Brain scan images on computer screen

NHS and university partnership to continue accelerating world-leading health research

A partnership of Manchester’s NHS and academic organisations will continue accelerating world-leading health research after once again receiving the prestigious Academic Health Science Centre (AHSC) designation.

Manchester Academic Health Science Centre (MAHSC), part of Health Innovation Manchester, has officially been designated by National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), NHS England and NHS Improvement from 1 April 2020 up to 2025.

AHSCs are partnerships between top universities and outstanding NHS organisations working together to undertake world-leading research to tackle diseases, develop new treatments and transform patient care.

MAHSC brings together The University of Manchester, Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust (part of the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group), Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT), The Christie NHS Foundation Trust,  and Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (GMMH) in a partnership working to drive health research and benefit our citizens.

It follows the news that scientists and clinicians across Greater Manchester have formed a research rapid response group to find ways to beat COVID-19 and save lives. The group will harness the power of hundreds of researchers from The University of Manchester as well as clinical colleagues at MFT and the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group, all backed by Health Innovation Manchester (HInM).

Over the next five years research and innovation within MAHSC will be delivered by six domains, each led jointly by an academic and an NHS clinician and chaired by a Chief Executive from a partner Trust. The domains are:

  • Neuroscience (Salford Royal) Harnessing the local expertise and excellence in neuroscience to improve outcomes.
  • Cancer (The Christie) Supporting transformational change in cancer-related life sciences to provide outstanding healthcare.
  • Cardiovascular and Diabetes (MFT) Working to eliminate the inequalities in cardiovascular-related outcomes that affect the local population.
  • Inflammation and Repair (MFT) Supporting work in dermatology, musculoskeletal, respiratory, gastroenterology, infection, orthopaedics, trauma, renal, and regenerative medicine.
  •  Mental Health (GMMH) Supporting priorities of dementia, self-harm, digital mental health.
  •  Women and Children (MFT) Incorporating the clinical specialities of paediatrics, obstetrics, gynaecology and genomics, linking the core specialties that are relevant to promote improvements in health from birth to old age.

Domains provide expert horizon scanning and strategic oversight that enable disruptive innovations to be tested and prioritised such as prevention and early detection of disease, new diagnostic tests and treatments and personalised care for patients.

MAHSC, which was first designated in 2009, also works in close collaboration with Manchester’s thriving scientific community, research infrastructure and Greater Manchester’s other higher education institutions.

Professor Graham Lord, MAHSC Executive Director and Vice President and Dean of the Faculty for Biology, Medicine and Health at The University of Manchester, said: “We have the most advanced integrated system in the UK for aligning academic research with local health needs to speed up the translation of discoveries into patient treatments and care at scale. Taking a singular One Manchester approach, this five-year AHSC designation will enable us to enhance innovation and make faster decisions that will directly impact and improve the lives of the 2.8 million population of Greater Manchester – as evidenced today by the magnificent mobilisation at pace of hundreds of researchers, scientists and health care professionals in support of efforts to fight the Covid-9 coronavirus.”

Professor Peter Clayton, MAHSC Clinical Director and Chief Academic Officer, Health Innovation Manchester, said: “The designation of MAHSC for a further five years is recognition of the excellence within our NHS, academic and research organisation within Manchester. The world-leading work taking place in these organisations and our domains will benefit our patients, clinicians and our wider community within Greater Manchester and beyond.”

Raj Jain, Group Chief Executive Officer of the Northern Care Alliance and MAHSC’s lead for the neuroscience domain, said: “I am delighted that the Manchester Academic Health Science Centre has been re designated and will continue to work with Salford Royal, part of the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group, and other partners to improve health by giving patients and clinicians rapid access to the latest research discoveries and improving the quality and effectiveness of patient care.

“Delivering excellence in research and education is a key priority for the Northern Care Alliance and our partnership with MAHSC is important as we combine our expertise to establish Greater Manchester as a world leader in health research.”

Professor Neil Hanley, Group Director of Research and Innovation at MFT, said: “In the current challenging times, it is great news that Manchester has been re-designated again as an Academic Health Science Centre.

“We must seize the opportunity to make maximum difference over the next five years to the health and prosperity of our local communities, to connect more deeply to our incredibly diverse and talented academic and healthcare sectors, and to fly the flag for Manchester on the national and international stage.”

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