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Funding awarded to establish five new NIHR Global Health Research Centres to address the global burden of non-communicable diseases

Launch of NIHR Global Health Research Centre for Non-communicable Disease Control in West Africa, with representatives from Ghana, Niger, Burkina Faso and the NIHR

Published: 10 October 2022

Five new Global Health Research Centres will be established to address the global burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and strengthen research capacity across the world. 

The Centres will each receive around £10m in funding over five years. Each centre will serve as a consortium led by a Director based in a low- or middle-income country (LMIC) with a UK Co Director and up to 3 LMIC Co Applicants. In total the GHR Centres programme will involve over 24 institutions across the UK and 12 LMICs - Bolivia, Colombia, Guatemala, India, Nepal, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Burkina Faso, Ghana and Niger.

The funding is part of NIHR’s  commitment to investing in global health research in developing countries that are eligible to receive Official Development Assistance (ODA) from the UK aid budget. The funding supports equitable partnerships between researchers and institutions in LMICs and in the UK.

Non-communicable diseases or NCDs are those that cannot be transmitted between people - some of the most common include diabetes, cardiovascular disease and chronic respiratory diseases. Worldwide, 41 million people die from NCDs each year - equivalent to 71% of all deaths. The vast majority of these deaths (77%) happen in LMICs

The five new Global Health Research Centres to be established are: 

  • NIHR Global Health Research Centre for Non-communicable Disease Control in West Africa, a partnership between Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
  • NIHR Global Health Research Centre for Community Management of Long-Term Conditions, a partnership between Pontificial Javeriana Universidad (Colombia) and Queen Mary University of London
  • NIHR Global Health Research Centre for Multiple Long-Term Conditions, a partnership between the Public Health Foundation of India and the University of Leicester
  • NIHR Global Health Research Centre for Improving Mental and Physical Health Together, a partnership between Aga Khan University Hospital Karachi (Pakistan) and the University of York
  • NIHR Global Health Research Centre for Non-communicable Diseases and Environmental Change, a partnership between the George Institute for Global Health (India) and Imperial College London

Research in the Centres will take a comprehensive approach to tackling NCDs, encompassing work to understand patterns of NCDs in different countries, engaging with patients and communities, including indigenous communities, and working to strengthen and support healthcare systems in preventing and treating NCDs. In particular, the new Centres will tackle challenges such as the impact of climate change and conflict on healthcare systems, with the aim of finding innovative ways to reach marginalised communities affected by NCDs. 

The new NIHR Global Health Research Centres will also play a key role in building capacity for research and training in LMICs, for individual researchers, their institutions and wider research and healthcare systems. The Centres will support and expand career opportunities for researchers in LMICs, from masters students to senior academics, and support training and development of vital research managers and other non-academic staff.

Professor Faith Osier, President of the International Union of Immunological Societies and Chair of the NIHR Global Health Research Centres funding committee, said: “These new Centres are truly ground-breaking - it’s the first time we’ve seen anything like this level of investment in non-communicable disease research in low- and middle-income countries. The potential for this truly equitable partnership working between researchers in LMICs and in the UK is immense and we’re so excited to see the advances that the next five years will bring.”

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