From December 2022 the BRC will have 14 themes, organised into five ‘theme clusters’. These disease clusters will enable cross-theme working. Each theme reports to the BRC Executive board.
There will be two co-leaders of each theme, enhancing leadership and enabling us to support emergent leaders and greater diversity.
In addition to the 14 themes organised by cluster, there will be a ‘BRC Core’ theme which will provide support to all themes in areas including patient and public involvement, capacity building for research and clinical translation.
Read more about each theme on our theme web pages.
When we selected our research themes we focused on:
- Disease areas which are of national importance for healthcare
- Areas where our BRC has leading academic and clinical strengths, and where we are ranked highly nationally and internationally
- Areas where the BRC funding can add substantial value
Our themes align with wider national strategies, including NIHR priorities and the Government Life Sciences Vision 2021.
Data and technology
Medicine is facing a revolution in data and technology. Our strategy is designed to help the NHS capitalise on this revolution.
We are bringing together world-leading teams of mathematicians, computer scientists, software engineers, artificial intelligence and genetics experts to safely use NHS data to drive insights for patient benefit.
We will use this knowledge to help the NHS develop and offer more personalised healthcare, and prevent diseases developing.
Equality, diversity and inclusion
We will embed EDI into our work through a new BRC EDI unit to nurture a culture of inclusivity and diversity among all staff and research participants.
We will conduct high quality patient and public involvement and engagement (PPIE) work across all BRC themes that touches all of our diverse populations. We will work to understand the barriers to engagement and participation among under-represented groups and use our findings to guide our PPIE activities. We will co-ordinate this work through a dedicated new Centre for Access to Research (the BRC CAR).
There is enormous unmet healthcare need for people from certain groups and backgrounds, including people experiencing homelessness, people who use drugs, prisoners, sex workers, and vulnerable migrants.
We have already developed initiatives to address these health inequalities and have improved early diagnosis, access to care and engagement with vulnerable populations. This work will now be supported through a new theme with a focus on inclusion health.
Partnerships and enterprise
Partnership is central to our BRC strategy, with the strong UCLH and UCL partnership at its core. We will continue to build partnerships and networks to achieve scale, share capabilities, and widen patient access to research.
We will grow our partnership with the Francis Crick Institute – combining UCLH clinical strengths with the Crick’s scientific capabilities – following the establishment of research partnerships during the pandemic.
Work will also continue in a partnership brokered by the BRC between UCLH and Microsoft Research Labs, to co-create AI-driven innovations for health.
We will continue to bring in charitable funding to support research projects; we are the second largest recipient of UK research charity funding.
In addition, we will continue to promote an enterprise culture and support the commercialisation of our research for the development of treatments that will benefit patient care. We have a strong track record in this area. UCL spinout companies based on BRC-supported research include:
- Autolus, which has developed novel CAR T-cell immune therapy for cancer
- Achilles, which is developing a novel cancer-based treatment
- Freeline Therapeutics, pioneering a gene therapy for haemophilia
Covid-19 and the BRC
We will focus on several important areas of medical research highlighted by the pandemic, including infectious diseases and our immune systems, intensive care medicine, obesity and the impact of population diversity and deprivation on the risk of diseases and the response of patients to treatment.
During the pandemic, the public embraced research like never before, and we will build on that enthusiasm, helping more people to take part in research
One way we will do this is through a new partnership we have set up – the UCL Health Alliance – which will operate across North Central London. Serving 1.9 million people in one of the most diverse regions of the UK, this alliance will extend the reach of BRC research to NCL partners who that want to offer research opportunities to their patients, especially post-Covid-19, but need access to our portfolio of studies, our staff, infrastructure and partnership abilities.
Building research capacity
We will build research capacity in experimental medicine and nurture future leaders in research. The BRC Experimental Academy, supported by the UCL Academic Careers Office, engaged more than 2000 early career researchers in the last five years through programmes to develop leadership capabilities and resilience.
We will build on this work by extending the reach of these programmes across the whole academic career pathway and to all healthcare professional groups and grow research capacity and culture across the NHS workforce