovery after different treatments for localised prostate cancer, so that men can choose the most appropriate treatment for them.
Professor Serena Nik-Zainal, University of Cambridge
Harnessing the power of cancer whole genome sequencing for clinical utility
The DNA in a human cancer carries thousands of mutations that serve as an archaeological record, informative of all the biological processes that have gone awry during tumorigenesis. Understanding these mutations may help guide therapeutic management of cancer patients more effectively.
The 100,000 Genomes Project (100kGP) governed by Genomics England (GeL) is a national endeavour that has successfully sequenced over 17,000 whole cancer genomes of NHS patients recruited from across the country. In partnership with GeL, my team will develop computational algorithms on retrospective and prospective collections of cancer patient data, create methods to improve cancer genome interpretation, and critically, implement our tools into the national genomics infrastructure, to maximise the reach of our innovations nationally.
Professor Daniel Perry, University of Liverpool
Overcoming unplanned variation in children’s health (OUCH): Maximising the safety and effectiveness of orthopaedic care for children through better evidence
There is little research that tests the effectiveness of orthopaedic treatments in children. Currently, treatments offered to children depend largely on the beliefs of the surgeon rather than evidence. It is common for surgeons to have opposite views on treatments, even amongst common injuries or diseases – such that one surgeon may recommend major surgery, whilst the next surgeon may profoundly disagree. Parents find this variation difficult to understand, with confusion amplified through social media. There is a growing desire amongst surgeons, healthcare professionals and families to resolve these uncertainties.
Through this Professorship I will develop studies to resolve these uncertainties for several common conditions looked after by children’s orthopaedic surgeons. There will be a particular focus on building a mechanism within existing national care pathways that enables randomised studies to be performed as part of routine care – particularly for the treatment of dislocated hips in babies.
Professor James Wason, University of Newcastle Upon Tyne
Transforming treatment of immune-mediated inflammatory diseases through better trials and evaluations
Around three million people in the UK suffer from one or more Immune-Mediated Inflammatory Diseases (IMIDs). IMIDs include more common conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and psoriasis as well as many other rarer conditions. IMIDs cause serious long-term symptoms that can harm health and wellbeing of patients over their life. Despite the NHS spending billions of pounds per year on treating IMIDs, many patients still lack effective long-term treatment.
This research will develop and apply better methods for doing clinical trials to improve IMID patient outcomes. Methods will focus on: efficiently testing a common treatment for biologically similar IMIDs; utilising data from IMID cohort studies and routinely collected healthcare data to improve informativeness of a trial; and investigating the most promising long-term treatment strategies for chronic IMIDs. A vital component of the research will be to implement these methods in real trials through working with clinical researchers and patients.
Round 10, 2020
- Launched - 18 September 2019; closed - 20 November 2019. 28 applications received.
- Shortlisting February 2020; 10 invited to interview on 22 September 2020.
Professor Sandra Bucci, University of Manchester
Digital solutions for people with severe mental health problems
Psychosis is a severe mental health problem (SMI) and a huge public health challenge with a high burden of disease. Local service structures are under immense pressure to keep up with the demand for services.
Conventional methods of treating psychosis involve assessments which rely on service users recalling emotional states over a preceding time period at a scheduled appointment time. This can result in reduced precision in treatment planning, which is problematic when precise, time-sensitive treatment is needed. The NHS has a clear digital agenda for addressing mental health challenges, and self-management in long-term conditions is a cornerstone of NHS policy.
The aim of Professor Bucci's research programme is to co-produce a contextually responsive digital health intervention within re-designed digital care pathways to improve the quality and efficiency of care in psychosis, delivered by a digitally confident and capable workforce.
Professor Emma Frew, The University of Birmingham
Economic evaluation of multi-sector obesity policy
Population obesity levels are still increasing, placing huge unsustainable burden on health services and society. Obesity policy tends to focus on individual responsibility without much emphasis on the influence of the environment upon our lifestyle choices. My NIHR professorship award involves five-related streams of work, to measure the impact of obesity policy in different sectors – retail, the environment (green space), transport, education and the workplace. A key part of the research will be on developing methods to measure value for money as difficult decisions need to be made on how to spend limited public funds. These methods will be developed to measure efficiency paying close attention to the inequalities that exist across our population.
Professor Veronica Kinsler, University College London
Targeted therapies for congenital melanocytic naevi and melanoma
Congenital melanocytic naevus (CMN) syndrome is a rare disorder of extensive moles on the skin from birth, abnormalities of the brain and an increased risk of the skin cancer melanoma. This condition is untreatable, and where melanoma arises in childhood it is currently universally fatal. The focus of this NIHR Professorship is to develop novel targeted and personalised therapies for CMN syndrome, using our knowledge of the genetic basis of the condition in individual cases. Due to similarities between the genetics of CMN and both common moles and melanoma in the wider population, targeted therapies developed during this programme should also have applicability in the field of cancer.
Round 9, 2019
- Launched – 19th September 2018; Closed – 28th November 2018. 25 applications received.
- Shortlisting March 2019; 11 invited to interview on 6th June 2019 in London.
Professor Amanda Daley, Loughborough University
Innovative lifestyle interventions to improve population health
The research aims to involve the public, NHS and wider environment. The Department for Health and Social Care would like to integrate more opportunities for NHS staff to promote healthy lifestyles within routine NHS consultations; this campaign is called ‘making every contact count’.
Therefore my award will focus on testing interventions that can be delivered to the public during routine consultations by health care professionals in primary care and community settings. This award also aims to develop a world class centre for public health physical activity research.
Dr Jonathan Jeffers, Imperial College London
Restore healthy biomechanics after early intervention orthopaedic surgery
First, his team will perform joint preserving surgery in the laboratory and use a multitude of sensors to measure the effect of surgery, such that surgical techniques can be evolved to create improved joint biomechanics.
Second, his team will use the latest additive manufacturing technology to create more bone-like materials for implants that will repair the joints of patients with early stage arthritis.
Professor James Catto, University of Sheffield
Improving the outcomes from bladder cancer through genomic stratification and novel agents
Professor Richard Emsley, King’s College London
Design and analysis of efficient trials in mental health
In other areas such as mental health, the full toolbox of these efficient trial designs is not currently being used. Professor Emsley’s research programme aims to deliver better trials of treatments in mental health by reviewing all aspects of ‘efficient trial’ designs and establish why they are not being used effectively.
Dr Charlotte Coles, University of Cambridge
Risk adapted breast radiotherapy
Breast cancer is the commonest cancer in the UK and around 55,000 people are diagnosed each year. Breast radiotherapy is required for around two-thirds of people with breast cancer. It is important as it reduces the risk of the cancer coming back and can improve survival. Breast radiotherapy can cause some side effects, but most are mild and do not last. However, around 25 in 100 women have a change in breast appearance and some notice breast shrinkage, firmness or tenderness. These changes can be permanent and may cause psychological distress. There are also rare, but serious side effects. These include heart damage and new cancers that may not be cured easily.
This research aims to adapt breast radiotherapy according to a patient’s risk of recurrence so she has the best chance of cure with least side effects. It will use clinical trials to create high quality evidence that will drive a change in current radiotherapy practice. It will also increase understanding of the biological effects of breast radiotherapy to help design and test future more individualised approaches.
Round 8, 2018
- Launched – 20th September 2017; Closed – 29th November 2017. 31 applications received.
- Shortlisting March 2018; 10 invited to interview on 7th June 2018 in Manchester.
Professor Olga Ciccarelli, University College London
Predicting individual treatment responses – towards personalised medicine in Multiple Sclerosis
Research area: Neurology, Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic neurological condition that causes physical and cognitive disability. There are many licensed drugs that reduce the risk of relapses in Multiple Sclerosis, but doctors cannot predict which of these will work best for an individual. The decision about which drug to give to a patient is based on personal preference. Medications are changed if patients develop relapses, disability and adverse events. The goal of this research is to develop a computer tool that predicts whether an individual patient will respond to a drug by taking into account all the elements that may influence treatment response, including demographic and genetic factors, blood biomarkers, MRI, diet, comorbidities and life style. We will use machine learning, which is a sub-area of artificial intelligence, to predict individual treatment responses. This crucial information will help doctors to select the most appropriate treatment for Multiple Sclerosis patients.
Professor Andrea Cipriani, University of Oxford
Choosing the right antidepressant for depressive disorder
Dr Menna Clatworthy, University of Cambridge
Identifying biomarkers and mechanistic pathways to improve organ utilisation and kidney transplant outcomes
Research Area: Renal Medicine,Transplantation
Kidney failure is a devastating medical condition. Although we can keep patients alive by offering them dialysis – a treatment that cleans the blood – their quality and quantity of life is significantly compromised. Transplantation provides the best treatment for most patients with kidney failure but organ shortage is a major problem; there are currently hundreds of thousands of patients waiting for a transplant worldwide.
To try and address this problem, doctors have begun to consider using organs from donors that are older or who have medical problems. Some of these kidneys work well, but some take a long time to get going and have poor function, meaning that the patient ends up back on dialysis. The aim of this research is to find ways of predicting whether, and to understand why, a kidney is going to work well in the short and long term.
This will allow us to develop tests that can be used by transplant doctors to help them decide whether to use an organ. Our study will also provide a detailed map of the different types of cells that live in the kidney and will investigate how they contribute to the injury and repair processes that takes place during the course of an organ transplant. Together, this information will help to shape the development of treatments that promote kidney transplant longevity, and lead to more kidney transplants that last longer.
Professor Gisli Jenkins, University of Nottingham
Professor Gerry McCann, University of Leicester
Heart failure in type 2 diabetes: improving diagnosis and management in a multi-ethnic population.
Research Area: Cardiology
Heart failure is the most common and deadliest cardiovascular complication of diabetes. Professor McCann’s research aims to identify which characteristics of a multi-ethnic population with type 2 diabetes are most likely to be associated with early heart failure, detected on a MRI scan. He will also explore whether early heart failure can be reliably diagnosed by a blood test using a combination of proteins. The aim will be to validate the findings in additional large cohort studies such as UK Biobank. Additional funding will be sought to undertake clinical trials to treat early and established heart failure in patients with type 2 diabetes.
The benefit of the research to the NHS will be to develop a clinical risk score and diagnostic blood test that may be used to screen people with type 2 diabetes so that treatments to reduce the risk of heart failure can be initiated.
Round 7, 2017
- Launched – 21st September 2016; Closed – 14th December 2016.
- 31 applications received.
- Shortlisting April 2017; 10 invited to interview on 12th June 2017 in Manchester.
Dr Udai Banerji, The Institute of Cancer Research/The Royal Marsden NHS FoundationTrust
Understanding and overcoming resistance to targeted anticancer drugs
Research Area: Molecular Cancer, Pharmacology
Targeted anticancer drugs act upon specific parts of cancer cells to stop the flow of information through signalling pathways within the cells. However, cancer cells often find alternative ways to transmit information, becoming resistant and continuing to grow. The purpose of this research is to study the re-wiring or re-routing of information within cancer cells that causes drug resistance. This critical information will allow researchers to predict mechanisms of resistance and overcome these by using rational combination therapies of existing and future targeted anticancer drugs.
Professor Diana Baralle, University of Southampton
Translational genomics- maximising potential for NHS patient care.
Research Area: Genomics
Genomic sequencing technologies have the acknowledged potential to improve diagnostic accuracy, stratify disease and personalise treatment for immediate patient benefit. Before this can happen, physicians must assess the relevance of the sequence change to disease. Professor Baralle will develop pathways for the interpretation of genetic variation in human disease using RNA technologies, transforming clinical care.
Professor Sally Barrington, King’s College London
Using PET Imaging to improve survival and reduce side-effects of treatment for patients with cancer.
Dr Graham Cooke, Imperial College London
Accelerating the Elimination of Hepatitis C in the UK
Research Area: Infectious Diseases
Viral hepatitis is a leading cause of death worldwide. New advances in hepatitis C treatment have the potential to cure all those infected. Once unrestricted access to new treatments can be achieved it will open up the possibility of elimination of hepatitis C in the UK and beyond.
Professor Cooke’s programme will bring new methods of viral sequencing into the clinic and, by combining with detailed clinical study of recent infections, seek to improve our understanding of where transmission of hepatitis C is still happening. Such data will help inform policies for elimination of infection. Alongside this, he will continue to develop new diagnostics suitable for use outside of routine clinical settings to improve linkage to care for hard to reach populations.
Dr Manju Kurian, University College London
Understanding Genetic Causes of Cerebral Palsy
Research Area: Paediatric Neurology
Cerebral palsy is one of the commonest neurological disorders of childhood, associated with significant disability. It can cause problems with movement and co-ordination, as well as with learning and behaviour. Although traditionally associated with birth injury, it is increasingly recognised that a significant number of children labelled as “cerebral palsy” have an underlying faulty gene causing their problems. Over the course of this NIHR Professorship, I plan to identify these disease-causing genes and develop practical guidelines to aid patient diagnosis and management. Furthermore, I will generate stem cell laboratory models to better understand disease mechanisms and develop new therapies.
Round 6, 2016
- Launched – 23rd September 2015; Closed – 16th December 2015 at 1pm.
- A maximum of two nominations were accepted per institution. Nominees who were unsuccessful in previous rounds of the NIHR
Research Professorships, were eligible to be re-nominated by their institutional partnership. 24 nominations were received.
- Shortlisting – 11th April 2016; 9 invited to interview on 9th June 2016 in London.
Professor Rachel Batterham, University College London
Research Area: Obesity
Professor Anthony Gordon, Imperial College London
Personalised Medicine in Sepsis
Research Area: Intensive Care Medicine, Sepsis
Dr Alexander Leff, University College London
Digital neuro-interventions to enhance re-learning in patients with acquired and degenerative brain diseases
Research Area: Neurology. Development, evaluation and roll-out of therapeutic interventions for patients with cognitive disorders.
Acquired brain injury (stroke, traumatic brain injury and tumours) and degenerative brain diseases (dementia) account for the vast majority of the cognitive impairments suffered by adults worldwide. There is a wealth of evidence showing that damaged brains can learn if engaged in the correct form of deliberate practice.
Neuro-Interventions (practice-based treatments that target specific brain functions) can improve outcomes in adult patients with cognitive impairment, but there is currently no easy way for patients to access these treatments, which are traditionally provided during face-to-face therapy sessions. My research addresses this translational failure. I will produce three computer-based therapies (digital neuro-interventions) that patients with specific impairments of their thinking and memory skills can use to boost re-learning: 1) for patients with visuospatial neglect; 2) for patients with dementia and problems naming the people they know; 3) a naming intervention for aphasic patients who have word-finding difficulties.
Professor David Mole, University of Oxford
Translating genomic signals in kidney cancer into patient care
Research Area: Experimental Medicine and Renal Oncology
New techniques in genetic research have changed preconceptions about cancer and revealed the involvement of far more widespread pathways than previously considered.
These drive changes that both promote and inhibit progression of tumours. In order to advance, the cancer has to adapt the balance of these pathways to favour its growth.
Professor Mole’s research will focus on how oxygen-sensing pathways that are activated in kidney cancer are re-balanced to promote tumour progression and how these findings can be translated into improved healthcare. In particular, it will use innovative types of (large-scale DNA-sequencing) data and methods of analysis to find new ways to predict how tumours will behave, which patients will respond to existing treatments and what new treatments might be effective.
NIHR Global Research Professorships
Round 5, 2022
- Launched - 29 September 2021; closed - 1 December 2021. 29 applications received
- Shortlisting - March 2022; 5 invited to interview June 2022.
Professor Celia Gregson, University of Bristol
Healthy Ageing in Sub-Saharan Africa
The aim of this research is to improve the health and wellbeing of older people living in sub-Saharan Africa. ‘Healthy ageing’ and the drivers of ‘unhealthy ageing’ will be characterised using newly collected data from 5,030 older adults living in Zimbabwe, The Gambia, and South Africa.
This research will develop an evidence-based clinical framework for non-specialist assessment and management of chronic disorders of ageing (impacting functional ability, spanning mobility, malnutrition, cognition, depression, vision, and hearing). The feasibility, acceptability, effectiveness, and costs of implementing community-based health checks for older people in Zimbabwe will then be determined.
Dr Michelle Heys, University College London
Increasing newborn survival in low resource setting
Preventable newborn deaths and stillbirths are one of the biggest global health challenges. Every year around two thirds of the 2.4 million deaths occurring within the first month of life and half of the 2 million stillbirths are likely avoidable by ensuring that the most generalisable clinical pathways are delivered.
With this Professorship, I will build on work I have led over the last 7 years to co-develop, implement, and evaluate an app-based solution to improve postnatal newborn care: the Neotree. Neotree is an open-source data driven quality improvement system for newborn care that combines bedside data capture with education and clinical decision support.
I will extend Neotree to the care of the mother and baby during birth and the care of babies born in rural primary care clinics. Also, I will use data gathered by the Neotree to improve guidelines, using statistical and machine learning techniques; and how we work with families and parents to create partnerships in care. I will also deliver a 2-year arts based programme to engage families and communities in newborn research and care.
Dr Abhijit Nadkarni, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Advancing research to reduce alcohol related harms - lessons for policy, practice and sustainable development in India
Problem drinking adversely affects large numbers of individuals and their families in India. However, only one out of ten such drinkers has access to appropriate care as existing health systems are unable to successfully integrate and scale-up effective treatments in a sustainable manner.
In this study, I will develop and test a contextually relevant and scalable intervention that caters to the various levels of severity of problem drinking. The intervention will also engage the families of those with drinking problems to enhance entry into and adherence to the treatment. I will also examine the various strategies required to prepare the health-systems for efficiently and sustainably integrating the intervention into routine healthcare delivery.
Professor Refiloe Masekela, University of KwaZulu-Natal
Calling time on avoidable morbidity from asthma in African children
Asthma affects 1 in 10 children globally and is the most common non-communicable disease in children and adolescents. Sadly, in Africa, asthma is largely neglected with children suffering severe morbidity from asthma. Lack of access to a diagnosis of asthma as well as poor access to quality assured cost-effective medicines are key gaps in asthma care.
I aim to create an African Asthma Observatory to determine the prevalence of and risk factors for asthma in 3 African countries using validated methodologies. I will also conduct a study to assess the clinical and cost-effectiveness of a pragmatic single inhaler-based approach to asthma management in children and adolescents in South Africa. My ultimate goal is that all children and adolescents with asthma in Africa should have equitable access to affordable and effective care.
Round 4, 2021
- Launched - 24 September 2020; closed - 26 November 2020. 17 applications received.
- Shortlisting March 2021; 5 invited to interview on 23/24 June 2021.
Professor Nicholas Feasey, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
Preventing Healthcare Associated Infection and Antimicrobial Resistance in Africa
Infections contracted as a result of admission to hospital, or other exposure to other healthcare facilities (“healthcare associated infections” or HAI) represent the most common adverse outcome associated with healthcare settings globally. Further, the germs, specifically bacteria, associated with HAI are increasingly resistant to antibiotics, making the treatment of HAI an increasing challenge.
It is therefore best to prevent HAI happening in the first place. I aim to describe the scale of HAI in Malawi and to develop effective, appropriate, scalable and sustainable interventions to reduce HAI by comprehensively implementing the WHO guidelines, and using mathematical modelling to understand the efficacy of the intervention.
Professor Hannah Kuper, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Improving access to healthcare for disabled people in Uganda
There are around one billion disabled people globally. On average, they have higher healthcare needs yet face many barriers in accessing services. As a result, disabled people frequently have worse health outcomes and experience higher mortality, including with respect to COVID-19.
Evidence is growing that interventions to improve healthcare led by communities can be effective, low-cost and scalable. In this study, I will work with colleagues in Uganda to develop community groups of disabled people to: 1) identify problems, 2) identify solutions, 3) plan and implement solutions, and 4) evaluate their efforts. The goal is that this approach will reduce mortality and improve health of disabled people, which will be evaluated through a large-scale trial.
Professor Maryam Shahmanesh, University College London
Arresting the HIV epidemic in rural South Africa: Using innovations in intervention design and evaluation to reduce sexual transmission of HIV in adolescents and youth
The aim of the research is to curb the HIV epidemic through universal risk-informed delivery of biosocial HIV prevention to adolescents and youth in southern Africa.
Using community-based participatory research methods, I will:
- optimise task shifting of risk-informed HIV prevention to trained peer navigators
- develop sexual health selfcare; i.e. adapt HIV self-tests, self-sampling for sexually transmitted infections, emergency contraception and HIV post exposure prophylaxis to support sexual health selfcare amongst adolescents and youth.
I will evaluate these interventions using innovative trials. My goal is to become a global leader in developing and evaluating complex interventions to reduce infectious disease and to support AHRI become a South African leader in implementation research.
Round 3, 2020
- Launched - 18 September 2019; closed - 20 November 2019. 12 applications received.
- Shortlisting February 2020; 6 invited to interview on 23 September 2020.
Professor Susanna Dunachie, University of Oxford
Developing a vaccine to prevent death from melioidosis in people with type 2 diabetes mellitus in low and middle income countries
Melioidosis is a grossly under-recognised tropical disease, caused by a bacterium in the soil. Most people with melioidosis are poor and live in rural regions, typically working in rice farming. More than half of melioidosis patients have diabetes, which is rising rapidly in low and middle income countries. This research will test a new vaccine developed at the University of Nevada to prevent melioidosis, targeted for people with diabetes in Thailand and other tropical regions.
Professor Dunachie will conduct the world’s first clinical trial of a vaccine for melioidosis, in people with and without diabetes. In her research laboratory they will identify which biomarkers to use to monitor how the vaccine works in Thailand, and study why people with diabetes are so much more at risk of infection compared to other people.
Professor David Lissauer, University of Liverpool
Stopping mothers dying from sepsis in Africa
Maternal sepsis is one of the most important causes of death and harm to mothers and their babies during or after pregnancy. It disproportionately impacts women and their families in low income countries. This research will improve our understanding of the epidemiology of maternal infection, optimise approaches to better prevent and diagnose maternal sepsis, and we will be rigorously testing at scale a facility level intervention aiming to improve maternal sepsis outcomes.
Professor Lissauer’s research is focussed in Malawi, and sub-Saharan Africa. An important part of this programme will be working collaboratively with other Malawian researchers to build maternal health research capacity
Round 2, 2019
- Launched – 19th September 2018; Closed – 28th November 2018. 9 applications received.
- Shortlisting March 2019; 4 invited to interview on 7th June 2019 in London.
Professor Melita Gordon, University of Liverpool
Preventing Invasive Salmonella Disease in Africa
Round 1, 2018
- Launched – 20th September 2017; Closed –29th November 2017. 12 applications received.
- Shortlisting March 2018; 5 invited to interview on 8th June 2018 in Manchester.
Dr Joseph Jarvis, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
Translational Research to Reduce Mortality from CNS Infections in Africa
Infections of the central nervous system (CNS) are major causes of mortality in low- and middle-income countries. Professor Jarvis’ research aims to generate a detailed understanding of the aetiology of adult meningitis in this setting to inform diagnostic pathways and treatment strategies. His research group will evaluate affordable point-of care diagnostic tests for meningitis, which are urgently needed to facilitate diagnosis, screening and prevention strategies, and trial novel effective treatments required to improve patient outcomes.
Professor Nuala McGrath, University of Southampton
Improving adult health in sub-Saharan Africa through couples-focused interventions for HIV, STIs and diabetes
The majority of adults are in a partnership and to varying degrees live shared lives. Couples-focused interventions can be more effective than individual interventions in facilitating long-term behavioural change by one or both members of a couple. The aim of this Global Health Professorship is to evaluate couple-focused interventions to reduce the burden of diseases in sub-Saharan Africa, in particular HIV and diabetes. The programme of work is a partnership between the University of Southampton and two South African institutions: Human Sciences Research Council and University of Cape Town.
Completed NIHR Research Professorships
Round 5, 2015
- Launched – 24th September 2014; Closed – 17th December 2014 at 1pm.
- A maximum of two nominations were accepted per institution. Nominees who were unsuccessful in previous rounds of the NIHR
Research Professorships, were eligible to be re-nominated by their institutional partnership. 24 nominations were received.
- Shortlisting – 15th April 2015; 9 invited to interview on 1st June 2015 in London.
Dr Lucy Chappell, King’s College London
Improving maternal and perinatal outcomes in high-risk pregnancies
Research Area: Obstetrics & Gynaecology,Health Services Research
Of the 800,000 pregnancies every year in the UK, medical co-morbidities now affect 45% and greatly increase the risk of maternal and perinatal mortality
and morbidity. Uncertainties remain over management and treatment options for women with these high-risk pregnancies. This research programme, using clinical trials and other robust methodology, focuses on women with hypertensive disorders of pregnancy and intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy, and aims to reduce adverse outcomes for the mother and baby through providing the evidence base for appropriate interventions.
Professor Waljit Dhillo, Imperial College London
Using hormones to improve reproductive health
Research Area: Experimental Medicine & Endocrinology
Disorders of reproductive health affect millions of patients worldwide. The hormones kisspeptin and neurokinin B have recently been identified as potential novel targets for the treatment of infertility and menopausal flushing, respectively. My programme of work aims to develop novel treatment protocols based on kisspeptin and neurokinin B to treat patients with disorders of reproductive health.
Professor Daniel Freeman, University of Oxford
Overcoming persecutory delusions
Research Area: Clinical Psychology, Psychosis
Persecutory delusions (unfounded beliefs that others intend harm) occur in over 70% of patients with diagnoses of schizophrenia. Examples of such beliefs include: “My neighbours are spreading nasty rumours and tormenting me”, “An evil spirit is out to kill me”. This major psychotic experience is a key treatment target. The delusion has substantial impact for patients (and their families), including isolation, suicidal ideation, and hospital admission. Yet too many patients do not adequately respond to current treatments. Translating advances in understanding the causes of the delusions into treatment, Professor Freeman has been developing a new targeted psychological intervention. During the NIHR Professorship the new treatment will be evaluated in a randomised controlled trial. The goal at this stage is recovery in persistent persecutory delusions for 50% of patients. Improvements in psychological well-being and activity levels are also predicted. Work will also be carried out during the award to ready the intervention for implementation in the NHS. The promise is of a major improvement in outcome, using an intervention that patients want and that health professionals have the confidence to use.
Dr Waseem Qasim, University College London
Next generation T cell gene therapies for children with leukaemia and immunodeficiency
Research Area: Paediatrics, Experimental Medicine
T lymphocytes are key orchestrators of immune responses against viruses and certain types of cancers, and adoptive transfer of these cells during bone marrow transplantation has revealed their powerful therapeutic effects. The ability to harvest, manipulate and return these cells to patients makes them attractive targets for gene therapy, and there has recently been notable progress in modifying T cells with antigen specific receptor, and other genes, using viral vectors. Dr Waseem Qasim is applying a new generation of gene editing reagents to develop novel therapeutic strategies for children with haematological malignancies, and inherited or secondary T cell deficiencies.
The work aims to extend and disseminate the application of these new genetic medicines.
Round 4, 2014
- Launched – 26th September 2013; Closed – 23rd January 2014 at 1pm.
- A maximum of two nominations were accepted per institution. Nominees who were unsuccessful in previous rounds of the NIHR
Research Professorships, were eligible to be re-nominated by their institutional partnership. 29 nominations were received.
- Shortlisting – 1st April 2014; 11 invited to interview on 11th and 12th June 2014 in London.
The details of the five successful nominees are below:
Dr Cathy Creswell, University of Reading
Treatments for childhood anxiety disorders: Improving patient access and clinical effectiveness
Research Area: Clinical Psychology, Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders are among the most common of all mental health difficulties and often first arise in childhood. Evidence based treatments for childhood
anxiety disorders do exist, but many children do not access them. Furthermore, a significant number of treated children do not benefit. Professor Creswell’s research aims to increase understanding of barriers to accessing evidence based treatments, develop efficient methods of treatment delivery, and improve understanding of psychological mechanisms that maintain difficulties among those children who do not benefit from currently available treatments. The ultimate aims of this work are to improve access to evidence-based treatments for childhood anxiety disorders and improve treatment outcomes.
Mr Paolo De Coppi, University College London
Research Area: Paediatric Surgery, Oesophageal atresia
Professor De Coppi’s research aims to build and test an artificial oesophagus as a model treatment for paediatric patients with oesophageal atresia. This condition is characterised by the congenital absence of part of the gullet, which occurs in about 1 out of 3,500 births, and often cannot be repaired by simply suturing the upper and lower segments. The study will also provide a platform for treating other congenital and acquired diseases using regenerative medicine approaches.
Professor Christian Mallen, Keele University
Missed opportunities to improve care for people with musculoskeletal disorders in primary care
Research Area: General Practice / Musculoskeletal Medicine
Musculoskeletal disorders, such as osteoarthritis and gout, are common and have a significant impact on individuals, their families and wider society. Professor Mallen’s Professorship addresses missed opportunities to improve the diagnosis and management of these conditions in a primary care setting.
Dr Christopher Millett, Imperial College London
Health and economic benefits of active travel
Research Area: Public Health Medicine, Active Travel
Cross-sectoral interventions that encourage active travel (walking, cycling) have enormous potential to improve population health as they can embed physical activity into peoples’ everyday lives. The purpose of my research programme is to better understand which interventions work to increase active travel and their associated health, economic and carbon reduction benefits in England.
Professor Rupert Pearse, Queen Mary University of London
Maximising the safety and effectiveness of major surgery through better perioperative care
Research Area: Intensive Care Medicine, Perioperative Care
Approximately five million NHS patients receive surgical treatments each year. In a technical sense, surgery and anaesthesia are very safe, yet high-risk patients frequently develop medical complications, such as pneumonia or heart attacks, in the days following surgery. These complications have a lasting human and financial cost which may be avoidable. The aim of this research is to improve our understanding of why patients develop complications after surgery and how they can be prevented.
Round 3, 2013
- Launched – 15th October 2012; Closed – 12th December 2012 at 5pm.
- A maximum of two nominations were accepted per institution. Nominees who were unsuccessful in previous rounds of the NIHR Research Professorships, were eligible to be re-nominated by their institutional partnership. 27 nominations were received.
- Shortlisting – 25th April 2013; 11 invited to interview on 25th and 26th June 2013 in London.
The details of the five successful nominees are below:
Professor Persis Amrolia, University College London
To develop novel cell therapies to improve outcomes after stem cell and organ transplant.
Research Area: Transplantation Immunology
Professor Amrolia's research aims to harness the power of the immune system to prevent virus complications and malignancy after transplantation. He is establishing a programme of clinical trials translating T-cell therapy from "bench-to-bedside".
Professor Louise Howard, King’s College London
Research Area: Perinatal Mental Health
Mental health problems in pregnancy and the postpartum period have potential adverse consequences for women, their infants and their families. Professor Howard’s research aims to contribute to the evidence base on effective and safe ways of treating mental health problems in the perinatal period. Her research will include studies on the risks and benefits of medication, and the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of complex non-pharmacological interventions.
Mr Peter Hutchinson, University of Cambridge
Head injury: monitoring and optimising cerebral metabolism to improve outcome
Research Area: Neurosurgery
Head injury is a major cause of morbidity and the commonest cause of death under the age of 40 years. Our research aims to increase the understanding
of the pathophysiology of this heterogeneous condition using imaging and monitoring techniques (brain pressure, oxygenation and chemistry) and to
apply novel medical and surgical treatment strategies to improve outcome. The studies also provide a platform for training the next generation of academic surgeons.
Dr Alison Simmons, University of Oxford
Re-define Crohn’s at a molecular level to identify new biomarkers and therapies
Research Area: Gastrointestinal Disease and Inflammation
Crohn’s disease is a debilitating inflammatory bowel disease with limited treatment options. This research will use molecular techniques to re-stratify this disease to define patients amenable to new treatment approaches, and to develop new therapies for Crohn’s patients.
Professor Jim Wild, University of Sheffield
Translating novel pulmonary MR imaging methods in to clinical practice
Research Area: MRI Physicist Pulmonary Imaging
Jim Wild is a magnetic resonance imaging physicist, who has developed imaging techniques for respiratory and pulmonary vascular disease using proton and hyperpolarised gas MRI. In this project he will work with clinicians in the NHS to establish these methods as non-ionising clinical imaging modalities applied to a wide range of pulmonary diseases.
Round 2, 2012
- Launched – 15th February 2012; Closed – 3rd April 2012 at 5pm.
- A maximum of two nominations were accepted per institution. Partnerships were kindly asked not to re-nominate those who had been
unsuccessful in Round 1, unless they had been specifically asked to do so by the panel, via NIHR. 26 nominations were received.
- Shortlisting – 29th June 2012; 11 invited to interview on 24th and 25th September 2012 in London.
The details of the five successful nominees are below:
Professor Ashley Adamson, Newcastle University
Prevention of obesity at family, community and national level and treatment of obesity in individuals.
Research Area: Obesity, Dietician
Obesity is one of the major public health challenges facing the UK. Professor Adamson’s research aims to contribute to prevention of overweight and obesity and to the treatment of obesity. Her research will explore changing eating behaviour in population settings, supporting individual behaviour change and gathering evidence to inform policy by robust evaluation of dietary interventions.
Dr Rebecca Fitzgerald, University of Cambridge
Improve outcomes from oesophageal cancer through innovative screening and surveillance tests
Research Area: Oesophageal disease and Gastrointestinal Oncology
Cancer of the oesophagus is a global problem with a high mortality due to late diagnosis. Dr Rebecca Fitzgerald plans to extend her novel approach for detecting precancerous cells in Barrett’s oesophagus to molecular tests for early detection of squamous cell cancer of the oesophagus. For higher risk cases Rebecca and her team are developing molecular imaging tools todefine areas for biopsy and treatment.
Dr Alastair Hay, University of Bristol
Reducing the burden of paediatric respiratory tract infections to the NHS
Research Area: Primary Care, Paediatric Respiratory Tract, Infections
Community, primary and secondary care services are frequently overwhelmed by children with infectious illnesses, most commonly respiratory. Children also
play a key role in the transmission of infection both to other children and adults. Presentation to primary care often results in the use of antibiotics, many of which are unnecessary, and promote illness medicalisation and bacterial resistance. The overall aim of this Professorship is to reduce the burden of respiratory tract infections in children to the NHS.
Professor Richard McManus, University of Oxford
Improving outcomes in Hypertension and Pregnancy through self monitoring of blood pressure.
Research Area: Cardiovascular Disease, Pregnancy, Primary Care
High Blood Pressure affects over seven million people in the UK and is an important risk factor for heart attack and stroke. In pregnancy, high blood pressure can lead to significant problems for women and their babies. Professor McManus’ programme of work evaluates how involving people in monitoring their own blood pressure might lead to better diagnosis and control of high blood pressure in both hypertension and pregnancy.
Professor Andrew Peet, University of Birmingham
Improving the diagnosis and treatment of childhood cancer through functional imaging
Research Area: Paediatric Oncology
Imaging is essential for diagnosing cancer and planning treatment but current methods have significant imitations. Professor Peet’s group have been developing functional imaging techniques which probe tumour properties, allowing improved diagnostic accuracy and the tailoring of treatment to the individual. Future work will concentrate on translating these advances into
routine clinical practice.
Round 1, 2011
- Launched – 22nd July 2011; Closed – 21st September 2011.
- 59 applications received.
- Shortlisting October 2011; 11 invited to interview on 8th December 2011 in London.
The details of the eight successful nominees are below:
Professor James Bainbridge, University College London/Moorfields
Prevent blinding retinal diseases by developing effective new treatments including gene and cell therapies.
Research Area: Ophthalmology
The majority of people with sight impairment are affected by disorders of the retina, which is the layer of light-sensitive nerves in the eye. Professor Bainbridge aims to develop effective new treatments, including gene therapy and cell transplantation surgery.
Professor Nadine Foster, Keele University
Ensure GPs and Physiotherapists offer treatments and services that help people with musculoskeletal pain and disability, so they can cope with and reduce pain, preventing common joint and back pain from restricting their lives.
Research Area: Musculoskeletal,Physiotherapy
Professor Foster's research will support the development, piloting and testing of treatments and services for common and costly musculoskeletal problems in primary care, including lower back, knee and shoulder pain. She will develop and test the clinical and cost-effectiveness of different treatments and services, including early identification of musculoskeletal problems, support for patients of working age and approaches that better match patients to the right treatments.
Professor David Jayne, University of Leeds
Develop better bowel cancer treatments, via translational research, into new surgical techniques including robotics, biosensors and fluorescence guided surgery.
Research Area: Colorectal Surgery
Professor Jayne's research focuses on new developments in minimally invasive surgery with the aim of bringing innovation in engineering and the biological sciences from "theory to theatre". In this he hopes to advance current surgical approaches to cancer for the benefit of patients and healthcare providers.
Dr Marian Knight, University of Oxford
Improve outcomes for infants following surgery in the first year of life by enhancing the evidence base for choice of surgical strategies.
Research Area: Perinatal Health Services, Research
Dr Knight will lead research aiming to improve care for pregnant women and babies with life threatening illnesses, particularly focusing on helping babies to recover from early surgery.
Professor Louise Robinson, Newcastle University
Improve the health and wellbeing of older people and the quality of community care they receive, especially for people living with dementia.
Research Area: Mental Health, Neurology
Dementia presents one of the major care challenges for the 21st century. Professor Robinson's research aims to improve the quality of community care for people with dementia and create a skilled and motivated NHS workforce to deliver such care.
Professor Anne Schilder, University College London
Develop the evidence base for Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) medicine and surgery, ensuring new and current treatments in ENT are tested and evaluated so that patients can benefit from the best treatments in the field.
Research Area: ENT, Health Services Research
ENT problems such as hearing loss, dizziness and sinus and ear infections are amongst the most common health problems affecting people of all ages. Up until now, little rigorous research has been done into exactly how effective treatments for ENT conditions are. Professor Schilder will be leading a programme of clinical trials across the UK to test and evaluate new and current treatments in ENT.
Dr David Sharp, Imperial College London
Improve recovery from traumatic brain injury by enhancing the function of intact brain regions so people can regain independence and improve their quality of life.
Research Area: Neurology (Traumatic Brain Injury)
Dr Sharp's research focuses on diagnosing and treating the effects of head injury on the brain. He works with civilians and soldiers, aiming to minimise the long-term disability that traumatic brain injury often produces. His research will allow treatment to be targeted and recovery enhanced.
Professor Justin Stebbing, Imperial College London
Translate findings from basic cell biology science into new treatments for cancer.
Research Area: Oncology
Professor Stebbing's research will help people living with cancer to have a better quality of life, by overcoming resistance to chemotherapy and hormonal therapy. His research aims to integrate laboratory science and clinical work to produce newer targeted therapies by utilising a new approach that focuses on a newly identified genetic tumour signature.