UK Musculoskeletal Translational Research Collaboration

The UK Musculoskeletal Translational Research Collaboration (UK MSK TRC) is a joint collaboration between the NIHR and Versus Arthritis, bringing together the Versus Arthritis investment in Experimental Arthritis and Osteoarthritis Treatment Centres with the relevant NIHR infrastructure with expertise in MSK.

The UK MSK TRC aligns investment in MSK translational research creating a UK-wide ambition and focus to drive cutting edge translational research in order to improve outcomes for patients. The UK MSK TRC also provides industry with streamlined access to world leading academic clinicians and scientists who have significant expertise in a wide range of inflammatory and rheumatoid conditions. The UK MSK TRC is made of globally recognised centres and continues to work towards the goal of being at the forefront of MSK experimental medicine.

The UK MSK TRC works collaboratively with all sectors of the health and care ecosystem including the life sciences industry, charities and other funders to further research in MSK disorders and to help develop new diagnostics and treatments.

Who is this for?

To be suitable for UK MSK TRC support, a project is expected to:

  • involve one or more industry partners
  • focus on a disease area recognised as a TRC area of expertise
  • bring significant academic value and the opportunity for scientific leadership from the TRC
  • be at an early stage to enable input and feedback on study design and adopt a collaborative approach to study design
  • utilise experimental medicine approaches such as novel exploratory endpoints, biomarkers and stratification strategies
  • have a trial management team or delegated CRO or academic clinical trial unit in place to ensure effective study delivery.

The UK MSK TRC experts will help you to shape your protocol, providing advice on study design. The UK MSK TRC can offer scientific advice when there is a clear intent to deliver the study through the Collaboration, they are not designed to act as stand-alone advisory boards.

If you already have a fully-developed protocol and are only looking for recruitment sites the NIHR Study Support Service will be able to help you. 

Benefits of working with the UK MSK TRC

The UK MSK TRC provide operational support, including a standard pre-approved non-disclosure agreement, contractual templates and a close working relationship with the NIHR Clinical Research Network for identification of sites.

The UK MSK TRC provides cutting-edge expertise in the development of exploratory protocols, biomarkers discovery, and an understanding of pathophysiology and disease mechanisms in a range of inflammatory and rheumatoid  disorders, including: 

Connective Tissue Disease

Inflammatory Arthropathies

Osteoarthritis and common musculoskeletal disorders


  • Systemic lupus erthematosus 
  • Systemic Sclerosis
  • Sjögren's syndrome
  • Inflammatory angiopathies
  • Inflammatory myophathies
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Spondyloarthropathies
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Inflammatory Bowel disease associated arthropathy
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Tendinopathies
  • Back pain   
  • Fibromyalgia         


Cross cutting themes

Life Course approach
Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement (PPIE)
Experimental medicine platforms

 The UK MSK TRC regularly reviews areas of unmet clinical need to determine emerging topics that could become a focus for the group.

 List of UK MSK TRC partner organisations


Lead academic


Professor Costantino Pitzalis

Barts Health NHS Trust; Queen Mary University of London

Professor David Isenberg

University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust; University College London

Professor Peter C Taylor

Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust; University of Oxford

Professor John Isaacs

The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; Newcastle University

Professor Ian Bruce

Manchester Academic Health Science Centre

Professor Chris Buckley

The University of Birmingham; Birmingham/Sandwell/Dudley Hospitals

Dr Natasha Jordan

Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; University of Cambridge

Dr Matthew Pickering

Imperial College London; Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust

Professor Andrew Cope

King's Health Partners Academic Health Science Centre

Professor David Walsh

Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust; University of Nottingham

Professor Maya Buch

University of Leeds; Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Professor Chris Edwards

University of Southampton; University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust

Professor Micheal Beresford

University of Liverpool; Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation TrustUK EATC4Children

Professor Athimalaipet Ramanan

Bristol Royal Hospital For ChildrenUK EATC4Children

Professor Ernest Choy

Cardiff Regional Experimental Arthritis Treatment and Evaluation Centre (CREATE)

Professor Ian McInnes

University of Glasgow;  Rheumatoid Arthritis Pathogenesis Centre of Excellence (RACE)

To find out more about the NIHR UK MSK TRC and how your company or organisation can collaborate with us. E-mail: 

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