Celebrating our Centres - Southampton

Our series continues this week with an update from our colleagues in Wessex. The team share some exciting updates including increased BRC funding to expand research themes, their approach to working with researchers and clinicians across the region, and public involvement initiatives coming up. 

photo of: University Hospital Southampton
University Hospital Southampton

The NIHR BioResource Centre Southampton - covering Hampshire, Dorset, the Isle of Wight and South Wiltshire - is dedicated to facilitating clinical research at Southampton General Hospital. To date, the team have worked with over 1,100 BioResource participants. In particular, the people of Wessex came forward in great numbers to support COVID-19 research that helped forge the way out of the pandemic. The legacy of these activities and research partnerships across the region continues to bear fruit this season.

Wessex-wide approach

The BioResource Centre Southampton collaborates with researchers and clinicians throughout their NIHR supported infrastructure. This includes the NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre (BRC), NIHR Southampton Clinical Research Facility (CRF) and the Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC). They also work closely with the NIHR’s Clinical Research Network (CRN) Wessex and newly awarded NIHR Wessex Experimental Medicine Network.

Importantly, this will enable more people from across the region to take part in research supported by our NIHR-funded facilities, including the BioResource. By bringing together universities, local authorities, the NHS and the newly established Wessex Health Partners, efforts to collaborate on health and care research is ramping up.

Following a collective, region-wide approach to COVID-19 vaccine research, the Wessex CRN has set up a network of four new research hubs. The hubs invite people from local communities to take part in clinical trials. These are based in Southampton, Bournemouth, Portsmouth and Weymouth.

photo of: clinician in laboratory with test tubes

Biomedical research boost

The NIHR Southampton BRC, who in part fund the BioResource Centre Southampton, have secured almost double its funding for the next five years, which will help the team to accelerate efforts to enhance public involvement from across the region’s communities.

The BRC has been awarded over £25 million this past year - an increase of around 80 percent from the £14 million received in 2017-2022. The boost will expand the BRC research themes over the coming years to focus on nutrition, lifestyle and metabolism; respiratory and allergy conditions; microbiology, immunology and infection (infectious diseases); perioperative and critical care; and data, health and society.

Through Southampton’s respiratory theme, they have opened up recruitment for two new Rare Diseases BioResource projects in Cystic Fibrosis and Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia.

Southampton was also involved with successful recruitment to the COVID-CNS cohort, a study investigating neurological or neuropsychiatric complications in some COVID-19 patients. Through the new Wessex Research Hubs, the NIHR Southampton CRF is continuing the national research effort evaluating effective vaccines for COVID-19.

By using the research expertise in our NIHR-supported infrastructure, we hope to expand recruitment to the NIHR BioResource.

photo of: patient breathing into machine with clinician in medical office

Partnering with the public

Public involvement is an important foundation of the Wessex NIHR infrastructure. The Southampton Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) team work together with communities to drive research that is ever-more relevant to the community’s needs, delivered faster and adopted more readily.

They have established a diverse Community Panel of over 300 people that includes adult (aged over 16) and junior (aged 8 and above) members, reflecting the diverse communities of the region, and work with these partners to build engagement and prioritise the views of under-served groups. Regular opportunities are available for members with relevant lived experience to come forward.  

The Southampton team also attend a wide range of events to engage and communicate research to the public. Upcoming events include the:

NIHR BioResource Centre Southampton Manager, David Stockey comments:

"We’re looking forward to developing new partnerships as we expand our contributing cohorts.

"We would also like to express our sincere thanks to all participants who have donated to our BioResource to date."

Get in touch with the team

You can get in touch with team at NIHR BioResource Centre Southampton, please email pmteamcrf@uhs.nhs.uk.

If you are interested in supporting further health research, please consider joining the BioResource.

If you are a researcher, learn more about using the NIHR BioResource to support your work.

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