Research for the Future project expands

An innovative project linking researchers with research volunteers is expanding.

Research for the Future already has a large database of people with diabetes who want to be involved in research and is now targeting those with heart and respiratory problems.

The NHS-supported project aims to make the research recruitment process more efficient. Since 2012, the team has been building a database of local residents who are interested in taking part in research. Researchers can spend a lot of time pre-screening their own patient databases for suitable candidates, only to be turned down later. The Research for the Future database saves time, as patients have already expressed an interest in taking part. Also, when volunteers register they are asked not only for medical information but also what specific kind of research they are happy to be involved in. This means the team can more easily connect the right people with the right studies.

The project is working with people who live in and around the Greater Manchester area through several ‘Help BEAT’ campaigns.

It started with the ‘Help BEAT Diabetes’ campaign, which so far has recruited around 4,000 local diabetes patients to the database and has already been used successfully by several researchers. Dr Clare England, a research dietitian at the University of Bristol, used the database to improve a diet questionnaire for diabetes patients. Similarly, PhD student Isabel Adeyemi worked with Research for the Future to recruit for her study, examining activity levels in people with long-term conditions. The Help Beat Diabetes campaign has now been shortlisted for a Quality in Care Diabetes award. Results will be announced on 14 October.

Now the Research for the Future project is expanding to cover cardiac and respiratory disease. Its Help BEAT Cardiac Disease campaign will seek to recruit volunteers with angina, heart failure, atrial fibrillation and previous heart attacks. Meanwhile the Help Beat Respiratory Disease campaign will recruit those with COPD, asthma and bronchiectasis.

Programme manager Katherine Grady said: “Many of our ‘Help BEAT’ volunteers tell us they have enjoyed getting involved in the range of opportunities we offer, knowing they are helping to improve future care and treatments.”

Researchers interested in these areas can contact the Research for the Future team for help recruiting patients to their study. Once study details are relayed, researchers will be contacted directly by interested volunteers, making the recruitment process easy and efficient.

Contact the Research for the Future team at  research.future@srft.nhs.uk or ring 0161 206 3636.