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CLAHRC South London secures funding to become Applied Research Collaboration

The NIHR Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) South London, a collaborative research organisation involving members of the Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine, has been successful in a bid to the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) to secure up to £9 million funding over five years to become the Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) South London.

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NIHR ARC South London will be one of 15 ARCs across the country undertaking applied health and care research. The new ARCs will aim to increase research in public health and primary care, and will address the challenges of an ageing society, more people living with ‘multimorbidities’ (two or more long-term health conditions) and the increasing demands on our health and care system.

Professor Sir Graham Thornicroft, director of ARC South London and Professor of Community Psychiatry, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience said:

‘This successful application was the result of very strong collaboration across CLAHRC South London. Our new ARC will aim to conduct high-quality research to help the NHS and care services offer excellent care based on sound evidence to everyone, in south London and nationally. The involvement of patients, service users, carers and the public will continue to be essential to us achieving this.’

‘Our programme will develop our current research activities and will also move into new and important areas, including prioritising the needs of people with multimorbidities, understanding the impact of health inequalities in our society and new research related to social care services and improving healthcare provision for children and young people.’

Under the new ARC South London, researchers will refine and develop the work of the current CLAHRC South London research themes to address the health challenges throughout the life-course. The research themes will include:

  • Alcohol
  • Children and young people
  • Maternity and perinatal mental health
  • Public health and multimorbidity, covering diabetes, mental health and vascular morbidities
  • Palliative and end of life care
  • Patient and public involvement research
  • Social care.

These themes will be supported by a dedicated applied informatics team, an economics and biostatistics team and implementation science research.  ARC South London will also build capacity in the growing fields of implementation and improvement science through training, education and support for researchers and non-researchers.

In addition, ARC South London has been asked by the NIHR to provide joint national leadership (with ARC East of England) in mental health, and palliative and end of life care. In this joint leadership role, ARC South London will aim to drive national collaborations and changes in practice.

Professor Julia Wendon, executive medical director at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, and co-chair of the ARC South London board, commented:

‘The new programme will build on the successful CLAHRC South London programme, which has had a direct impact on services and policy. At King’s College Hospital, for example, we have benefited from a project to set up a new service to support people who regularly attend hospital with alcohol-related problems in Lambeth and Southwark. The new service has reduced alcohol-related admissions to the hospital by 25%.’


Professor Chris Whitty, NIHR Lead and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Department of Health and Social Care, says: ‘The unique local collective approach at each NIHR Applied Research Collaboration will support applied health and care research that responds to, and meets, the needs of local patients, and local health and care systems. The network will also be able to tackle health priorities at a national level.

‘The 15 new NIHR Applied Research Collaborations will ensure that we grow applied health and care research in every region in England. The additional funding announced today means we will ensure that our world-leading research is turned into real benefits for patients and ensure the NIHR Applied Research Collaborations work together to have national-level impact.’

The NIHR expects the 15 ARCs to work closely with their local Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) to implement research into practice. Zoë Lelliott, acting chief executive at the Health Innovation Network, will join ARC South London as its implementation lead, helping the research themes to prioritise and speed up research into practice.

The NIHR ARC South London will begin officially on 1 October 2019. To subscribe to the newsletter, click here