On 24 March University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust (UHBristol) held its annual research symposium, showcasing the Trust's research work, including presentations from three UHBristol led Health Integration Teams.
The day started with a range of UHBristol researchers from both ends of the spectrum of experience, from Clinical Research Fellows carrying out PhDs, to senior researchers carrying out large scale NIHR-funded research.
Professor Margaret Fletcher described the SPACe project which is delivering help to parents of children with arthritis. This study has to address challenges around the logistics of helping parents whose availability is limited, and been shaped by their feedback to increase the opportunities for families to participate.
Professor Adam Finn provided an informative summary of Edward Jenner's initial development of vaccines and described the work currently ongoing to consider the effectiveness of vaccination programs not only in protecting those who have received the vaccine, but the protection that is then given to society as a result of preventing onward infection through vaccination.
Professor John Sparrow inspired the audience to persevere with their research ideas as he described his journey from initial concept to being awarded an NIHR Programme Grant for Applied Research ten years later.
Dr Ruth Newbury-Ecob shared a novel, collaborative approach developed by geneticists studying rare diseases to enable swifter roll out of research studies across multi centres.
In recent years UHBristol has funded clinical research fellows to undertake PhD studies. These included Robin Marlow, Jane Norman and Victoria Salmon, whose work spanned the surveillance of rotavirus, genetic variation in platelet receptors and the involvement of patients in shaping research into fatigue for people with rheumatoid arthritis.
During the afternoon delegates heard from the Trust's partners across Bristol and beyond, including speakers from three UHBristol-led Health Integration Teams (HITs), the West of England Academic Health Science Network (WEAHSN) and CLAHRC West (Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care).
The afternoon session was introduced by Robert Woolley and presented a regional view as delegates heard first from Deborah Evans, Managing Director of WEAHSN, talking in particular about the WEAHSN's focus on bringing evidence into practice. Sarah Purdy, Deputy Director of CLAHRC West then described the work which the CLAHRC will be doing as it enters its first year. These relatively new organisations provide additional opportunities for researchers within UHBristol to work with colleagues from other organisations both in health care and academia with the WEAHSN having a focus on getting the evidence from research into practice across the region.
The day concluded with presentations from Mark Lyttle, Salena Williams and Clare Bailey representing three of the UHBristol-led Health Integration Teams (HITs). HITs are multi agency groups who work together to address a health issues in the region. They actively combine research and clinical delivery to improve the patient experience and provide a more efficient service.
See the full programme for the day, and presentations are available to download from the UHBristol website.