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NIHR-British Heart Foundation Cardiovascular Partnership

The NIHR-BHF Cardiovascular Partnership provides a platform for collaboration between researchers funded by NIHR and the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

The ultimate goal of this academic-led initiative is to catalyse progress in cardiovascular research and translate scientific discoveries into benefits for people affected by heart and circulatory diseases.

British Heart FoundationThe Partnership connects world-leading research expertise and infrastructure funded by NIHR and BHF, located in the major universities and NHS Trusts across the UK. The Partnership aims to:

  • Identify research priorities that meet patients’ needs
  • Provide a collaborative framework for NIHR and BHF cardiovascular translational researchers to deliver world-leading cardiovascular research, leverage funding, and maximise the impact of projects
  • Create opportunities for alignment between NIHR and BHF, and for collaborations with industry and other stakeholders.

Work with us

Whatever your background, working with the Partnership enables you to engage with cardiovascular experts from across the UK. The Partnership can provide help if you are interested in cardiovascular science and have ideas for research collaborations. We have the knowledge and experience needed to get large-scale collaborative programmes off the ground. We support the development of ideas from an early stage through to a mature project suitable for a funding application. 

“The NIHR-BHF Cardiovascular Partnership has given us the ideal platform to harmonise the diagnosis and management of coronary microvascular disease across the UK.
Under the aegis of the partnership, we have already formed a collaborative network with more than 20 centres across the country, which also provides an excellent basis for performing patient-centred research in the coming years.” Professor  Divaka Perera, King’s College London

Our cardiovascular researchers from NIHR and BHF funded centres are also interested in joining efforts with colleagues from other disciplines. For example, the Partnership has been working to develop large-scale projects that will help address many important questions about COVID-19 and cardiovascular diseases. 

We are keen to explore collaborations with experts based within and outside the UK, as well as academic researchers, the life science industry, charities, patient groups and other stakeholders.

The NIHR-BHF Cardiovascular Partnership offers the following benefits to its collaborators:

  • Flexibility: The possibility to address several focus areas simultaneously, across a spectrum of priorities.
  • Agility: We can quickly mobilise the community in response to arising priorities and urgent requests.
  • Inclusivity: All researchers are welcome to bring their ideas into the Partnership.
  • Traction: Support for the necessary groundwork needed to transform ideas into research plans. 
  • High impact: The collaborative programmes developed by the Partnership allow our community of experts to tackle research questions that require scale.

Our UK-wide collaborative research workstreams bring:  

  • Faster translation of scientific discoveries into benefits for patients
  • Increased capacity to support early phase clinical research delivery
  • Increased scope and capacity for high-quality research in an identified area of focus or unmet need
  • Increased operational efficiency for delivery of collaborative, experimental medicine research
  • Multi-centre research enabled through agreed processes and ways of working
  • Improved interactions with external stakeholders such as industry, patient groups and charities
  • Opportunities to create strategic alignment between the NIHR, BHF, and other key partners for further cardiovascular research.

To know more about how we can work together, please contact us.

Our expertise and capabilities

The NIHR-BHF Cardiovascular Partnership is currently developing a number of UK-wide collaborative research programmes in several areas of cardiovascular research and medicine.

Our current workstreams focus on:

  • Myocarditis, Pericarditis and Inflammation led by Professor Maya Buch, University of Manchester and Professor Sanjay Prasad, Royal Brompton Hospital/Imperial College London

Cardiovascular disease, including atherosclerosis and inflammation of the heart, is common in patients with Immune Mediated Inflammatory Diseases (IMID), however,  there are a number of unmet needs which can be addressed with an interdisciplinary approach. Therefore, we are establishing a UK-wide network of cardiologists and rheumatologists who will work together to:

  • Improve early detection and diagnosis of cardiovascular disease in patients with IMID
  • Generate evidence to inform treatment decisions 
  • Include cardiovascular assessments in IMID trials
  • Perform studies in larger cohorts

This network is taking shape as the “CARDIO-IMID UK Network”, with experts from 29 centres across the UK. 

  • Coronary Microvascular Dysfunction led by Professor Divaka Perera and Professor Amedeo Chiribiri, King’s College London

Nearly half of all patients who present to hospital with angina do not have evident obstructions of the main coronary arteries so they are often dismissed. Yet, many remain at risk of cardiac events. Research has shown that some patients with no obvious disease may instead have disorders of their small heart vessels (microvasculature) not visible on angiogram. This is known as Coronary Microvascular Dysfunction or CMD.

The NIHR-BHF CMD workstream brings together a growing number of UK hospitals and universities to improve the diagnosis and treatment of CMD through standardisation of invasive and non-invasive techniques, encouraging multi-centre research and clinical trials, and promoting collaboration with industry partners. 

  • Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fraction led by Professor Christopher Miller, University of Manchester

Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fraction (HFpEF) is a heterogeneous syndrome involving a range of disease mechanisms, with no straightforward diagnoses and, so far, no effective treatments with clear benefit for patients. This programme will establish a large registry of well-characterised patients that will become a platform for collaborative clinical and translational research in HFpEF, in order to:

  • Reclassify HFpEF into distinct diagnoses based on disease mechanisms, clinical factors and outcome.
  • Evaluate whether patients in the distinct groups respond differently to treatments, with the aim of predicting individual patient treatment response.
  • Identify phenotypic and genetic factors that could be used for developing diagnostics, improving risk stratification and better understanding the causes of HFpEF.

“The NIHR-BHF Cardiovascular Partnership has been integral in the development of the UK HFpEF Registry. Recognising the international priority of the Registry, the Partnership adopted it as a collaborative workstream and helped to assemble the multidisciplinary UK network of investigators, co-ordinating the UK’s international expertise and capabilities in this area”.  Professor Christopher Miller, University of Manchester.

  • Covid-19 Research Framework

 Working closely with the British Heart Foundation and the BHF Clinical Research Collaborative, we set up a Covid-19 Research Framework to identify and prioritise research projects tackling key questions on Covid-19 and cardiovascular health. Through this framework we have identified seven Covid-19 Cardiovascular Disease Flagship Projects.

Our experts lead the Cardiovascular Working Group within the PHOSP Consortium to help maintain alignment and avoid duplication of efforts between studies focused on Covid-19 and cardiovascular disease. The working group also develops new projects based on emerging evidence from the PHOSP Consortium, the Covid-19 Cardiovascular Disease Flagship Projects and other studies.

Who we are

The NIHR-BHF Cardiovascular Partnership brings together NIHR infrastructure with BHF investment through its Professors and Centres. The Partnership is chaired by Professor Keith Channon who has directed the Oxford NIHR Biomedical Research Centre for 10 years and is the BHF Field Marshal Earl Alexander Chair of Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Oxford.

A map showing the breadth of expertise in cardiovascular health in the UK

The map below shows the NIHR and BHF centres based across the UK which are part of this Partnership (listed below). 

NIHR Biomedical Research Centres (BRCs), Clinical Research Facilities (CRFs) and Academic Leads

NIHR Clinical Research Facilities and Academic Leads

British Heart Foundation (BHF) Centres

  • Cambridge, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Oxford
    BHF Professors and Centre of Research Excellence
  • Leeds and Southampton
    BHF Professors
  • Birmingham, Bristol, Leicester and Manchester
    BHF Professors and Accelerator
  • London
    BHF Professors, Queen Mary University of London and University College London BHF Accelerators, King's College London and Imperial College London BHF Centres of Research Excellence. 

For further information about the Partnership and to get involved in our research, please contact us.

Latest news about cardiovascular health research

 

Further news and events can be found on the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre website

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