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Industry partnership aims to tackle key areas of health research

Published: 24 March 2020

An exciting partnership between the NIHR and biopharmaceutical company Pfizer UK is aiming to support health and care research leaders of the future.

Launching in April, the partnership will see Pfizer UK co-funding NIHR Doctoral and Advanced fellowships with a focus on research in alopecia areata, chronic pain and atopic dermatitis. The fellowships will complement the already successful career development awards offered by the NIHR Academy whilst building capacity and capability in these key areas of health research.

Professor Dave Jones OBE, Dean for the NIHR Academy, said: “As the UK’s largest funder of health and care research we are delighted to be working with one of the world’s largest biopharmaceutical companies in this way. The NIHR is looking to work more closely with commercial partners as part of an aim to increase the number of researchers and clinical academics equipped with the skills to work at the interface between industry, academia and the NHS. These partnership awards are a great addition to our existing fellowship opportunities and will enable our researchers to help tackle some of the most common health issues in the country.”

At doctoral level, opportunities will be available to propose research in the area of chronic pain, commonly known as persistent pain. For advanced fellowships, opportunities will be available to propose research in either atopic dermatitis, the most common inflammatory skin condition, or, alopecia areata, a common cause of immune mediated non scarring hair loss.

Dr Berkeley Phillips, Medical Director, Pfizer UK, said “We are immensely proud to be co-funding this novel partnership with the NIHR, focusing on research in three important areas of unmet need. We hope that by supporting research into alopecia areata, chronic pain and atopic dermatitis we can drive innovation in these areas and lead to breakthroughs that ultimately change patients’ lives. Pfizer has a long and proud history of being part of world class science and contributes to over a hundred research collaborations and strategic alliances across the UK.”

Whilst this will be the first time the NIHR Academy has launched a co-funded award with an industry partner, it builds on the success of a number of charity partnership fellowship awards over recent years.

The application process for all NIHR doctoral and advanced fellowships, including those co-funded by Pfizer, will open on 1 April 2020. For more information regarding the fellowships visit the NIHR Fellowship Programme webpage or email  If you are a company interested in supporting research fellowships, please contact


Weidinger S, Beck LA, Bieber T, Kabashima K, Irvine AD. Atopic dermatitis. Nature Reviews Disease Primers. 2018;4(1):1.

Islam N, Leung PS, Huntley AC, Gershwin ME. The autoimmune basis of alopecia areata: a comprehensive review. Autoimmun Rev. 2015;14(2):81-9.


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